O’HOOLEY & TIDOW will head out on tour next month to showcase material from their new album, The Hum.

The harmony-singing folk duo will appear at the National Centre for Early Music in York on March 12 at 7.30pm, presented by the Black Swan Folk Club.

Former Unthanks pianist Belinda O’Hooley and singer Heidi Tidow will release The Hum on the No Masters label on February 17 as the follow-up to their 2012 breakthrough album, The Fragile.

The Hum seeks to “stand tall in the face of deprivation, dictatorship, austerity and suppression, both here in the UK and globally, as Belinda and Heidi’s desire to confront, explore, reflect and even celebrate is taken to a new level in every sense”.

The ten songs on the album are produced by Gerry Diver, a multi-instrumentalist who contributes strings, percussion, guitars, autoharp, pedal steel and occasional dashes of electronica alongside Belinda’s piano and accordion playing.

Belinda and Heidi’s neighbour provided the initial inspiration for the album-opening title track.

“She told us how the sale of a nearby house had fallen though due to the buyers noticing the humming noise of the local factory,” say O’Hooley & Tidow.

“Her response was, ‘The sound of the factory gives me comfort, as it’s the sound of people working’. The humming of this factory and the buzzing of the local bees connect a fragile eco-system of both community and wildlife.”

Each song considers a different aspect of the powerful hum of life and the people, such as the pneumatic-drill percussion loop in Ewan MacColl’s ode to the navvy, Just A Note, and the defiant, punk, feminist stance of Pussy Riot’s infamous protest against President Vladimir Putin, Coil & Spring, a number co-written with Chumba-wamba co-founder Boff Whalley.

Belinda’s role as pianist and accordion player in the new Nic Jones Trio has led to O’Hooley & Tidow reworking Jones’s song Ruins By The Shore. “They have done me proud,” says Nic.

Peculiar Brood takes a poignant look at suicide bombing from a mother’s perspective, while the anti-war song Like Horses ruminates on fear, gender and capitalism, with a plea for humans to be gentle and strong, like horses.

Before their February and March tour, O’Hooley & Tidow can be seen tonight and tomorrow at Leeds City Varieties Music Hall, where Leeds theatre company Red Ladder present Songs Of Solidarity, Suffrage & Strength: a double bill hosted by master of ceremonies Boff Whalley.

Whalley’s one-woman musical Wrong ’Un, A Suffragette Story, will be performed for Red Ladder by Ella Harris.

Set in February 1918, it tells the story of a Lancashire mill girl on her journey from schoolroom to prison cell and beyond at a time when Parliament is poised to accede to the suffragette campaign for votes for all women after years of direct action, imprisonment and force-feeding. Whalley will join O’Hooley & Tidow for a finale to the double bill with Ella Harris.

• Tickets for March 12, when singer, songwriter and harp player Sarah Dean will be the support act, are on sale at £14, concessions £12, on 01904 658338 or at ncem.co.uk. Leeds tickets: £12 on 0113 243 0808 or cityvarieties.co.uk