FOLK sisters Elsie and Maggie Rigby will make their first return to the Port Fairy Folk Festival stage under their re-branded band name The Maes.
Formerly The Mae Trio, the musicians will bring a whole new repertoire to their set off the back of their 2019 self-titled record The Maes following the departure of founding member Anita Hillman.
Elsie Rigby (violin, ukulele, vocals) said they were excited to return to the south-west festival that played such a huge role in their music careers.
"This will be our first time back as The Maes but we will be bringing a four-piece lineup joined by Monique Clare on the cello and Isaac Barter on the double bass," she said.
"We made a new album last year that we will bring to the festival, it's a collection of songs that are quite personal and intimate and have been really amazing to play in our live shows.
"We really love telling stories on stage and bringing ourselves to the show, there's a real strength in vulnerability and Maggie (banjo, guitar, vocals) and I love to connect to our audiences in that way."
Rigby said Port Fairy Folk Festival had a big part in the formation of The Mae Trio over seven years ago.
"Before we met our band mate Anita we all used to go to Port Fairy Folk Festival but we didn't know each other," she said.
"Then we realised we had all been at this one gig at Port Fairy, The Wailin' Jennys, and it had a big impact on us. We left with our musical lives changed forever, determined to start a girl trio and sing three-part harmonies.
"Particularly for Maggie, I remember the moment where she watched that set and was like, I want to do that.
"It's quite amazing to look back on that now that we're playing those gigs on those stages. To think back to when we were teenagers who looked up so much to those bands is surreal, I think you never really know you've reached a milestone like that until you're way past it."
The multi award-winning Melbourne contemporary folk outfit's unique blend of three-part harmonies with acoustic American and Celtic folk sound has only grown stronger with time.
Their latest album marks a return to their musical roots, showcasing their tender songwriting as well as honest, relaxed and stunning vocal and instrumental performances.
Born into the arms of the folk music community, both sisters were side of stage at their first folk festival when they were four weeks old and have been absorbing and exploring folk music since that time.
"It's been a big shift for us going from a trio to a duo, we're not sure where we're going to take it but Maggie and I will just keep writing songs and singing together."
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