Halsway Manor – call for Artists In Residence 2018

Halsway ManorHalsway Manor – National Centre for the Folk Arts
Halsway Lane, Nr Crowcombe, Taunton TA4 4BD

 Halsway Manor, National Centre for Folk Arts is seeking applications from artists, companies or groups to be Artists in Residence for 2018. The successful artist will follow in the footsteps of  acclaimed folk trio Faustus (Benji Kirkpatrick, Saul Rose, Paul Sartin) in 2016, and celebrated female vocal trio Lady Maisery (Rowan Rheingans, Hazel Askew, Hannah James) in 2017.

Halsway Manor nestles on the Quantock Hills in one of the most beautiful regions of the UK, and is a fantastic and inspiring building which promotes the generation of ideas and development. With a large folk arts library, full residential facilities for up to 65 people and six acres of gardens and grounds it offers a home from home, a space to breathe and create, a magical environment.

The content of any residency at Halsway Manor is formulated between the artists and the management of the Charity. The residency could include leading courses at the Manor, researching and developing new material, working with communities, creating work in response to the setting, or simply finding time to be together in an environment which is conducive to sparking new ideas.

Halsway Manor wishes to hear from artists working within the genre of folk who have, or are developing, a national/international profile to form a symbiotic relationship which promotes and develops the work of both partners. This is not a paid opportunity but the Manor is able to offer the use of their facilities, accommodation and resources, and to partner in any funding bids for the development of work.

Artists wishing to be considered for Halsway Manor Artists in Residence should send an expression of interest to chiefexec@halswaymanor.org.uk by 3rd April 2017 outlining the reasons for their interest, and anticipated aims/outcomes for the residency. More details are available on the website: www.halswaymanor.org.uk.

COVEN live at the West End Centre, Aldershot

Coven
Photograph by Dai Jeffries

Coven aren’t so much a group as a collective made up of three elements. On the one hand there is the musical delicacy of Lady Maisery and on the other the homespun Yorkshire charm that O’Hooley & Tidow exploit. In the middle is Grace Petrie, a thorn between two roses, and more of her anon.

They originally came together three years ago to celebrate International Women’s Day, which coincidentally was the date of this event, and their show still has that as its central theme.  Lady Maisery opened with ‘Sing For The Morning’ from their latest album followed by ‘Portland Town’, a remarkable arrangement featuring fiddle and feet before finishing with ‘The Crow On The Cradle’.

Next came Grace Petrie who I hadn’t heard before. She’s something of a fire-brand and the wit of her stage chat carries over into her writing. Her first song, ‘A Revolutionary In The Wrong Time’, describes her career: “not folky enough for Whitby; not cool enough for Cambridge” is her self-deprecating description. The second song, written for her niece Ivy, describes rushing away from Glastonbury to be home for her arrival. It is probably the most unsentimental sentimental song you’ll hear and Grace wrapped up her set with her contender for the new national anthem, ‘God Save The Hungry’. I really liked her and her crusade to prove that there are still protest singers around – and that there is still a need for them.

Belinda and Heidi chose three songs about inspiring women: ‘Beryl’ and ‘The Pixie’ from Shadows and ‘Too Old To Dream’ from their first album. Three songs about three very different women in very different circumstances.

Coven only sang six songs as a unit, the six that appear on their EP, ‘Unholy Choir’, and I found that a little disappointing. The first of these closed the first half: Rowan Rheingans’ new setting of ‘Bread And Roses’ which dispenses with the martial rhythm of the more usual version.

The second set followed a slightly different pattern. O’Hooley & Tidow opened with ‘Gentleman Jack’ and ‘The Needle & The Hand’ before bringing the whole group together for ‘Coil & Spring’. Lady Maisery did likewise with ‘Quiet Joys Of Brotherhood’ and ‘Order And Chaos’ before ‘This Woman’s Work’. Grace’s two solos led into ‘If There’s A Fire In Your Heart’ to close the show.

Well, of course, there were two encores; The Roches’ ‘Quittin’ Time’ and ‘Never Turning Back’ and Coven really gave us our money’s worth with a show that lasted well over two hours and never outstayed its welcome. There are five gigs left on this tour and that will be it until next year unless the rumours of summer festivals are true. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Dai Jeffries

Artists’ websites: http://ohooleyandtidow.com/
https://www.ladymaisery.com/about
http://gracepetrie.com/

Venue website: https://hampshireculturaltrust.org.uk/

‘This Woman’s Work’:

Belinda O’Hooley talks to Folking about Coven

Coven
Photograph by Elly Lucas

There’s a new gang in town and if their publicity photographs are any guide they mean business. Coven combines the talents of O’Hooley & Tidow, Lady Maisery (Hazel Askew, Hannah James and Rowan Rheingans) and singer Grace Petrie. Belinda O’Hooley explains how it all came about.

“We were introduced to Grace’s work by Huw Pudner at The Valley Folk Club in Pontardawe. He was raving about her, and around the same time, Jude Abbott from the No Masters Co-op was also singing her praises. We watched some of her stuff on YouTube and thought she was such a firebrand, standing up for what she believes in and doing great things for women. We spent a summer doing the same concerts at festivals as Lady Maisery and were blown away by their live show. We got to know them along the way. Heidi and Rowan chatted about doing something as a collective at some point, and here we all are!

“Coven was Heidi’s idea. She had previously set up a Women Make Music night in Huddersfield and had experience of this sort of thing. Both Lady Maisery and Grace Petrie were well up for forming a collective with us and celebrating International Women’s Day in a series of concerts. The first Coven tour was just three dates which all sold out. The second year, we played ten dates and this year, we’ve got twelve.”

The name could be something of a hostage to fortune. Whose idea was it?

“I can’t remember who thought the name up, it wasn’t me. I think it suits us; a gaggle of witches.”

I couldn’t possibly comment on that but the press photos seem to suggest that Belinda and Heidi are the dominant force. Either that or it’s a case of big’uns in the middle and little-uns on the ends.

Coven
Photograph by Elly Lucas

“Ha! I think it looks like me and Rowan have got married and the rest of Coven are our bridesmaids. Elly Lucas took the photo at Kellam Island in Sheffield. We love the way she utilises the background of a rusty metal fence with the sunlight, to create texture and atmosphere. She’s a bit good. Looking at that photo, I wouldn’t want to mess with any of us.”

Again, I couldn’t possibly comment but what can we expect from a Coven gig?

“The show consists of us performing separately in our bands and also collectively together on existing material and also songs that Coven members have brought to the group. Over the course of the last two tours, these songs have taken on a life of their own and it has been very rewarding and exciting to record them and make an EP.”

Having developed rather below the radar over the last couple of years, Coven are embarking on a fully-fledged tour in March. Can we take it that Coven will be an on-going project?

“I think all of us want Coven to be an ever developing project as we all have so much to give to it. We all seem to get on really well and there is room for creativity and expression both individually and as a collective. It helps that we all like vegan food too. Hannah James is the most wonderful vegan chef, and kept us all fed beautifully for the five days we spent at Cooper Hall, Frome recording the EP. Fay Goodridge invited us there, and through their bursary scheme, we were able to record in their extraordinary venue. This EP, recorded by me and Heidi and mixed and mastered by Neil Ferguson will be available initially exclusively on the tour”

And that’s something else to look forward to.

Dai Jeffries

Artists’ websites: http://ohooleyandtidow.com/ https://www.ladymaisery.com/about
http://gracepetrie.com/

Coven – new supergroup tour in March

Coven

Three of the British folk scene’s finest, most formidable and forthright female acts take to the stage to celebrate International Women’s Day 2017. BBC 6 Music favourites and BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2015 Best Duo nominees O’Hooley and Tidow will be joined by BBC Radio 2 Folk Award Finalists Lady Maisery and the irrepressible Leicester songwriter Grace Petrie to form Coven. This is a rare opportunity to experience these thought provoking, heartfelt, entertaining and enthralling women in one unrepeatable performance.

Coven are recording an EP for sale on the tour.

O’Hooley and Tidow: “Defiant, robust, political, northern, poetical folk music for the times we live in.” Independent

Lady Maisery: “…are women with ideas, purpose and urgency. They create powerful, enthralling work.” Songlines

Grace Petrie: “A powerful new songwriting voice.” Guardian

Artists’ websites: http://ohooleyandtidow.com/ http://www.ladymaisery.com/ http://gracepetrie.com/

March Tour Dates

01 SHEFFIELD Greystones

02 SHEFFIELD Greystones

03 LEEDS All Hallows Church

04 HUDDERSFIELD Lawrence Batley Theatre

05 NEWCASTLE Cluny 2

07 LIVERPOOL Philharmonic Music Room

08 ALDERSHOT West End Centre

09 BRIDPORT Arts Centre

10 LONDON St John on Bethnal Green

11 LONDON The Ivy House Nunhead

12 FROME Cooper Hall

13 LEICESTER Guildhall

Lady Maisery release new album MAYDAY

This week sees the release of MAYDAY, the bold and highly anticipated new album from Lady Maisery.

Lady Maisery burst onto the folk scene in 2011 with their hit debut album Weave & Spin. After a hectic 18 months of touring, festival appearances and performances on national radio, Lady Maisery return with MAYDAY, a daring collection of stories about different human struggles. Many of the songs are warnings, often lamenting personal tragedies to expose a wider social injustice, whilst others reveal the determination of the human spirit and the persistence of life. Continue reading Lady Maisery release new album MAYDAY

LADY MAISERY RELEASE CHARITY SINGLE TO CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2013

LADY MAISERY RELEASE CHARITY SINGLEThis March, BBC Radio 2 Folk Award nominated band Lady Maisery are releasing a charity download single to celebrate International Women’s Day 2013. The trio will be releasing their own version of Kate Bush’s This Woman’s Work, with all profits going to support the work of the End Violence Against Women Coalition. The song will also celebrate the start of Women’s History Month, which begins on International Women’s Day (March 8th), and will be available to download online from Monday 4th March. Continue reading LADY MAISERY RELEASE CHARITY SINGLE TO CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2013