The Twa Sisters
"The Twa Sisters" is a murder ballad
Murder ballad
Murder ballads are a sub-genre of the traditional ballad form, the lyrics of which form a narrative describing the events of a murder, often including the lead-up and/or aftermath...

 that recounts the tale of a girl drowned by her sister. It is first known to have appeared on a broadside
Broadside (music)
A broadside is a single sheet of cheap paper printed on one side, often with a ballad, rhyme, news and sometimes with woodcut illustrations...

 in 1656 as "The Miller and the King's Daughter." At least 21 English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 variants exist under several names, including "Minnorie" or "Binnorie", "The Cruel Sister", "The Wind and Rain", "Dreadful Wind and Rain", "Two Sisters", and the "Bonnie Bows of London". The ballad was collected by Francis J. Child (Child 10) and is also listed in the Roud Folk Song Index
Roud Folk Song Index
The Roud Folk Song Index is a database of 300,000 references to over 21,600 songs that have been collected from oral tradition in the English language from all over the world...



Two sisters go down by a body of water, sometimes a river and sometimes the sea. The older one pushes the younger in and refuses to pull her out again; generally the lyrics explicitly state her intent to drown her younger sister. Her motive, when included in the lyrics, is sexual jealousy — in some variants, the sisters are being two-timed by a suitor; in others, the elder sister's affections are not encouraged by the young man. In a few versions, a third sister is mentioned, but plays no significant role in events. In most versions, the older sister is described as dark, while the younger sister is fair.

When the murdered girl's body floats ashore, someone makes a musical instrument out of it, generally a harp or a fiddle, with a frame of bone and the girl's "long yellow hair" (or "golden hair") for strings. The instrument then plays itself and sings about the murder. In some versions, this occurs after the musician has taken it to the family's household, so that the elder sister is publicly revealed (sometimes at her wedding to the murdered girl's suitor) as the murderess.

It should be noted that the variant titled The Two Sisters typically omits the haunted instrument entirely, ending instead with an unrelated person (often a miller) executed for robbing the murdered girl's corpse and the elder sister presumably going unpunished.

Parallels in other languages

The theme of this ballad was common in many northern European languages. There are 125 different variants known in Swedish
Swedish language
Swedish is a North Germanic language, spoken by approximately 10 million people, predominantly in Sweden and parts of Finland, especially along its coast and on the Åland islands. It is largely mutually intelligible with Norwegian and Danish...

 alone. Its general Scandinavian classification is TSB
The Types of the Scandinavian Medieval Ballad
The Types of the Scandinavian Medieval Ballad classifies all "types" of traditional ballader known in one of more of the Scandinavian languages .In its turn, the list of types is divided into six groups , as infra...

 A 38; and it is (among others) known as Den talende strængelek or De to søstre (DgF
Danmarks gamle Folkeviser
Danmarks gamle Folkeviser is a collection of all known texts and recordings of the old Danish popular ballads.It was started in 1853 by Svend Grundtvig...

 95) in Danish
Danish language
Danish is a North Germanic language spoken by around six million people, principally in the country of Denmark. It is also spoken by 50,000 Germans of Danish ethnicity in the northern parts of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, where it holds the status of minority language...

, Hørpu ríma (CCF 136) in Faroese
Faroese language
Faroese , is an Insular Nordic language spoken by 48,000 people in the Faroe Islands and about 25,000 Faroese people in Denmark and elsewhere...

, Hörpu kvæði (IFkv 13) in Icelandic
Icelandic language
Icelandic is a North Germanic language, the main language of Iceland. Its closest relative is Faroese.Icelandic is an Indo-European language belonging to the North Germanic or Nordic branch of the Germanic languages. Historically, it was the westernmost of the Indo-European languages prior to the...

, Dei tvo systar in Norwegian
Norwegian language
Norwegian is a North Germanic language spoken primarily in Norway, where it is the official language. Together with Swedish and Danish, Norwegian forms a continuum of more or less mutually intelligible local and regional variants .These Scandinavian languages together with the Faroese language...

, and De två systrarna (SMB
Sveriges Medeltida Ballader
Sveriges Medeltida Ballader is an edition of 'all' Swedish medieval ballads, produced by Svenskt Visarkiv....

 13) in Swedish. It has also spread further south; for example, as Gosli iz človeškega telesa izdajo umor (A Fiddle Made from a Human Body Reveals a Murder) in Slovenian
Slovenian language
Slovene or Slovenian is a South Slavic language spoken by approximately 2.5 million speakers worldwide, the majority of whom live in Slovenia. It is the first language of about 1.85 million people and is one of the 23 official and working languages of the European Union...


In the Norse variants, the older sister is depicted as dark and the younger as fair, often with great contrast, comparing the one to soot or the other to the sun or milk. This can inspire taunts from the younger about the older's looks.

In most of the Norwegian and some of the Swedish variants, the story ends by the instrument being broken and the younger sister coming alive again. In a few, she was not actually drowned, but saved and nursed back to health; she tells the story herself.

This tale is also found in prose form, in fairy tales such as The Singing Bone
The Singing Bone
The Singing Bone is a German fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm, tale number 28.It is Aarne-Thompson type 780.This tale is also found in ballad form, in The Twa Sisters, where the siblings are sisters instead of brothers.-Synopsis:...

, where the siblings are brothers instead of sisters. This is widespread throughout Europe; often the motive is not jealousy because of a lover, but the younger child's success in winning the object that will cure the king, or that will win the father's inheritance.

In Polish
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 literature from the romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

 period, a similar theme is found in Balladyna
Balladyna (drama)
"Balladyna is a tragedy written by Juliusz Słowacki in 1834 and published in 1839 in Paris. It is a notable work of Polish romanticism, focusing on the issues such as thirst for power and evolution of the criminal mind...

(1838) by Juliusz Słowacki. Two sisters engage in a raspberry
The raspberry or hindberry is the edible fruit of a multitude of plant species in the genus Rubus, most of which are in the subgenus Idaeobatus; the name also applies to these plants themselves...

-gathering contest to decide which of them gets to marry Prince Kirkor. When the younger Alina wins, the older Balladyna kills her. Finally, she is killed by a bolt of lightning
Lightning is an atmospheric electrostatic discharge accompanied by thunder, which typically occurs during thunderstorms, and sometimes during volcanic eruptions or dust storms...

 in an act of divine retribution.

A Hungarian
Hungarian language
Hungarian is a Uralic language, part of the Ugric group. With some 14 million speakers, it is one of the most widely spoken non-Indo-European languages in Europe....

 version exists, where a king has three daughters. Both of the eldest are bad and ugly, and envy the younger child sister due to her beauty. One day, they murder her in the forest, and place her corpse inside a fiddle. The fiddle plays music on its own and eventually is given to the royal family. The fiddle does not play for the evil sisters, but the princess is restored to life once her father tries to play it. The sisters are imprisoned, but the good princess fully pardons them once she becomes queen.

Versions with a happy ending, in which a bone is transformed into a woman, may have been influenced by the biblical
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

Eve is the first woman created by God in the Book of Genesis.Eve may also refer to:-People:*Eve , a common given name and surname*Eve , American recording artist and actress-Places:...

, who was believed to have been made from a bone.

Connections to other ballads

As is frequently found with traditional folksongs, versions of The Twa Sisters are associated with tunes that are used in common with several other ballads. For example, at least one variant of this ballad ("Cruel Sister") uses the tune and refrain
A refrain is the line or lines that are repeated in music or in verse; the "chorus" of a song...

 from "Lay the bent to the bonny broom", a widely-used song (whose original lyrics are lost) which is also used, for example, by some versions of "Riddles Wisely Expounded
Riddles Wisely Expounded
"Riddles Wisely Expounded" is a traditional English song, dating at least to 1450. It is Child Ballad 1 and Roud 161, and exists in several variants...

" (Child 1).

Canadian singer and harpist Loreena McKennitt
Loreena McKennitt
Loreena Isabel Irene McKennitt, CM, OM, is a Canadian singer, composer, harpist, accordionist and pianist who writes, records and performs world music with Celtic and Middle Eastern themes. McKennitt is known for her refined, clear soprano vocals...

's song "The Bonny Swans" is a pastiche of several traditional variants of the ballad. The first stanza mentions the third sister, but she subsequently disappears from the narrative. The song recounts a tale in which a young woman is drowned by her jealous older sister in an effort to gain the younger sister's beloved. The girl's body washes up near a mill, where the miller's daughter mistakes her corpse for that of a swan
Swans, genus Cygnus, are birds of the family Anatidae, which also includes geese and ducks. Swans are grouped with the closely related geese in the subfamily Anserinae where they form the tribe Cygnini. Sometimes, they are considered a distinct subfamily, Cygninae...

. Later, after she is pulled from the water, a passing harp
The harp is a multi-stringed instrument which has the plane of its strings positioned perpendicularly to the soundboard. Organologically, it is in the general category of chordophones and has its own sub category . All harps have a neck, resonator and strings...

er fashions a harp from the bones and hair of the dead girl; the harp plays alone, powered by the girl's soul. The harp is brought to her father's hall and plays before the entire court, telling of her sister's crime. The song also mentions her brother named Hugh, and her beloved William, and gives a name to the older sister, Anne.

It also bears a resemblance to an early Alfred Lord Tennyson poem, "The Sisters", which follows a sister scorned in love who murders the lover of her sister, and possibly the sister too, out of jealousy.


  • ""Binnorie" in Joseph Jacobs
    Joseph Jacobs
    Joseph Jacobs was a folklorist, literary critic and historian. His works included contributions to the Jewish Encyclopaedia, translations of European works, and critical editions of early English literature...

    ' English Fairy Tales (1890)
  • Czech
    Czech Republic
    The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

     folk band Asonance
    -Biography:Asonance was founded on Jan Neruda's grammar school in late 1976. Former members of the group were Jan and Pavel Lašťovička, Milan Štěrba and František Korecký. They started with folk and country songs.1977...

     recorded a version of the song called "Harfa" (Harp) with Czech lyrics. Czech folk-punk band Původní Bureš did a cover of this version.
  • Anita Best
    Anita Best
    Anita Best is a teacher, broadcaster, and well-known singer from the Atlantic province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.-Discography:*Crosshanded*The Color of Amber *Amber Christmas )...

     recorded it as "The Two Sisters" on her album "The Color of Amber"
  • Martin Carthy
    Martin Carthy
    Martin Carthy MBE is an English folk singer and guitarist who has remained one of the most influential figures in British traditional music, inspiring contemporaries such as Bob Dylan and Paul Simon and later artists such as Richard Thompson since he emerged as a young musician in the early days...

     and Dave Swarbrick
    Dave Swarbrick
    Dave Swarbrick is an English folk musician and singer-songwriter. He has been described by Ashley Hutchings as 'the most influential [British] fiddle player bar none' and his style has been copied or developed by almost every British, and many World folk violin players that have followed him...

     recorded a version titled "The Bows of London".
  • Aoife Clancy recorded a version titled "Two Sisters" on her album Soldiers and Dreams.
  • Clandestine
    Clandestine (band)
    Clandestine is a Celtic music group from Houston, Texas. Featuring bagpipes, guitar, fiddle, and drums , they play traditional Celtic music as well as some modern tunes in a Celtic style. Some songs include additional instruments like the flute, bombarde and various whistles...

     (The Haunting
    The Haunting (Clandestine album)
    The Haunting is a 1997 studio album by the Celtic band Clandestine.-Track listing:#"Dunlavy's Castle" - 5:47#"The Haunting" - 5:22#"Innisfree" - 4:44#"The Baby Tunes" - 6:47#"The Nobleman's Wedding" - 6:00#"The Slip Jigs" - 2:49...

    ), Ceoltoiri, Ekova
    Ekova is a French-based trio, headed by American-born Dierdre Dubois, who originated the name. "Its roots are in echo, and ova, signifying the feminine side," she explains. "But it's not supposed to have a literal meaning, just a beautiful sound...

     (Space Lullabies and Other Fantasmagore) and Old Blind Dogs
    Old Blind Dogs
    Old Blind Dogs is a Scottish musical group which plays traditional Scottish folk music and Celtic music, with influences from rock, reggae, jazz, blues and Middle Eastern music rhythms...

     (Close to the Bone) have all released versions under the title "Cruel Sister".
  • The Irish
    Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

     group Clannad has a version titled "Two Sisters" on their album Dúlamán. In this version the two sisters love the same man but he prefers the younger. To her he gives gifts while ignoring the elder of the two. In anger the elder sister pushed her sister into the river,mocking her drowning sister's offer to relinquish the young man if the elder saves her, by saying she will have him anyway. The girl's corpse floats to a mill where the miller takes her gold ring and pushes the body back into the river. It ends with the punishment of the two evildoers: the miller is hanged "on a mountain head" while the eldest sister is "boiled in lead". Niamh Parsons
    Niamh Parsons
    Niamh Parsons is a singer of contemporary and traditional Irish music.Early in her career Parsons sang with folk musician Jon Hicks on his album Chasing the Bear. Joining her husband Dee with his band the Loose Connections in 1990, Parsons released two CDs with this band...

     recorded this version with her sister Anne on 'In My Prime' (2000).
  • Amps for Christ
    Amps for Christ
    Amps For Christ is the current music project of Man is the Bastard and Bastard Noise veteran and metal/noise pioneer Henry Barnes. The project is based out of Claremont, California.-Concept:...

     released a noisy version called "The Cruel Sister" on the album Circuits (album).
  • Canadian folk trio Crowfoot recorded a version of this ballad called "Bonny Bows" in their album "As The Crow Flies".
  • Bob Dylan
    Bob Dylan
    Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, musician, poet, film director and painter. He has been a major and profoundly influential figure in popular music and culture for five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s when he was an informal chronicler and a seemingly...

     performed "Two Sisters" in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and a recording of an impromptu version in the apartment of his friend Karen Wallace from May 1960 appears on The Genuine Bootleg Series, Take 2. He also based "Percy's Song
    Percy's Song
    "Percy's Song" is a song written by Bob Dylan. It was an outtake from the 1963 sessions for Dylan's third album, The Times They Are A-Changin. It was not officially released until 1985, on the compilation Biograph...

    " on the variant "The Wind and the Rain".
  • Andrew Bird
    Andrew Bird
    Andrew Bird is an American musician, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist.- Early life and the Bowl of Fire :...

     recorded a version of this song titled "Two Sisters" as the fifth track on the album Music of Hair.
  • The Swedish group Folk & Rackare recorded a Swedish version, "De två systrarna", on their 1976 album Folk och rackare.
  • Norwegian
    Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

     folk-rock band Folque
    Folque is a Norwegian folk rock band founded in 1973 by Morten Bing, Jørn Jensen, Eilif Amundsen, Lisa Helljesen, Espen Løvstad, Trond Øverland, and Trond Villa...

     recorded a version of this song called "Harpa" (Norwegian for "The Harp"), on their debut-album Folque from 1974.
  • Julie Fowlis
    Julie Fowlis
    Julie Fowlis is a Scottish folk singer and multi-instrumentalist who sings primarily in Scottish Gaelic.-Musical career:Fowlis grew up in North Uist, an island in the Outer Hebrides, in a Gaelic-speaking community, and has been involved in singing, piping and dancing since she was a child.She is a...

     recorded "Wind and Rain" on her album Uam (2009) as a duet with Eddi Reader
    Eddi Reader
    Eddi Reader MBE is a Scottish singer-songwriter, known both for her work with Fairground Attraction and for an enduring solo career. She is the recipient of three BRIT Awards and has topped both the album and singles charts...

  • Jerry Garcia
    Jerry Garcia
    Jerome John "Jerry" Garcia was an American musician best known for his lead guitar work, singing and songwriting with the band the Grateful Dead...

     and David Grisman
    David Grisman
    David Grisman is an American bluegrass/newgrass mandolinist and composer of acoustic music. In the early 1990s, he started the Acoustic Disc record label in an effort to preserve and spread acoustic or instrumental music.-Biography:Grisman grew up in Hackensack, New Jersey...

     recorded "Dreadful Wind and Rain" on the Shady Grove
    Shady Grove (Garcia/Grisman album)
    Shady Grove is the name of an acoustic album by Jerry Garcia and David Grisman. It was released on the Acoustic Disc record label in 1996. The album was produced by Garcia and Grisman for Dawg Productions. Also appearing on the album: Joe Craven, Jim Kerwin, Matt Eakle, Bryan Bowers, and Will...

  • Tom Gilfellon recorded it on his album, "In The Middle Of The Tune", as The Two Sisters.
  • Finnish folk music group Gjallarhorn
    Gjallarhorn (group)
    Gjallarhorn is a band that performs world music with roots in the folk music of Finland. The quartet was born in 1994; its website has not been updated since 2007...

     has a Swedish version titled "Systrarna" ("The Sisters") on their most recent album, Rimfaxe.
  • The Canadian Celtic band The Glengarry Bhoys recorded a version of the song on their album Juice entitled "Bonnie Broom".
  • Folk metal
    Folk metal
    Folk metal is a sub-genre of heavy metal music that developed in Europe during the 1990s. As the name suggests, the genre is a fusion of heavy metal with traditional folk music...

     band In Extremo
    In Extremo
    In Extremo is a German medieval metal band originating from Berlin. The band's musical style combines metal with medieval traditional songs, blending the sound of the standard rock/metal instruments with historical instruments...

     recorded an Old Norwegian
    Old Norwegian
    Old Norwegian refers to a group of Old Norse dialects spoken and written in Norway in the Middle Ages. They bridged the dialect continuum from Old East Norse to Old West Norse.-Old Norwegian vs Common Norse:...

     version of the song ("Two søstra") for the last track of their debut album Weckt Die Toten!
    Weckt die Toten!
    Weckt die Toten! is a debut folk metal album by the German band In Extremo. It was released in 1998 by Vielklang Musikproduktion.-Track listing:#Ai vis lo lop – 3:59#Stella Splendens – 1:18...

  • Phil Lee included a version titled "Miller's Mill Pond" on his 2009 release, So Long, It's Been Good To Know You
  • Ewan MacColl
    Ewan MacColl
    Ewan MacColl was an English folk singer, songwriter, socialist, actor, poet, playwright, and record producer. He was married to theatre director Joan Littlewood, and later to American folksinger Peggy Seeger. He collaborated with Littlewood in the theatre and with Seeger in folk music...

     recorded a version in Scottish
    Scots language
    Scots is the Germanic language variety spoken in Lowland Scotland and parts of Ulster . It is sometimes called Lowland Scots to distinguish it from Scottish Gaelic, the Celtic language variety spoken in most of the western Highlands and in the Hebrides.Since there are no universally accepted...

     called "Minorie" which can be found on several of his recordings.
  • Jim Moray
    Jim Moray
    Jim Moray is an English folk singer, multi-instrumentalist and record producer.-Recording artist:While studying classical composition at the Birmingham Conservatoire, Moray released the home-recorded I Am Jim Moray EP. During 2002 he appeared at the Glastonbury festival and the Cambridge Folk...

     included a rendition of this song on his album Sweet England under the title "Two Sisters".
  • Okkervil River released the song under the title "The Dreadful Wind and Rain".
  • Alasdair Roberts released "The Two Sisters" on his album ""Too Long In This Condition".
  • The Celtic
    Celtic music
    Celtic music is a term utilised by artists, record companies, music stores and music magazines to describe a broad grouping of musical genres that evolved out of the folk musical traditions of the Celtic people of Western Europe...

     group Rù-Rà, consisting of Gaelic
    The Gaels or Goidels are speakers of one of the Goidelic Celtic languages: Irish, Scottish Gaelic, and Manx. Goidelic speech originated in Ireland and subsequently spread to western and northern Scotland and the Isle of Man....

     singer Maggie Carchrie and keyboardist/percussionist Thomas Leigh, recorded a version of the song on their album Rù-Rà entitled "Two Sisters"
  • Folk singer Peggy Seeger
    Peggy Seeger
    Margaret "Peggy" Seeger is an American folksinger. She is also well known in Britain, where she lived for more than 30 years with her husband, singer and songwriter Ewan MacColl.- The first American period :...

     recorded a version entitled "O The Wind and Rain" on her album Bring Me Home.
  • The Danish band Sorten Muld
    Sorten Muld
    Sorten Muld is a Danish folktronica band, formed in 1995. They have won two Danish Grammys for Mark II. The English translation of Sorten Muld is Black Soil....

    's song "2 Søstre" ("Two Sisters" in English), the English translation of which recounts this folktale.
  • Pentangle
    Pentangle (band)
    Pentangle are a British folk rock band with some folk jazz influences. The original band were active in the late 1960s and early 1970s and a later version has been active since the early 1980s...

     released their album Cruel Sister
    Cruel Sister
    Cruel Sister was an album recorded in 1970 by folk-rock band Pentangle. It was the most folk-based of the albums recorded by the band, with all the tracks being versions of traditional songs...

    in 1970, the title track being a rendition of this ballad.
  • The Armstrong Family, Altan, June Tabor
    June Tabor
    June Tabor is an English folk singer.- Early years :June Tabor was inspired to sing by hearing Anne Briggs' EP Hazards of Love in 1965. "I went and locked myself in the bathroom for a fortnight and drove my mother mad. I learned the songs on that EP note for note, twiddle for twiddle. That's how I...

    , Crooked Still
    Crooked Still
    Crooked Still is an alternative bluegrass band consisting of vocalist Aoife O'Donovan, banjo player Dr. Gregory Liszt, bassist Corey DiMario, cellist Tristan Clarridge and fiddler Brittany Haas...

     and Gillian Welch
    Gillian Welch
    Gillian Welch is an American singer-songwriter. She performs with her musical partner, guitarist David Rawlings. Their sparse and dark musical style, which combines elements of Appalachian music, Bluegrass, and Americana, is described by The New Yorker as "at once innovative and obliquely...

     with David Rawlings and David Steele have all recorded versions of the song under the title "The Wind and Rain".
  • The movie Songcatcher
    The film's score was written by David Mansfield, who also assembled a roster of female country music artists to perform mostly traditional mountain ballads. Some of the songs are contemporary arrangements, and some are played in the traditional Appalachian music style. The artists include Rosanne...

    includes a rendition of this song as "The Wind and Rain" sung by Gillian Welch
    Gillian Welch
    Gillian Welch is an American singer-songwriter. She performs with her musical partner, guitarist David Rawlings. Their sparse and dark musical style, which combines elements of Appalachian music, Bluegrass, and Americana, is described by The New Yorker as "at once innovative and obliquely...

  • Méav Ní Mhaolchatha
    Méav Ní Mhaolchatha
    Méav Ní Mhaolchatha is an Irish singer and recording artist specializing in the traditional music of her homeland. She was one of the original soloists in the musical ensemble Celtic Woman. She sings in multiple languages: English, Gaelic, French and Latin....

     recorded the song entitled "The Wicked Sister" for her album Silver Sea based on the ballad.
  • Regina Spektor
    Regina Spektor
    Regina Ilyinichna Spektor is a Russian American singer-songwriter and pianist. Her music is associated with the anti-folk scene centered in New York City's East Village.-Early life:...

     and Levon Vincent recorded a song called "Film Score Project" and often retitled "Two Sisters" for a college project during their studies at SUNY Purchase. The song features a pair of sisters who both drown: it appears to be only loosely inspired by Twa Sisters.
  • Nico Muhly
    Nico Muhly
    Nico Muhly is a contemporary classical music composer, who has worked and recorded with classical and pop/rock musicians. He currently lives in the Lower East Side section of Manhattan in New York City.-Early years:...

    , in collaboration with singer and banjo player Sam Amidon
    Sam Amidon
    Sam Amidon is an American independent folk artist born in Brattleboro, Vermont, June 3, 1981. His parents are folk artists Peter and Mary Alice Amidon. His younger brother, Stefan Amidon, is a professional drummer who performs with The Sweetback Sisters among other groups. Sam attended The Putney...

    , created a version called "The Only Tune".
  • Julie Murphy
    Julie Murphy
    Julie Murphy is a singer who sings in Welsh and English. She sings in the Welsh band Fernhill, as well as performing and recording as a solo artist.She has also collaborated musically with John Cale , and Afro Celt Sound System .-Biography:Murphy was born in Highgate, London,...

     recorded "Two Sisters" on her album Black Mountains Revisited (1999)
  • Scottish folk group The Clutha
    The Clutha
    The Clutha was a traditional Scottish band hailing from Glasgow, that released a small number of albums in the 1970s. The line-up on the Clutha's first album, Scotia , was John Eaglesham , Erlend Voy , Calum Allan , Ronnie Alexander and Gordeanna McCulloch...

     recorded a version of the song called "Binnourie", which is sung by Erlend Voy. It was released in 1977 on their album The Bonnie Mill Dams. The name of the album comes from the song lyrics of "Binnourie".
  • Tom Waits
    Tom Waits
    Thomas Alan "Tom" Waits is an American singer-songwriter, composer, and actor. Waits has a distinctive voice, described by critic Daniel Durchholz as sounding "like it was soaked in a vat of bourbon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months, and then taken outside and run over with a car."...

     includes his own version of "Two Sisters" on the Bastards disc of his Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards
    Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards
    Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards is a limited edition three CD set by Tom Waits, released by the ANTI- label on November 17, 2006 in Europe and on November 21, 2006 in the United States.The set is a collection of 24 rare and 30 brand new songs...

  • Chris Wood
    Chris Wood (folk musician)
    Chris Wood is an English folk musician and composer who plays fiddle, viola and guitar, and sings. He is an ardent enthusiast for traditional English dance music , including Morris and other rituals and ceremonies, but his repertoire also includes much French folk music and traditional Québécois...

    , Roger Wilson
    Roger Wilson (folk musician)
    Roger Wilson is an English folk singer, fiddler, guitarist, and songwriter who, he says, abandoned a graphic design career to become a full-time musician in 1986. He was a member of The House Band and later joined Chris Wood and Martin Carthy in performances...

     and Martin Carthy
    Martin Carthy
    Martin Carthy MBE is an English folk singer and guitarist who has remained one of the most influential figures in British traditional music, inspiring contemporaries such as Bob Dylan and Paul Simon and later artists such as Richard Thompson since he emerged as a young musician in the early days...

     recorded "Two Sisters" on Wood - Wilson - Carthy
  • Scottish
    Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

     folk group Old Blind Dogs
    Old Blind Dogs
    Old Blind Dogs is a Scottish musical group which plays traditional Scottish folk music and Celtic music, with influences from rock, reggae, jazz, blues and Middle Eastern music rhythms...

     recorded "Cruel Sister" for their album Close to the Bone; in the liner notes, they mention learning their version of the song from the Pentangle
    Pentangle (band)
    Pentangle are a British folk rock band with some folk jazz influences. The original band were active in the late 1960s and early 1970s and a later version has been active since the early 1980s...

  • Dutch
    Dutch people
    The Dutch people are an ethnic group native to the Netherlands. They share a common culture and speak the Dutch language. Dutch people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in Suriname, Chile, Brazil, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and the United...

     folk duo Ygdrassil recorded an a-capella harmony singing version on their album Easy Sunrise and on the DVD
    A DVD is an optical disc storage media format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than Compact Discs while having the same dimensions....

     Ygdrassil live at the Folkwoods Festival. Group members Linde Nijland
    Linde Nijland
    For 15 years Linde Nijland was part of harmony singing folk duo Ygdrassil. 2007 marked the preliminary end of the group and Linde continued her career as a solo singer/songwriter. She has toured The Netherlands, UK, Austria, Belgium and Germany...

     and Annemarieke Coenders sing a shortened version, ending where the younger sister drowns, leaving the man out of the story.
  • Norwegian folk metal
    Folk metal
    Folk metal is a sub-genre of heavy metal music that developed in Europe during the 1990s. As the name suggests, the genre is a fusion of heavy metal with traditional folk music...

     band Myrkgrav
    Myrkgrav is a Norwegian blackened folk metal band. It is a one-man band, with the single member being Lars Jensen. Jensen founded the band in 2003 and released a demo in 2004 entitled Fra Fjellheimen Kaller... . His debut album, Trollskau, Skrømt og Kølabrenning , was released 27 October 2006...

     recorded a version of the song entitled "De to spellemenn" on the album Trollskau, Skrømt og Kølabrenning.
  • Jody Stecher
    Jody Stecher
    Jody Stecher is an American singer and musician, who plays bluegrass and old-time music on banjo, mandolin, fiddle and guitar, and Dagar-vani dhrupad on the sursringar, a rare Indian instrument that is a baritone relative of the sarod....

     recorded "Wind and Rain" on Going Up On The Mountain (1977) and on Oh The Wind And Rain: Eleven Ballads (1999).
  • Folk rock
    Folk rock
    Folk rock is a musical genre combining elements of folk music and rock music. In its earliest and narrowest sense, the term referred to a genre that arose in the United States and the UK around the mid-1960s...

     group Stormsterk recorded "De Wrede Zuster" on their debut album "Wild En Bijster Land" (2010).
  • Celtic rock
    Celtic rock
    Celtic rock is a genre of folk rock and a form of Celtic fusion which incorporates Celtic music, instrumentation and themes into a rock music context...

     group Tempest
    Tempest (band)
    Tempest is a Celtic rock band from the San Francisco Bay Area, based in Oakland, California. They fuse together the traditional Celtic music with Norwegian and European folk, American folk, and progressive rock....

     recorded "Two Sisters" on their album "Balance" (2001).
  • Lucy Ward
    Lucy Ward (musician)
    Lucy Ward is a British singer, guitarist and concertina player from Derby. She performs, with a voice described as expressive and powerful, traditional English folk songs as well as her own material...

     sings her arrangement of "The Two Sisters" on her 2011 album Adelphi Has to Fly.
  • Patricia C. Wrede retold it as "Cruel Sisters" in her Book of Enchantments
    Book of Enchantments
    Book of Enchantments is a collection of short stories by fantasy author Patricia C. Wrede. It was first published in hardcover by Harcourt Brace in 1996, and was subsequently issued in paperback by Point Fantasy in 1998 and in trade paperback by Magic Carpet Books in 2005...

    (1996), telling it from the point of view of the third sister, and giving it a revisionist twist.
  • The Swedish trio Triakel
    Triakel is a Swedish folk band. They mostly perform old Swedish folk songs, particularly those from the Jämtland area, but also include songs by contemporary folk artists....

     included a version called "Kallt väder" in their 2011 album Ulrikas minne — Visor från Frostviken

External links

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