IN case they’ve so far passed you by, they are the longest-lasting female musical duo in Britain and have played more than 2,500 gigs, appeared on over 100 albums, written hundreds of original songs and reached millions of people around the world.

Now, 27 years after their debut, they sound as fresh and vital as ever.

Folk singer-songwriters Chris While and Julie Matthews have been nominated 10 times in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Music Awards in the Best Song, Best Duo and Best Live Act categories, winning Best Duo in 2009.

Their outlook, however, is more akin to the DIY philosophy of punk – and their story is remarkable: two empowered women doing it their way, without compromise.

Chris and Julie’s musical partnership began in 1994 as members of the folk super-group The Albion Band who were originally brought together and led by Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span legend Ashley Hutchings.

In 1997, they left the group to concentrate on their work as a duo, touring and recording nine studio and two live albums with their songs going on to be covered by Mary Black, Barbara Dickson, Christine Collister and Fairport Convention.

The close-harmony singers are both multi-instrumentalists: Julie plays guitar, piano, ukulele, bouzouki, mandolin, harmonica and accordion; Chris guitar, bodhran, banjo, dulcimer and percussion.

The duo play West Kirby Arts Centre on Friday, October 8. Doors open at 7pm; tickets cost £15 from