More names announced for FolkEast 2017

FolkEast 2017

Slovenian cult folk band Terrafolk, not seen in the UK for a decade, are to appear at FolkEast this summer.

Currently their only UK music festival date, the maverick music ensemble will appear on the opening night of the event.

Formed by Danijel Cerne (aka Mystica) in 1999 their uniqueness saw their quick rise to fame, performing at numerous European festivals including Edinburgh Fringe and Glastonbury and clinching a BBC Radio 3 World Music Award in 2003. Offering virtuoso musicianship and offbeat humour the ‘impossible-to-pigeonhole’ line-up draw on Balkan, Gypsy, Russian and Jewish music, captivating audiences with their mix of classical, folk, prog rock, heavy metal and jazz styles.

Once described as “folk rebels with punk attitude” the quartet comprises Danijel Cerne on guitar, An Cerne on flute, Irish whistles and violin, Barja Drbovsek on violin, double bass and ukulele and Botan Cvetreznik on violin.

The three-day festival at the glorious 300-acre Suffolk estate of 16th century Glemham Hall will also feature only the third performance of ‘She Moved Through the Fair: The Legend of Margaret Barry’ after its successful debut at Celtic Connections earlier this year.

Celebrating the centenary of the birth of the feisty Irish street singer it tells Barry’s extraordinary story in music, words and theatre – from leaving home at 16 with nothing but a banjo and bicycle to her discovery by American song collector Alan Lomax.

Written by top music journalist Colin Irwin (also the narrator) and Irish singer Mary McPartlan it tells how she went on to appear at top concert halls in Britain and America, befriending boxers and folk stars at the same time as outraging polite society with her drinking and storytelling but ultimately gaining an indelible reputation as one of folk music’s most unique and enduring voices.

It features the music and singing of McPartlan, award-winning music producer Gerry Diver and fascinating folk artist Lisa Knapp with actors taking the roles of Margaret Barry, Alan Lomax, David Attenborough and others.

Elsewhere the quirkiness that sets FolkEast aside from other music festivals continues. The 2017 festival will see the return of Gardeners’ Cornered – FolkEast’s answer to Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time where festivalgoers can bring their poorly plants and horticulture queries to a panel including ‘Britain’s best known exponent of melodeon and concertina’ and keen allotment holder John Spiers (ex Bellowhead). Spiers will also reprise the outstanding collaboration formed at FolkEast last year with legendary fiddler Peter Knight of Steeleye Span fame as well as performing a solo spot.

Spiers’ erstwhile Bellowhead colleague, percussionist Pete Flood, meanwhile will also be joining the Gardeners’ Cornered panel. And he will be swapping his drum sticks for binoculars as he leads festivalgoers on a nature ramble around the Glemham estate. Post Bellowhead, Pete headed to Manchester Metropolitan University to enrol on a University Certificate in Biological Recording and Species Identification course with a view to fulfilling an ambition of working in conservation. He says: “I’ve had a long term dream of working in conservation and now have thousands of hours of obsessive botanising, moss-gathering and fungus-bothering behind me!”

Continuing the green-fingered theme, a new venture this year will be Eastfolk in Bloom. FolkEast’s Becky Marshall-Potter, who runs the festival with husband John says: “We are asking stall holders to take up the floral baton. There will be an offical judging of the best dressed stall and area on the Friday afternoon. We can’t wait to see what people will come up with – this could be the most colourful FolkEast yet!”

In its sixth year, FolkEast will be packing a punch with an eclectic line up of folk and world music acts including BBC award-winning headliners Jon Boden (ex Bellowhead frontman) and Sam Kelly and The Lost Boys and recently announced Sunday headliner, the dynamic Dhol Foundation. 2017 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards nominees Nancy Kerr, Kris Drever and Dorset duo Ninebarrow are all on the programme and of course FolkEast’s irrepressible patrons The Young ‘uns.

The brilliant line-up also includes Martin Simpson, Michael Chapman, Martin Carthy and John Kirkpatrick, Lau, Simpson, Cutting and Kerr, Damien O’Kane Band , Fay Hield, The Willows, Basque band Korrontzi, Three Cane Whale, Norfolk Broads, Moirai , Irish trad folk band Beoga and top duos Will Pound & Eddy Jay,  India Electric Co and Hannah Sanders & Ben Savage.

Full line-up details here

Day tickets have now gone on sale – £42 (adult), £36 concessions (full time students, senior citizens) and £30 Youth (12-17 yr olds). Family tickets for two adults and two 12-17 year old are £126.

Weekend tickets are available price £115(adult), £100 concessions and £70 for Youth tickets which must be purchased with an adult ticket. Family weekend tickets for two adults and two 12-17 year olds are £342.

A great FolkEast offer sees free admission for children aged 11 and under.

More ticket details here

Underhill Rose announce new live album – touring now

Underhill Rose
Photograph by Sandlin Gaither

Harmonies. Soul-touching lyrics. Eye-catching stage presence. Underhill Rose has become synonymous with beautiful music, charming personalities, and rippling success. In the last four years, the boot-wearing trio from Asheville, North Carolina has independently released two albums which have reached the upper reaches of the Americana Music Association Airplay Chart and Roots Music Report Chart, all the while garnering critical acclaim from around the globe. It’s full steam ahead for these female troubadours as they release their first live recording in spring 2017 with a corresponding tour in the United States, Ireland and the UK.

Over two starry September nights in 2016, the authentic, live sound of Underhill Rose was captured in their home state. “I’ve always wanted to create a stripped-down album of our trio that captures the magic of our live performances” says band co-founder and guitarist Molly Rose. The trio played two shows each night – including their original compositions and a few crowd-favourite cover songs – to riveted audiences. “It was wonderful to be surrounded by some of our biggest fans”, says bassist Salley Williamson. Band co-founder and Deering-endorsing banjoist Eleanor Underhill adds “the beauty of the album is that it highlights our voices and showcases our lyricism in a way that you have never heard in any of our prior recordings.”

Featuring original songs from their three studio albums, Underhill Rose’s Live covers the depth and joy of nearly a decade of musical partnership. By removing the bells and whistles of past recordings, Underhill Rose reveals the fundamental elements of their sound: a powerful trio in full bloom. The first track, ‘Who Brought the Sun’, highlights Rose’s lyrical poeticism and soaring vocal performance, the song resolving in a dreamy a cappella chorus. Next, a visit to the ‘Whispering Pines Motel’, for Underhill’s noirish tale of romantic longing. Track three, “They Got My Back,” is bass player Williamson’s tribute to the supportive community in which she was raised. Similar to the group’s prior albums, the live album features all three songwriters of Underhill Rose.

In a divergent move from past albums, the live collection also includes several crowd-favourite covers, with each band member taking a turn at the helm. After a charming interchange between Rose and her grandmother sitting in the front row, Rose’s gentle lilt spins the 80’s pop tune ‘Bette Davis Eyes’ into a piece more akin to contemplative folk. Williamson debuts her lead vocal with confidence and sass on ‘These Boots Are Made for Walkin’’, and Underhill sheds a new light on John Prine’s ‘Long Monday’ with thoughtful yet melancholic vocals and harmonica. Well loved by crowds, ‘Trouble in Mind’ begins with the band’s signature three-part harmony before launching into high gear.

Underhill Rose Live acts partly as a “best of” collection, showcasing the breadth of the trio’s catalogue in a stripped-down style that sounds and feels live. ‘Love Looks Good on You’ ponders true happiness and is glittered with Underhill’s harmonica, while ‘Little House’ showcases carefully crafted vocal harmonies.

The fifteen song album – printed on ethically sourced materials and featuring original artwork by Molly Rose – is a true homage to the ascendant trio’s roots.

Artists’ website:

‘Whispering Pines Motel’ live:

Home Gathering 2017 – all the details

Home Gathering

15-17th September
Hoults Yard, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 2HL

Home Gathering, curated and presented by The Unthanks, returns for its third edition this September, with another thrilling line-up across two stages in Newcastle’s Hoults Yard – the post industrial site brimming with atmosphere and regional heritage that was so popular last year.

Having been generously shown the ropes in the first two years by local promoters SSD, The Unthanks are now hosting and running Home Gathering in characteristically independent style. We have no funding. No backing! So please come and join us in making this a brilliant, sustainable annual event!

The eclectic programme is topped by a special one-time-only performance of ‘The Bairns’ by Rachel Unthank & The Winterset, marking the 10th anniversary of the Mercury nominated album. Pianist Stef Conner appears to reform the Winterset, for one performance only!

Other festival highlights include a rare solo performance by the peerless Joan As Policewoman, an overdue Newcastle appearance from the beguiling queen of folktronica Beth Orton, and 6 Music favourites, Dutch Uncles. If The Unthanks are known for their political and socially conscious output, it should be no surprise to find on the bill the poetic subversive funk of The Blockheads (celebrating 40 years since the release of their classic New Boots and Panties album), the cutting social commentary of folk singer Chris Wood and original rude boy Neville Staple who along with new material brings to Home Gathering the number one hits of The Specials, still as culturally relevant today as they were to turbulent late ’70’s Britain.

Comic royalty comes in the form of Alan Partridge and Royale Family writer, Henry Normal, and Graham Fellows, the genius behind John Shuttleworth and Jilted John, who surfaces from the shadows of his beloved characters for a rare performance as himself.

Home Gathering is staged in the cobbled yard of what was once one of the most famous potteries in the world, located in Byker, a stones throw from Newcastle’s cultural Ouseburn quarter. Between funky indoor post-industrial venues, you may find yourself flash-mobbed by a swirling traditional dance team, or immersed in the throng of an impromptu chorus sing by members of The Unthanks, joining a masked children’s procession, or just taking some time out for top local food or hanging out at a gin or real ale bar.

Strength in depth comes from the beautiful, exceptional voices of captivating London folk singer Lisa Knapp, singer songwriter Scott Matthews and the highly underrated sometime Fernhill singer, Julie Murphy.

In addition to the special performance by Rachel Unthank & The Winterset of The Bairns, The Unthanks 10 piece line-up will top the bill on Saturday night, augmented at points by 100 singing weekenders in the audience, primed through morning harmony workshops to create what in the past two years have been spine tingling, unique moments. Having sung with just Rachel and Becky Unthank in workshops, the 100 strong choir dotted in the audience haven’t heard what the band are going to do, and the band haven’t heard the singers. The Unthanks band respond intuitively to the singers, who are gradually joined in song by the whole 1000 capacity audience, to create a wall of harmonic sound – an experience belonging uniquely to everyone present.

Start and Finish Schedule and Rough Outline

Nearer the time you’ll be able to check the Home Gathering website, for which artists are on which days. For now we can tell you that the festival will start at 7pm on Friday, run from 2pm on the Saturday, and on Sunday, Home Gathering will close with Rachel Unthank & The Winterset performing The Bairns (midday), followed by Beth Orton, who will finish at 3pm. This is the first year that the festival has extended into Sunday, but we have limited this to a lunchtime programme in consideration for those needing to be home in time to return to work on the Monday.

The festival website is live now with artist and ticket info
Tickets are on sale from 9th June

Rachel Unthank & The Winterset – ‘Felton Lonnin’ from The Bairns:

Ryan Young – award-winning Scottish fiddler announces debut album

Ryan Young

This self-titled debut album from award-winning fiddler Ryan Young brings inventive twists to old and forgotten tunes. Produced and engineered by triple Grammy award-winning Jesse Lewis, this international collaboration is set to break new ground with its precise capture of Ryan’s unique sound. Offering original compositions alongside his reinventions of traditional tunes, Ryan digs deep into his Scottish roots, while borrowing from Irish fiddle styles.

There are stories at the core, ranging from melancholy airs to upbeat jigs and reels, many of which have not been played by anyone else in recent times. These glimpses into Scotland’s past lives echo startlingly the fervour of the present, uncovering themes as relevant now as they were then. By melding styles across regions and ages, Ryan delivers uplifting rhythmic drive, depth of dynamics and a bold new heartbeat for Scottish traditional music.

Voted ‘Up and Coming Artist of the Year’ at MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards in December 2016, some memorable live performances have consolidated Ryan’s reputation in his home country. Ryan has now shared the bill with two of his musical influences: He supported fiddle player Martin Hayes at Celtic Connections this January, having previously been accompanied by guitarist Dennis Cahill onstage at Feakle Festival, Co Clare.

A finalist from BBC Radio Scotland’s Young Traditional Music Awards in both 2015 and 2016, and a Celtic Connections Danny Kyle Award winner, Ryan has performed on the BBC Hogmanay Show and at T in the Park for around 80,000 people, sharing the main stage with Paolo Nutini and Phil Cunningham.

Recorded and produced by triple Grammy award-winner Jesse Lewis in the beautiful sounding Opera Theatre at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, it is one of the first traditional albums to be recorded in the UK in high resolution DSD format. This album places Ryan among a list of world-class musicians who have worked with Jesse, including The Silk Road Ensemble, Yo-Yo Ma, Bela Fleck, Jan Vogler and Brooklyn Rider. Ryan is accompanied by James Ross on piano and Leo Forde on guitar.

Jesse Lewis: “Ryan’s playing is so soulful, beautiful and intoxicating, and his musical pacing is way beyond his years. It’s been a pleasure to work with someone so clearly passionate about, and dedicated to, his art. There’s so much talent in this young man already, I can’t wait to see what the future has in store.”

Ryan Young: “If I’d been told five years ago that I’d be recording my debut album with Jesse, I wouldn’t have believed it. The past year has been extraordinary and I feel I’ve grown immensely as a musician. Jesse has spurred me on to find new possibilities in my music and helped me find confidence I didn’t know I had.”

‘Uniquely graceful and expressive playing. A future star of the Scottish fiddle world’ – Aidan O’Rourke (Lau)

‘Ryan’s playing brings an intense and unique approach to the burgeoning Scottish music scene’ – Ross Ainslie (Treacherous Orchestra)

Artist’s website:

‘The Irish Lass’ – with James Ross

Peter Knight to celebrate 70th birthday in Tewkesbury

Peter Knight

“Peter Knight can spin the world on his bow” so said no less a philosopher and writer than Sir Terry Pratchett, a man who knows what it is to invent a world…several actually.

Equally at home in diverse worlds/scenarios, Peter is a skilled practitioner who conjures and crafts aural images as well as contrasting soundscapes. His years of experience crossing boundaries and genres mean his music falls beyond categorisation and narrow thinking.

Ask him and he’ll more than likely respond that he plays what makes him happy or satisfies his melodic curiosity, which basically comes down to a philosophy that allows for questing, enquiry and partnership whilst constantly pushing the envelope.

Since leaving Steeleye in late December 2013, Gigspanner has rightly been his focus.

The band has developed in ways unpredictable though inspiring, ultimately securing a roots/fusion of wider scope and a unique identity.

What began as a simple side line became something other, and continues to morph in chameleon like fashion into different form when occasion demands. Across a handful of albums they’ve conjured an absorbing set by turn dark and light, supple yet strong, ancient whilst modern, familiar though innovative.  And they remain compliant enough to allow others to add to their polyglot, BBC Folk Award winners Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin being occasional recruits who bring eastern and Americana stimuli to the table.

Nor is that the only example of Peter Knight’s influence on the next generation of folk musicians, as his concerts with Bellowhead founder and squeezebox maestro Jon Spiers prove. Headlining Folk East in 2016 with minimal rehearsal time, the duo produced a set described by one rain sodden punter as ‘ethereal and beautiful, earning them a standing ovation and prolonged calls for them not to leave the stage.

From beginnings in the rarefied halls of the Royal Academy, to international stages the world over with Steeleye Span, who strove to give ancient roots contemporary guise, via the endless morphing of free music with respected specialist Trevor Watts, there is nothing predictable about a musician whose music is as mercurial as quicksilver, thoroughly absorbing, distinctive, enduring and above all fascinating”

Simon Jones (Journalist/fRoots.)

To celebrate his 70th Birthday year, Peter will be joined by the Gigspanner Big Band, featuring Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin, plus John Spiers.

The concert will be held at The Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury, on Sunday the 13th of August at 8.00pm

The concert is the culmination of a very special week of concerts, which includes a performance at Fairport’s Cropredy Convention, 50th Anniversary Festival, and the release of the debut ‘Gigspanner Big Band’ album, which was recorded live at the legendary Nettlebed Folk Club.

Artists’ website:

‘Silbury Hill’ live at the very venue:

Summer Dates

August 5th
Gigspanner Trio
Church of St Mary and St Julian
Maker Heights
Nr Torpoint

August 9th
Gigspanner Big Band
St Andrew’s Church
Ashburton, Devon
Call 07957 280129

August 10th
Peter performs at Cropredy with Feast of Fiddles, and then dashes to…
Gigspanner Big Band
United Reformed Church

August 11th
Gigspanner Big Band
Fairport’s Cropredy Convention

August 13th
Peter Knight’s 70th Birthday Concert
The Roses Theatre


Wickham Festival announces this year’s line-up

Wickham Festival site

Many of the UK’s finest traditional singers and musicians will be appearing at the Wickham Festival near Fareham between Thursday 3rd and Sunday 6th August.

They include Seth Lakeman; Show of Hands; Oysterband: Eliza Carthy & The Wayward Band; Kathryn Tickell; The Peatbog Faeries; The Fisherman’s Friends; Lau; Edward II; Boo Hewerdine; The Dhol Foundation; The Spooky Mens Chorale; Steve Tilston & Jez Lowe; Wizz Jones; Talisk; Fay Hield & The Hurricane Party; Les Barker; TradArr and many more.

Also appearing at Wickham are 70s chart-toppers 10cc; top Scottish singer-songwriter KT Tunstall; Festival favourites The Levellers; plus Andy Fairweather-Low & The Low Riders; John Otway; The Selecter and many more well-known names.

The Wickham Festival was voted the UK’s Best Small Festival at the Live UK Music Awards in 2015 and has also been described as one of Britain’s top boutique and family-friendly festivals by The Guardian newspaper.

The festival features live music on four stages plus a host of other attractions including storytelling, street theatre, dance displays, childrens entertainers, a digital funfair, laser arena, traditional crafts fayre, exotic foods fayre, real ale & cider festival, late night festival club and much more.

For the first time in several years there will be a Saturday night Ceilidh at Wickham Community Centre featuring Simon Care’s Banter. Tickets (£5) will be available on the door.

Festival organiser Peter Chegwyn says it’s “a real coup for a small village festival like Wickham to attract so many top artistes who have performed at major music festivals throughout the world.

“The Wickham Festival is known for its relaxed, friendly atmosphere and the high quality of the music on offer. People travel from all over the UK and abroad to attend. This year’s ticket sales are running at a record level and we are confident that our 10th birthday festival at Wickham will be our best yet.”

Full details of the Festival line-up can be found on the Festival website at and both day and weekend tickets can be purchased online or via the Festival Box Office, tel. 01329 231942. Tickets are also available to personal callers at the Ferneham Hall in Fareham and the Wickham Bar & Bistro in The Square, Wickham during opening hours.