Robert Plant presents Saving Grace featuring Suzi Dian
Transatlantic Sessions exclusive UK Festival appearance
Aoife O’Donovan – Capercaillie – Dani Larkin
Fantastic Negrito – Flamy Grant – Jerry Douglas
Katherine Priddy – The Langan Band – Larkin Poe – Mec Lir
Michael McGoldrick, John McCusker and John Doyle
Mitsune – Nitin Sawhney – Nora Brown & Stephanie Coleman
Oysterband – Peggy Seeger and Family – Raghu Dixit – Ralph McTell
Ríoghnach Connolly & Honeyfeet – Talisk – Tommy Emmanuel
Cambridge Folk Festival is delighted to announce the first artist names for 2024 including iconic music makers, artists in the vanguard of folk’s evolution, legendary names and names of the future in a significant programme marking 60 years since the Festival was established in 1964. More names to be announced.
One of the most powerfully charismatic singers and greatest music makers in modern times, Cambridge is delighted to announce Robert Plant, performing as part of a unique co-operative, Saving Grace featuring Suzi Dian. In an unparalleled career of several decades Robert Plant has created music ceaselessly; from the days as rock’s legendary Led Zeppelin frontman to Bluegrass Grammy winning album and partnership with Alison Krauss and subsequent music collectives. He comes to Cambridge with Saving Grace – a collective comprised of Suzi Dian (vocals), Oli Jefferson (percussion), Tony Kelsey (mandolin, baritone and acoustic guitars), Robert Plant (vocals) and Matt Worley (banjo, acoustic and baritone guitars, and cuatro) reworking a selection of diverse cover versions collected from various places, creating a musical journey in its truest form.
In a totally exclusive UK Festival appearance, the phenomenal Transatlantic Sessions come to Cambridge. Celebrating the rich traditions connecting Scotland, Ireland and the US, Transatlantic Sessions feature an outstanding line-up of artists, as great guest musicians and a celebrated house band explore shared roots through original material and age-old songs.
Cambridge can look forward to a spectacular line-up that includes Tommy Emmanuel, Karen Matheson, Aoife O’Donovan, and duo Allison De Groot & Tatiana Hargreaves on banjo and fiddle, after winning Instrumental Group of the Year and Traditional Album of the Year at the 2023 Canadian Folk Music Awards. The Transatlantic Sessions house band led by Aly Bain and Jerry Douglas, features renowned Celtic and roots musicians Phil Cunningham, John Doyle, Michael McGoldrick, John McCusker, Donald Shaw, James MacKintosh and Daniel Kimbro.
American singer and Grammy award-winning songwriter, Aoife O’Donovan operates in a thrilling musical world beyond genre. She is set to release her 4th solo album All My Friends this March, following three critically-acclaimed and boundary-blurring albums. Co-founder of the Grammy Award-winning female folk trio I’m With Her and co-founder and lead singer for the string band Crooked Still, she has become a go-to vocalist in the American contemporary folk, bluegrass, and progressive Americana scenes.
Western Scotland’s finest, Capercaillie have been credited with being the major force in bringing Celtic music to the world stage, reaching out for decades to the ears and hearts of people all over the world. The band’s astonishing musical dexterity and peerless voice of co-founder Karen Matheson – recognised as one of the finest Gaelic singers alive today – have ensured their unique fusion of Gaelic culture and contemporary sound has always stretched boundaries in their quest to keep the music evolving.
Emerging as a rising star on the Irish contemporary and alt folk scene, Dani Larkin is a singer-songwriter and folk musician from the Armagh-Monaghan border. Her sound is inspired by the Irish traditional melodies she was raised with and her songs reminiscent of Celtic folk tales.
After an unforgettable and electrifying debut appearance at Cambridge in 2017, Blues artist Fantastic Negrito makes a welcome and much anticipated return. In the intervening years, his powerful performances and message have seen Negrito take home three consecutive Grammy’s for Best Contemporary Blues Album, launch his own Storefront Records label, perform at nearly every major festival on the map, and found the Revolution Plantation, an urban farm aimed at youth education and empowerment. Fantastic Negrito recently received his fourth Grammy nomination, Best American Roots Performance, for the song ‘Oh Betty’ from ‘White Jesus Black Problems’.
Always at the forefront of celebrating both fresh artistry and the legendary roots of folk, Cambridge is delighted to welcome Flamy Grant. Award-winning and Billboard-charting, this powerhouse vocalist, intrepid songwriter, and irreverent comedy queen is a ‘shame-slaying, hip-swaying, singing-songwriting’ drag queen from western North Carolina.
With a line-up featuring the extraordinary voice of BBC Folk Award-winning singer Ríoghnach Connolly – last heard at Cambridge in 2022 when she performed as part of duo, The Breath – Honeyfeet are an eclectic Manchester based troupe. Brass heavy sound spans the bountiful to the subtle, with everything from big-band swing to Alabama blues-tinged folk, all held together by the powerful vocals and flute from Ríoghnach. ‘Reminds me of the first time I heard Amy Winehouse with the Dap Kings’(Chris Hawkins, BBC 6 Music).
Fourteen-time Grammy winner, multi-talented Jerry Douglas is an American Dobro and lap steel guitar player, and record producer. Described by The New York Times as, ‘dobro’s matchless contemporary master,’ Jerry Douglas is also among the most innovative recording artists in music, both as a solo artist and member of numerous bands, such as Alison Krauss and Union Station and The Earls of Leicester. And, since 1998, has been a co-director of Transatlantic Sessions.
Katherine Priddy has quickly become one of the most exciting names on the British music scene and she makes a welcome return to Cambridge. Her haunting vocals and distinctive finger-picking guitar style have seen her sell out a headline tour, perform at prestigious festivals around the UK and abroad, including Glastonbury. She recently featured on a Double LP of Nick Drake covers released by Chrysalis Records and February 2024 sees the release of Priddy’s eagerly awaited second album, The Pendulum Swing, exploring themes of home, family, love and memory.
For over 15 years now, the three members of The Langan Band have been carving out their own virtuosic path of sound. Initially brought together by a deep respect for traditional Scottish song and music, they discovered a mutual love of the regeneration of these pieces into provocative and fascinating new compositions. This sound and process went on to inform the band’s now mostly original repertoire and has resulted in a musical experience quite unlike any other. Now signed with international agents in USA, Australia & New Zealand, and Scandinavia, The Langan Band are truly on their way to becoming a global paradigm of Scottish creativity and success.
Originally from Atlanta and currently living in Nashville, Rebecca & Megan Lovell of Larkin Poe are self-producers of an electrifying, critically acclaimed body of work. Grammy-nominated singers/songwriters and multi-instrumentalist, the sisters create their own brand of Roots Blues Rock: gritty, soulful, and flavoured by their southern heritage. Their latest album, ‘Blood Harmony’, affirms Larkin Poe as an essential force in shaping the identity of southern rock-and-roll.
From their debut gig at one of the largest Celtic music festivals in the world, Brittany’s famed Festival Interceltique de Lorient, Isle of Man/Glasgow four-piece Mec Lir have brought their infectiously joyous energy to festival audiences for a decade, with 2024 being their 10th anniversary!
The group’s second album, Livewire. met critical acclaim upon its 2020 release, topping the iTunes World Music charts…exhilarating and genre-busting, Mec Lir’s live shows are the stuff of legend and not to be missed!
A longstanding cornerstone act across the years at Cambridge, folk music’s legendary triumvirate of musical magpies Mike McGoldrick, John McCusker and John Doyle return for 2024 and, with their vast repertoire, their Cambridge set will be one to remember. Described as the masters of flute, fiddle, song and guitar, all three have won global acclaim and worked with the biggest and brightest, having shared stages and recording studios with everyone from Bob Dylan and Mark Knopfler to Paul Weller, Joan Baez and Linda Thompson. Mike, John & John are a rare musical treat to be savoured.
Mitsune is a neo-folk fusion band based in Berlin, with members hailing from Japan, Australia, Germany and Greece. Fronted by a powerful trio of female shamisen (3-stringed Japanese lute) players, accompanied with percussion and double bass, tradition meets avant-garde as Mitsune take their love of Japanese folk music and infuse it with jazz, psychedelic and cinematic music to create an evocative music fusion experience.
Nitin Sawhney is one of the most distinctive and versatile musical voices around today. Firmly established as a world-class producer, songwriter, DJ, multi-instrumentalist, orchestral composer and cultural pioneer, Sawhney has become a latter-day Renaissance man in the worlds of music, film, videogames, dance and theatre. Nitin is recipient of over twenty international awards including a CBE and an Ivor Novello Lifetime Achievement Award. He has made over 20 studio albums, 11 under his own name including his latest, ‘Identity’.
First brought together by Brooklyn’s tight-knit old-time music community in 2017, Nora Brown and Stephanie Coleman share a rich musical partnership that belies their 20-year age difference. Nora plays traditional music with a focus on southern Appalachian banjo and guitar playing, Stephanie is a master old-time fiddler, having recorded with and toured internationally over the last two decades.
Capturing the feel of Nora’s music on ‘Sidetrack My Engine’, American Songwriter wrote: ‘…both a reverent nod to deeply-rooted ole-time traditions, and an exhibit of sonic heirlooms carefully amended to meet a modern moment with vintage elegance.’
Festival favourites, Oysterband make a long overdue return to Cambridge, 45 years on from first meeting in 70’s Canterbury, when pubs were alive with folk clubs, political protest and music sessions; a potent brew embodied by the band in their renowned blend of polkas, politics and a heaving dance floor.
Winners of several BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, including Best Band twice, Oysterband’s songwriting has never stood still, and classics such as ‘The Oxford Girl’, ‘When I’m Up I Can’t Get Down’ (Best Song at the Canadian East Coast Music Awards, performed by Great Big Sea), ‘Everywhere I Go’ and ‘Put Out The Lights’ have entered the folk canon.
They’ve travelled the world, but Oysterband still play with the fire of that dance band back in Kent!
Peggy Seeger is a unique artist who has carved a special place in the folk pantheon of both the UK and the USA. Now in her late 80s, her light burns as brightly as ever. A multi-instrumentalist (piano, guitar, 5-string banjo, autoharp, English concertina and Appalachian dulcimer), she is lauded for her feminist and political songs and her co-creation of ‘The Radio Ballads’. She has made 24 solo recordings and participated in over a hundred more. As Ewan MacColl’s partner and muse, she was the inspiration for MacColl’s classic ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’. Her 2023 reworking of this song has become a defining performance. We are so excited to welcome Peggy Seeger and Family as our US Legend Performer made all the more perfect as Peggy performed at the very first Cambridge Folk Festival.
Frequently hailed as India’s biggest cultural and musical export, The Guardian describes Raghu Dixit as “one of India’s most inventive and charismatic artists”. His unique brand of infectious, happy music transcends age, genre, and even language. From playing to over 100,000 people in his home state to several stages at Glastonbury Festival, Raghu’s music is presented with a contemporary, global sound, strongly rooted in Indian traditions and culture.
One of the great storytellers and a recipient of the prestigious ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ at the former BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, Ralph McTell, is now celebrating more than 50 years of performing. Known for his virtuoso guitar style, he is primarily a prolific and gifted songwriter, weaving narratives both significant and poignant, none more so than his enduringly beautiful classic and Ivor Award winning ‘Streets of London’.
One of Scotland’s most popular folk groups to emerge in the last decade, Talisk have captivated audiences around the globe with their ground-breaking, multi-layered and instantly enthralling signature sound. The power trio’s explosively energetic sound has won them major awards including Folk Band of the Year at the BBC Alba Scots Trad Music Awards and a BBC Radio 2 Folk Award.
Two-time Grammy nominee Tommy Emmanuel CGP is one of the world’s most respected musicians. The legendary guitarist has a professional career that spans five decades and is a rare ‘certified guitar player’, an international title bestowed by guitar icon Chet Atkins. A household name in his native Australia and now based in the US, Emmanuel’s unique style – he calls it simply ‘finger style’ – is akin to playing guitar the way a pianist plays piano, using all ten fingers. His technical precision, virtuosic improvisations and his unusually broad repertoire encompass not only country and bluegrass, but pop, jazz, blues, gospel, even classical, flamenco, and aboriginal styles.
Alongside the world-class music, there is so much more to enjoy over the Festival weekend, including dedicated children’s activities; workshops on instrument making and song writing; a silent disco, storytelling, clog dancing, tai-chi, and an incredible selection of mouth-watering food trucks and bars from some of Cambridge’s finest food merchants. The Festival is also proud to have been deemed “Outstanding” at the Greener Festival Awards.
Full festival ticket: £230, Thursday: £35, Friday: £89, Saturday: £89, Sunday: £89
Prices include booking fees. Please see website for concessions, camping and parking information.
Purchase from: https://www.cambridgelive.org.uk/folk-festival/tickets
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