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Cambridge Folk Festival announces first names for 2023

Cambridge Folk Festival is delighted to announce the first names in a broad and diverse programme for 2023. Taking place from July 27-30 in the beautiful grounds of Cherry Hinton Hall, tickets are now on sale at: https://www.cambridgelive.org.uk/folk-festival/tickets

Leading the way are Scotland’s finest The Proclaimers, whose blistering live performances and catalogue of hits from ‘(I’m Gonna Be) 500 Miles’ to ‘I’m On My Way’ and ‘Sunshine On Leith’, make them the perfect Festival band, guaranteed to bring the audience to its feet.

The talented Wainwright family has a long history with Cambridge Folk Festival and this year Rufus Wainwright headlines. Praised by the New York Times for his “genuine originality”, Rufus has established himself as one of the great male vocalists, songwriters, and composers of his generation.

One of Ireland’s most celebrated female artists, Imelda May continues to defy genres with a sound widely spanning blues, rock, soul, gospel and jazz and possesses a crystalline voice which will light up the grounds of Cherry Hinton Hall.

Formed in Atlanta in 1988, progressive rap collective Arrested Development have proved true trailblazers playing a fusion of soul, blues, hip-hop and funk with political, socially conscious lyrics This year, the multiple award winners bring their eclectic and vibrant African sounds to Cambridge for the first time.

Four-time Grammy award winner Angélique Kidjo has cross-pollinated the West African traditions of her childhood in Benin with elements of American R&B, funk and jazz as well as influences from Europe and Latin America into a stunning multicultural stage show set to wow the Festival audience.

Leading US actor Kiefer Sutherland, perhaps best-known for hit TV series ‘24’, is also a well-respected musician with three critically-acclaimed albums to his name and an enviable stage presence. This summer he will make his much-anticipated debut at Cambridge.

Another Festival first from “A captivating star in the making” (The Times), Los Angeles-based vocalist and composer Lady Blackbird, whose debut album garnered rave reviews from the world’s music press, and who mixes original songs with updates of classic jazz ballads and deep soul cuts.

“Queen of Folk” Kate Rusby marked 30 years in music last year with new guest-laden album 30:Happy Returns. What better way to continue the celebrations than sharing songs old and new with the Cambridge crowd.

Cornwall’s Fisherman’s Friends bring back their rousing sea shanties to the Festival to play the prestigious Folk Legends slot, first introduced last year. This comes hot on the heels of the Fisherman’s Friends 2 film, the second instalment of their incredible story on celluloid.

Further treats are in store from: The Sharon Shannon Trio. Ever-popular accordionist Shannon will be accompanied by long-time sideman Jim Murray and Jack Maher (acoustic guitar and vocals) Stornoway, playing windswept pop music gathering trace elements of rock, soul, folk, electronica, African rhythms and the avant-garde. Long lauded for their jubilant, explosive live shows, London octet Ibibio Sound Machine combining the English and Nigerian tongues to produce a language entirely of their own. Scottish indie folk sensations Elephant Sessions, whose appearances at festivals across the world have been met with crowd surfing and marquee floors breaking under the weight of bouncing fans!

One of the leading lights of the English folk scene for over 30 years, Eliza Carthy & The Restitution playing “greatest hits” and audience favourites from last year’s Queen Of The Whirl album. James Yorkston & Nina Persson, the dream combination of literate Scottish folk-pop singer songwriter Yorkston and Swedish vocalist Persson (formerly of 90s indie pop band The Cardigans).

The Isle of Skye’s Niteworks, blurring the lines between Scottish traditional, folk and Gaelic music and contemporary electronica to create a unique and exhilarating sound. One of Scotland’s most exciting and successful folk groups Breabach uniting deep roots in Highland and Island tradition with the innovative musical ferment of their Glasgow base.

London’s Oi Va Voi, mixing subtle, dynamic rhythms and western melodic sensibility with the folk music of their Jewish and East European heritage. Protest singer, LGBTQ+ activist, comedy audience favourite and folk star Grace Petrie who is renowned for her polemical folk anthems, acerbic lyrics and open-hearted performance style. Daoirí Farrell Trio, led by double BBC Folk Awards winner, Irish traditional singer and bouzouki player Farrell joined by uilleann piper Mark Redmond and bodhran player Robbie Walsh.

Bristol’s The Longest Johns singing shanties and folk songs with captivating harmonies in an exuberant live show. Siobhan Miller Band featuring celebrated Scottish folk singer Miller, whose renewal of traditional song won BBC Alba Scots Trad Music Awards’ Scots Singer of the Year an unprecedented four times. William Prince, a Canadian singer songwriter from Peguis First Nation in Manitoba, widely acclaimed for his rich baritone voice and songcraft which is a masterclass in skillful simplicity.

Scottish/Egyptian instrumentalists and composers The Ayoub Sisters who rose to stardom when their debut album topped the Official Classical Charts. One of Scotland’s most magnetic live bands Blue Rose Code seamlessly blending folk, Americana, jazz, soul and pop influences into something truly unique. Catrin Finch and Cimarrón, combining Welsh harp virtuoso Finch and Colombian joropo dance band Cimarrón. Orcadian eight-piece The Chair who play a turbo-charged mash-up of folk, blues, rock, dub, klezmer and more.

Celebrating their 20th anniversary, premier Quebecios folk band Le Vent du Nord, performing both traditional and original compositions. Swedish duo Symbio, whose magical interplay of hurdy gurdy and accordion has been described as musical storytelling where virtuoso folk, electronic dance music and minimalistic art music meets.

Angeline Morrison, who since winning the Christian Raphael Prize at last year’s Festival, has gone on to scoop The Guardian’s Folk Album of the Year with her powerful The Sorrow Songs: Folk Songs of Black British Experience. Jinda Biant, a UK based singer songwriter and slide guitarist with an original take on blues intertwined with Indian influences.

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.

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