AFTER a string of innovative albums the northern folk duo of O’Hooley and Tidow are to return to the Tabernacl at Machynlleth to play one of their WinterFolk tour dates to accompany the release of their “WinterFolk Volume 1" album.

The Machynleth venue is one they have visited several times now playing live and recording tracks playing on the Tabernacl’s Steinway grand piano. This time they visit on Saturday, December 9, starting at 7.30pm.

“We love the Steinway grand piano at Y Tabernacl. The combination of the excellent condition of the instrument and the acoustics of the wood lined auditorium create something special,” Belinda O’Hooley told Leisure Times.

“It is a beautiful piano to play and inspires creativity. So much so, that I have composed two instrumental pieces on the piano - a piece called ‘Shadows’ for our last album and a piano interpretation of ‘Coventry Carol’ for WinterFolk. Both pieces were composed and recorded in one take at the piano.

“It also helps that Machynlleth itself is a great town. We enjoy walking up on the hills, and having a bowl of soup and a cuppa in the Blasau Delicatessen. The market day is wonderful too. We love Mach so much, we might have to move there one day,£ Belinda added.

“WinterFolk” is released on No Masters and features 12 tracks including several original compositions or arrangements by the duo as well as versions of “Fairytale of New York”, “Stille Nacht”, Richard Thompson’s “We Sing Hallelujah” and John Renbourn’s “Wexford Lullaby”.

The album reflects on some of the darker hued aspects of yuletide, considering the season in an alternative, real way, from the absence or loss of children, to domestic violence at Christmas, from global warming to poverty, religion, displacement, migration and loneliness, together with an invitation to indulge in some of the gorgeousness of winter, by the fireside, a favourite record playing, and glass in hand.

Belinda and Heidi have recomposed some of their own winter songs from early albums Silent June and The Fragile, into mature, poignant and considered interpretations. They have also written their very own WinterFolk Carol, confirming their reputation as ‘exceptional songwriters’, earning them three Radio 2 Folk Award nominations.

O’Hooley & Tidow remain at the forefront of the contemporary folk music scene, whether recording and touring extensively in their duo, leading refugee and migrant musicians in their recent Arts Council England commission The Passerine, as seen ata remarkable set at this year’s Shrewsbury Folk Festival, or inviting other political and feminist musicians to join them in their trailblazing super group; Coven.

Tickets for the Machynlleth concert cost £12 or £10 concessions and bac be booked with the venue on 01654 703355.