C o n c e r t s - 2020
March 18th - Harp & a Monkey
SONGS about cuckolded molecatchers, a lone English oak tree that grows at Gallipoli, care in the community, medieval pilgrims and Victorian bare-knuckle boxers … we can only be talking about the acclaimed song and storytelling trio Harp & a Monkey.
The work of Martin Purdy (vocals, glockenspiel, accordion, harmonica and keyboards), Simon Jones (harp, guitar, viola) and Andy Smith (banjo, melodica, guitar and programming) is imbued with a deep Lancashire sensibility that shines through in their beautifully crafted and sometimes spooky vignettes of life, love and remembrance. From original compositions to traditional songs, their approach is rooted in integrity.
The outfit, who have been friends for more than 20 years, channel the ghosts of summers spent in municipal parks and winters walking on the moors. Ask them about their influences and they are as likely to cite Ordnance Survey maps and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as they are Chris Wood, Bjork, Ewan MacColl or The Oldham Tinkers.
Formed in 2008, Harp & a Monkey have established a loyal following via the old fashioned practice of relentless gigging. Regulars on the national circuit, the band have gained an enviable reputation for the excellent rapport they establish with their live audiences. Such is the strength of their reputation as a quality live act, they have twice been asked to perform at the English Folk Expo; the annual international showcase of the best of English folk and roots music.
The outfit’s melodic and hauntological storytelling, which is always underpinned by a firm commitment to classic songsmithery, has caught the attention and support of the likes of Steve Lamacq, Mark Radcliffe, Clare Balding, Kathryn Tickell and Mike Harding on BBC Radio 2, Lopa Kothari and Nick Luscombe on BBC Radio 3, Folk Radio UK and many more international, national and regional broadcasters.
April 1st - Allan Taylor
Allan Taylor is one of the last of the travelling troubadours who came through the social and artistic revolution of the nineteen sixties and carved out a career as a solo singer-songwriter. Born in Brighton, England in 1945 he experienced the Beatnik times, the Skiffle days, the Mods and Rockers and the early Hippy days, all played out on Brighton Beach.
At the age of twenty one he left home and became part of the vibrant folk music of London, playing all of the major folk clubs of the time (for example, the famous Troubadour Club) and then to Greenwich Village, New York, playing legendary clubs such as Gerde’s, The Gaslight, The Bitter End, The Mercer Arts Center. He embraced the issues, images and emotions of his time and used these experiences as the basis of his songs. Signed to the international record company United Artists and recording in London, Nashville and Los Angeles his albums were released world-wide. By the mid-seventies he returned to Europe to live and then started on the second part of his career, having now established his modus operandi – collecting the stories for his songs in the bars and cafes of Europe and throughout the rest of the world.
April 15th - Eilidh Steel & Mark Neal
“Eilidh Steel & Mark Neal are leading lights of the young folk/roots movement. Their charm on stage is as effortless and accomplished as their musicianship” – Masham Town Hall, 2018
”Traditional and contemporary Celtic music genuinely doesn’t get any better than the work of Eilidh Steel and Mark Neal. Simply put, they are players of astonishing quality, the length of their combined and separate CVs alone would be enough to impress the most jaded of critics. This will be one of the greatest gigs
of the entire year” – Leith Folk Club, 2018
“Both mature and deeply rooted in tradition” …”She [Eilidh] beautifully demonstrates her command of the fiddle and ability to ooze a tone so oftain associated with the sophistication of the North East style of playing or classical music” – Karen Steven, Box and Fiddle Magazine
“Renowned for delivering a refreshing mix of jazz and folk-sourced song with a smattering of their self-penned tunes” – The List Magazine
“Eilidh is one of the most respected fiddlers in the business” – Helensburgh Advertiser
April 29th - Other Roads
Other Roads are one of the finest contemporary folk bands to emerge in recent years. Based in the UK, they tour regularly in Holland, Germany, Denmark, Spain and New Zealand, and continue to gain an enthusiastic following wherever they perform.
Pete Abbott, Gregor Borland and Dave Walmisley draw upon their diverse backgrounds in Scotland, England and Africa to create an exciting and original sound. These talented multi-instrumentalists incorporate fiddle, bouzouki, guitars and mandolin with some extremely fine harmony singing. Their music is an exciting mix of traditional, contemporary and mostly original compositions, ranging from soft lilting ballads to foot-stomping Celtic fiddle tunes and choruses.
Expert musicianship, infectious enthusiasm and a touch of humour make their polished performances highly entertaining and extremely popular.
May 13th - Lucy Ward
Lucy ward is an award winning singer-songwriter from Derby. She plays guitar, ukulele and concertina but considers her voice to be her first instrument.
After getting her first guitar at the age of 14, Lucy ventured into acoustic clubs, it was there that she first heard the traditional music that she now loves. Captured by the lyrics and stories of traditional song Lucy delved further into the world of folk music, visiting clubs and sessions up and down the country before getting booked to play gigs in her own right.
In 2009 Lucy reached the final of the BBC young folk award and she hasn’t looked back since!
After winning the horizon award for best newcomer at the 2012 BBC radio 2 folk awards, her career has gone from strength to strength establishing her as one of the hottest performers on the UK folk scene, pulling a full capacity audience for her Cambridge folk festival debut.
In 2013 it was announced that she had been nominated for the acclaimed “folk singer of the year” at the 2014 BBC radio 2 folk awards, making her one of the youngest people ever to be nominated for this most prestigious award.
May 27th - Shackleton Trio
A highly original and energetic musical force just as likely to move you to tears as to move you to your feet.
Frequently referred to as one of the hardest working bands on the scene, The Shackleton Trio is gaining significant UK and International exposure, becoming an in demand name on the folk circuit. They have been featured on Mark Radcliffe's Radio 2 Folk Show and BBC Radio 4, with 5 star reviews, and an appearance on Cambridge Folk Festival's main stage alongside a host of UK and European festivals and international tours.
The trio feature Georgia Shackleton (fiddle, vocals), Aaren Bennett (guitar) and Nic Zuppardi (mandolin). Natural talents of the folk tradition, their self-penned material blends seamlessly with their imaginative yet authentic re-workings of traditional folk standards, influenced by British, American and Scandinavian folk traditions, with a regional twist from the group's native East Anglia.
The unique, distinctive songwriting style of Georgia Shackleton, combined with the vibrant instrumental brilliance of Aaren Bennett, Nic Zuppardi and Georgia’s pure and original voice have developed and matured through two critically acclaimed albums: The Dog Who Would Not Be Washed and new release Fen, Farm and Deadly Water.
June 10th - Tom Kitching "Busk England Tour"
In a successful thirteen year career, Tom has worked with numerous singers and bands, including Pilgrims' Way, Gavin Davenport, Jon Loomes,
Gren Bartley, Zoe Mulford, and Albireo. He has tutored at several Summer Schools, and has lead numerous workshops around the country.
Heavily involved in the dance scene, and veteran of over 1500 gigs, he stands at the leading edge of the English folk scene. His style is English at heart, whilst encompassing elements of many other traditions. It is a unique, vibrant style full of exuberance, energy and wit, yet capable of expressing extraordinary emotional depth.
In March 2015, he released his solo album, 'Interloper', a deeply personal project to capture the state of the English instrumental tradition and define the role of the fiddle within it. Tom is also a much in demand fiddle teacher in the North West of England.
Busk England Tour. Tom has spent 18 months getting to know his own country better by busking it's length and breadth. The resulting 46 blogs and countless notes are turning into a book and an album. EFDSS have supported the creation of the album through their award of an 'Alan James Creative Bursary'. Tom was also awarded an Arts Council National Lottery Project Grant to take this project forward. This means he has been able to bring renowned multi-instrumentalist Marit Fält to accompany him on his tour.
Jun 24th - Dan Wilde
Dan Wilde has been performing his own brand of richly observant folk both in the UK and around the world for the past nine years. In that time, he’s developed a growing fan-base and a reputation amongst those who know as "a fantastic songwriting talent who without a doubt will deserve and demand your attention” (Eclectically Challenged).
Three albums in, the evidence is clear he’s an extraordinary songsmith, while his ‘stunning’ guitar playing (Maverick Magazine) has led to an endorsement from Fylde guitars. Previous releases, ’This Is The Place’ (2010), ‘With Fire in Mind’ (2013) and Rhythm On The City Wall (2016), have cemented his reputation as a fine songsmith. He is currently working on a new release that is expected sometime in 2020.
It is his profound lyrics, melded with a unique melodic sensibility, which shows the writer maturing into a poetic commentator and keen observer of everyday life’s patterns and tapestries in his songs akin to Damien Rice and David Gray. Dan’s words have been described as “deeply personal and introspective but engrossing and charismatic” (Folkwords) and they reflect his peripatetic restlessness.
Originally from Blackpool, Dan now lives in Cambridge — but his wanderlust has taken him touring through the USA, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Holland, the Czech Republic and Russia.
Dan has supported Rick Astley, Ethan Johns, Cara Dillon, Karine Polwart, Sam Carter, John Smith and Martin Taylor to name a few, and performed at some of the UK’s best-loved folk festivals — Cambridge Folk Festival, Kendal Calling, Beverley Festival and Galtres. Intimate and moving, Wilde’s work has a lyrical grace which is hard to match. Allow the song ‘Pieces’ to pin you to the wall and you won’t want to come back down.
.....and there's more to come!
On Next..............Harp & a Monkey