ExpoSept Missile Announces Showcase Nest Collective
for EFEx ’22
Norman Warwick picks up good vibrations
Within the delegate programme for English Folk Expo each year there are a number of private delegate-only showcases. These include our annual English Folk Dance & Song Society showcase as well as, in previous EFEx editions, showcases representing labels, agencies and organisations. This year we are delighted to welcome The Nest Collective showcase to our programme.
Founded in 2005 by Mercury-nominated artist Sam Lee, The Nest Collective began as a small gathering of music and folk lovers. Today, their vibrant annual programme includes a diverse range of music events in locations across the UK, featuring outstanding emerging and established folk, world and roots artists from across the globe.
The EFEx ’22 Nest Collective showcase will feature:
Anna Mudeka (left) is a multi-instrumentalist, actress, singer, writer and educator: a polymath proud to share the ancestral heritage of her native Zimbabwe.
Thom Ashworth: Equal parts interpreter of traditional song and insightful political songwriter, Thom Ashworth’s powerful tenor voice and the distinctive timbre of his acoustic bass guitar blend into a soundworld that is familiar but uniquely his own.
3 2 1: They started playing together five years ago. Now Kate can be found in various other set-ups including Shards Voices, Howl and Down Is Up Music. Ric and Dom can be found making stranger than fiction theatre, music and bread in Devon and Suffolk respectively.
Claire O’Neill: Claire is CEO of A Greener Festival, Director of Sustainability for HM The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Pageant, Producer of the Green Events & Innovations Conference with ILMC, Chair of the Green Group for the Association for Electronic Music and sustainability advisor to industry body LIVE Green.
Led by Hazel Watson and commissioned by English Folk Expo, The Strike a Chord Project set out to investigate the impact of the organisations within the music industry leading the way in tackling the climate emergency. The aim was to discover whether musicians were aware of the work these groups – such as Julie’s Bicycle, Music Declares Emergency, and A Greener Festival – are doing, and whether artists are embedding any of the sustainability solutions into their own careers or practices. Below is the executive summary of the full written report, which can be found at the bottom of this page. Resources mentioned in the project can also be found below, or downloaded in PDF format here.
If you have any questions about the project, get in touch with Hazel at firstname.lastname@example.org
The research was carried out primarily through a survey and a set of interviews. The range of attitudes towards the survey, however, have generated an insight into some much broader and more interesting insights into the prevalent feelings within the music industry surrounding the climate emergency. As such, this report not only discusses practical action but also themes such as responsibility, inertia, systemic issues, cultural leadership, and the power of music to inspire change.
Part One of the report covers personal responsibility and the changes that individuals can make within their personal lives and musical careers to minimise their impact on the environment. The importance of personal responsibility is acknowledged, whilst emphasising the fact that often there is too much weight put on individual behaviour change in an attempt to shift the weight of responsibility from those who are really to blame; namely fossil fuel companies, corporations, and policy-makers. Many of the solutions that are discussed were suggested in the survey to get a sense of whether musicians see them as feasible within their capabilities. Particularly popular solutions tended to be ones that cost the musicians little to no money, including suggestions such as encouraging audience members to lift-share, ensuring sets finish in time for the last bus/tram/train home, adding a suggested donation to a climate charity at point of ticket purchase, and utilising a Green Rider such as the one created by Julie’s Bicycle.
Expectations of the industry are discussed next. Within the research there was an overwhelming sense of frustration amongst musicians stemming from the challenges caused by minimal streaming revenue making it difficult to have any sense of personal agency due to limited financial capacity. The report discusses the appetite amongst musicians to see more collaboration between various members of the industry to help investment in local economies and to reduce the need to transport equipment throughout tours. Within the industry section, the report features a few representatives of various aspects of the industry: festivals, venues, recording studios, and logistics. The importance of a sense of united community is also emphasised, recognising the power of music to bring people together and the subsequent resilience generated by this cohesion.
Part Two is more reflective, delving into the power of music and the role of the artist. The Power of Music section covers themes such as the integral role music has so frequently played in movements for social change, the unifying strength of an anthem, the way that music can speak to everyone in completely different ways, the way it trains us to listen and empathise – skills we can take beyond music and into life – and how art more broadly is a way of co-existing with the non-human in an ecological way.
The ‘Role of the Artist’ section was defined by the responses of those musicians who answered the survey and recognised their own unique capabilities as artists. Their ideas were broadly divisible into five categories of influence: community and solidarity, messaging for social change, nature engagement, influence and education, and emotional processing. Community and solidarity re-emphasises the way that music has a remarkable ability to bring us together in groups and generate a sense of solidarity, whilst also having the potential to bind more interdisciplinary community work. ‘Messages for social change’ discusses the long tradition of musicians being at the centre of social commentary, the concept of ‘backcasting’ within public messaging, and the communally imaginative powers of art. There is a significant body of music that in some way touches on nature engagement and it is arguably a generalisation to suggest that all of this music is ecological. However, this section touches on the abilities of art to re-enchant the natural world, to bring us closer to more-than-human beings, and to highlight that which we are in danger of losing. Music can also be educational in many different forms, musicians have a platform from which to educate, raise awareness, and use their platforms to influence public values. This section also discusses the way in which significant musical events can have a lasting impact, not just culturally but also economically, politically, and socially. Finally, the importance of music as a solace and form of escapism or acceptance in the face of increasing eco-anxiety is highlighted.
The report concludes that music, musicians, and music industry have a unique role to play in the response to the climate emergency. That although we face many social, financial, political, and psychological barriers, the time for inertia has passed, and music – with its powers to unite people behind a cause, reveal truths we don’t always see, and appeal to the hearts of people in a way that science alone often struggles to – has the potential to be a catalyst of change.
to check out a treasure-chest of resources compiled from a mixture of suggestions mentioned in responses to the survey, Hazel’s own research, and speaking to those in the know.
THE CURRENT FOLK CHART
The Official Folk Albums Chart for August 2022 was announced tonight on The Official Folk Albums Chart Show at 7pm, presented by Folk On Foot.
As we reach our second August of the Official Folk Chart since it’s inception, we note the pattern of quiet Augusts for new releases with just three new entries in the top 40.
New at 33 is ‘What Holds The World Together’ (Scribe Records) by Wilderness Yet. The album is a reflection of the band’s passion for the environment and traditional music while also featuring personal connections such as the inclusion of a wax cylinder recording of Rowan’s great-great-grandfather. At The Barrier says of the album, ‘Their love for traditional folk music runs deeply throughout the album and their modern interpretations are a refreshing joy to behold.’
The Wilderness Yet combines the acclaimed talents of folksinger Rosie Hodgson, traditional fiddler Rowan Piggott, and guitarist-flautist Philippe Barnes. Independently, they have earned audiences’ esteem as consummate musicians; together, they weave an eclectic tapestry of traditional and original songs and tunes; from a cappella three-part harmonies to luscious instrumental arrangements. Their eponymous debut album was released in 2020 to critical acclaim, closely followed by a short EP of commissioned covers called John O Dreams. Lockdown saw them record a winter album / show called Turn The Year Round, featuring secular re-writes of classic carols and carefully arranged seasonal favourites. Their new studio album, What Holds The World Together, was released on 21st July 2022.
A traditional musician who grew up in the foothills of the Burren on the west coast of Ireland, Peter Rowan (left) is a fine singer with a “deep understanding and feel for tradition” (FolkWords) and is known for his Songhive Project. A workshop leader, serial tunebook author, and the winner of the ‘Future of Young Folk Award’ at Bromyard Folk Festival, he featured on the cover of The Living Tradition after releasing his solo album Mountscribe.
With a voice that brings “a ruby-richness to lyrics new and old” (Folk Radio UK), it’s no surprise that Rosie (right) has been a finalist for the BBC Young Folk Award. After a successful EP and the eponymous album from Crossharbour, she recorded her debut album Rise Aurora to critical acclaim, producing what fRoots called “audible magic”. Rosie’s own songs are heavily influenced by the English tradition and her love of literature and the environment.
Philippe (left) is well-known on the folk scene as a virtuosic flautist, but is an equally magnificent guitarist! Since completing an MA in Irish Music Performance at University of Limerick, Philippe has toured with the David Munnelly Band, All Jigged Out, Dizraeli and the Small Gods and Crossharbour (alongside Rosie!). As a session musician he appears regularly on film/tv soundtracks and has recently recorded an EP with pianist Tom Phelan.
Katie Doherty & The Navigators land at number 30 with ‘Flow’ (Hudson Records), an album in response to an ambitious community project where stories have been developed by diverse local groups, following sharings of demos of the album. The results have informed the final album produced by Ian Stephenson.
Our final new entry, ‘Under A Bloodshot Moon’ (Get Folked), arrives at number 2 from South Wales folk-rockers Rusty Shackle. Folking.com says this, the band’s fifth album, ‘bristles with hope and optimism’, growing out of the joy of being able to meet together again post-Covid. The album reached number 6 on the iTunes album chart and topped the iTunes singer-songwriter chart.
To view the full Official Folk Albums Chart chart click here. To watch to Official Folk Chart Show again, click here or the image below.
The Official Folk Albums Chart is compiled by The Official Chart Company and produced by English Folk Expo. The Official Folk Albums Chart Show is presented by Folk On Foot with the support of English Folk Ex
The festival opens on Thurs 13 Oct with The Magpie Arc and Lady Maisery in HOME’s Theatre 1 and Jim Ghedi with Joshua Burnell in Theatre 2.
In The Blues Kitchen, Grace Petrie’s show sees two fantastic support artists in Lucy Grubb and GUISE while Impossible Theatre showcases Rachael Dadd launching her new album, ‘Kaleidoscope’.
In International Anthony Burgess Foundation we welcome English songsmith, Douglas Dare and The Jackie Oates Trio (“one of England’s finest and most expressive traditional folk singers”– Tradfolk). Thursday’s Festival club will close day one with rising North-West soul-folk artist John Dhali, country-rock outfit Treetop Flyers and Northumbrian fiddler and singer-songwriter Frankie Archer.
Friday sees Thea Gilmore headline in HOME joined by Flo Perlin and Clare Sands. Stolen From God in HOME’s Theatre 2 is a narrated song-cycle by Reg Meuross about the SW of England’s involvement in the Transatlantic Slave Trade with Jali Fily Cissokho, Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne and Jaz Gayle. Later in Theatre 2, Moxie bring their own sound of an Irish tradition inspired by global and contemporary cultures. Impossible Theatre hosts Hollie Rogers and fusion upbeat danceable sounds from Me and My Friends. In International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Lucy Farrell (“Splendidly atmospheric” – fRoots) and Fiona Bevan (“Startling Odysseys” – The Guardian) headline their own intimate shows. Friday closes in the vibrant festival club with sets from Jacob & Drinkwater, Will Page (Noble Jacks) and The Carrivick Sisters.
Saturday afternoon includes an Irish celebration in HOME as Daoirí Farrell Trio is joined by the “mesmeric” Dani Larkin. David Gibb hosts his Family Jukebox in International Anthony Burgess and in HOME’s Theatre 2 The Alliance Foundation of Kashmiri Arts premieres Touchstone – a commissioned project seeing Lala Qadeer collaborating with Dan Walsh and Alistair Anderson.
Saturday evening’s 02 Ritz show with Will Varley is guaranteed to be a legendary festival evening which opens with innovative and fiery folk-rockers Holy Moly & The Crackers.
In HOME’s Theatre 1, “face of the 2021 sea shanty revival” The Longest Johns are joined by Ceitidh Mac (“transformative, progressive and mellow”) and Angeline Morrison.
In Theatre 2 The Drystones (“big bad beats for badass barn dancing”) and string accompanied Hannah Moule and the Moulettes bring their contemporary approaches to folk and traditional music.
Saturday evening in International Anthony Burgess Foundation welcomes new folk project Pedlar // Russell and clarinet and piano ambient exploration by Group Listening before the final night of the festival club at HOME which closes with sets from The Wilderness Yet, SautiKano and The Ciderhouse Rebellion.
There are a limited number of Festival Passes available, so grab them while you can!
Festival Passes give you access to all concerts in all venues (subject to a T&Cs). More info HERE.po.