MORE FOLK ´N GOOD MUSIC from English folk expo

shared by Norman Warwick

Today we deliver news of opportunities for aspirant folk musicians and for others who might want to serve the folk music scene in a different capacity, plus details of the January album folk music charts.

Back in my days on the folk circuit some forty years ago there was a vast no-man´s land and some intense suspicion between traditions and contemporary folk music, much as there once was (still is?) in Jazz. UK Folk has found an arbitrator and revivalist in the English Folk Expo organisation and Jazz fans can settle their differences over Steve Bewick´s weekly eclectic mix cloud jazz presentation of Hot Biscuits.

The Official Folk Albums Chart Show from Folk on Foot features an interview with James Yorkston and Nina Persson about their brilliant new album with the Second Hand Orchestra. There’s also music from Rachael Dadd, David Carroll and Friends, Breabach, Martyn Joseph, Manran, Magpie Arc and The Mary Wallopers. The show launched at 7pm GMT on Tuesday 7th February on the Folk on Foot YouTube channel and podcast.

Early bird delegate passes for English Folk Expo (EFE) ’23, running from Thu 19th through to late on Sat 21st / early Sun 22nd October in the Northern Quarter of Manchester, England, are now available.We have made it easier than ever to secure your delegate pass this year, allowing delegate to book directly via our website.  Early bird passes are £140 + VAT and will get delegates access to all live performances, including all Manchester Folk Festival public performances, all private delegate showcases, drinks receptions, international partnership showcases, the trade fair, the late night festival club and more.  This year delegates and artists will also have access to the artist training conference and also to the conference programme to the European Folk Network whose conference will be hosted by English Folk Expo this year.

Thanks to Your Roots Are Showing, UK Americana Music Week and Showcase Scotland for welcoming our EFEx representatives in January. The photo (right) shows Americana Music Association UK with 22/23 Artist Mentoring Programme participants Hannah Scott, George Boomsma and Heather Ferrier with past programme alumni Chloe Foy, Katherine Priddy, Amelia Coburn and Dom Stitchbury (with EFEx’s Tom Besford)

We know how much work goes into making these vital meeting points for the industry a success and allow our industry to keep moving artists’ careers forward, so thanks to everyone involved front and back of house for all your efforts. 

EFE are delighted to share the 2022 report on our progress towards a more representative folk, roots and acoustic sector. English Folk Expo has a dedicated Trustee Champion in this area, Katy Rose Bennett (left) who recently appeared on a panel about access at AMA-UK.

Manchester Folk Festival 2023 Early Bird Three-Day Festival Passes have now SOLD OUT!

1st Release Festival Passes are now on sale for £90 (+£7.20 booking fee).

The Three-Day Festival Pass is the best way to take advantage of the full variety of our programme, dipping in where you feel, with full access to every gig from Thursday to Saturday. Make new discoveries and enjoy old favourites with the freedom that the Pass offers.

Meanwhile, though, upcoming folk gigs in the Manchester area include

McGoldrick, McCusker & Doyle 17 March | Waterside, Sale
With their vast repertoire, this will be an evening to remember. Described as the masters of flute, fiddle, song and guitar they have worked with the biggest and brightest and bring you a night of beautifully crafted music (right)

O’Hooley & Tidow 22 Apr | Hallé St. Peter’s
Much loved Yorkshire folk duo Belinda O’Hooley and Heidi Tidow’s boundless songwriting has been described by The Guardian as ‘exceptional’ and The Independent as ‘defiant, robust, northern, poetical, political folk music for the times we live in.’

The John Martyn Project27 Apr | Hallé at St. Michael’s (left)
Back in Manchester by popular demand is this special project where six artists come together to celebrate the music of John Martyn. Each brings their own story and connection to John’s music which adds to the fabric of the overall experience of the project.

The EFE special recommendatiuon this month is

FRANKIE ARCHER Thurs 9th Feb | The Talleyrand
Global Northumbrian fiddler, singer, and songwriter Frankie Archer (left) is back in Manchester after a stunning performance at our 2022 festival.
 “Gorgeous trad playing and creative vocal twists… a fascinating and intoxicating blend of the contemporary and traditional”

– Mark Radcliffe BBC Radio 2 Folk Show

I am not sure that there was ever such a thing as an official Folk Music chart when Colin Lever and I were imploring audiences at our folk club gigs to Lendanear.. Despite including traditional numbers such as Froggy Went A- Courtin´ and our own songs with desperate titles like Just Listen Don´t Talk our audiences always seemed unsure not only of whether our kind of music should be played in their kind of club but also whether or not it should be played at all ! We just thought we were playing folk ´n good music !

This month´s folk music charts are pretty exciting, too, with an album rocketing to the top-

Straight in at No. 1 is James Yorkston, Nina Persson and The Second Hand Orchestra’s The Great White Sea Eagle’ (left) (Domino Recordings), the follow up to James Yorkston and The Second Hand Orchestra’s ‘The Wide, Wide River’ – a Guardian Top 10 Folk Album of 2021. The record didn’t start life as a follow up; in early 2021, Yorkston began visiting his studio in Cellardyke, Fife and for the first time, starting writing songs on the piano as opposed to his usual guitar. After sending the first five or six songs to Karl-Jonas Winqvist (the ringleader/conductor of TSHO), they began to discuss working on the music together which led to the involvement of a guest singer and the legendary Nina Persson (The Cardigans).

They followed the same methodology as The Wide, Wide River – apart from James, Nina and KJ, none of The Second Hand Orchestra had heard the music prior to entering the studio – and the arrangements were made up on the spot. Announced last week, James and Nina are confirmed in the line-up for this year’s Cambridge Folk Festival.

Ranked among Scotland’s most skilled and imaginative contemporary folk acts, Breabach unite deep roots in Highland and Island tradition with the innovative musical ferment of their Glasgow base. Their latest of six released albums is Fàs’ (right)(Breabach), a Gaelic word meaning growth, developing & sprouting, which comes in at No. 22. Breabach are Megan Henderson (fiddle/vocals), James Lindsay (double bass/moog/vocals), Calum MacCrimmon (highland bagpipes/whistle/bouzouki/vocals), Conal McDonagh (highland bagpipes/uilleann pipes/whistle/vocals) and Ewan Robertson (guitar/cajon/vocals). ‘Fàs’ is heavily inspired by the natural environment of Scotland and sees the band showcase more progressive elements in their music than ever before. 

At No. 29 is ‘Bold Reynold’ (Talking Elephant, left), an album by David Carroll and Friends (Gryphon’s Dave Oberle, Graeme Taylor and Brian Gulland plus Fairport Convention’s Chris Leslie and Dave Pegg, with Tom Spencer from The Professionals and The Men They Couldn’t Hang, and Lucy Cooper). Bold Reynold puts the rock back into folk rock with seven traditional songs, a Dave Cousins classic and an epic version of The Last Leviathan. With instrumentation ranging from crumhorns, cor anglais and uilleann pipes through fiddle, tabla, bouzouki and dulcimer to bass, drums and electric guitar and all stops in between, this is a soundscape not to be missed. After appearing on numerous recordings for other people the idea of a solo album fermented over several years and, bolstered by offers of help from many good friends (including all the above!) the ideas and arrangements finally surfaced in 2022.

Congratulations to all charting artists.

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 Expo.

On air sign background

Don´t forget, though, that you can hear not only a feast of folk  on the airwaves but you can also hear a jelly of jazz when you tuck into Hot Biscuits from the mix cloud. Presented by Steve Bewick and Gary Heywood-Everett this week´s broadcast is a Valentines Suite of romantic jazz. Steve and gary, friends of our pages here, will include some old favourites from Chet Baker, Miles Davis and Billie Holiday, with some new contenders from John Leighton, Jill Torvaney and Jim McJannet and more besides.

If this sounds interesting please share the link below with your like-minded, jazz loving friends 24/07 so you can all join Steve and Garyfor a plate of Hot Biscuits at  Steve Bewick’s Shows | Mixcloud

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