The Passerine to make its debut at Shrewsbury Folk Festival

Passerine

Refugees and migrant musicians from Sudan, Egypt, Iran, Pakistan, Israel and India have been named in the line up of a new world music ensemble that will make its debut at this year’s Shrewsbury Folk Festival.

The Passerine band, led by folk duo O’Hooley & Tidow, will present fresh arrangements of new and traditional music that will explore and celebrate diverse world cultures during its premiere on the festival’s Bellstone stage on Sunday August 27.

The musicians involved in The Passerine are:

– Belinda O’Hooley (UK/Ireland) – musical director/vocals/piano/accordion

– Heidi Tidow (UK/Ireland/Germany) – musical director/vocals/foot percussion

– Sarah Yaseen (UK/Pakistan) – vocals/guitar/darbouka

– Shurooq Abu Nas (Sudan) – vocals

– Avital Raz (Israel) – vocals/guitar/tampura/glockenspiel

– Arian Sadr – (Iran) – daf/goblet drum

– Mina Salama – (Egypt) – oud/ney/vocals/nailute/kawala/duduk/kanun/mandolin/udu-drum

– Vijay Venkat – (India) – violin/flute

– Performance poet Dean Atta (UK/Jamaica/Cyprus) will join the ensemble as narrator and relate new and existing work at the performance.

The Passerine, which means songbird, is one strand of the festival’s Room for All project that will celebrate cultural diversity and highlight the plight of refugees and immigrants. Room for All came as a direct response to the racial hatred and opposition to refugees, migrants and other cultures that emerged during the Brexit campaign.

Belinda O’Hooley said: “The musicians have been handpicked by us. We all have a story about how we came to be in England and how our ethnicity has shaped our experiences and lives; whether we were born here to migrant parents or migrated here ourselves.”

Heidi Tidow added: “The Passerine will include stories of flight to safer havens, away from conflict and political oppression, as well as the experience of xenophobia and racial prejudice within the UK. Above all, however, it will be a celebration of the wide-ranging and amazing culture in the UK today.”

Room for All also includes a programme of education and outreach work in the rural county that has relatively little exposure to world music and dance. It is being part funded by a £95,000 investment from Arts Council England. Shropshire Council has awarded the festival a £1,000 Arts Revenue Grant. It follows on from the festival’s successful All Together Now programme that focused on introducing a new audience to world music and dance during 2015 and 2016.

This year’s festival is from August 25 to 28 at the West Mid Showground and tickets are available at  www.shrewsburyfolkfestival.co.uk

Belinda and Heidi introduce The Passerine:

The 19th Street Band – new album

19th Street Band

High-energy Americana folk-rock group, The 19th Street Band, is making their debut appearance in Northern Ireland this summer as part of the Open House Festival in Bangor and to promote their new album, The Things That Matter. The tour kicked off with their first show in the UK on the Belfast Barge, then they will have three appearances as part of Bangor’s Open House Festival. More UK dates being announced soon, so stay tuned to their website for the most up-to-date schedule.

Caolaidhe (Cally) Davis immigrated to America from Holywood, Northern Ireland in 2005 to pursue a career in music. While establishing an earlier band, he found himself in need of a fiddle player and was lucky enough to meet Meghan and audition her for his band. What Caolaidhe didn’t know was that he was auditioning his future wife. Fast-forward a few months down the road, and the pair found themselves living on ‘19th Street’ in Arlington, Virginia, writing songs and creating the sound that would become the backbone of The 19th Street Band.

While The 19th Street Band has steadily been performing countless shows on the east coast of America, this will be their first UK tour. Caolaidhe is very excited to be able to bring the music that he and Meghan have been working on for the past eight years back home and essentially have his first homecoming with the band.

Artists’ website: https://19thstreetband.com/

The Lake Poets (Marty Longstaff) plays North-East dates

The Lake Poets

The Lake Poets is Sunderland based singer-songwriter Marty Longstaff.

Following an appearance at Cambridge Folk Festival this weekend he plays a number of dates in the North-East during August and September. A show in Times Square, Newcastle on 6th August at which he will be supporting Brian Wilson is followed by intimate sets at Fausto in Sunderland on 18th and 20th. He then performs at the NE Volume Festival on  th September at Stockton Arts Centre and plays a Launderette Sessions event at the  Gala Theatre in Durham on 23rd.

Anticipating his Cambridge Festival bow, Longstaff says that “I have wanted to play there ever since I first picked up a guitar and wanted to be Martin Carthy, Bob Dylan, Richard Thompson, John Martyn and Joni Mitchell all rolled into one. I can’t wait to let my songs loose at such an important and special gathering of like-minded people and I know that I will enjoy every moment of being on stage and being at the festival itself.”

As for the Newcastle show, he adds: “Sharing the stage with Brian Wilson is a dream come true. I can only hope that my songs will mean as much to others as Brian’s mean to me and millions of others around the world. Me and the band can’t wait to play!”

The late summer will also see Longstaff begin recording his second album for release in early 2018. His autumn 2015 debut, The Lake Poets, achieved excellent reviews and spawned the singles ‘Your Face’ and ‘Edinburgh’. Since first being aired on BBC 6 Music, the former has quietly gone about racking up over 7 million plays on Spotify, while the latter was playlisted by Radio X.

Recorded in Nashville’s famed Blackbird Studio and produced by Dave Stewart  (Eurythmics, etc), the eleven songs that comprised the album saw Longstaff’s shimmering, pure voice sit atop intimate, sparsely beautiful arrangements. Autobiographical lyrical content that was rich in painting the big picture about love and mortality by way of a keen eye for the small details of life also incorporated a heavy dose of social realism, such as in ‘Vane Tempest’ and its story of how the Miners Strike affected his father. The decimation of the North East and family struggle was also writ large in ‘Shipyards’.

Artist’s website: http://thelakepoets.com/

“Somewhere between Bright Eyes and John Martyn. Something Special”  MOJO

“Stunning Debut from Sunderland Troubadour. Quietly Brilliant”  UNCUT

‘Your Face’ – official video:

Ron Pope announces new album, Work, and UK live dates

Ron Pope

This fall, Nashville-based independent artist Ron Pope will embark on an international headline tour making stops in New York, London, Chicago, Nashville, Washington D.C., Boston, Philadelphia and more. See below for a full tour itinerary. Pope’s latest studio album, Work, is due August 18th on his own Brooklyn Basement Records and follows last year’s critically acclaimed Ron Pope & The Nighthawks, of which Entertainment Weekly said:

Heavier, deeper, bigger, louder. The warm glow of the West, and a heavy meditation on classic sounds of the South seeps out.

Earlier this spring, Pope performed ‘Baby, I Love You’ at Carnegie Hall as part of The Music Of Aretha Franklin tribute show. His recorded cover of the song and accompanying in-studio video premiered on Glide in celebration of Franklin’s 75th birthday. Of the new cover, Glide proclaimed,

Taking on Aretha is a daunting task, but with Pope’s vivacious voice and the top notch players behind him, this rendition is blessed with is on unique wow factor while retaining its original lustre.

The new record’s lead single ‘Bad For Your Health’ premiered on Team Coco who call it “seriously addictive”. Most recently, Relix debuted the new album’s second single ‘Let’s Get Stoned.’

Work marks Pope’s seventh studio album. To date, he has surpassed one million monthly listeners on Spotify, sold out shows in more than 20 countries, sold over 2 million digital tracks, had over 200 million streams on Spotify, 630 million plays on Pandora and 150 million views on YouTube.

The album was recorded completely in analog at Welcome To 1979 in Nashville, TN where Pope and his fellow musicians locked themselves in the studio for one week until completion. Work was co-produced and recorded with Grammy award-winning engineer Ted Young, his third consecutive collaboration with Pope. The lead single, ‘Bad For Your Health’ was co-written by Pope and Jonathan Tyler.

Of the new recording, Pope says,

This album follows me from when I was thirteen and a teacher told my mother that I’d probably end up in prison; I started messing around writing songs that year. It’s been mostly uphill ever since.

Appearing on the album are Jay Collins on sax (Gregg Allman Band), Mike Riddleberger on drums (Bleachers), Andrew Pertes on bass (Savoir Adore), Kai Welch on keys/accordion (Abigail Washburn, Glen Campbell), Jeff Malinowski on guitar (Frances Cone), Alex Brumel on guitar/pedal steel and Charles Ray on flugelhorn/trumpet plus guest vocals on select tracks from Mary Richardson (The Banditos), Katie Schecter, Molly Parden and Vanessa McGowan.

Last summer saw the release of the feature-length documentary One Way Ticket by Kelly Teacher (No Cameras Allowed, Austin To Boston). The film follows Pope and his band on the road and during recording sessions for Ron Pope & The Nighthawks in Lake Blue Ridge, GA. In the film, Spotify’s D.A. Wallach notes, ‘Here’s a guy who’s figured out how to do this basically by himself and is really proving the power of streaming music.’

Pope’s music has been featured on NBC’s The Voice, CW’s Vampire Diaries, 90210, and multiple seasons of Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance, which sent two of his albums into the top 100 on iTunes simultaneously. Pope also guest starred as himself in Season 3 of the show Nashville.

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 Ron Pope – Work 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.

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Artist’s website: http://ronpopemusic.com/

‘Work’ – official video:

Forthcoming UK live dates

November 5,  London, UK – The Garage

November 6, Manchester, UK, – Academy 3

Jon Boden announces new solo album and tour dates

Jon Boden

Jon Boden, former frontman of progressive folk eleven-piece Bellowhead, has announced details of his new solo album Afterglow, set for release via Hudson Records on October 6th. Afterglow is Boden’s first studio release since calling an end to Bellowhead, a twelve-year project that culminated in a quarter of a million album sales and worldwide sell-out shows including the Royal Albert Hall. Boden will return to the stage at this year’s Cambridge Folk Festival (July 27th-30th), where he will debut Afterglow as part of his guest curation.

Afterglow follows on from Boden’s 2009 solo concept-album Songs From The Floodplain which lead him to be named as Folk Singer Of The Year at the BBC Folk Awards. Whereas Floodplain largely dealt with the rural setting, Afterglow looks to juxtapose this and immerse the listener within a post-apocalyptic street carnival – a location of decaying buildings, burning oil drums and homemade fireworks, in which Boden tells the story of two lovers trying to find one another. Speaking about the album concept, Boden says:

“Like my previous album Songs From The Floodplain, Afterglow imagines a near-future world where the luxuries and comfort of 21st century life have become scarce, and a harder, simpler existence now prevails. Afterglow is the story of a couple who are trying to find each other in the middle of a bonfire-night street carnival in a crumbling, derelict city. I had a wonderful time recording it in Sheffield with the help of my band the Remnant Kings and Andy Bell in the producer’s chair.”

Across his career Boden has been awarded a record-breaking 12 BBC Folk Awards, earned through his work with Bellowhead and Spiers & Boden. Now touring as both a solo artist and with his band The Remnant Kings, Jon will perform in both incarnations again this autumn. Commencing with his solo tour at Pocklington’s Arts Centre on November 6th, Jon will perform at intimate venues across the UK before ending at Ludlow’s Assembly Rooms on November 14th. From here Boden will tour with The Remnant Kings, beginning at Gateshead’s Sage on November 17 and taking in a date at London’s Scala on November 22nd.

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 Jon Boden – Afterglow 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.

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Artist’s website: https://www.jonboden.com/

‘Moths In The Gas Light’ – all we get so far:

Tour Dates

Solo – November

Monday 6th Pocklington Arts Centre
Tuesday 7th The Core at Corby Cube
Wednesday 8th OPEN, Norwich
Thursday 9th Cornerstone Arts Centre, Didcot
Friday 10th Connaught Theatre, Worthing
Sunday 12th Theatre Royal Winchester
Monday 13th Number 8, Pershore
Tuesday 14th Ludlow Assembly Rooms

Jon Boden & The Remnant Kings – November

Friday 17th Sage Gateshead
Saturday 18th The Leadmill, Sheffield
Sunday 19th Victoria Hall, Settle
Monday 20th Haverhill Arts Centre
Tuesday 21st St. Mary’s in the Castle, Hastings
Wednesday 22nd The Scala, London
Thursday 23rd The Lighthouse, Poole
Friday 24th The Globe, Cardiff
Saturday 25th The Cheese & Grain, Frome
Sunday 26th Lincoln Performing Arts Centre

BBC dramatises Michael Morpugo’s book, Alone On The Wide Wide Sea

Wide Wide Sea

BBC Radio 2 is to broadcast a drama starring Toby Jones and Jason Donovan based on award-winning author Michael Morpurgo’s child migration novel, Alone On A Wide Wide Sea. The four-part drama, the first ever adaptation of the book, stars Toby Jones and Jason Donovan alongside cameo appearances from Michael Morpurgo and Maggie Aderin-Pocock.

The 30-minute episodes will be broadcast across four days during Jeremy Vine’s show at 1.30pm-2pm from Monday 7 to Thursday 10 August. The drama will also feature original music from the album The Ballads Of Child Migration, as well as new songs which have been written especially for the radio drama.

Between 1869 and 1970 around 100,000 British children were sent overseas – without their parents – by leading British churches and charities to new lives in Australia and Canada. Michael Morpurgo’s story, which was adapted for radio by Ian McMillan, is inspired by this sad part of history. It tells of the adventures of two child migrants, Arthur and Marty, who dispatched from London to a working farm in the Australian outback.

In the drama, Toby Jones plays Mr Piggy Bacon, who runs the farm where the child migrants are put to work on the land, and Jason Donovan portrays Arthur Hobhouse, who as an orphan child was sent from London to Australia as part of a child migration scheme.

The play covers 50 years of Arthur Hobhouse’s life and so features three different actors portraying the character, though Jason is a constant throughout playing ‘old Arthur’. Michael Morpurgo narrates the story, while Maggie Aderin-Pocock (presenter of the BBC’s Sky at Night) plays an astronaut in the International Space Station.

Specially curated music from the drama was performed to great acclaim at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2017 on Wednesday 5 April at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

Lewis Carnie, Head of Radio 2, says: “I’m delighted BBC Radio 2 is bringing such distinctive drama and music to the heart of our daytime schedule. The powerful and engaging writing of Michael Morpurgo will be beautifully brought to life by the superb cast.”

Michael Morpurgo says: “What is hard and uncomfortable to remember and believe, is always salutary and important to acknowledge. The migrant crisis the world faces today is not new. Wherever there has been war or hunger, homelessness or poverty, there will be refugees seeking sanctuary, seeking to survive. Among those who suffer most in such circumstances are children, children alone or unwanted in the world.

“After the Second World War, there were thousands of such children in this country in need of homes and in need of the security and love only a family can provide. Many of these children were sent away to the other side of the world, separated from all they knew, to Australia, and elsewhere, where it was thought they would be well looked after. Some were, but others found themselves living in abject misery and hardship, were exploited and abused, their lives blighted.

Alone On A Wide Wide Sea traces the lives of these children, of one in particular, and of his family. He struggles all his life to come to terms with his isolation and banishment, as he and his daughter try to rediscover their roots, to find a way back to their family and a sense of identity.”

Jason Donovan said: “Michael Morpurgo is such a wonderful writer and Alone On A Wide Wide Sea is a moving, beautiful story. It’s an absolute pleasure to be invited to play one of his characters.

“Being Australian I’m very aware of the child migration schemes and the terrible hardships that some of those children endured when they went to Australia. In his usual magical way, Michael manages to weave a delightful adventure out of a terribly sad piece of history. I hope that this production will help to make more people aware of the story of child migrants.”

Alone On A Wide Wide Sea was published in 2006 and the book’s title is taken from a line in English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s longest major poem, The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner.

The drama is directed by Frank Stirling, and edited and produced by John Leonard of 7digital productions. This is the second drama that John and Michael Morpurgo have worked together on for Radio 2. In 2014, John produced a version of Michael’s War Horse for the network.

R2 magazine said of the album, The Ballads Of Child Migration:

The trick for both the writers and project co-ordinator Gordon Lynch is to avoid saying the same thing over and over again. While and Matthews’ ‘Small Cases Full Of Big Dreams’ which opens the set almost says it all. Jez Lowe immediately provides another point of view with the jolly ‘Barnardo’s Party Time’ and his ‘Snow To Nova Scotia’ and John Doyle’s ‘Liberty’s Sweet Shore’ both offer optimism but by now you’ve read the notes and the enormity of the subject is sinking in. At this point the hymn, ‘Whither Pilgrims Are You Going’, performed by CBS and O’Hooley & Tidow might just leave a nasty taste in the mouth.

If you would like to order a copy then click on the The Ballads Of Child Migration 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]