Voted ‘Best Live Act 2013’ & ’Best Folk Band 2012‘ at the Scots Trad Music Awards and twice nominated ‘Best Band’ at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards; Scottish five-piece Breabach deliver a thrilling and unique brand of contemporary folk music that has earned them international recognition on the world and roots music scene as one of the UK’s most dynamic and exciting bands.
After a whirlwind five years traversing the globe, Breabach are delighted to present their fifth studio album, Astar (tr. distance/journey). Inspired by the people and places they have encountered, iconic venues and festivals performed at and the exciting, at times groundbreaking, collaborations they have been involved in. These experiences have brought new shape to their sound whilst simultaneously strengthening their identity. Astar is a multicultural celebration, embracing the music of four nations in partnership with their own. The band have invited friends from Norway, Quebec, Australia and New Zealand to be part of this recording, all of which has been brought to life under the guidance and production of Greg Lawson. Featuring extraordinary Aboriginal artist Yirrmal Marika (AUS), Maori tradition bearer Scott Morrison (NZ), Hardanger virtuoso Olav Luksengård Mjelva (NO), Quebecois violinist Olivier Demers (Quebec) and the wonderful Le Vent Du Nord (Quebec) with guest vocals.
Breabach unite the talent of Calum MacCrimmon (pipes/whistles/bouzouki/vocals), Ewan Robertson (guitar/ vocals), James Mackenzie (pipes/flute/whistles), Megan Henderson (fiddle/vocals/stepdance) and James Lindsay (double bass). Since launching their career as winners of the Open Stage Award at Celtic Connections in 2005 the band have steadily moved from strength to strength, picking up accolades and performing at esteemed events along the way.
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, Lucy’s 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 Lucy one of the youngest people ever to be nominated for this most prestigious award.
Her debut album “Adelphi Has To Fly” was released in June 2011 by Navigator Records and was met with widespread critical acclaim. Lucy was named by MOJO as ‘Britfolk’s most vibrant and forthright new young talent’ and attracted four star reviews from The Guardian and Maverick Magazine among others.
Her brilliant second album ‘Single Flame’ (again for Navigator Records), was released on 19 August 2013 to rave reviews. Produced by Stu Hanna (of folk duo Megson), ‘Single Flame’ showcased a maturity from her debut and showed the development in Lucy’s music, singing and musicianship.
She now returns with her 3rd album “I Dreamt I Was A Bird”, released on Betty Beetroot Records on 2nd October 2015.
As well as her own music Lucy has written for both film, theatre and has been involved with many, varied projects.
Nuala Honan, country singer-songwriter from rural South Australia has followed up the release of her debut album, The Tortoise, with a year full of touring all over the UK and abroad.
Nuala has followed her instinctual grass roots work ethic bringing the fireside honesty of country back to her music community. Her diary boasts summers full of big name festivals (Glastonbury, Womad, Larmer Tree), opening for The Magic Numbers, an extensive 21 date UK tour with Dave Gerard Autumn 2013, a tour of her homeland Australia at the beginning of this year and a final follow up solo tour this Autumn.
Recently, Nuala has mostly been travelling from house to house (and garden, and golf club!) playing in fan’s front rooms. This style of touring suits her solo shows, making the most out of the intimacy, and has been a memorable experience for auiences.
With a few distractions along the way in the shape of a couple of touring theatre shows and some interesting collaborative side projects, Honan’s plan is to hide away this winter and come out next spring with a new blooming set of fresh songs.
Nuala’s lyrical honesty and the fiercely independent environment that the album has emerged from combine to ensure that The Tortoise has an authenticity that commercial country so often lacks.
Nuala has that uncanny ability to write new songs that sound like they have been written before, somehow conjuring the sense that the lyrics have been worn smooth by the passage of time.
Nathan’s music has taken on a number of different forms over the years… initially performing as a solo artist, before moving on to form the 4-piece band Nayfumble, later – a duo, The Ballinsky Project, with cellist Adrianne Wininsky, and most recently as a solo artist with guest musicians. He currently resides in a little cottage in Somerset where he hides himself away writing songs and building beautiful acoustic guitars…
Nathan’s long-awaited debut album “Stand Up” was released in October 2015 and is available to buy here.
In 2011, Nathan was shortlisted as one of 5 finalists in the MOJO Honours List New Voice competition. Frequently compared to folk legends such as Nick Drake, John Martyn and Cat Stevens, Nathan still manages to create his own unique sound – a blend of poetic lyrics matched with a powerful and distinctive voice and a rare and captivating guitar style.
With their exquisitely produced award-winning recordings, ranging dynamically from the most sensitive and touching old Irish songs all the way to hard hitting reels and jigs, and with their heartwarming, dynamic live performances, Altan have moved audiences from Donegal to Tokyo to Seattle. Throughout, there has been the unwavering commitment of the band to bringing the beauty of traditional music, particularly that of the Donegal fiddlers and singers, to contemporary audiences in a way that brings out all its qualities and destroys none. In fact, Altan have always believed that Irish traditional music is a modern music in every sense and its growing influence and popularity have proved them right.
Nominated for the ‘Horizon’ BBC Folk Award 2012 and for ‘Best Debut’ at the Spiral Awards 2012. Forged from the voices of Hannah James (Kerfuffle, duo with Sam Sweeney), Hazel Askew (The Askew Sisters, The Artisans) and Rowan Rheingans (Fidola), Lady Maisery explore vocal harmony to breathtaking effect, through their fresh interpretations of songs and ballads.
The trio burst onto the scene with the release of the debut album, ‘Weave and Spin’ in summer 2011, which received much critical acclaim and was declared an ‘Album of the Week’ by The Independent. Their live performances during the festival season created a real buzz and they were nominated for the Horizon Award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2012 and for Best Debut at the 2012 Spiral Awards.
Lady Maisery break new ground as one of the first UK groups to explore the tradition of diddling or tune singing, which has nearly died out in England, but is still prevalent in Scandinavia and other parts of Europe. Whether singing unaccompanied, or with backing from their combined instrumental talents on accordion, harp and fiddle, be prepared to be enchanted by rich harmonies and sumptuous clashes.
Calan bring together the remarkable talents of 5 young musicians giving a fresh and vibrant sound to traditional Welsh music. With a contemporary and lively approach they breathe new life into the old traditions through their sparkling melodies, foot tapping tunes and spirited and energetic performances of Welsh step dancing.
They blast their way through some of the old favourite reels, jigs and hornpipes with fast paced and uplifting arrangements before melting into some of the most beautiful and haunting songs.
Following the release of their debut album, ‘Bling’ in 2008, which attracted four star responses from the critics, the five-piece have been playing to big audiences and rave reviews at concerts and festivals around Britain and Europe, including the coveted Cambridge Festival; Celtic Connections, Glasgow; Shrewsbury Folk Festival; Moseley Folk Festival; Derby Folk Festival; Bromyard Folk Festival, Whitby Folk Festival a concert tour of Italy, Austria and Belgium along with a number of performances at the Festival Interceltique de Lorient, Brittany, where they’ve received the award for the best group.
The group, who’ve raised some eyebrows with a deliberate policy of eye-catching clothes and presentation, despite the ancient roots of their music, see themselves as a new generation of ambassadors, striving to take their new sound to new audiences, while raising the profile of Welsh traditional music on an international level.
With their unique instrumental blend of accordion, fiddle, guitar, Welsh pipes, Welsh harp and the percussive sound of the Welsh clogs, Calan have certainly found their musical niche and their plan is to continue to delight audiences far and wide!
The Drystones are our very own home grown band who have gone on to great things. Their first ever performance was here at Priddy. They are a young (just started University) lively folk duo from Priddy playing violin, guitar and whistle, who have made a big splash since they formed in July 11. In 2015 they played the Glastonbury extravaganza supporting Ray Davis and The Shires, they won the Larmer Tree Break Through Music Award 2015, and have played festivals all over the West Country (including Sidmouth, Village Pump and Purbeck). At their 2013 Glastonbury Festival performance they were highlighted by Steve Lamacq on Radio 2 as his “recommendation of the day”. They have just completed their second album. which had a great review from FATEA Magazine and The Living Tradition said “To describe their instrumental style as spirited and animated would be akin to asserting that Bellowhead can be quite an energetic band”
For just two people they make a lot of sound, you will not be bored!
BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2010 – Nominees for the Best Duo Award
In 1995 Paul Hutchinson (accordion) and Paul Sartin (oboe, violin and vocals) shared a musical passion borne out of the desire to earn sufficient money to support their extravagant lifestyles. Their amazing musicianship coupled with wry humour stunned audiences around Europe and the States.
Paul Sartin is a member of the multi-BBC Radio 2 Award-winning big band Bellowhead and of Faustus. Consultant and Director of the Andover Museum Loft Singers, he is an Artist in Residence with Bellowhead at the Southbank Centre, an editor of music publications, and a BASCA-nominated composer whose commissions include works for the Central School of Speech and Drama, the Choir of Somerville College, Oxford, and Streetwise Opera.
Paul Hutchinson is the founder member of the innovative and progressive folk band, The Playford Liberation Front. His highly successful folk trio Hoover the Dog has recently morphed into the quartet Pagoda. Paul’s own compositions were published in 2012 (Food For Thought) and a second volume is in the pipeline. He is the resident accordion tutor at Cecil Sharp House and is a seasoned tutor at Folkworks and Halsway Manor and leads ensemble workshops far and wide.
Belshazzar’s Feast start with traditional folk music, add a touch of classical and jazz, throw in a bit of pop and music hall, and top it off wry humour for a unique live experience. Belshazzar’s Feast received a coveted nomination for the Best Duo Award at the 2010 BBC Folk Awards. Their latest Christmas-themed album titled ‘Stocking Fillers’ (Unearthed Records) was released in November 2012.
‘Amidst the jesting and hilarity, they sit as fine an example of traditional English folk music as you’re likely to hear.’ Mike Ainscoe, Bright Young Folk
‘Duo known for their sense of humour as well their impressive musicianship’Guardian
Following the success of the previous two years, the Word Festival welcomes back the Bard of Windmill Hill’s Word Wizards Cabaret. He was Bristol Storyteller of the Year in 2014 and has been co-organiser of Lansdown Cabaret since 2008. This year’s guests will be a startling contrast – Miserable Malcolm, whose hilarious ‘Graveside Manner’ show sold out at last year’s Theatre Festival in Stroud, and Spikey Tim, who is best described as a Dr Suess for grown ups.
What do you get when you mix together three of the Isle of Man’s most well respected trad musicians with one of Scotland’s fresh up and coming talents? Mec Lir – bringing foot stomping beats to some of your favourite trad tunes.
Formed in 2014, Mec Lir have had audiences up on their feet from the Isle of Man and Glasgow, to places like Cape Breton and Brittany with their infectious brand of ‘trad pop‘. The perfect blend of celtic tunes and modern backing, with the melody still playing the key role.
The band consists of virtuosic Manx fiddle player Tomas Callister (Barrule, Ímar), along with Adam Rhodes on bouzouki (Barrule, Ímar, King Chiaullee), David Kilgallon on keyboard (Chronicles, King Chiaullee) and Greg Barry on drums (The Elephant Sessions).
They released their CD ‘Not An EP‘ in 2015, and have since recorded two new singles, released early in 2016 – the epic reels set ‘Chase The Ace’ and pumping polkas ‘The Ram’.
2015 was a busy year for the band, including going viral on Facebook with a video reaching nearly 2 million views, playing at festivals such as the Festival Interceltique de Lorient in Brittany, Cape Breton’s Celtic Colours and Glasgow’s Celtic Connections. Plans are now afoot to record their debut album in 2016. So keep your ears to the ground and your feet tapping – Mec Lir will make you move!
Flash Harry have secret powers that lift your spirits and move your feet. The rhythms weave their magic as the instruments take you on a rootsy mystery tour. Strange tales unfold of mice and men, of hamsters and humans, of love and lust and joy and debauchery. Flash Harry are masters of their craft. Their music puts a smile on your face, sweat on your brow and stomp in your feet.
Southern English duo Hot Vultures – Ian Anderson on guitar, slide guitar and vocals and Maggie Holland on bass guitar, banjo, guitar and vocals – were one of the hardest working and popular outfits on the UK and European folk and college circuits of the 1970s. They mixed up a naturally Anglicised selection of old American roots musics from the 1920s, ’30s and before – early blues, pre-country, old-time music – with UK traditional music, acoustic R&B and a few originals, all played with energy, taste, enthusiasm and a genuine love of the sources.
They worked everywhere from smoky Continental dives to the Copper Family’s monthly Sussex folk nights, from college rock gigs to early Cambridge Folk Festivals, and even had a bit of a following among people from the emerging mid-’70s punk scene as well as adventurous folk fans, possibly because they tended to play things rather fast and (acoustic) loud!
They made three albums in the UK, the first of which was also released by EMI Belgium and the third (Up The Line) in the USA, very unusual for UK folk names in that era. They collaborated on them with guest musicians like Martin Simpson (with whom they also toured as The Scrub Jay Orchestra), Pete & Chris Coe, Al Jones and many more. Eventually the duo expanded into the English Country Blues Band and later the ’80s electric ceilidh band Tiger Moth. Their albums were anthologised on the ‘best of’ CD compilation Vulturama.
Ian Anderson had begun his career in the late ’60s blues boom before releasing three solo LPs as Ian A. Anderson on the now cult ‘psych folk’ label Village Thing; in more recent years – when his day job permits – he has been in the duo The False Beards with Ben Mandelson. Maggie Holland subsequently blossomed as a solo artist and songwriter, whose songs have also been recorded by June Tabor and Martin Carthy (her A Place Called England was a Song Of The Year winner in the BBC Folk Awards) and is also currently playing in The Broonzies with Jez Lowe and others.
In 2016 they’ll be re-uniting for one summer only, for the first time (apart from a few one-off command performances) since 1984. Their final final date ever will be in October at the 50th anniversary celebration of the legendary Bristol Troubadour Club, where they first got together way back when the world was young.
Beth Porter and the Availables
Beth Porter is an in-demand cellist, based in Bath. She has over 60 album credits on a wide spectrum of genres, from Eliza Carthy to Kula Shaker, and plays regularly with a number of artists, as well as teaching, session work and her own project, Beth Porter and the Availables.
Drawing from her classical background and extensive and varied live performance experience, Beth creates a unique and refreshingly modern texture to her repertoire, contrasting the cello and ukulele with a voice which will hold your attention.
Beth also plays with Bath based The Stringbeans and has toured with Reg Meuross and Jennifer Crook
The Playford Liberation Front play 17th-century English country dance music for 21st-century audiences. Six top musicians from a variety of musical backgrounds come together to create a maelstrom of melodic and rhythmic invention that sounds like nothing else on earth!
In 1651, John Playford published The English Dancing Master – a collection of country dances and tunes. It was to be the start of a publishing phenomenon, eventually running to eighteen editions, comprising around 580 dances and tunes and spanning three generations of the Playford family across 65 years. The Playford Liberation Front draw on this rich musical heritage to create something new, vibrant and resolutely modern, while still retaining a reverence and respect for the source material.
Featuring modern instruments such as electric fretless bass, saxophone and piano accordion alongside older instruments such as English border bagpipes, cittern and violin; the Playford Liberation Front breathe new life into ancient tunes, creating a unique kaleidoscope of sound.
The Great Sea Choir
The Great Sea Choir are a Bristol-based a cappella folk choir. Their exciting, unique arrangements of folk songs bring rhythm and vitality to their new-folk sound. From traditional to contemporary, this choir push themselves with growing ambition – not only in the community choir world but within the wider folk music scene as well. Directed by Heg Brignall.
Sam Mabbett and Dylan Cairns-Howarth are a young traditional music duet playing a repertoire that ranges from Ireland to Africa.
Dylan grew up near Aberystwyth, in west Wales. He has played fiddle since he was 5; at 12, the Hurdy-Gurdy and; somewhere between 15 and 17, the guitar. He plays Irish tunes in pub sessions whenever he gets the chance, traditional Welsh tunes for the local parti dawns (Welsh dance group), French tunes for the local fez nos (French dance). He is current Junior Welsh Celtic Fiddle Champion (2 years running) and Musician of the Festival at Cwlwm Celtaidd, Porthcawl.
Sam is an ace diatonic accordionist from Darkest Morris Land (Didcot in Oxfordshire). Sam is one of those who’ll play anything you throw it him; his current project being the whistle (after succeeding with the bagpipes and bassoon). He is, impressively, juggling gigs as a member of Flute Street, Juice, and the Ship Band, despite constantly crawling with Rockhopper Morris.
The two met at Folkworks in Durham and met up again at Bromyard Folk Festival the same year. Together they decided to join NYFTE, the National Youth Folk Troupe of England, where they learned more about the English tradition of music and dance.
The great Tim Dalling, formerly of The New Rope String Band, bring his solo auto-bio-mythical theatre show with songs mixing personal tales and trickster myths, songs and dances.
“Tim Dalling’s performance at Lau Land was breathtaking. Running the full gamut of human experience, exertion and emotion, he must surely be approaching the peak of his powers. You get a sense that he could do absolutely anything he wants.
The only person you can go and see doing Tim Dalling is Tim Dalling, unique exhilarating brilliance.”
Kris Drever (Lau)
Laura Beth Salter and Jenn Butterworth
Uniting two powerful voices with guitar and mandolin, Jenn Butterworth and Laura-Beth Salter are both key players in Glasgow’s world-renowned grassroots folk scene, with their new duo partnership channelling that tumultuous creative energy into a mix of Celtic and Americana material.
Jenn Butterworth is one of Scotland’s foremost female guitarists, and has toured extensively with the award winning Anna Massie Band. As an accompanist she is in high demand, her most recent collaborations have involved artists such as Phil Cunningham and Nuala Kennedy. Laura-Beth Salter takes influence from the Oldtime and Bluegrass music that her parents played whilst she was growing up in Lincolnshire. After spending time studying a Traditional Music Degree in Newcastle she became heavily involved in the folk scene. She is a founding member of The Shee and her most recent collaborations involve Shooglenifty and The MacLean Project led by the world renowned Perthshire singer Dougie MacLean.
Since launching the band in December 2013, Dallahan have exploded onto the traditional music scene. Their unique arrangements of original music and traditional Irish tunes and songs have secured their presence at such prestigious international events as Milwaukee Irish Festival in the USA, Copenhagen Irish Festival and Celtic Connections. Dallahan met each other through local sessions in Edinburgh and they are established performers of various musical styles from classical and jazz to Balkan and Celtic.
The members of the band have toured extensively with groups as diverse as Kalman Balogh’s Gypsy Cimbalom Band, Larsa, Fianna, Samling, Tcha Limberger and they regularly appear at festivals and venues both in the UK and internationally. As individuals, they have received various awards; Paddy won the ‘BBC Young Traditional Musician Of The Year Award 2013’, Ciaran won the title of ‘All Britain Banjo Champion’ in 2006, Jani won 1st prize at the first ‘Hungarian Traditional Music Competition’ and Jack was recently a finalist in the ‘BBC Young Traditional Musician Of The Year Award 2014’.
As a band, they received an ‘Emerging Excellence Award’ from Help Musicians UK and were recently nominated for Best Up and Coming Artist of the Year at the Scots Trad Music Awards 2014. Dallahan is a breath taking musical journey delivered by award winning musicians that is as much fun to listen to as it is to play.
“..vibrant arrangements full of rich harmonies, energetic fiddle playing and driving piano, fara’s show was an exhilarating one.”Celtic Music Radio
Fara are exceptionally talented young musicians who are at the forefront of new groups to have emerged from Scotland. Hailing from the Isle of Orkney , where they have known each-other since they were knee high, Kristan Harvey, Jeana Leslie and Catriona Price’s dynamic fiddles combine with Jennifer Austin’s driving piano to produce a fiery sound rooted strongly in their upbringing. With stunning harmonies the band are a vocal and instrumental delight!
“fantastic playing, clearly loving what they are doing. with rapturous audience rapport, what more could you want in a show?”Anna Massie – BBC Radio Scotland
Having been friends for most of their lives, with Mothers who have also been friends for most of their lives! – the girls music is steeped in the historical traditions of the Orkney Isles and the songs combine with the fiddle and piano traditions to create a genuinely moving and yet invigorating performance.
Although young in years, the girls are accomplished musicians who all have degrees in music and amongst them have notched up the following awards: BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award, The BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year, The Deutsche Bank Award in Performance and Composition, and the Danny Kyle Award.
They are currently recording their debut album due for release in April 2016.
At the forefront of a very exciting new wave of UK folk, seven piece Mishaped Pearls’ most recent album Thamesis has received outstanding reviews in The Telegraph, The Financial Times, Songlines Magazine, fRoots Magazine,
4 **** in The Guardian, The Scotsman, Maverick Magazine and plenty more. The album has also garnered the highest praise from Tom Robinson (BBC6 Music), Mark Radcliffe and Bob Harris (BBC Radio 2), all highlights amongst universal acclaim from the press and media.
Their adventurous song combination of the ancient and the new finds an echo in their musical make up – banjo, saz baglama, bodhran, violin and mandolin mix with acoustic guitar, keyboards, electric bass and drums, all led by the mezzo-soprano voice of Manuela Schuette. Their music’s roots in tradition expands into progressive folk and rock, eastern modal music and shows elements of contemporary classical influence.
Songwriter Ant Noel lives just down the hill from Priddy, in the city of Wells. Having been born and raised on the small Channel Island of Jersey, Ant moved to ‘big bad Bristol’ in 2003, staying for a music degree and ten years of plying his trade as a musician (piano, fiddle, guitar, mandolin & harmonica) and teacher before relocating to the haven of Somerset. Ant spent the past decade releasing three original albums and performing in venues across the South West in a variety of roles, some rather kitsch (‘cocktail pianist’ for P&O ferries), others more suited to traditional tastes (session fiddle player, folk festival performer).
In 2011, Ant formed backing band The Peabody Drakes in order to flesh out the bare bones of his music. The band’s current line-up includes James Stallwood (clarinet), Anneka Johnson (percussion), Alex Pearson (double bass), Peter Wilk (accordion) and Paul Dix (fiddle). Ant Noel & The Peabody Drakes perform Ant’s original music which enlists a melting-pot of styles, be it celtic, klezmer, americana or cajun. Often described as lively and upbeat, these are songs of travel, ale and coffee drinking, french love stories and west country rambles!
In 2014, Ant released his most recent album ‘The Water’s Line’ to critical acclaim from the likes of BBC Introducing, Somer Valley FM and the Musicians Union who picked the cd as their ‘stand out’ release of the winter that year: “Ant Noel is proving a rising star on stages across the south west and beyond thanks to a winning way with a tune and an intriguing lyric.His third album is packed with melodic twists and he steps out from his folk roots to capture a wider audience with his endearing songs.” (The Musician Magazine)
Following on the heels of regular performances at the likes of Bristol Harbourside, Burnham Folkfest, the famous Old Duke and even Wookey Hole and the Fringe Tent of Priddy itself, Ant and the band can’t wait to make their debut on the Eastwater Stage at Priddy Folkfest 2016.
When he’s not performing on stage, you will find Ant teaching much younger talent at St. Cuthbert’s School in Wells; running a regular folk session every Monday night with Paul Dix at the George Inn in Croscombe; or leading amateur folk musicians in Bristol as director of the Raggedy Folk Players.
Les Barker writes strange poems and comes from Manchester, but he’s now Welsh. He was an accountant before he became a professional idiot. He’s written 85 books, which sell in large numbers at his gigs because people don’t quite believe what they’ve just heard. His poems have spawned a number of folk heroes: Jason and the Arguments, Cosmo the Fairly Accurate Knife Thrower, Captain Indecisive and Spot of the Antarctic, to name but two.
Les began his career as assistant to Mrs Ackroyd, a small hairy mongrel who lay around in folk clubs, bit people and became famous. Mrs Ackroyd was the only dog ever to own her own record label. Since her sad demise, Les is a solo performer. He has both and English and a Welsh band, but has skilfully avoided being a member of either.
What else can one say about Les Barker? He was Old York Victoria’s footballer of the year in the season when they finished top of the Altrincham League. He has run a marathon in two hours forty one minutes; but he was younger then. He’s difficult to describe.
A multi-instrumental acoustic trio based in Bristol, UK, featuring members of Spiro, Get The Blessing and Scottish Dance Theatre. As intricate as a team of watchmakers, as spare as a mountain stream, the music encompasses both a cinematic sweep and an intimate delicacy, in which “the aroma of muddy leaves and old nettles is almost tangible” (The Observer)
Their eponymous debut album was chosen by Cerys Matthews as one of her Top Five Modern Folk Albums; second album Holts And Hovers was fRoots Editor’s Choice Album of 2013, one of The Observer’s “Hidden Gems Of 2013”, and one of Acoustic Guitarist magazine’s 20 Essential Folk Albums.
The band’s third album, Palimpsest, was recorded at Real World Studios in Wiltshire, & produced by Adrian Utley, with artwork specially designed by Dorset’s Little Toller press, and accompanied by a UK-wide, Arts Council supported, album launch tour earlier this year. Palimpsest was chosen by The Telegraph as one of the ‘Best Folk Music Albums Of 2016″, by fRoots as one of its 5-star Playlist Albums, and by The Guardian for its Folk World Music Playlist.
‘Exquisite, elegant, atmospheric and charmingly quirky. 4 stars’ (The Guardian)
‘Quiet but compellingly emotional music that is richly-textured and containing melodies of real beauty. 5 stars’ (fRoots, Playlist Album Choice)
‘their delicate acoustic constructions combine ancient folk and contemporary classical ideas to weave an entirely original new musical tradition’ (Bristol 24/7)
The Hut People are constantly gaining more of reputation as one of the most entertaining acts to appear on the folk scene in a long while.
In their surprisingly engaging and often hilarious show, they perform a truly unique high-octane blend of folk music from around the world – perfectly formed & embellished with a foot stomping accordion and mind-boggling array of exotic percussion (with some Quebecois foot percussion & dancing thrown in for good measure too!).
A hugely entertaining duo getting unbelievable feedback from audiences, festival organizers and music press alike.
Four hearty men who sing sea shanties and songs of the salty deep! ‘The Roaring Trowmen’ celebrate the working songs sung by sailors around the world which have endured the test of time. Hear old favourites combined with original new songs, delivered with passion, energy and plenty of silly banter!
‘The Roaring Trowmen’ have been performing together at gigs and festivals for around 4 years now. Inspired by the heritage of our home city of Bristol, we celebrate sea shanties, but include many other songs with a watery theme. We sing these with a humour and vitality. At times you’ll be clapping and stomping with us, next you’ll be melted by the glorious harmonies, or groaning at our bad jokes…. Come and get nautical with the Trowmen!
Ben Badoo, Simwinji Zeko, Royston Gage, Mark Bradley, Brendan Whitmore, Mamadou Cissoko are Baraka – a unique combination of musicians from Senegal, Ghana, Zambia, Dominica and Northern and Southern Ireland. Each musician contributes his individual sound and style – reggae featuring a Kora and Djembe, township with a Calypso bass line, Soca with Balafon and flute.
We’re now in the 5th year of Priddy Folk Festival work with Wells Blue School. What started off as the ‘Wells Blue Project’, and looked like a one-year event to celebrate 21 wonderful years of Priddy Folk Festival, has gone on to become an annual highlight of the festival and has been given a name we think reflects the ethos of the activity – ‘Priddy Rising’.
Five years of growth has seen the stalwarts of Priddy Rising go from little year 8’s to sixth formers; teenagers to university students… and they keep coming back! Last year the alumni of the Blue School took time out of their university ‘studies’ to return to the Blue School and become mentors of their younger peers. For me this has been a true sign of the success and significance of Priddy Rising for its participants.
A natural progression for Priddy Rising has been to reward students’ commitment to the project with bursary places on Halsway Manor’s ever-growing youth folk residential programme, Hothouse. Of those young people that are supported to attend Hothouse Wells Blue School has seen an increase in their engagement with the music department, wider school life and indeed some have chosen to study music and instrument making into higher education. As a result of this impact Wells Blue School and Priddy Folk Festival has committed to sending 12 students each to Halsway Manor’s Hothouse; across its Spring and Summer courses.
This year the project has attracted 30 students who we hope will have a great time learning about our traditions and making music together. Each year there is a theme to Priddy Rising and this year’s theme is the motto of the Priddy Friendly Society, ‘Something attempted, something achieved’. The Friendly Society is mutual benefit society composed of a body of people who join together for a common social purpose. This feels particular poignant for both the festival and Priddy Rising.
25 years on, what started as a PTA fundraiser has become one of the best known folk festivals in the country. 5 years on Priddy Rising has forged a wonderful relationship between three organisations enriching young peoples’ lives through arts education and exploring our heritage.
It’s amazing what we can do when we work together.
Flats & Sharps
Hailing from Cornwall, in the South West of England, Flats and Sharps blur the lines between Bluegrass, Folk, Country & Pop, gaining recognition for performing their own highly original songs as well as their renditions of Bluegrass classics. These five incredible young musicians honed their skills in 350 live performances over nearly five years charming and wowing audiences along the way.
Their five track ‘Always There’ EP, released in June 2015, drew critical acclaim with R2 (Rock ‘n’ Reel) Magazine saying that they were “destined for great things” and ‘Boat’ and ‘It’s OK My Love’ both picking up specialist and daytime UK radio play with the videos for these songs gaining traction on YouTube. The lads recorded a new album in summer 2015 which will be released in early 2016. Entitled ‘King of My Mind’ it breaks new ground instrumentally with added drums and even a Hammond B3 organ and guest performances from BJ Cole on Pedal Steel and a duet featuring emerging singer-songwriter emae. 3 cover songs are sandwiched between 12 original songs written by Kirk Bowman (Banjo) and Mikey Ponsford (Mandolin). Added to these two Josh Warner (Guitar), Liam Fitzharris (Double Bass) and 2015 addition Danny Hart on Fiddle. ‘King of My Mind’ was recorded in a week at Deep Litter studios, South Devon and was produced by David McEwan who has won awards for his production work on Plan B’s “The Defamation of Strickland Banks” and has a long relationship working with Nitin Sawhney.
Flats and Sharps have come a long way from their humble beginning busking in Penzance as 17 year-olds to performing on the Town Square stage at the Country 2 Country Festival at the O2 in London in March 2015 and at Proms in Hyde Park, London in September 2015, which was recorded for later broadcast on the Bob Harris Country show on BBC Radio 2. Along the way that have played for (and with) the Governor of Kentucky who jumped on stage to play with them, won fans at scores of festivals including Isle of Wight, Maverick and many Bluegrass and Folk Festivals and performed for events for Ralph Lauren and Jack Wills shops in London They were the headline act at the Ireland’s Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival in June 2015.
Flats and Sharps are ones to watch out for in 2016 and these five talented young men are clearly going to pick up many fans throughout the year.
Rory Mcleod – ex-circus clown and fire eater. A one man soulband, poet and storyteller, singing his own unique upbeat dance stories. A modern travelling troubadour using tap shoes, acappella, harmonica, guitar, trombone, spoons, finger cymbals, bandorea, djembe and various percussion instruments.
The Familiar Strangers are Bob Morgan on clarinet and sax. Richard Sadler on double bass and Diego Laverde Rojas on Columbian Lowland harp and quattro.
This combination of Rory and The Familiar Strangers takes you to a world of far away places, familiar feelings and is simply entrancing and absorbing.
Faustus are three of the leading lights of their generation: Saul Rose (Waterson:Carthy, Whapweazel, War Horse), Benji Kirkpatrick (Seth Lakeman Band, Bellowhead) and Paul Sartin (Bellowhead, Belshazzar’s Feast). They have a plethora of experience between them, brought together in a virtuosic display of musicianship representing the best in the current vibrant English folk scene.
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