Marathon encore...

Last year, our Andy ran his first ever marathon and raised almost £3,000 for Shelter. Well, he's only gone and got himself a London Marathon place again this year! He has chosen three different charities to raise money for this time around: Legal Centre Lesbos, which provides legal support and advice to the thousands of refugees currently interned in camps on Lesbos; Phone Credits for Refugees, who use public donations to buy pay as you go credits for refugees all over Europe so that they can keep in touch with their families and support agencies and stay safe; and ColaLife, a small charity with huge impact, which has pioneered an innovative and highly effective means of cutting infant mortality from diarrhoea in Zambia by getting vital basic medicines to even the remotest communities. Please consider sponsoring Andy and helping these very worthwhile causes! Details below:

The sponsorship page for the two refugee charities is here:

And the sponsorship page for ColaLife is here:

Sponsor our Andy to run the London Marathon!

Setting aside his guitar, Andy has been training hard for some time now and will be running the 2017 London Marathon to raise money for Shelter, the homelessness charity. This is a very worthwhile cause, so please consider adding a donation - of whatever size you can manage - via Andy's fundraising page. We will also be playing a benefit gig to add to the fundraising effort - see the gigs page for more details.

The Ballad of Shirley Collins, part 2

Polly's solo track, recorded for a Shirley Collins tribute album (see previous article below for details) can now be heard here. Give it a listen and a 'like'! Incidentally, even though the kickstarter campaign has reached its target, the film-makers are still fund-raising towards their goal of making a documentary feature about the great Shirley Collins, so check out the project's website:, where you can still buy the album...

Still more Shirley Collins!

The Shirley Inspired Shirley Collins tribute album goes from strength to strength! It's now available on triple CD as well as the (more expensive but beautifully put together) vinyl triple album: buy your copy direct from Earth Recordings. Some of the reviews have mentioned our track, 'Proud Maisrie':

"Slate Islands blend voice and birdsong on 'Proud Maisrie' to warmly unusual effect." The Vinyl District

"Other high points come with...the weird, whispery, twittery bird and nature sounds created vocally by Hebridean singer Polly MacLean on London-based Slate Islands' Proud Maisrie." Folk Radio UK

"['Shepherds Arise'...Crying Lion grace the song with traditional vocal harmonies]. Beautifully erudite London-based Slate Islands' reading of 'Proud Maisrie' is in a similar vein, the classic full-voiced treatment sounding something like Sandy Denny or Norma Waterson." Tasty

"Kudos also to Polly MacLean and her Slate Islands cohorts for another marvellous a cappella track, 'Proud Maisrie'. Very eerie (with nasty cawing crows in the background, no doubt an excited Islander)." Soundblab

"The fact is what makes British folk music so appealing is the link the music has with the landscape of the country and the sea that bounds it. Take for example Slate Islands 'Proud Maisrie': it's a haunting rendition of the song that uses voice to bring to life the myriad bird calls and drone sounds one hears in the background." Blurt


The Ballad of Shirley Collins

Film-makers Rob Curry and Tim Plester (the team behind the acclaimed 'Way of the Morris') have launched a kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a new film about the iconic English folk singer Shirley Collins; and one of the rewards on offer for those who pledge money towards the film is a tribute album featuring a Slate Islands track. We are thrilled and honoured to be part of this project (and to be in such excellent company; the album also features tracks by Will Oldham, Graham Coxon, Alasdair Roberts, Sharron Kraus and others). 

The Slate Islands contribution is a solo effort by Polly, who chose a song called 'Proud Maisrie' and laid down the main vocal a cappella, then layered in some harmonies plus the sounds of birds, bees, winter winds and a crow for added atmosphere - all created vocally.

Shirley Collins was (and is) a real trailblazer - not just in terms of her exceptional singing, but also through the ways in which she championed and revitalised folk music. Her story deserves to be told. The fundraising drive closes on Tuesday 22nd July 2014.