FISHERMAN’S FRIENDS – Sole Mates (The Orchard)

Sole MatesFisherman – Sole. See what they did there. After avoiding groan-inducing puns for five albums, I suppose the Cornish collective can be excused for finally indulging, especially given yet another fine and rousing assemblage of sea shanties. Currently an eight-piece line-up, the most recent addition being veritable youngster Toby Lobb, their former sound engineer who joined the vocal ranks in 2015, once again they’ve trawled the shanty songbook to reel in both familiar favourites and less well known numbers.

They kick off with an evergreen in the form of the boozy sexual innuendo swayalong ‘Blow The Man Down’ with new lyrics by Jon Cleave, following swiftly by breaking out the squeezebox for the cautionary tale of deceptive floozies, ‘Oh You New York Girls’. Elsewhere, other well gnawed chestnuts include: a wholly a capella ‘Whip Jamboree’, complete with whoop, though it could well be a hiccup; ‘The Bonny Ship The Diamond’, a whaling song inspired the titular whaling ship which, in 1830, along with sixteen other whaling ships, was caught in the ice of Melville Bay, causing the loss of both the vessels and many lives; and ‘Fire Down Below’. The best-known of course is ‘The Leaving of Liverpool’, a lament popularised by The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem and notably covered by The Dubliners and The Pogues. As you’d expect, the classic chorus is no less rousing here but, unlike most versions, taken at a slower tempo, the reading of the verses bring out the poignancy and sadness at the heart of lyrics about the narrator leaving behind the city and woman he loves.

Band members Cleave and Billy Hawkins contribute character sketch ‘Capt. Stormio’, (complete with seagulls) and Cobb provides the lyrics to an arrangement of ‘Strike The Bell’, itself a maritime adaptation of Henry Clay Work’s 1865 song ‘Ring The Bell Watchman’, a celebration of the Union victory in the American Civil War.

Not shanties as such, ‘Being A Pirate’, a playful ditty about losing your body parts, sounding like something from Gilbert and Sullivan, comes from Canadian singer-songwriter Don Freed (originally titled ‘You Can’t Be A Pirate’) and its subsequent rework by Tom Lewis, while, featuring squeezebox, strummed guitar and clicking percussion ‘Jamaica Farewell’ is actually a Caribbean folk song calypso (popularised by Harry Belafonte), here in medley with band member Jason Nicholas’s contribution to the genre, ‘Green Banana Johnny’.

It ends with two shanties proper, ‘The Mermaid’, sometimes known as ‘The Stormy Winds’, or ‘The Waves On The Sea’, a popular number in the American folk tradition, though the lads do sneak in a mention of Port Isaac, their home base, as well as Padstow which, in turn, gets the final honours with the unaccompanied mortality-themed shanty gospel ‘The Padstow Leaving Shanty’. An unpretentious and hugely enjoyable catch.

Mike Davies

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Artists’ website: https://thefishermansfriends.com/

‘The Leaving Of Liverpool’ – live:

Wickham Festival 2017 Interview

Wickham Festival site

Darren Beech caught up with Peter Chegwyn just before the festival and had a chat about what we could expect from Wickham this year.

Many of the UK’s finest traditional singers and musicians appeared at the Wickham Festival near Fareham which took place between Thursday 3rd and Sunday 6th August.

They included 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 plus many more.

Also appearing at Wickham 2017 were the 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 plus 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 featured 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 and a late night festival club.

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.”

I couldn’t finish without putting up one of Peters favourite videos from the Gosport and Fareham Easter festival back in 2010 when Alan Burke dedicating “I will go” to the man himself.

Wickham Podcast link: https://www.wickhamfestival.co.uk/gallery/audio/

Festival website: www.wickhamfestival.co.uk

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