The West End Centre unveils its autumn programme

West End Centre

The autumn programme at the West End Centre kicks-off in September with Leveret, a unique collaboration between three of England’s finest folk musicians, Andy Cutting, Sam Sweeney and Rob Harbron. Leveret’s music is firmly rooted in the English tradition but with a sound that is fresh and new.

Next up is Molotov Jukebox, a London six-piece who deliver an accordion, Balkan fiddle, and Latin trumpet mix. Having racked up hundreds of festival appearances including Glastonbury, Eurosonic and Womad, the band are guaranteed to get the crowd moving at every raucous show.

Closing-off September, Sam Carter performs at the West End Centre. Since being named Best Newcomer at the 2010 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, Sam Carter has been stirring audiences from Camden to Canada and has been described as ‘the finest English-style finger-picking guitarist’.

The October line-up sees two of the UK’s finest and most prolific songwriters Kris Drever and Boo Hewerdine take the stage. Touring together for the first time in over three years, 2018 finds both artists on top form, with Kris having won the BBC Folk Awards Best Singer award and both performers releasing music which is widely considered to be their best work so far.

Later in the month, the West End Centre welcomes folk legends guitarist/singer Martin Carthy and squeezebox virtuoso/singer John Kirkpatrick – long-time collaborators in a variety of seminal musical projects: from John’s iconic 1976 Morris tunes album Plain Capers through Steeleye Span to Brass Monkey. The evening is certain to be a memorable occasion.

In the first of five gigs in November, Mabon start the busy programme. Led by Jamie Smith on accordion, Mabon play music that draws inspiration directly from the traditional folk music of the Celtic countries. They combine recognisable British forms of jigs and reels with Breton ‘an dro’, French ‘mazurka’ and Galician ‘muinera’ bass (upright and electric).

Next on the programme is Evening Star – a band formed by six of the most original musicians from France, Italy, Spain and the UK who play traditional dance music influenced by the spirit of free improvisation, pop and 21st century sound.

Newcastle’s Holy Moly & The Crackers continue the up-beat theme. With their high octane ‘Gypsy Folk Rock’ set, this seven-piece band returns to Aldershot after two sell-out shows last year. Wowing their raucous and ever-expanding fan-base with instrument-swapping, squeezebox-growling, fiddle-shredding, brass-howling hoe-downs, the group have been able to hone a sound that is organic and invigorating – forged in the sweat and heat of the live show.

Moore Moss Rutter are next on the line-up. It’s been three years since the release of the band’s second studio album ‘II’ – and there’s a heightened sense of anticipation around the reunion of Tom Moore (fiddle, viola), Archie Churchill-Moss (melodeon) and Jack Rutter (guitar). The trio won the 2011 BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award.

Completing November’s programme is Chris Wood – an exceptional songwriter whose music reveals his love for the un-official history of the English-speaking people. With gentle intelligence he weaves the tradition with his own contemporary parables.

Early December sees East London five-piece folk band Stick In The Wheel at the West End Centre. Headed by singer Nicola Kearey, and guitarist/producer Ian Carter, their debut From Here (2015) was fRoots magazine Album of the Year and a MOJO Folk Album of the Year. They have also received four BBC Folk Award nominations since their inception in 2013. Known for Kearey’s fierce, authentic delivery, this is culturally and politically switched-on music with its roots firmly embedded in the genre’s traditional, working-class heritage.

Oxfordshire-raised, Cheshire-based singer and songwriter Thea Gilmore has gained global acclaim for making music not only of extraordinary beauty, but of rare honesty and insight. In 2009, Thea released Strange Communion an album that included ‘That’ll Be Christmas’ which became the most played festive song on BBC Radio 2 that year

A few days before Christmas, CoCo And The Butterfields come to the West End Centre. They are an indie-pop/folk band, from Canterbury, Kent. Since their inception in 2012, CoCo And The Butterfields have spent much of their time on the road, touring the UK and Europe, selling out headline shows and featuring at many major festivals.

Barney Jeavons, Director of Aldershot’s West End Centre told us:

“We have a tremendous line-up at the West End Centre this autumn – from traditional folk artists through to roots-based contemporary bands. Don’t miss the opportunity to see both up-and-coming and well-known acts in a celebration of some the UK’s best folk and roots music.”

For more information and bookings visit www.westendcentre.co.uk or call 01252 330040.

VARIOUS – From Here: English Folk Field Recordings (From Here Sitw005)

From HereThey may be newcomers to the scene, but Stick In The Wheel are certainly making their mark, not just with their own recordings and associated artifacts, but in their involvement with the folk world in general, and the traditional in particular.

Band members Ian Carter and Nicola Kearey serve as curators, collaborators and producers for this collection of new live recordings by both the great and good and some of the lesser known luminaries in the genre. The remit for those involved was to record songs that explored either place or their musical identity, culminating in a gathering of field recordings captured in locations as diverse as a stone cottage in Edale, a bank vault and a garden at Robin Hood’s Bay using just two stereo microphones and with no subsequent overdubs.

As you would imagine, the tracks are stark and raw, first up being ‘Bedfordshire May Carol’, chosen by performer Jack Sharp, leader of psych-folk outfit Wolf People, as it supposedly originated just a few miles from where he grew up. Next up, Eliza Carthy leads a flurry of more familiar names with a self-penned number, ‘The Sea’, a new setting of the broadside ballad found in Manchester’s Chetham Library and featuring on her current album, the initial pizzicato fiddle giving way to more robust playing. She’s followed by one of the veterans of English folk, John Kirkpatrick, applying his accordion to a song from his lengthy repertoire and a folk club staple ‘Here’s Adieu To Old England’, while his sometimes musical partner, Martin Carthy, also chose a number he’s recently reintroduced back into his sets, ‘The Bedmaking’, a familiar tale of the abused and cast aside servant girl. fingerpicked here to a halting rhythm.

Sandwiched in-between is one of the rising stars of the few folk firmament, the Peak District’s Bella Hardy, who went to 19th century collection The Ballads and Songs of Derbyshire for ‘The Ballad of Hugh Stenson’, setting it to a more upbeat tune than the hymnal adapted by Jon Tams, while, another member of folk royalty, Jon Boden puts his squeezebox to work on a contemplative take on 19th century drinking song ‘Fathom The Bowl’.

There’s a couple of spokes from the Wheel, both unaccompanied, Kearey delivering glottal version of the much covered ‘Georgie’ and Fran Foote ‘The Irish Girl’. They’re not the only numbers to be sung naked as it were. BritFolk alumnus Lisa Knapp has a lovely treatment of the tumblingly melodious ‘Lavender Song’, while, also from the female side, Fay Hield tips the hat to Annie Briggs with her choice of ‘Bonny Boy’.

On the other side of a capella gender fence, Geordie folkie Stew Simpson mines his Newcastle roots for ‘Eh Aww Ah Cud Hew’ (which the accompanying booklet helpfully translates as “Oh Yes, I Could Pick At The Coals”), Sam Lee turns the evergreen ‘Wild Rover’ on its head to transform it into a slow, sad lament rather than more familiar rollicking rouser of Dubliners and Pogues note, and, from Wales, a deep-voiced Men Diamler closes the album with ‘1848 (Sunset Beauregard)’, a self-penned political protest ballad about Tory policies. The remaining unaccompanied track is actually a duet, Peta Webb and Ken Hall joining voices for an Irish in London in the 50s marriage of Ewan MacColl’s ‘Just A Note’, about the building of the M1, and Bob Davenport’s account of the dangers of ‘Wild Wild Whiskey’.

The three remaining tracks are all instrumentals. Bristol’s acoustic instrumental quartet Spiro are the only band on the collection and provide their self-penned ‘Lost In Fishponds’, apparently about getting lost en route to a gig, joined here by North Wales violinist Madame Česki, while Sam Sweeney brings his fiddle to bear on two tunes. ‘Bagpipers’, one of the first things he played with his band Leveret, and ‘Mount Hills’, an English dance tune from the 17th century. Which leaves Cumbrian concertina maestro Rob Harbron to provide the third with a pairing of ‘Young Collins’, a Costwolds’ tune learned from Alistair Anderson, and, another from the Morris tradition, ‘Getting Up The Stairs’, which, by way of a pleasing synchronicity, he actually learned by way of John Kirkpatrick on the influential Morris On album.

It more than does the job it set out to achieve, and, likely to loom large in end of year awards, fully warrants a place in any traditional folk fan’s collection.

Mike Davies

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

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Artists’ website: www.stickinthewheel.com

Stew Simpson – ‘Eh Aww Ah Cud Hew’:

The Steeleye Span 45th Anniversary folking Interview

Steeleye Span 45th Anniversary Tour at G-Live

With a career that has taken in an astounding six decades, Steeleye Span is not just a legendary name in British music but also a link to the classic days of rock and folk music. Contemporaries of the likes of Led Zeppelin and Fairport Convention, they have gone on to change the face of folk music forever, taking it from small clubs and festivals into the world of chart topping albums and international tours.

Part of that incredible story has been the individuals that have contributed to the band’s history. Steeleye Span has provided a home for a long list of some of the world’s finest musicians. The current line up of Maddy Prior, Rick Kemp, Liam Genockey, Julian Littman, Pete Zorn and Jessie May Smart along with older names such as Martin Carthy, John Kirkpatrick, Tim Harries, Bob Johnson and most recently Peter Knight have all woven their heraldry into the historical fabric of the folk-rock tapestry.

Paul Johnson and I recently caught up with current band members Maddy Prior, Julian Littman, Peter Zorn and  Jessie May Smart during the 45th Anniversary Tour at G-Live in Guildford to celebrate this 45 year landmark.  Click the play button below to listen to the interview.

The video below celebrates the bands most recent album Wintersmith which was recorded in collaboration with Sir Terry Pratchett at the end of 2013. The album is based on Pratchett’s Wintersmith novel, which subject matter is completely appropriate for Steeleye, in its tales of ancient rituals and secret folk dances that perfectly complement their previous work whilst taking the band off again in a new and exciting prog-rock direction.

Darren Beech – folkmaster@folking.com

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

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.

Beverley Martyn: NEW ALBUM ANNOUNCED + TRACK STREAM

Beverley MartynBeverley Martyn started her musical career at just 16 with the jug band The Levee Breakers and recorded her first single “Babe I’m Leaving You” in 1965. In 1966 she was chosen to launch Deram Records and released a single, “Happy New Year” written by Randy Newman. She contributed to the Simon & Garfunkel album Bookends, toured America with the duo and later appeared at the Monterey Pop Festival on 16 June 1967.

In 1969 she met John Martyn, whom she later married. As a duo they issued two albums, Stormbringer! and The Road to Ruin. Although she was spending more time with her children, Beverley continued to contribute to John’s solo projects until the breakdown of their marriage.

At various times, Martyn has worked with Levon Helm, Jimmy Page, Dave Pegg, Richard Thompson, John Renbourn, Ralph McTell, Davy Graham, and Sandy Denny. She appeared in the photograph on the album sleeve of Bert Jansch’s 1965 album It Don’t Bother Me; where she can be seen lounging in the background.  In December 2013, Beverley appeared at the Royal Festival Hall as part of a celebration of Bert Jansch, alongside friends and contemporaries such as Donovan, Martin Carthy, Pentangle and Robert Plant. Her powerhouse performance of “” was described by Mojo as ‘sounding almost Janis Joplin-esque’.  A film of the event is due to be shown by the BBC in the spring.

In 2004, Fat Boy Slim sampled Beverley Martyn’s song “Primrose Hill” for the track “North West Three” which is on his album Palookaville. Beverley still performs the song live along with ‘Auntie Aviator’, also from The Road The Ruin.

April 2014 will see the release of her new album entitled The Phoenix and the Turtle. Described by Beverley as a very personal album, it features songs written throughout her entire career, from her very first song, “Sweet Joy”, to the previously unrecorded Nick Drake & Beverley Martyn song “Reckless Jane” which was started in 1974 when Drake lived nearby Beverley in Hampstead. “We started writing the song as a bit of a joke,” she says, “I couldn’t look at it for a long time after he died, but then finally I decided to finish it.”

“When The Levee Breaks’ and ‘Going To Germany’ are songs Beverley used to sing with The Levee Breakers. Another song, ‘Women And Malt Whiskey’ is, in part, about John Martyn and other friends from the scene back then.

The Phoenix and the Turtle is Beverley’s first album in fourteen years and was recorded in Wales with guitarist and producer Mark Pavey; it also features contributions from bass player Matt Malley, ex-Counting Crows and drummer Victor Bisetti, ex-Los Lobos which were recorded “by the magic of computer” in California. The album “still has that in-a-room feel,” said Beverley recently, “it sounds like an old style analogue record. It’s very me, very transatlantic.”

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

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.

New Video from Lisa Knapp + BBC Folk Awards

Lisa Knapp Hidden Seam

Lisa Knapp first emerged in 2007 with a remarkable debut album, ‘Wild And Undaunted’ and quickly established herself as a highly distinctive, creative artist, merging a radiant style of traditional folk and self-penned song with vocal, fiddle, hammer dulcimer, strings, banjo and contemporary production.

It was a long wait but evidently worth it – the South Londoner’s much anticipated 2nd full length album, Hidden Seam, is finally available from Navigator Records.

Far from idle, Lisa has spent the years between albums exploring her increasing fascination with the elements and our fragile, volatile environment.  Though greatly inspired by husband/musical partner Gerry Diver’s own creative journey with his 2011 ‘Speech Project’ album (music based on the speech patterns of Irish traditional singers), Lisa was equally motivated by a love of language – partly through a meeting with Seamus Heaney but also a healthy obsession with the old English text of Beowulf.

Shipping Song, the album’s opening track, arises from Lisa’s fascination with the Met Office’s somnambulant, poetic late night shipping forecast ; its strange and far-away sounding place names, Utsire, Viking, Fastnet and Lundy. A recording of American Marine sound testing from the 1950s was seamlessly sewn into the track, alongside the sounds of sea creatures and spinning motors.

Black Horse is a song by the great, late English singer/songwriter, Lal Waterson, which Lisa was originally invited to perform on tour with Scottish singer and guitarist James Yorkston. Not only does James guest on this recording but Lisa was also thrilled to be joined by Lal’s daughter, Marry Waterson.  Lisa plucked up courage to invite Martin Carthy, one of her musical heroes, to accompany her on Two Ravens, a touching song about Alzheimers disease. Seagiver is a visceral song of death and the elements. The penultimate track on Hidden Seam, Hunt the Hare Pt 1, features acclaimed Scottish folk musician, Alasdair Roberts and  was originally based on the well known Irish song Rocky Road to Dublin. It evolved into a song about the month of May. On Hushabye, a lullaby style song which she regularly sang to her daughter, Lisa is accompanied by celebrated singer/songwriter, Kathryn Williams.

Hidden Seam is a substantial sonic tapestry. It will swiftly re-establish Lisa Knapp as not only one of the most compelling voices of her generation in British folk music but one of the most innovative.  Her roots may be embedded in the great folk revival of the 50’s and 60’s but with this new album, she is setting sail for unchartered horizons.

Lisa has also been nominated in 3 categories for the upcoming BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards: Folk Singer Of The Year, Best Album and Best Non-Traditional Track for Two Ravens (which Martin Carthy played on).

If you would like to order a copy of an album (CD or Vinyl format), download a copy or just listen to snippets of selected tracks then click below to be taken to our associated partner Amazon’s website (use the left and right arrows below to scroll along or back to see the full selection).

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.

BBC RADIO 2 FOLK AWARDS 2014 LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS ANNOUNCED

BBC Radio 2 has announced the recipients of this year’s Lifetime Achievement awards.

Clannad_2014Carthy2014

 

 

 

 

 

The two prestigious accolades will be presented to Clannad and Martin Carthy at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2014 in a ceremony being held at the Royal Albert Hall on February 19. The Radio 2 Folk Awards celebrate an important milestone this year – marking their 15th anniversary.

Legendary Celtic band Clannad, who will also be performing at the awards, comprises siblings Moya, Ciaran and Pol Brennan, and their twin uncles Noel and Padraig Duggan. Their music mixes the traditional and the modern, the past and the future. The band’s record sales exceed fifteen million since release of their eponymous debut in 1973. Towards the end of the seventies they recruited their younger sister on piano and harmony vocals. She worked on two albums and embarked on several tours with them before going on to establish her own highly successful solo career as Enya.

Clannad said:

“We are absolutely honoured to be recognised in this way by the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. The BBC have been such great supporters of us since we first broke through in the UK with Theme From Harry’s Game. We are really looking forward to being part of the big night at the Royal Albert Hall.”

English folk singer Martin Carthy has remained one of the most influential figures in British traditional music. For more than 50 years he has been one of folk music’s greatest innovators, and has recorded more than 40 albums, with only 10 of these being solo records. He has recorded with legendary bands including Steeleye Span, Brass Monkey and Imagined Village to name but a few.

Martin Carthy said:

“I’ve just been lucky enough to follow my heart and pretty much do what I want over the past 50 years or so. If, along the way, I’ve been able to play a part, however small, in keeping the traditional music of these islands alive, then I consider myself a fortunate man.”

Bob Shennan, Controller BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music, said:

“The Radio 2 Folk Awards exist to celebrate the very best in folk music. Clannad and Martin Carthy have made magnificent contributions to Folk music over the years and are thoroughly deserving of these prestigious accolades. Many congratulations to them.”

In addition to the Lifetime Achievement Awards, Radio 2 has also announced that the Cambridge Folk Festival, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, is being awarded the Good Tradition Award. This award is given to a person, group or organisation for their contribution to the preservation, dissemination and continuance/ progression of traditional music over a number of years.

Radio 2 has also confirmed that Martin Simpson, Anais Mitchell & Jefferson Hamer and The Full English are set to perform on the night.

The awards ceremony at The Royal Albert Hall will see some of the biggest names in folk music come together under one roof to celebrate the UK’s thriving folk music scene.

The event will welcome a host of star guests, with Bellowhead, Suzanne Vega and The Fisherman’s Friends set to perform live on the night.

This year’s awards will see the addition of a new element – the Radio 2 Folk Awards Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame will recognise the special contribution of an individual to the world of folk music; someone whose impact and influence has had a lasting impression.

The first entrant to be inducted into the Hall of Fame is Cecil Sharp – widely regarded as being a key figure in having helped lay the foundations for the modern folk revival in the early 20th century.

The BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards will be broadcast live on Radio 2 from 8pm, and in vision via the Red Button and online at bbc.co.uk/radio2, with video highlights to follow the next day. The audience can also follow the event and get involved via the Radio 2 website.

The full list of nominees in this year’s Radio 2 Folk Awards are:

Folk Singer of the Year

  • Bella Hardy
  • Fay Hield
  • Lisa Knapp
  • Lucy Ward

Best Duo

  • Ross Ainslie & Jarlath Henderson
  • Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker
  • Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita
  • Phillip Henry & Hannah Martin

Best Group

  • Breabach
  • The Full English
  • Lau
  • Melrose Quartet

Best Album

  • Child Ballads – Anaïs Mitchell & Jefferson Hamer
  • The Full English – The Full English
  • Hidden Seam – Lisa Knapp
  • Vagrant Stanzas – Martin Simpson
  • Won’t Be Long Now – Linda Thompson

Horizon Award

  • Olivia Chaney
  • Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker
  • Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar
  • Georgia Ruth

Musician of the Year

  • Aidan O’Rourke
  • Will Pound
  • Martin Simpson
  • Sam Sweeney

Best Original Song

  • Love’s For Babies and Fools – Linda Thompson
  • None the Wiser – Chris Wood
  • Swimming in the Longest River – Olivia Chaney
  • Two Ravens – Lisa Knapp

Best Traditional Track

  • Codi Angor – Georgia Ruth
  • Les Bras de Mer – Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita
  • Mary Macdonald’s – Rant
  • Willie of Winsbury – Anaïs Mitchell & Jefferson Hamer

BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award

  • Hattie Briggs
  • Gentlemen of Few
  • Granny’s Attic
  • The Mischa Macpherson Trio

www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre