Expect folk ´n good music from ENGLISH FOLK EXPO

Expect folk ´n good music from ENGLISH FOLK EXPO 

says Norman Warwick

The press release told us of how English Folk Expo are partnering the Alliance Of Kashmiri Arts, on a new project. I wasn´t sure who or what English Folk Expo were and I had not heard either of The Alliance of Kashmir Art ! It was time to press some buttons and find out !

The Alliance Of Kashmiri Arts, based in Oldham, Greater Manchester, with support from Arts Council England and in partnership with English Folk Expo, has commissioned new music to be created in a collaboration between Walsall-based Kashmiri folk artist Lala Qadeer and English folk artists Dan Walsh and Alistair Anderson.

They will work together to explore and celebrate the relationship between English and Kashmiri culture and folk music. The project will culminate in a special collaborative performance as part of Manchester Folk Festival on Saturday 15 October at Home, Manchester, which will also be a feature showcase within the annual English Folk Expo Showcase running from Thu 13th-Sun 16th October 2022.

As part of the project Lala Qadeer will also perform at the EFEx produced Rochdale Folk Festival, running 10th-12th June ’22, where he will also run a series of workshops.

The English Folk Expo (EFEx)  team and a number of musicians they are mentoring throughout this year were also meeting the public at last weekend´s Focus Wales event.

EFEx team members Tom Besford and David Agnew weree at Focus Wales in Wrexham from 5th-7th May, answer questions about  EFEx/Manchester Folk Festival along with their 2022/2023 artist mentees.  The EFEx mentee schedule for Focus Wales included

EXPO Folk artists will present a showcase concert in October of this year, (see left for some featured artists). Meanwhile, though, check out their listings for more exciting events in May, and make a note we will try to carry Expo listings in future

Thursday 5th May
6.30pm – Izzie Walsh – The Royal Oak
7.15pm – Ben & Dom – Old No.7 Bar
8.45pm – Amelia Coburn – Old No.7 Bar

Friday 6th May
1.35pm – Ben & Dom – HWB Cymraeg
2.10pm – Izzie Walsh – HWB Cymraeg
2.45pm – Georgie Buchanan – HWB Cymraeg – revised time from 2.25pm
3.20pm – Amelia Coburn – HWB Cymraeg

Saturday 7th May
5.50pm – Amelia Coburn – The Royal Oak
6.30pm – Izzie Walsh – Old No.7 Bar

New team members have recently joined English Folk Expo to increase the team as the organisation´s  work, reach and role continues to expand, so does the English Folk Expo team.

The current team is CEO Tom Besford, founder and Sales Director Terry O’Brien, Artistic Director David Agnew, Producer Kate Kyle, Fundraising & Development Manager Danny Antrobus and Assistant Producer Adee Lifshitz.

Joining the team in the next few weeks will be:

Audience Development and Communications specialists: Julie McGawley and Tom Quaye are a team of Manchester-based freelance marketing specialists with past clients including Coventry City Of Culture, Manchester International Festival, Common Wealth Theatre, Theatre Royal Wakefield and Liverpool City Of Culture.

Fundraising and Development Manager: replacing our friend and colleague Danny Antrobus, who has held this role for the last year doing an amazing job, will be Jan Hinde, formerly Development Manager for Rochdale Cultural Trust and previously with Creative New Zealand and The Arts Council in Ireland. On top of raising over £2m in her previous fixed term role, Jan is also an uilleann piper so should fit right in with the  folk-loving  EFFx team.

We wish them luck in their new roles and look forward to working with them.

It was too good an opportunity to miss. The EFEx promoted show by The Young’uns at Manchester’s Royal Northern College of Music earlier this month gave EFEx a chance to let the our 2022 Trainee Promoter scheme members talk directly to the artists. Under the scheme the trainees also helped with advancing and running the show.  Thanks to The Young’uns for taking the time to meet our young promoters and share some of their valuable experience as professional artists.

The April 2022 Official Folk Album Chart was announced on the Folk On Foot Official Folk Chart Show at 7pm tonight and announced a brand new number 1.

Leeds artist Iona Lane is new in at 36 with her debut release ‘Hallival’  on Hudson Records, a label that has an impressive four albums in the top 40. Her song, Western Tidal Swell. the opening track, was a winner in the 2020 Fèis Rois / NatureScots’ In Tune With Nature Competition.  At The Barrier says, ‘Hallival is an intriguing album that showcases a remarkable talent. Iona Lane is a hugely talented lyricist, composer and singer and I have no hesitation in predicting a long and successful career for her.’

Chris Brain’s debut album ‘Bound To Rise’ (Chris Brain), sees him break into the Official Folk Albums Chart at number 22 with an album infused with influences of Nick Drake and John Martyn. Chris supports Will Varley at Brudenell Social Club on May 5 and Katie Spencer at Seven Arts, Leeds on June 4.

New at 16 is Derbyshire-born Michael Weston King’s ‘The Struggle’ (Cherry Red), a first solo album in ten years from this member of My Darling Clementine. ‘The Struggle’ has a sound that is broad and eclectic, not bound by the retro-Americana which usually defines MDC, and shows strong influences of King’s late collaborator Jackie Leven.

Americana UK says of London band The Hanging Stars’ ‘Hollow Hearts’ (Loose Music), which lands at number 11, ‘The Hanging Stars are close to perfection on a magnificent album that just about defines “cosmic country”‘, according to Americana UK.

Hannah Saunders & Ben Savage with ‘Ink Of The Rosy Morning’ (Topic) arrive straight in at an impressive number 3.  The result of a newer more relaxed recording approach, ‘Ink Of A Rosy Morning’ was recorded in an old schoolhouse by the sea, with no pre-production or big ideas.  The result is an album of which The Arts Desk says, ‘The sound is beautiful, close-miked, live. The intimacy is breath-taking’.

And new at number 1 slot is Passenger with ‘Birds That Flew And Ships That Sailed’ (Black Crow). Currently on tour in North America, this his 14th studio album was dropped on April 8th without any pre-announcements. As Passenger said on socials that day, ‘We’re also releasing this entirely independently which means that there are no record labels / radio pluggers / press teams etc …. Just me and my amazing little team’, which makes this number 1 all the more remarkable. Congratulations to him and his team.

To view the full Official Folk Albums Chart chart click here.  To watch to Official Folk Chart Show again, click here

The Official Folk Albums Chart is compiled by The Official Chart Company and produced by English Folk Expo.  The Official Chart Show is presented by Folk On Foot with the support of English Folk Expo.

Leaving the charts to one side EFEx announce that they have fantastic gigs coming up this month starting with 7-time BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winner Karine Polwart & renowned jazz/folk pianist Dave Milligan  who play at  Manchester’s Hallé St Peter’s on Friday 13th May.

The duo play songs from their album ‘Still As Your Sleeping’ – with only voice & grand piano.

Tickets cost £26.40 and are available HERE

Littleborough Arts Festival present O’Hooley & Tidow on Saturday 14th May. 

The much loved Yorkshire duo bring their exceptional song-writing and joyous harmonies to the beautiful Littleborough United Reformed Church.

Tickets cost £17.60 and are available HERE.

The Scotish trio, Talisk play in Manchester at The Deaf Institute on Sunday 15th May. Fusing concertina, guitar and fiddle the group produce an unmistakeable, bold sound and a captivating live show.

There will the chillingly beautiful harmonies of The Unthanks at Manchester´s Royal Northern College of Music on Saturday 21st May. The goils will be accompanied by their eleven piece ensemble to showcase their soon to be released njew album, Sorrows Away. This is a show hat has already sold out, so you might have to check  to see if there are one or two ´returns´ made available.

Having just released Nick Hart Sings Ten English Folk Song, the singer guitarist is out ´touring the album´ as the rock people say. He will play at Gulliver´s in Manchester on Wednesday 1st June.

There are also a couple of major folk festivals coming up ion the north west of England over the next few weeks. We have already mentioned Rochdale Folk Festival (RFF) in an article called xxx posted on xxx. The Rochdale Folk Festival takes place from 10th to 12th June, and will be held in pubs, venues and outdoor spaces acoss the Borough. Check out listings at the expo folk web site or in The Manchester Evening News group media, especially Steve Cooke´s all across the arts pages in The Rochdale Observer.

RFF enjoys a strong synergy with LAF, (Littleborough Arts Festival).

Saturday 14th May to Friday 27th May – ‘A Little Town of Artists’

Littleborough is a place of great creativity and artistic talent. To celebrate this, we will be exhibiting a series of artworks by local artists in many of the windows and interiors of our local shops and cafes. Whilst out on your weekly shop, please take a moment to enjoy the variety of work on display.

We would also like to invite you to join in and show off your creations in your own windows. If you are in need of inspiration to get you started then we have created some colouring sheets of local landmarks that will be available to collect from Littleborough Library.

Saturday 14th May 7pm – Concert: O’Hooley and Tidow

Monday 16th May 1pm – Workshop: Relaxing into drawing plus little secrets & portraiture tips

Tuesday 17th May 7pm – Artist Talk: Angela Tait on Ceramics and their place in the (Art)World

Wednesday 18th May 7pm – Workshop: Upcycle your own rug out of scrap yarn

Thursday 19th May 7pm – Artist Talk: Womens’ Work

Friday 20th May 6pm – Shared Reading

Friday 20th May 6:30pm – Workshop: Chance Writing

Friday 20th May 7pm – Concert: Rosamund Brass plus support by Orladh and Leo

Saturday 21st May 12pm – Workshop: Finding Your Feet In Photography

Saturday 21st May 11am-4pm – Art in the Park

Saturday 21st May – Makers Market

Sunday 22nd May 12pm-5pm – Picnic in the Park

Sunday 22nd May – Makers Market

Sunday 22nd May – Children’s Workshop with Cat Jessop

Sunday 22nd May 1pm – Workshop: Introduction to Field Recording

Monday 23rd May 2pm – Workshop: Fashion Illustration and Life Drawing

Monday 23rd May 7pm – Artist Talk: Liz Mytton

Tuesday 24th May 7pm – Performance: We Came, We Saw, We Monologued!

Wednesday 25th May 4:30pm – Workshop: Indian folk and henna body art inspired drawing and printmaking

Thursday 26th May 7pm – Artist Talk: Lucy Wright

Friday 27th May 11am & 2pm – Workshop: Virtual Reality creative workshop in Tilt brush

Friday 27th May 4pm – Performance: Gordon MacLellan – Wild animals and wilder stories

Friday 27th May 7pm – Beasts, boggarts and nature’s wonders

You can check out all the latest event news and ticket availabilities etc at the Eventbrite web site.

So, it is great to see Folk on the move again. I have fond memories of Colin Lever and I playing as Lendanear at Fylde Folk Festgival, run by the wonderful singer writer Alan Bell and we also used to enjoy Poynton Folk Festival. Now it looks like those halcyon folk days are dawning again.

We´re very grateful, therefore, to have been sent a press release from English Folk Expo and we hope to share more of their  information with you over the foreseeabl future.

English Folk Expo (Charity no 1192064) is a sector support organisation and a National Portfolio Organisation funded by Arts Council England. It has a growing portfolio of initiatives designed to support the English folk, roots and acoustic sector including its annual English Folk Expo Showcase for UK and international industry, showcasing a broad range of folk, roots and acoustic artists in Manchester, England each October. 

To find out more go toenglishfolkexpo.com

There might be some folkie veterans in the North West of England who have fond (or otherwise) memories of the duo of myself and Colin Lever, aka Lendanear.

If you like your folk music , though, we recommend our forthcoming week long Lendanear To Folk in-print Festival beginning on Monday 4th June. From Monday to Friday of that week we shall post a series of daily blogs examining what has been called the álchemy of creativity. This examination will be conducted through the memories of Lendanear, a song-writing duo of the nineteen seventies who, even today, are constantly shape-shifting their songs nearly fifty years later. We will look at what opportunities writers have today to flip formats, as we lend an ear to old songs in new settings. We will examine the counter claim that there is no such thing as the alchemy of creativity, which some believe is just a way of saying accidents happen. We will carry an academic essay by the scholar who coined the phrase and then close our festival with a serendipitous tale about folk-legend Alan Bell, folk singer-writer, activist and founder of Fylde Folk Festival. With Lendanear playing devil´s advocates on either side of the argument, it should all make for some provocative reading.  

Our freinds at the Jazz In Reading listings organisatios suggest that if, on the other hand, you prefer your music waving jazz hands you might be interested in a performance taking place this weekend and to note what should be a great concert on Friday 13th May at Progress Theatre, Reading (details below) at 7:30pm.

Admissioni is £18.00 (£16.00 concessions, £9 under 16) plus maximum 5% booking fee

The concert will feature Alex Hitchcock on tenor sax with Noah Stoneman on piano, Joe Downard on bass and Myele Manzanza playing drums.

‘An incredible saxophonist, with something very unique and original to say’ Walter Smith III

Since his first gig as leader for us at Progress in 2017, Alex Hitchcock is now regarded as one of the UK’s most virtuosic jazz musicians. His quartet’s burgeoning reputation on the international jazz stage, playing Alex’s original compositions at 2018 Umbria Jazz Festival, as well as touring to Poland, Spain, Italy and Hungary and performances at legendary UK venues including Love Supreme Festival, the Royal Albert Hall and Ronnie Scott’s.

Alex is adventurously creative as is proved by his latest Album Dream Band. A disc to be enjoyed at home, as explained in the excerpt below from a recent four star review by Hugh Morris in Jazzwise.

“Alex Hitchcock looks outside of himself on Dream Band, enlisting a quality cast of players who move slickly around the saxophonist. There’s a lot of them; 15 in total over 12 tracks, and no one collaborator appears on more than half the record. The players fuse interestingly in their little units, and Hitchcock’s compositions serve those combinations well. The result is an album full of strong contributions from musicians determined to impress; a bunch of pent-up ideas tumble forth energetically. It’s a good record for piano talent,  with Noah Stoneman on great form.”

Noah Stoneman on piano and Joe Downard on bass are regulars in the quartet, Joe appearing with Alex in 2017.

Myele Manzanza is a powerful drummer who has earned himself a reputation as a composer with vision, and a musician who is not afraid to experiment. He is now resident in the UK having moved from New Zealand about 12 years ago.  Myele only started playing drum kit at age 14 but had been hand drumming traditional African rhythms with his father Sam Manzanza from a young age. “Growing up music and rhythm was all around me and I understood it from a very early age. Through my father I learnt the language of the drum”. Recently interviewed on the Jamie Cullum show. An interesting newcomer to the UK jazz scene.

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