The rich sound provided by the button accordion, powerful rhythm guitar and bodhran give a fullness of sound that belies the number of people on stage. With a repertoire that encompasses fast and furious Celtic songs and tunes, gentle ballads, quality contemporary numbers as well as some original material, this Nottingham-based band are one of the most sought after on the circuit. Joined tonight by Campbell Connet on Highland Pipes & Whistles.
Tom Kitching and Gren Bartley
Tom Kitching and Gren Bartley are one of the brightest young acts on the folk scene today.The range of material is the key to their performance being equally at home with original songs, or old English dance tunes, it’s more than just something for everyone. Rather, they’ve developed a voice that suits the material and gives it a fresh edge. Combine this with the rapport they’ve developed, both with the music and for each other, and you’ve got a lively, engaging duo who are capable of performing to any audience.
GU4 (Grand Union Four)
With a repertoire straight from the English tradition, GU4 are a four part acappella harmony group based in Leicestershire. Their rich sound has won many fans and is now taking them to clubs and festivals throughout England. Armed only with a set of pitch pipes, they perform a wide variety of material ranging from gentle and sensitive love songs that can hold an audience rapt in silence, to raucous chorus numbers delivered with such verve that even the most reticent are encouraged to join in.
Joe Topping hails from the Wirral and is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist (mandolin, bouzouki, harmonica, dobro, banjo, guitar). Always being surrounded by music, (his dad, Tom, was a semi-professional musician) many influences filtered down to Joe who plays anything from traditional British folk music to Delta blues slide guitar. Joe also has a gift to write songs that will last and that others will want to sing. Joe’s obvious talents have also been seized upon by folk/rock legend Ashley Hutchings who in December 2007 asked him to join his band, The Rainbow Chasers,“The best acoustic group in the country” (Phil Beer)
Mary Humphreys and Anahata
Mary Humphreys and Anahata are established on the British folk scene as enthusiastic and entertaining performers of traditional material. With extensive research, skilled musicianship and a huge variety of instruments, they have unearthed and brought back to vivid life some rare gems of English song and music.
Mary sings traditional songs, mostly in English and a few in her native Welsh, and plays banjo and concertina. Anahata accompanies with melodeons, concertina and cello, and they play instrumental arrangements, mostly of English traditional music.
Belzebub is a 4-piece band of talented and experienced musicians, who specialise in the music of England, Scotland, Ireland and America. The band members have been performing folk songs and dance tunes for over 30 years and have a wealth of experience, obvious from their performance. A welcome return for this highly popular band.
Will Morgan (plus support -Auriyga)
A welcome return of Black Country singer and eminent “three chord guitarist”, Will Morgan, who performs humorous and traditional songs, monologues and tall stories. A great evening from a great entertainer.
Will is supported tonight by Auriyga, a six piece folk group who are all students studying at the Birmingham Conservatoire.
Jez Lowe has built an enviable reputation as a songwriter and performer in the world of acoustic music, and as a recognised musical ambassador for his native North East England, with more than a dozen albums and countless live performances around the world over the last twenty years
Songs like “Back in Durham Jail”, “The Bergen”, “Greek Liightning” and “These Coal Town Days” have generated scores of cover versions around the globe, and are now classics of their kind.
Kevin Dempsey and Rosie Carson
Kevin is renowned for delivering fresh and vibrant arrangements of traditional and contemporary tunes and his vocals bring both meaning and feeling to the lyrics. His multi-faceted career is testament to his talent as a guitarist, singer and songwriter with a wide range of professional experience in the UK and USA.
Rosie, also a fine singer, has studied fiddle with such masters of Irish fiddle as Seamus Connolly and John Burke and has had the privilege and honour of playing with folk music legends such as Dave Swarbrick, Martin Carthy and countless others.
John O’Hagan and Paul Tebbutt
John’s wonderful voice is well known as part of the top accapella group, Cockersdale, and tonight performs material ranging from traditional English songs and contemporary songs in a traditional vein, to Rudyard Kipling’s “Barrackroom Ballads”. Fine musician Paul Tebbutt, provides guitar accompaniment and vocal harmonies.
The Flying Toads
The Flying Toads, (The name came about as a spoonerism of the Irish hornpipe “The Flowing Tide”), are a multi-instrumental band playing inventive arrangements of Irish music. Being a four piece band with each playing several instruments, the Toads focus on arrangements that explore the best blending of sounds and dynamics, as well as choosing tunes and songs that are exciting to listen to. Their songs range from well-known lively standards to moving lyrical ballads and their tunes, all taken from the Irish tradition, display an extensive repertoire of reels, jigs, polkas, hornpipes and airs from fast and furious tunes for dancing, to haunting Celtic melodies to make you cry into your Guinness!
For more than 40 years, Martin has been one of folk music’s greatest innovators, one of its best loved, most enthusiastic and, at times, most quietly controversial of figures. Awarded an MBE in 1998 for his services to British Folk Music, his skill, stage presence and natural charm have won him many admirers, not only from within the folk scene, but also far beyond it. Trailblazing musical partnerships with, amongst others, Steeleye Span, Dave Swarbrick and his award-winning wife (Norma Waterson) and daughter (Eliza Carthy) have resulted in more than 40 albums. Martin’s definitive performance is traditional folk singing at it’s very best.
Judy Dunlop and Mick Ryan
Judy’s voice, together with her delivery of a song makes her, without doubt, one of the very best female singers in the world of British folk music. Mick is well known on the folk scene as a fine singer of traditional and original songs being described by Folk Roots as “the most under-rated singer in the country”. After collaborating in Mick’s excellent folk musicals “The Navvy’s Wife” and “The Pauper’s Path to Hope”, a performance by this great duo is something to savour.
Sue Bousfield and Liz Moore have been playing music together as Scold’s Bridle for more than 30 years. Their considerable talents combine to create entertainment at it’s highest level. Superb harmonies, dynamic presentation, quality performance and refreshingly different. Scold’s Bridle are a breath of fresh air!
Wendy Arrowsmith with John & Caroline Bushby
Wendy has sung many different styles of music but, with folk music, she has found songs that come from the heart and allow great emotional expression and social commentary. Originally from Glasgow, Wendy performs a mixture of British and Scottish folk material plus self-penned songs. She generally accompanies herself on guitar, but whistles, bodhran, mandolin and accordion have also been known to appear. Wendy is accompanied tonight by Australian duo, Caroline and John Bushby, fine singers and multi-instrumentalists in their own right, with Celtic harp, Scottish smallpipes, Scottish lowland pipes, Northumbrian smallpipes, whistles, bouzouki and guitar.
Benny Graham served his musical apprenticeship in the folksong clubs of North East England.There was no better place in the late 60’s for a young singer to develop a love of the vast musical culture of the North East and which is now evident in his material, taking in rural songs, Tyneside Music Hall and the music which grew from the heavy industries of coal, steel and ship building.
Maggie Boyle and Paul Downes
Through her singing, Maggie continues the tradition of music and storytelling handed down by her Irish family. She has accrued an impressive catalogue of live and recorded work which includes film soundtracks, such as the title track for the movie ‘Patriot Games’, and theatre and folk circuit appearances worldwide. Maggie has worked with James Horner, The Chieftains, Bert Jansch, Rambert Dance Company, Incantation, Steve Tilston and John Renbourn and is joined tonight by the consummately skilled and expressive guitarist, Paul Downes.
Broom Bezzums is a unique and powerful acoustic duo combining the talents and striking stage presence of Andrew Cadie and Mark Bloomer. The two lead singers, born entertainers, top flight songwriters and multi-instrumentalists bring to the stage fiddle, guitars, mandola, Northumbrian pipes and bass drum, topped off with soaring vocal harmonies.
With all hands, mouths and feet in action, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re hearing a 5 piece band.
Writer of the classic songs, Slipjigs and Reels, Here’s to Tom Paine and The Naked Highwayman, Steve is one of our most celebrated song-smiths; widely recognised within the world of folk and contemporary music. The words, arrangements and subtle, quite superb guitar playing could be no one else. Joint winner (with Bella Hardy) of the 2012 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards for “Best Original song” with “The Reckoning”.
Pete Morton and Roger Wilson
Pete and Roger’s songs, sung with passionate, strong voices and accompanied by strident guitar and exhilarating fiddle are an unruly mix of humour, politics, love and social comment. Two established and highly respected artists in this newly-formed, dynamic duo.