Derby Folk Festival announces its final line-up

Derby Folk Festival
Oysterband

The 11th Derby Folk Festival takes place from Friday 6 to Sunday 8 October 2017 and is jointly produced by Derby City Council’s Derby LIVE and Derbyshire-based PR Promotions.

This year Derby LIVE are proud to welcome a wide variety of performers, including the multi-award-winning Friday headline act, Oysterband, who will be appearing at Derby Folk Festival as part of their 40th Celebration Special. They will perform in the City Marquee, on the Market Place at 9.30pm on Friday 6 October as part of a concert starting at 7 pm, also featuring The Hut People and Martin Simpson.

Oysterband still play with that spirit of the punk ceilidh band that roared through people’s lives all those years ago. But the growing depth and sensitivity of their songwriting, coupled with the strength of John Jones’ voice and their remarkable musicianship, have lifted their music into a richer, more acoustic era. Their occasional collaboration with folk diva June Tabor has produced two cult-classic award-winning albums, Freedom & Rain and Ragged Kingdom. The latter and their hugely influential album Holy Bandits were voted nos. 4 and 5 among the Ten Best Albums of the last 30 years by the public in a poll by fRoots Magazine in 2016.

False Lights

This year’s festival line-up is already a who’s who from the broad spectrum of folk music, with many exciting artists confirmed for a variety of venues in Derby’s Cathedral Quarter. Show of Hands will return, three years after their last amazing appearance in the festival marquee, to headline Saturday evening. Folk rock group, False Lights will also perform their vibrant headline set on Sunday evening from 6pm-8.30pm in the City Marquee, closing the festival with folk music you can really jump to.

From 2.45 pm-4.15 pm, on Saturday 7 October, Derbyshire’s own Barry Coope and Lester Simpson will be on stage with Jim Boyes as Coope Boyes and Simpson in the City Marquee. Joined by special guests, they will be giving their ‘Last Ever Performance’ in a show that is sure to invoke both tears and laughter from the audience. Formed in 1993 their first album Funny Old World was named Roots Album of the Year by Q Magazine. Twenty three years later, with a career that has encompassed at least a dozen albums, numerous tours and festival appearances, as well as a Folk Awards nomination, Coope Boyes and Simpson released what will be their final studio album, Coda. Their last ever performance will mark a celebration of their career and will feature material from across their entire repertoire.

Getting the festival started from 7 pm on Friday night, with a quirky celebration of our rich musical heritage are The Hut People. This English instrumental duo (Sam Pirt and Gary Hammond) have firmly established themselves as one of the most unique, entertaining and best-loved acts on the UK folk scene today.

Also appearing in the City Marquee on Sunday from 11.30am are multi-instrumentalists Narthen (Barry Coope, Lester Simpson, Jo Freya and Fi Fraser) who will be playing and singing often in four part harmony, a capella and accompanied, demonstrating they are all extremely talented, and well-loved. From 2pm-4.15pm, introduced by festival patron, John Tams, popular solo folk artist Bob Fox will be performing the songs from War Horse. This will be followed by Leveret, which features three of England’s finest folk musicians in an exciting new collaboration. Andy Cutting, Sam Sweeney and Rob Harbron are each regarded as masters of their instrument and together their performances combine consummate musicianship, compelling delivery and captivating spontaneity.

Derby LIVE are delighted to announce that Derby born folk singer and songwriter Dave Sudbury, will also be performing during this year’s Festival. Dave is possibly best known for his song The King of Rome (a true story about a racing pigeon, bred in the West End of Derby) which was brought to the attention of an international audience by folk singer June Tabor and her own recording of the song. Dave will be joining the Village Folk Clubrooms line-up, which already includes award-winning folk and roots musicians, Oka Vanga, and is curated by the team who organise Village Folk concerts in the Lawns Hotel, Chellaston.

Derby Cathedral will be hosting two concerts entitled Folk Reflections by virtuoso ensemble, Sinfonia Viva who will return to bring a different angle to the festival programme. The Orchestra of the East Midlands will be performing on Friday 6 October at 5.45 pm-6.45 pm and 7.30 pm-8.30 pm. One of the longest running folk groups, Travelling People will be performing a wide variety of music from traditional to contemporary on Saturday 7 October from 12.30 pm-2.30 pm at Derby Cathedral. One of the trio, Dave Perkins was Canon Precentor of Derby Cathedral for four years from 2009, so it will be great to see him back there, joined by his musical partners Pete and Richard Stevenson. Also appearing on Saturday at Derby Cathedral will be Marc Block, a Nottingham-based folk singer and songwriter, who’s just released his new CD, Brisk & Breezy.

Derby Folk Festival will also be featuring new talent, Robyn Wallis Johnson at the Clubrooms on Saturday 7 October from 1pm-2.20pm. She will be performing a selection of self-penned songs in her own unique style, more often than not, reflecting on the ups and downs of human existence. On Sunday 8 October fiddle-singers The Rheingans Sisters will perform alongside Bob Fox from 4.15pm-6pm at the Guildhall Theatre. Rowan and Anna grew up in the Peak District, surrounded by traditional music and were encouraged to pick up the fiddle by their violin-maker father from an early age. Their debut album, Glad Gold Hearts, was released in June 2013 to wide critical acclaim and they have been described as having “vocal harmonies to die for” by fRoots who pronounced their first album as “a subtle gem”.

A fantastic set of venues throughout the Cathedral Quarter will continue to provide the perfect backdrop for the festival, including the enlightenment era Derby Cathedral, the rustic Old Bell Hotel, the City Marquee on the Market Place and the Guildhall Theatre. The festival will also include a host of free fringe events, dance acts, workshops and sessions, as well as an Arts and Craft Fair and food stalls on the Market Place. These free events will be taking place in Derby City Centre, spreading the festival’s intoxicating atmosphere throughout the city and making sure the festival is available to everyone.

For the last few years, Friday night in the Guildhall Theatre has been taken over by Adverse Camber from Cromford in Derbyshire and one of their great storytelling productions. This year is no exception; the festival will be showcasing Dreaming the Night Field: A Legend of Wales – weaving live music with Welsh and English to create a thrilling, funny, powerful and poetic show. This spellbinding new storytelling and music performance will take place on 6 October from 7.30 pm-9.10 pm. Tickets are available as a stand-alone show for £12 from the Derby LIVE Box Office on 01332 255800 or online at derbylive.co.uk they can also be purchased at the Sales and Information Centre, on the Market Place, Derby, DE1 3AH.

With the whole festival programme taking place in and around the city, it is perfectly placed for those arriving by either bus or train. Weekend tickets are on sale now at £88, and Friday Evening Tickets are priced at £24 for adults. Concessions are available. Festival tickets can be purchased through the Derby LIVE Box Office on 01332 255800 or online at derbylive.co.uk they can also be purchased at the Sales and Information Centre, on the Market Place, Derby, DE1 3AH.

Find out more at derbyfolkfestival.co.uk where you can download a copy of the festival flyer and keep up to date with the latest news on twitter and facebook.

A full list of confirmed acts can be found on the Derby LIVE website along with details about the artists and full programme on the Derby Folk Festival website.

Festival attenders can find the latest accommodation information at visitderby.co.uk where a range of hotels are available for all budgets and group sizes.

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.

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Coope Boyes And Simpson – final album and farewell tour

Coope Boyes And Simpson

In 1993, three blokes from South Yorkshire and Derbyshire, with a name like a firm of solicitors, released an album of acappella songs full of social comment and (in the words of Folk Roots) ‘harmonies you could chew’.

They were, of course, Coope Boyes and Simpson, and the album was Funny Old World. Q Magazine named it as their Roots Album of the Year in 1994.

Now, twenty three years later, with a career that has encompassed at least a dozen albums, numerous tours and festival appearances, as well as a Folk Awards nomination, Coope Boyes and Simpson are set to release what will be their final studio album.

Coda will be a collection of songs, mainly self-penned or drawn from the tradition, covering issues such as refugees, Iraq and climate change. With an anger undimmed, Coope Boyes and Simpson are returning to their roots and completing the circle that started with Funny Old World.

The album is set for a September 2016 release, and Coope Boyes and Simpson will be undertaking a UK tour in October and November, with an album launch at Musicport.

May 2017 will see Coope Boyes and Simpson embark on their farewell tour at venues throughout the UK. The tour will be a celebration of their career, and will feature material from across their entire repertoire.

Les Barker’s Guide Cats for the Blind Vol. 5 ‘Herding Cats’

The Guide Cats for the Blind album series was produced to raise funds for a project run by the British Computer Association of the Blind (BCAB). Guide Cats Volumes 1 to 4 enabled the Association to create “EyeT4All”, a programme of life changing computer workshops for blind and partially sighted people. The work doesn’t stop there. With funds from Vol. 5 ‘Herding Cats’ will empower community centres for blind and partially sighted people throughout the UK to hold “EyeT4All” workshops for themselves. Continue reading Les Barker’s Guide Cats for the Blind Vol. 5 ‘Herding Cats’