The Young’uns announce new album – tour dates to follow

The Young'uns
Photograph by Elly Lucas

Teesside trio The Young’uns have always had the human touch. In the space of little more than a decade – and just three years after giving up their day jobs – they have become one of UK folk music’s hottest properties and best-loved acts.

Stockton Folk Club’s star graduates clinched the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards ‘Best Group’ title two years running (2015 and 2016) and last year saw them spreading the net, taking their unique act and instant audience rapport to Canada, America and Australia.

With their strong songs, spellbinding harmonies and rapid fire humour, they have achieved one of the trickiest balancing acts – an ability to truly ‘make them laugh and make them cry’, while cutting straight to the heart of some of our most topical issues.

On September 29 they will unveil their fourth studio album Strangers – playing their strongest suit to date.  Bold, profound and resonant it showcases the growing talents of Sean Cooney, fast becoming one of folk’s finest songwriters.

Together with Michael Hughes and David Eagle, Cooney has come up with a collection of folk songs for our time, all sensitively arranged by the 30-something trio – looking back at wartime heroes here, offering a news report for the 21st century there, turning the spotlight on injustice and ultimately celebrating the indomitable human spirit.

Setting the scene with a cover of Maggie Holland’s ‘A Place Called England’ (Best Song at 2000 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards) , the remaining songs on the 10-track album all come from the prolific pen of Cooney who manages to combine unflinching, sharply observed but compassionate, heartfelt lyrics.

With its ocean blue cover, Strangers looks at the stories of those that have crossed the seas to British shores and soldiers that have voyaged from here to the warfields of Europe. Paeans for the underdog have been inspired by the courage of Syrian refugees, have-a-go heroes and Gay Rights campaigners which sit seamlessly alongside narrative songs of First World War soldiers, Caribbean and Jewish immigrants, including the founder of one of our best known British High Street stores.

Not forgetting their native North East heroes, The Young’uns inspiration also comes from further afield – the banks of Spain’s River Ebro (Bob Cooney’s ‘Miracle’) and the Thalys train terrorist attack in France. (‘Carriage 12’). There are constant changes of tempo and mood, from the jaunty sing-a-long ‘Ghafoor’s Bus’, celebrating their fellow Teessider who reached out to refugees across Europe to the slow, soaring beauty of ‘Lapwings’ (as performed on BBC-TV’s Springwatch), inspired by a First World War diary entry from a soldier homesick for English fields and skies and the sublime, poetic ‘Dark Water’ where they are backed by Aldeburgh Young Musicians and Radio 3’s Mary Ann Kennedy on harp.

Stand-out song ‘Be The Man’ was inspired by the incredibly moving story of Matthew Ogston and his fiancé Nazim Mahmood – its poignancy elevated by ex Bellowhead musician Rachael McShane on cello and fiddle and Chumbawamba’s Jude Abbott on melancholic flugelhorn. Matthew reacted to Sean’s lyrics saying: “I do not have the right words to even begin to explain how your words have touched my soul and heart”.

Sean’s songs have reached some of the people who inspired them including Syrian refugee Hesham Modamani, now living in Germany and Paris-based American-Frenchman Mark Moogalian, injured in the Thalys train attack, who heard Carriage 12 and wrote to say: “Many thanks for this wonderful song – the only thing that has ever brought tears to my eyes regarding what happened that day.”

These are powerful songs prompted by remarkable stories – making for an ultimately upbeat album full of hope, echoing the lyric from ‘Ghafoor’s Bus’: “There’s a friendly face, a better place and a future for us all”

Striking a chord wherever they go, the emphatic Strangers marks a milestone chapter in The Young’uns brilliant story.

Recorded at The Chairworks in Castleford and Loft Studios in Newcastle, Strangers is produced by Neil Ferguson, released on Hereteu Records label and distributed by Proper Music.

Strangers will be showcased on an extensive UK tour (October 4-27) including a debut at London’s Union Chapel and dates at Sage Gateshead (Hall 1), Glasgow’s Oran Mor and The Sugar Club in Dublin – their first headline gig in Ireland. Support for most dates comes from The Hut People, with singer songwriter Greg Russell opening for the trio in Nottingham and Lincoln.

Artists’ website: http://www.theyounguns.co.uk/

‘Be The Man’ – radio edit:

Les Barker – live dates for 2017

Les Barker

Les Barker writes strange poems and comes originally from Manchester, but he’s now Welsh. He was an accountant before he became a professional idiot. A well known style icon Les always cuts a dash in the world of fashion where he is much respected as a leading exponent of the cardigan.

On the poetry front and in spite of the poetry police his most famous works include The Shipping Forecast, Jason and the Arguments, Cosmo the Fairly Accurate Knife Thrower, Captain Indecisive, Spot of the Antarctic, An Infinite Number of Occasional Tables, Cardi and Bloke, Up the Creek Without a Poodle, Have You Any News of the Iceberg, The Lemmings Reunion, The Missing Persian’s File and The Lost Elephants of Denbigh especially Dr Rowan Williams version. Listeners to BBC Radio4 will be familiar with the work of Les Barker through his recent appearances on Wondermentalist Cabaret and Word of Mouth    

Artists’ website: www.mrsackroyd.com

‘The Shipping Forecast’ read by Brian Perkins:

July 2017

Saturday 22. Music on the Marr Village Green, Castle Carrock, Cumbria CA8 9LU
See website for tickets and times

Wednesday 26. Banbury Folk Club Banbury Cross Inn, 7 Butchers Row, Banbury, Oxon OX16 5JH
Tel. 01295 709881 Tickets £10.00 — From 8:00 p.m.

August 2017

Thursday 3. Wickham Festival Blind Lane, Wickham, Hampshire PO17 5HD
See website for tickets and times

Saturday 19. White Horse Folk Festival, Grove Rugby Club, Recreation Lane, Grove, Wantage, Oxon  OX12 0AA
See website for tickets and times.

Thursday 24/Friday 25. Whitby Folk Week Whitby, North Yorkshire YO8 9YP
See website for tickets and times

September 2017

Thursday 7. Darlington Folk Club, The Copper Beech Pub, Neasham Road, Darlington DL1 4DH
Tel: 01325 462951 Tickets £10.00 — Doors 7:30 p.m.

Saturday 9. Bromyard Festival Broadbridge House, Bromyard, Herefordshire HR7 4NT
See website for tickets and details

Tuesday 12. Cutty Wren Folk Club Redcar Borough Park Bowling Club, 1 Thwaites Lane, Redcar, Nth Yorkshire TS10 2FD

November 2017

Saturday 18. Uppertown Social Centre Cullumbell Lane, Uppertown, Ashover, Chesterfield, Derbyshire S45 0JF
Tel: 01246 590502 Tickets £12.00 — Doors 7:30 p.m.

Monday 20. White Horse Folk Club, The Conservative Club, Wylies Rd, Beverley, E. Yorks HU17 7AP

December 2017

Monday 4.  Warwick Folk Club Warwick Arms Hotel, High St, Warwick  CV34 4AT

Carla Bruni releases Rolling Stones cover as single and announces new album

Carla Bruni

Internationally acclaimed singer-songwriter Carla Bruni has released a new song and captivating video directed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino (Madonna, Bjork, Sting, Vanessa Paradis) for her cover of The Rolling Stones’ ‘Miss You’, the latest release from her forthcoming fifth studio album French Touch, which is available for pre-order now.

Produced by legendary musician, producer and composer David Foster, French Touch will be released on October 6th by Decca. ‘Miss You’ is available now via all digital and streaming services, along with the album’s first single, an intimate stripped-down rendition of Depeche Mode’s ‘Enjoy the Silence’.

French Touch brings together a delightful trove of sentimental pop favourites; all reimagined in Carla’s intimate and moving acoustic style and chosen for their personal significance – in her own words, songs that inspire the French term for love at first sight – “a coup de foudre.”  Coup de foudre more or less also describes what happened when Bruni met Grammy award winning producer, composer, and musician David Foster after an L.A. performance in 2014. Foster volunteered to produce Carla’s next record on the spot, and the two began a transatlantic sharing of songs, which was then shaped during twin recording sessions in Paris and L.A.

French Touch is warm and familiar, and inimitably Carla.  Richly melodic, warm yet minimal, and often slyly playful – all the arrangements in this collection have been given that “French Touch”, and still have all the universal appeal as their originals, albeit with a sultry flavour all their own.

Carla Bruni has been writing and performing music since 1997, with her first album, Quelqu’un m’a dit (Someone Told Me), being released in 2002. Since then she has had three more critically acclaimed releases, selling over three million albums worldwide, including 2007’s, No Promises, which set English poems to music, 2008’s Comme si de rien n’était (As If Nothing Happened), and 2013’s Little French Songs.

If you would like to order a copy of the one of the albums (in CD or Vinyl), download them or just listen to snippets of selected tracks (track previews are usually on the download page) then click on the Carla Bruni – French Touch link to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website. Buying through Amazon on folking.com helps us to recover a small part of our running costs, so please order anything you need as every little purchase helps us.

ORDER – [CD]

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‘Miss You’ – official video:

Fairport Convention alumni reunite at Cropredy

Fairport Convention

Fairport’s Cropredy Convention, the annual three-day festival staged by folkrock legends Fairport Convention, will celebrate the band’s golden anniversary with an on-stage reunion of the current line-up and virtually all the ex-members still living.

The band’s extended evening performance on Saturday 12 August will close the festival and feature a host of musical guests playing a repertoire selected from Fairport’s huge back catalogue – the best from half a century of music-making.

There will be two chances at Cropredy to see singer-songwriter and guitar virtuoso Richard Thompson. A co-founder of Fairport Convention, Richard will play a full set in his own right on Friday evening and will also join Fairport as a guest during their set.

Saturday will start with three performances from ‘early years’ former members of Fairport – Ashley Hutchings, Judy Dyble and Iain Matthews.

Ashley Hutchings, who founded Fairport Convention, will present Morris On, a spectacular interpretation of traditional music and dance. Judy Dyble, Fairport’s original female vocalist, will be performing with Band of Perfect Strangers, her regular musical collaborators. Iain Matthews, Fairport’s first male lead singer, will be joined by Andy Roberts and Mark Griffiths as Plainsong, a harmonic blend of English folk-rock and American alt-country.

Former drummer Dave Mattacks will play during Richard Thompson’s set on Friday as well as guesting with Fairport on Saturday. Maartin Allcock, a member of Fairport from 1985 until 1996, will also join Fairport on keyboards and guitar for several numbers.

Other former members who may put in an appearance include Tom Farnell, Bob Brady, and Roger Burridge.

Bass player Dave Pegg says: “Our Saturday night set this year will undoubtedly present the most Fairport members ever performing in the same show.”

Now in its thirty-seventh year, Fairport’s Cropredy Convention will take place on Thursday 10, Friday 11 and Saturday 12 August.

Fairport’s current line-up is Simon Nicol (lead vocal, guitars), Dave Pegg (backing vocals, bass guitar), Ric Sanders (violin), Chris Leslie (lead vocal, fiddle, bouzouki, mandolin) and Gerry Conway (percussion and drums).

Artists’ website: http://www.fairportconvention.com/

John Wort Hannam announces July tour dates

John Wort Hannam

John Wort Hannam is a Canadian singer songwriter from Fort Macleod, Alberta.

Born in the Channel Islands and raised in Alberta, John earned a degree in Native American Studies and taught on a reserve for five years. Since leaving his teaching post for music in 2002 he’s been nominated for a Juno, three Western Canadian Music Awards, a North American Folk Alliance Award, and three Canadian Folk Music Awards – winning Contemporary Album of the Year in 2010.

John is well known for his story telling through music. Themes which are central to his music include life in Western Canada, and the human experience as seen through the eyes of simple working folk.

He has performed at music festivals in Canada, the United States, Great Britain and Australia and he appeared at the 2006 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C.

In addition to singing, John plays guitar, tenor guitar and harmonica.

It’s a long, hard road – figuratively and literally – from being a school teacher on a southern Alberta First Nation’s reserve to a Juno-nominated roots music career with performances at The Kennedy Centre, The Smithsonian, and Trafalgar Square, but he wouldn’t trade the journey for the world.

Born in St Helier on the island of Jersey in the Channel Islands and raised in Southern Alberta, John earned degrees in Native American Studies and Native Education and taught Grade Nine on reserve for five years. He decided he wanted to pursue a career in music after hearing Loudon Wainwright III in 1997.

Now a prize-winning songwriter and performer touring internationally, John Wort Hannam is known for his unique take on the simple day-to-day dramas of common folk through songs that map the landscapes of both the human heart and the vast landscape of Canada.

With a keen eye for the quirky and lyrics that create stories behind the songs, this born storyteller shares the personal and the profound.

Thriving on live performance, John Wort Hannam is truly happy when he is on the road playing and connecting personally with an audience.

Since leaving his teaching job, he’s released five albums, performed with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, and written official song for the 2011 Alberta Winter Games.

He won the prestigious Kerrville New Folk Award in 2007. He’s been nominated for three Western Canadian Music Awards, a North American Folk Alliance Award, and three Canadian Folk Music Awards – winning the Contemporary Album of the Year in 2010. He also earned a 2010 Juno nod for Roots and Traditional Album of the Year Solo, and he has won the Grand Prize in the Calgary Folk Festival Song Competition on three separate occasions.

“People are starting to sit up and notice this singer-songwriter in his appearances from Montreal to Australia.” — Edmonton Folk Festival

Artist’s website: www.johnworthannam.com

‘Requiem For A Small Town’ – live:

Tour Dates – July 2017 

Tuesday 11. The Hoy at Anchor Folk Club The Royal British Legion, 7/9 Northview Drive, Westcliff-on-Sea, SS0 9NG

Tel. 01702 715111 Tickets £7.00 — Doors 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday 12. Biddulph Up In Arms 171 Congleton Rd, Biddulph, Stoke-on-Trent ST8 6QJ
Tel. 01782 523277 Tickets £10/12 – Doors 7:30 p.m.

Thursday 13. The Running Horse 16 Alfreton Road, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire NG7 3NG
Tel. 07770 226 926 Doors 7:30 p.m.

Friday 14. Kalamazoo Klub The Kings Head, 2 Crouch Hill, London N8 8AA
Tel. 0208 340 1028 Tickets £10 – Doors 7:30 p.m.

Saturday 15. House Concert – Lichfield, Staffordshire, W Midlands Connelly Concerts – Tickets via davidaconnolly@tiscali.co.uk

Sunday 16. Chapel Arts Centre Lower Borough Walls, Bath, Somerset BA1 1QR
Tel. 01225 461700 Tickets £10.00 — Doors 8:00 p.m.

Tuesday 18. Leith Folk Club Victoria Park House Hotel, 221 Ferry Road, Edinburgh, Scotland EH6 4NN
Tel. 07833 135399 Tickets £ 8.00 — Doors 7:30 p.m.

Friday 21. The Victory Hall  (A828) Benderloch, Oban, Scotland PA37 1RZ
Tel. 01631 720498 Tickets £12.00 — Doors 7:30 p.m.

Saturday 22. Transclyde Music Craigmore Bowling  Club, Grosvenor Rd, Rothesay, Isle of Bute, Scotland PA20 9LE
Tel. 01700 502287 Tickets £10.00 — Doors 7:15 p.m.

National folk arts library to undergo a major refurbishment

Vaughan Williams Memorial Library

England’s national library of folk music and dance is to undergo a major refurbishment this summer to ensure it is fit for future generations to explore and discover the folk arts. The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library (VWML), the library of the English Folk Dance and Song Society based at Cecil Sharp House in London, will be closed from July 19 to September 5 while work is carried out.

The VWML is the country’s biggest dedicated library and archive of folk music, dance, and other traditions, and received Designated status from the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) in 2011.

It opened as part of Cecil Sharp House in Regent’s Park Road in 1930 to make Cecil Sharp’s personal book collection accessible to the public.

The library was one of the few rooms in the Grade II listed property that escaped serious damage from a WWII bomb, and so it still features the original bookcases made by Heal’s on Tottenham Court Road and its Art Deco ceiling.

The seven-week programme will include the renovation of the historic bookcases by accredited conservators Bainbridge Conservation, painting the ceiling, new flooring, curtains, and readers’ lamps.

A new display case to exhibit items from the archive will also be installed, along with facilities for browsing the VWML’s extensive catalogue and online resources. The National Folk Music Fund, set up by Ursula and Ralph Vaughan Williams to support the VWML, is funding the £50,000 cost of the refurbishment.

Laura Smyth, Director of the VWML, said: “The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library is the nation’s most prized resource for folk traditions and has been very well used by musicians, researchers, writers, historians, and other visitors over the years.

“The reading room has not undergone any major refurbishment since 1940, and the historic furniture has become chipped, tired, and cracked over the decades. This carefully planned refurbishment will ensure that the library can continue to serve our users and be a place of discovery for the folk arts for many years to come.”

Library staff will continue to operate an email, telephone, and letter enquiry service during the closure period. For more information, go to www.vwml.org.