Jon Boden has become the stand-out performer of his generation of traditional folk artists, but one whose repertoire extends far beyond the boundaries of the genre.
Most recognisably he was the lead singer (and one of the principal arrangers) of the multi-award winning Bellowhead, one of the most exciting live acts of recent years. Now he has emerged as a solo artist, with a vast repertoire of traditional and original songs. His passion for traditional music is unbounded, and he delights in engaging others with our rich musical heritage - from his unique Folk Song a Day project to leading after-show sessions at Bellowhead gigs. We're delighted to have him headlining this year's festival.
In addition to a solo set, Jon will be appearing in the Barrack room Ballads.
Father and daughter Martin and Eliza represent the UK's leading folk dynasty. A legendary ballad singer and guitarist, Martin Carthy has influenced generations of artists, including Bob Dylan and Paul Simon, while Eliza has been twice-nominated for the Mercury Music Prize and a multiple-award winner at the BBC Radio Two Folk awards. In 2014 they made their very first duo album, and their musical chemistry is electrifying.
Their Saturday evening performance features an exclusive set with American traditional music legend Tim Eriksen. This is Tim's only UK date for autumn 2017.
Eliza and Martin will be featured performers in the Barrack Room Ballads, while Eliza also takes part in Trincomalee: 200 Years.
*Exclusive UK date*
Tim Eriksen is a legend of American traditional music. He is acclaimed for his interpretations of old ballads, love songs, shape-note gospel and dance tunes from New England and Southern Appalachia. He combines hair-raising vocals with inventive accompaniment on banjo, fiddle, guitar and bajo sexto - a twelve string Mexican acoustic bass - creating a distinctive hardcore Americana sound.
On Saturday, he will join Martin and Eliza Carthy for a special guest set, bringing together the cream of UK and American traditional music. On Sunday, join him for a shape-note singing workshop and a set with his old Cordelia's Dad bandmates, Cath & Phil Tyler. A rare treat!
Leveret features three of England's finest folk musicians in an exciting new collaboration. Andy Cutting, Sam Sweeney and Rob Harbron are each regarded as masters of their instrument and are involved in numerous collaborations with a huge range of artists. Together their performances combine consummate musicianship, compelling delivery and captivating spontaneity.
Fiddler Sam Sweeney is the current BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 'Musician of the Year', thanks to his work in Bellowhead, Eliza Carthy's Wayward Band, The Full English and his own Made In The Great War project. Melodeon genius Andy Cutting is a two-time winner of that award, and as well as his new trio with Martin Simpson and Nancy Kerr currently performs with Blowzabella, Topette, June Tabor, and Roger Daltry. Concertina wizard Rob Harbron is known for his work with The Full English (Best Group and Best Album BBC Folk Awards 2014), Emma Reid, Fay Hield, Jon Boden and others.
Americana fans are in for a huge treat, as two founder members of the Be Good Tanyas are reunited in music. Jolie Holland grew up in Texas, and in the late 90s moved to Vancouver. There she co-founded the Tanyas with singer-songwriter Samantha Parton, who drew strong musical inspiration from visits to the southern US; she spent time living in New Orleans, Jolie’s ancestral home.
After contributing to the Tanyas’ acclaimed Blue Horse LP (much-covered The Littlest Birds was the first song Jolie and Sam ever wrote together), Holland moved to San Francisco while Parton continued to tour and record with the band until a serious car accident took her off the road in 2012.
With this new creative incarnation, expect to hear newly written originals, fresh arrangements of The Be Good Tanyas material, and songs from their individual catalogs.
The Furrow Collective is a critically acclaimed English/Scottish quartet consisting of four distinctive and talented performers – Lucy Farrell (fiddle, viola, voice), Rachel Newton (harp, fiddle, voice), Emily Portman (banjo, concertina, voice) and Alasdair Roberts (guitars, voice). The group formed in 2013, drawn together by a shared love of traditional song and balladry and an open, intuitive approach to collaboration. They mostly focus upon material from English and Scottish sources, occasionally turning their attentions further afield in their quest for intriguing songs.
'A mouthwatering collaboration' - Mojo
One of the leading squeezebox players in the UK, John has gone on to become one of the most prolific figures on the English folk scene. Performing solo, in duos, acoustic groups and electric bands, he has established an enviable reputation as an instrumental virtuoso and session musician, as well as a leading interpreter of English folk music. In addition to being an in-demand solo artist, he has been a member of the Albion Country Band, Magic Lantern, The Richard Thompson Band, Umps and Dumps, Steeleye Span, Brass Monkey, Trans-Europe Diatonique, and Band of Hope, as well as numerous ceilidh bands.
The glorious vocal harmony of The Wilson Family has rung out over Teesside for more than 40 years. Brothers Tom, Chris, Steve, Ken & Mike sing with deep understanding, joy & good humour. From performing with Sting in The Last Ship to their family concerts at Sage, Gateshead to hosting the Welly Folk Club each Thursday night in Wolviston, they fly the flag for Teesside traditional song. We are enormously proud to have them as our Festival Patrons.
One of the real innovators of the folk scene, Jim has been busy in recent years with his acclaimed band False Lights. Returning with his first solo album in 5 years, Upcetera, he's nominated for Best Album in the BBC Folk Awards 2017.
If you enjoyed last year's Never Mind the Bandoggs quiz, you'll be delighted to know we're bringing it back this year! With celebrity guests, daft rounds and a hearty dollop of silliness, it'll be one of the highlights of your weekend.
In a folk scene currently bursting with bold and innovative music, vocal trio Lady Maisery shine brightly. With their unique approach to harmony singing, intelligent and thoughtful arrangements of both traditional repertoire and original compositions, Hazel Askew, Hannah James and Rowan Rheingans harness and celebrate their united voice. Whether unearthing a feminist twist hidden in a traditional tale, delivering a poignant anti-war ballad, or showcasing their immense multi-instrumental talents in original compositions that draw on a myriad of musical influences, Lady Maisery are skillful explorers of the power, beauty and vitality of song.
Underpinning every performance are Lady Maisery’s distinctive harmonies: sometimes lush and rich, sometimes dark and invigorating, they intertwine with assured precision. All three are key members of the English/Scottish supergroup ‘Songs of Separation’ whose debut album and stunning premiere at Celtic Connections festival pushed them straight into the Indie album charts top 20 in January 2016 – a very rare accolade British folk!
"Some of the most exquisite, thrilling vocal harmony work in the English folk scene" - The Guardian
As a touring soloist, Alistair Anderson is internationally acknowledged as the master of the English Concertina and a fine exponent of the Northumbrian Pipes. He delights audiences with traditional music from Northumberland and beyond, as well as his own music, which has grown out of his love of these traditions. Founder of FolkWorks and the Universirty of Newcastle's Folk Degree course, he has been a leading figure and catalyst on the English folk scene for decades.
We enjoyed Alistair's A Lindisfarne Gospel so much in 2016 that we have invited him back in a solo capacity - he'll giving his much-sought-after workshops as well as performing.
Jackie Oates and Megan Henwood meld their love of storytelling, songwriting and melody with their voices and instruments, resulting in a fresh sound that combines both reworked traditional folk song with original and contemporary material. Their voices blend effortlessly, sensitively backed by viola, guitar, sometimes piano and the accomplished double bass player Pete Thomas.
Jackie Oates is one of the major stars of the English folk world. She's won numerous BBC Folk Awards, was a member of The Imagined Village, Sings on soundtracks for Lush cosmetics (she even has a product named after her!) and is part of the female fiddle-singing band Carthy, Oates, Farrell and Young.
Megan Henwood is a former BBC Young Folk award winner, and is a rising star on the contemporary folk scene. She's produced two solo CDs comprising mostly original work, and is a gifted songwriter.
Hannah James is one of the most versatile and prolific musicians on the folk scene today. From her roots in the band Kerfuffle, where she first played with long-time collaborator Sam Sweeney, Hannah has branched out into many projects and performance contexts which utilise her talents as a singer, musician and clog dancer. She is in the award-winning trio Lady Maisery, performs in Maddy Prior's trio Three for Joy, is in an accordion duo with Estonian-Swedish box player Tuulikki Bartosik, was a member of last year's inspiring Songs of Separation project, was a featured dancer and choreographer in the Demon Barbers' Time Gentlemen Please, and has created dynamic and diverse dance performances commissioned by Shrewsbury Folk Festival. Hannah's first solo project was Jig Doll, a show melding music, dance, song and technology, which won her a slew of fantastic reviews and confirmed her place as one of folk's true innovators.
Five-time BBC Radio 2 Folk Award nominee Jim Causley is a singer/musician who is passionate about traditional song, particularly that of his native West Country. His rich, honeyed voice gives a timeless feeling to the songs he sings, and his utterly charming stage presence makes him a delightful live performer.
A former member of the Devil's Interval and Mawkin:Causley, Jim has also recorded 'Cyprus Well', musical settings of the poems of his relative, Charles Causley. 2017 sees him record new settings of Charles Causley's 'Collected Poems for Children', as part of the poet's centenary commemorations.
We're delighted to welcome back the UK's very first storytelling laureate, Taffy Thomas MBE. He'll enchant visitors of all ages with stories chosen from his magical Tale Coat, as well as giving us a special performance of fishy tales that you can hear, smell - and taste!
Gavin (Crucible, Hekety) has a bold, distinctive voice and percussive guitar technique, and he presents both old songs and contemporary material in an arresting and compelling style. His stark songwriting imbues elements of tradition with a modern relevance. fRoots magazine described him as ‘an uncommonly fine singer’. Tom (Pilgrim's Way) is one of the foremost proponents of the English fiddle style. His playing is full of exuberance, energy and wit, yet is capable of expressing extraordinary emotional depth. He is also a much-in-demand instrumental teacher, including lecturing at the renowned Folkworks Summer School. Mike Harding has said that he is ‘one of the best English fiddlers ever’.
They perform on Friday night, while Tom will also be with us on Saturday, leading workshops and sessions.
Grace Petrie is a folk singer, songwriter, and activist. She first exploded on to the national protest scene in 2010 with the emotive anthem Farewell to Welfare, which captured perfectly the spirit of the new wave of dissent in austerity Britain. Her unique takes on life, love and politics, and the warmth and wit with which they are delivered have won over audiences everywhere. Grace is a frequent guest on BBC Radio 4’s the Now Show and has appeared on Channel 4’s Random Acts, and has been featured in The Guardian, Diva Magazine and the Independent on Sunday’s 2013 Pink List of influential LGBT figures.
Cath & Phil Tyler play Anglo-American folk music using guitar, banjo, voice and fiddle. Cath was a member of the band Cordelia’s Dad in the 1990s when she lived in Massachusetts, USA. Phil, from Newcastle upon Tyne has played in various folk, rock and ceilidh bands for many years. Coming together musically through a shared love of traditional narrative song, full voiced sacred harp singing and sparse mountain banjo, they have performed on stages as diverse as the Royal Opera House in London and a dank tower in the old city walls of Newcastle. Taking a more minimal approach to their material than some, they have been described as ‘one of the most compelling musical partnerships on the scene’, their music being ‘a highly concentrated and intimate musical experience that penetrates to the very rawest essence of folk tradition’.
Join them for a sacred-harp workshop in addition to a rare performance with former Cordelia's Dad bandmate Tim Eriksen.
Viewers of The Voice in 2014 watched Sir Tom Jones dissolve in tears as he first heard the smoky, sultry, emotion-drenched vocals of Sally Barker. But viewers (and Sir Tom) were only just discovering a treasure that the folk scene had known for many years: as a founder member of The Poozies, Sally's utterly unique voice had helped make them one of the most popular bands on the British traditional music scene.
We look forward to welcoming Sally in her guise as a solo singer-songwriter, and being thrilled again by her magical voice.
On which side does a camel part its hair? When is Austria? Does cheese affect my credit rating? All these questions can be answered by Biscuithead and the Biscuit Badgers. From time immemorial these moustache-powered troubadours have stood at the gateway of nonsense, begging for peanuts. Expect very silly songs about dinosaurs, tweed, hermit crabs and David Attenborough.
An acclaimed singer, musician, arranger, and leader of the Demon Barber Road Show, Damien joins us for the Barrack Room Ballads in tribute to his mentor, Peter Bellamy.
Harmonica player Will Pound & accordionist and composer Eddy Jay are a dynamic pairing. Will is one of the finest harmonica players of his generation, whose innovative style pushes the boundaries of his instrument and the folk genre. Three-time nominee for BBC Radio 2 Folk Musician Of The Year, he has held the accolades of FATEA Instrumentalist of the Year (2013, 2014) and Spiral Earth Magazine Musician Of The Year (2015). Known for his inventive arrangements and outstanding solos in duos Haddo, Walsh and Pound and four-piece The Will Pound Band, Will has performed with musicians as diverse as Martin Simpson, Concerto Caledonia and producer Guy Chambers.
Eddy Jay is a master of the accordion, with the ability to turn it into an orchestra at his fingertips. Arranger for the hit stage musical of Noel Coward’s ‘Brief Encounter’ (Kneehigh Theatre) which toured the US, he is eclectic in both his performance and arrangements.
Expect sparks to fly!
Arguably the most important English collector since Kidson or Sharp (as noted by Living Tradition magazine), Doc has amassed a vast video, audio and photographic archive of the UK's folklore, song, dance and cultural traditions. He will show selections from his archive, the themes of which which will be confirmed closer to the festival, but a peek into this incredible treasure trove is always a treat.
For over fifty years, Johnny Handle has been a major part of the British folk music scene, and an ambassador for North East music. His compositions, ranging from poignant mining songs like “Farewell To the Monty” to the hilarious Geordie favourite “Stottin Doon the Waall”, sit comfortably alongside those of Joe Wilson, Tommy Armstrong and Geordie Ridley and guarantee his place in North East folklore for generations to come. Chris Hendry is a Scottish singer who learnt many of her songs first hand from such important source singers as Jeannie Robertson, Norman Kennedy and the Stewart family. Her strong voice has all the characteristics of the classic great singers. She is currently a tutor on the Newcastle University Folk Degree Course.
Avital studied the ancient art of Dhrupad singing with Prof Ritwik Sanyal of Benares Hindu University, and contributes integral Indian song and music to the Barrack-Room Ballads. She'll be performing a solo set of her own music, which draws on a range of cultural influences and themes.
Avital is also offering a workshop which will focus on Indian raags, or ragas, beautiful melodic structures which are used to "colour the mind". Each raga invokes a particular emotion associated with seasons, mood, or time of day. Join in with voice or instruments, and experience firsthand this unique method of music-making.
Member of the iconic Young Tradition group with Royston Wood and Peter Bellamy, and still a formidable singer, Heather Wood joins us both as a performer and for the panel of Follow Me Home, a discussion of Peter Bellamy's passion for setting the work of Kipling to music. Now a resident of New York, Heather is travelling specially for the festival and we're honoured to have her as our guest.
As a young man, stonemason Will Noble learned local songs at the hunt suppers of the Holme Valley Beagles, as well as traditional pub carol sessions. This resulted in a unique repertoire located very specifically in the area of West Yorkshire. Over 40 years of performance, Will has added many fine songs from elsewhere to his repertoire, and is now acknowledged as a true representative of the English singing tradition. He is joined by his wife, Pippa, whose songs are drawn from her native North East as well as France, Ireland and further afield.
With a repertoire rooted in the same Holme Valley song tradition as their father, Cuthbert and Lydia are known for their natural, unaffected yet compelling approach to traditional song. Whether representing the young face of folk music in the pages of Vogue magazine or following in the family trade as gifted artisan stone wallers, Cuthbert and Lydia are down-to-earth bearers of uniquely English traditions.
Perennial favourites on the UK traditional music scene, Jim has a way with an audience honed through his many years playing on the Bridlington pleasure boats; Lynette is a champion clog dancer and provides the perfect counterpoint to Jim's music. Jim performs English traditional folk songs and fiddle tunes, many local to Hull and East Yorkshire – songs and tunes he learnt from family, from neighbours and from people he has met through actively going out and seeking old songs and tunes that have been passed on by word of mouth.
Ruth and Sadie were brought up in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire and have been heavily influenced by traditional song from a very early age. They sing mainly unaccompanied songs from a wide repertoire, which includes: songs from their family tradition and West Yorkshire; songs which they have learned from the family’s associations with North America (Ruth was born in Canada); and some contemporary material. Ruth provides occasional concertina accompaniment.
An outstanding musician, singer and luthier who has spent a lifetime perfecting her skills on fiddle, mandolin and guitar. She has played, recorded and toured with legends including Dave Swarbrick, John Kirkpatrick and Martin Simpson.
26-year-old Nell Ní Chróinín is an Irish sean-nós singer from the Muskerry Gaeltacht in County Cork. She grew up steeped in the strong singing tradition in her area, and at an early age became recognised as an accomplished and compelling tradition-bearer. She is one of the most celebrated young singers of the "old style" Gaelic singing, winning prestigious awards and regularly appearing on television. She was the recipient of television station TG4’s ‘Traditional Singer of the Year’ award in 2012, and is in fact the youngest-ever recipient of the award. At present she is teaching in Gaeilscoil Uí Drisceoil in Cork, where she is encouraging more young people to immerse themselves in the sean-nós tradition.
If you're unfamiliar with this traditional singing style, do yourself a favour and come to one of Nell's performances or workshops: it will be revelatory.
First making his name while still a teenager with popular, BBC Folk Award-winning trio Moore, Moss & Rutter, Jack has become an in-demand instrumentalist for artists like Seth Lakeman and Jackie Oates. He has emerged as a striking and skilled guitarist and singer, with a beguiling stage presence leavened by his cheeky personality. Only recently launching as a solo artist, we predict a very bright career for the lad from Shepley.
Rosie Hood is a young folk singer from Wiltshire. Having started learning traditional songs at an early age from her family, Rosie is now well known for her strong, pure voice and engaging solo performance. Rosie has a keen interest in the history of traditional songs, particularly those of her native Wiltshire, where she has spent time researching in the local archives and developing a broad repertoire of local songs.
She was a finalist in the 2011 New Roots competition for young musicians, and won both the Open Mic Competition at the 2011 Shrewsbury Folk Festival and the 2012 Fred Jordan Memorial Award (for Traditional singing). Rosie released a solo EP in 2011 that was very well received. She has since performed at many of the country's leading folk festivals and folk clubs, both as a headline booking and supporting a number of established folk artists, including the Cecil Sharp Project and Nic Jones.
Our patrons, The Wilsons, specially requested Granny's Attic - how could we refuse? We're sure you're going to be blown away by their musicianship and energy.
Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne (Melodeon, Concertina, Vocals), George Sansome (Guitar, Vocals) and Lewis Wood (Fiddle, Mandolin, Vocals) play the tradition with verve, energy and their own inimitable style. These three young men are all exceptional musicians, fine singers and play a range of English, Irish and Scottish traditional music as well as their own compositions. Formed in 2009, they have since played at clubs and festivals up and down the country, and have been heralded for their lively performances and maturity beyond their years in their delivery and selection of traditional songs.
‘Great tunes, great energy, great arrangements, great stuff!’ – Jon Boden
Molly Evans is a lively young singer and fiddle player from Cheshire, with a largely traditional repertoire of songs ranging from bee-lore to English magic. Following the release of her self-titled EP in Spring 2015, she is enjoying festival performances around the country.
The Radio Tees favourite will bring us his show Hobnobbing with the Hobs, an entertaining and fascinating exploration of North East folklore and legends. From Worms and witches to boggarts and the titular Hob, find out about the mythical creatures that once roamed the wilds of Teesside, scaring people out of their wits.
Robin brings us The Banks of the Tees, featuring his incredible 1970s photos of the region. Complemented by songs written about the area by Teesside's own legend Graeme Miles, we are given a glimpse of a way of life that has disappeared forever: from the workingmen's clubs to the heavy industry of the Tees; from the children playing in back alleys to the streets long since disappeared, the show is a rare and wonderful time capsule.
JIB is a new trio specialising in sea songs and shanties from their native North East of England, in particular songs of the River Tyne where they live. However, anyone familiar with North East folk song will be familiar with its members. Ingrid and Barrie Temple have been singing together for nearly 40 years and have performed throughout the UK and abroad. Their singing is mainly traditional, though they also perform lots of Barrie’s own songs, which are written in the traditional style. They are well respected for their unique style of close harmony singing. Known as “Shanty Jim” for many years, Jim Mageean's knowledge of sea songs, infectious enthusiasm, and powerful singing have made him a stalwart of the folk song community.
Established in 2015 by playwright, musician and ex-Chumbawamba member Boff Whalley, the Commoners Choir sings songs about the world, inequality and hope. Their set is unapologetically political, including themes of homelessness, the refugee crisis, the invention of the printing press, the Kinder Scout trespass and the movement of the Royal Photographic Society’s collection from the Media Museum in Bradford to the V&A in London. But that doesn’t mean they are in any sense worthy – it’s all done with just the right amount of irreverence and plenty of humour.
John Rennie, Joy Rennie and John Thrall are the 3 Jayz, who sing a range of seafaring and traditional material. John and Joy Rennie are also the duo Dogwatch, while John Thrall has sung with shanty group the Owd Chivvers.
Gareth stewarded last year, but his after-hours harp playing captivated people so much that we've invited him back this year as a performer! He's developed some lovely storytelling which he accompanies with his harp, which is sure to be a treat.