ROSIE HOOD – The Beautiful & The Actual (Rootbeat Records RBRCD36)

The Beautiful & The ActualRosie Hood’s debut solo album impresses on so many levels. Firstly, there’s her voice – a model of power and clarity; secondly there is the restraint of the accompaniments, even allowing for the presence of a string trio and Emma Smith’s mighty double bass and, finally, the template for the record. The Beautiful & The Actual is a quotation from Alfred Williams’ Folk Songs Of The Upper Thames and if you know anything about Williams you’ll know that he collected only words, never tunes, on the grounds that no-one would want to sing these songs again.

Many of Williams’ songs are unusual variants and I suspect that some of them, ‘Baker’s Oven’ for example, are unique. They provide a rich source of material for both singers and composers which is where Rosie comes in. She isn’t the first person to arrange Williams’ songs but probably the first to dedicate almost a whole album to him. She opens with ‘Lover’s Ghost’ matched with the tune of Packie Byrne’s version of ‘Holland Handkerchief’. This is an undeniably spooky tale made more so by its apparent simplicity. Having chilled your blood, Rosie injects some humour with a song of her own, ‘Furlong Of Flight’ concerning the unlikely story of an 11th century monk who constructed a pair of wings and flew down Malmesbury High Street before his crash landing.

‘William’s Sweetheart’ is a reworking of ‘William Taylor’ and ‘Lord Lovel’ borrows Peter Bellamy’s tune. ‘The Little Blind Girl’ is an unpublished text with a tune by Rosie who also wrote new melodies for variants of ‘The Red Herring’ and ‘The Cruel Mother’. Of the contemporary songs two, placed side by side, stand out. ‘Adrift, Adrift’ is Rosie’s song about refugees lost in the Mediterranean and John Archbold’s ‘The Hills Of Kandahar’ looks at the other end of the ongoing story, telling of a soldier killed by an IED in Afghanistan.

Supporting musicians include co-producer Tom A Wright, Ollie King, Jefferson Hamer and Emily Portman but Rosie’s voice dominates as it should with traditional music. The Beautiful & The Actual is high on my list of albums of the year.

Dai Jeffries

Artist’s website: www.rosiehood.co.uk

Rosie Hood and her band – ‘William’s Sweetheart’ live:

June highlights at Cecil Sharp House

June

Moya Brennan – The Voice of Clannad
Thurs 1 June, 7.30pm
£18 | £10 under 26s

When Bono stated recently, “I think she has one of the greatest voices the human ear has ever experienced”, he was heralding what many people know already about The Voice of Clannad, Moya Brennan. She sings like nothing you’ve ever heard before! So it makes sense that her live solo shows – with all the musicality and power of Clannad but with added, heart-warming intimacy – should be such a rich and moving experience. Her effortless vocals and timeless music pay homage not only to her vibrant traditional Irish heritage but also her grasp of contemporary forms.

With Clannad she rose to prominence with a pioneering approach to traditional music, which has garnered them 15 million record sales worldwide and a string of awards, including a Grammy in 1998. Her career to date includes 25 albums, numerous film scores and she has sung with many great artists, including The Chieftains, Robert Plant, Paul Brady, Shane MacGowan and Bono.

The East Pointers
Wednesday 7 June, 7:30pm – 10:00pm (Doors: 7pm)
Cecil Sharp House, London

​£14 | £10 youth​

The East Pointers are three young men whose talent and penchant for traditional Celtic tunes of decades past greatly belie their respective ages.

And while each member of the freshly formed trio – banjoist/vocalist/step-dancer Koady Chaisson, fiddle player/vocalist Tim Chaisson, and guitarist/vocalist Jake Charron – is an accomplished musician in his own right, their recent union is a testament to their shared output being, to borrow a common adage, greater than the sum of its parts.The cousins Chaisson hail from Prince Edward Island, Canada, part of the sixth generation of a heralded legacy of fiddlers and folk musicians. Tim tours the world as a performer/songwriter with a pop and country-tinged take on contemporary folk, with Koady often at his side or supporting other touring trad acts with his banjo, bass, and six-string. Jake, on the other hand, is based in Ontario and has strummed, plucked, and played piano alongside a laundry list of award-winning performers from around the globe.When Jake would visit PEI with any of his collaborators or the Chaissons were passing through Ontario on tour, a late-night kitchen party was sure to follow – fiddles and friends, guitars and Guinness, banjos and bad jokes. As their trunk of traditional and original tunes – some with an Irish influence, some Scottish, others rooted in the Maritimes – started to fill up, the trio realized it was time to put some to tape and take them on the road.The East Pointers’ slew of tunes carries a diverse mix of influence, but regardless of their age or origin, what they all share in common is the undeniable ability to get hands clapping, feet stomping, and bodies of all ages bouncing in harmony.

Made in the Great War
Thurs 8 June, 7.30pm

£18 | £10 under 26s

Sam SweeneyEight years ago Sam Sweeney, fiddle player with folk big band Bellowhead, bought a violin with a label inside showing the date 1915, the name Richard S. Howard and the words “Violin No. 6, Made in the Great War”.  Research revealed that the violin had been started, but never finished, by a music hall performer from Leeds named Richard Spencer Howard who was conscripted in 1915 at the age of 35, and killed two years later at the battle of Messines near Ypres.

The pieces of the fiddle had lay in a manila envelope for nine decades and it was over ninety years after Richard S Howard began working on the fiddle that it was finally finished and placed in the shop of Roger Claridge. This is where Sam found it.

To mark the ongoing 100th anniversary of World War I and to retell the story of Richard S. Howard, Sam Sweeney (fiddle/viola), winner of the “Musician of the Year” Award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2015, has collaborated with award-winning storyteller Hugh Lupton, fellow Bellowhead band mate Paul Sartin (oboe/fiddle), and Rob Harbron (concertina/harmonium), to create a music and spoken word performance, featuring on stage the actual fiddle made by Richard S. Howard.

Rosie Hood – ‘The Beautiful And The Actual’ album launch
Wed 14 June, 7.30pm

£12 | £10 under 26s

Rosie HoodRosie Hood is a young folk singer from Wiltshire, known for her strong, pure voice and engaging solo performance. In 2015 Rosie was a BBC Performing Arts Fellow with the English Folk Dance & Song Society and in 2016 she was nominated for the Horizon award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. 2017 will see Rosie release her first full-length solo album The Beautiful & The Actual, a collection of old and new folk songs.

Cecil Sharp House Choir and Alton Community Choir
Sat 17 June, 7.30pm

£10 | £6 under 26s

Alton Community ChoirEFDSS is excited to be hosting special guests Alton Community Choir, under the expert direction of Carolyn Robson, for this collaborative concert. Since forming in 2008, Alton Community Choir’s numbers have grown steadily from an initial 12 members to almost 70.  The Choir delights in finding unique ways to celebrate the folk traditions, which so inspire their repertoire.  Cecil Sharp House Choir was formed by EFDSS in the same year. Led by the inspirational Sally Davies, the Choir has become known for its spirited and moving renditions of folk songs from England and the wider British Isles.  Both choirs will sing selections of glorious a capella harmony arrangements.

Elliott Morris
Wed 21 June, 7.30pm

£12 | £10 under 26s

Elliott MorrisWith hundreds of gigs behind him Elliott Morris has a formidable reputation as one of the hardest-working and most sought-after young artists on the acoustic scene.  The singer-songwriter, featured in Acoustic magazine as “The Next Big Thing”, taps the strings and beats the guitar’s body to create an intricate spectacle, together with an original and unique sound integral to his songs.

Elliott’s original compositions marry intricate guitar lines with heartfelt, honest vocals and clever wordplay, combining elements of folk, roots, jazz and country. Embracing the traditional and the contemporary – this is folk music for the 21st century.  Elliott’s versatile blend of folk, pop and rock has complemented a range of major artists he has supported including Frank Turner, Seth Lakeman, Lau, Big Country, and The Three Degrees, and revered folk veterans Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick. He has also supported Paul Carrack (Squeeze, Mike + The Mechanics, Eric Clapton) on many of his UK tour dates.

“One of the most impressive guitarists to grace our studio for a very long time…a compelling listen – and mesmerising to watch!”  Dean Jackson – The Beat / BBC Introducing

Folk Sounds Best at Cecil Sharp House

Folk Sounds Best
The English Folk Dance and Song Society has unveiled its line up for the 2017 summer music and performance season at England’s national folk arts centre, Cecil Sharp House in London.

Elliott Morris
Wednesday 21 June, 7.30pm
Tickets: £12 | £10 under 26s

Elliott MorrisWith hundreds of gigs behind him Elliott Morris has a formidable reputation as one of the hardest-working and most sought-after young artists on the acoustic scene.  The singer-songwriter, featured in Acoustic magazine as “The Next Big Thing”, taps the strings and beats the guitar’s body to create an intricate spectacle, together with an original and unique sound integral to his songs.

Elliott’s original compositions marry intricate guitar lines with heartfelt, honest vocals and clever wordplay, combining elements of folk, roots, jazz and country. Embracing the traditional and the contemporary – this is folk music for the 21st century.  Elliott’s versatile blend of folk, pop and rock has complemented a range of major artists he has supported including Frank Turner, Seth Lakeman, Lau, Big Country, and The Three Degrees, and revered folk veterans Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick. He has also supported Paul Carrack (Squeeze, Mike + The Mechanics, Eric Clapton) on many of his UK tour dates.

“One of the most impressive guitarists to grace our studio for a very long time…a compelling listen – and mesmerising to watch!”  Dean Jackson – The Beat / BBC Introducing

The Takeover
Sunday 9 July, 7pm
​Tickets: £6

Showcasing talented young folk bands and musicians, this concert wraps up an evening of activities for young people, including ceilidh dancing and a jam session. The Takeover is curated, organised and hosted by EFDSS ‘​ Youth Forum and EFDSS’ resident folk collective, London Youth Folk Ensemble.

Venue website: www.cecilsharphouse.org/csh-whats-on.

Your chance to back Rosie Hood

Rosie Hood’s debut solo album is coming soon; your chance to preorder with exclusive rewards

Rosie Hood 2

Nominated for the Horizon Award at this year’s BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, Rosie Hood has already appeared on RootBeat in the Dovetail Trio’s Wing of Evening. We’re delighted to be bringing you her solo debut as well, and for the next few days you have the chance to pre-order it with exclusive bonuses including limited edition artwork prints by Louise Bichan and Rosie herself, bonus tracks, gig tickets and even an exclusive house concert.

Rosie says: There will be old songs and new songs on this album, traditional and re-worked folk songs as well as those I’ve written. Songs of women and from their voices, songs and stories from where I grew up in Wiltshire, songs of struggle, love and death (it is a folk album after all…).

My as-yet-unnamed debut album is already under way with demos of 12 tracks recorded with producer Tom Wright, the photo shoot in the diary with Louise Bichan, and Elly Lucas on board to work on styling and design. Melodeon player Ollie King and guitarist Jefferson Hamer are confirmed guests with more brilliant musicians yet to be announced.

Follow this link to find out more: Back Rosie’s album now!

BBC Performing Arts Fellowship recipient announced

EFDSS_rosie_hood_bannerTraditional singer Rosie Hood has been awarded a BBC Performing Arts Fellowship to work with the English Folk Dance and Song Society. Under the scheme, EFDSS will work with Rosie during 2015 to develop her artistic skills and professional opportunities, offering her guidance in a number of areas.

Rosie, who performs solo and with The Dovetail Trio, will also have access to rehearsal and performance opportunities and be part of EFDSS’ showcasing programme both in the UK and abroad.

The fellowship is awarded by the BBC Performing Arts Fund, which has given a total of £32,000 to 32 arts organisations across the UK so they can host a bespoke placement opportunity as part of the scheme. Successful organisations were able to demonstrate that a Fellowship placement with them would offer significant professional development opportunities for a Fellow, that their placement would be realistic and achievable, and that the selection process they went through to identify the Fellow was fair and transparent.

It is the second time in three years that a folk musician has received a Fellowship – singer songwriter Maz O’Connor was the recipient of an award in 2013.

“EFDSS is very excited to be part of the BBC Performing Arts Fund Fellowships and be working with Rosie over the next 12 months. She is a highly talented young artist at a stage in her career when this support can really help her to develop both her creative and business skills.” Katy Spicer, EFDSS Chief Executive

“I’m completely thrilled to have been awarded a Performing Arts Fund Fellowship with EFDSS. The combined knowledge, expertise and contacts of the society will be an invaluable resource to me over the coming year and I already feel more confident in my goals knowing that EFDSS believe in my ability to achieve them. The potential of what I might accomplish in this Fellowship is incredibly exciting and just a little bit daunting! I can’t wait to throw myself into it and develop musically, creatively and professionally in 2015.” Rosie Hood

The Dovetail Trio – ‘When I Was A young Maid’: