In support will be The Daydream Club who are on a nationwide tour promoting their debut album which hits the shops tomorrow (Nov 1st).
And because the floor spots trial (sounds clinical, doesn't it?!) was such a success last time, we'd love you to share a song or two with us again this time! Interested? Email infoATforfolkssakeDOTorgDOTuk
7.30pm doors at the usual spot, upstairs in kro opposite the University of Manchester (not the glass one further down the road). As ever, it's an eye-wateringly-good £5 on the door (or three English pounds if you're a student or unemployed)
See you there!
Want to hear more? Get in touch and I can send you a review copy of the EP. Or head on over to Emma's website.
Anyway, please do join us for our birthday celebrations in two days time - Wednesday 20th October, upstairs at Kro bar, doors at 7.30pm. We will be joined by the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award nominated all-female six piece (phew!) The Shee, who are currently on a nationwide tour to promote their new album, Decadence. And we're promised clog dancing - bring it on!
In support will be We Are Willow, a new project from one half of FFS faves, Butler-Williams.
And a second birthday will also mark a new FFS feature - we're trialling floor spots! Come down at 7.30pm and witness some homegrown talent.
Oh, and did I mention there'll be cake?!
This week I (with much help!) started a YouTube channel. Please subscribe to us so you can view videos from our previous For Folk's Sake nights. We've split Jim Causley's amazing set in to four parts, and the first part is up now. Keep checking back for the next three.
And see you next ... week! (I didn't want to say Thursday as that could be misinterpreted. But our next show is Thursday October 7, upstairs in Kro with The Minnikins, Harp And A Monkey and Johnny5thWheel&TheCowards)
Thank god I woke up.
After excellent consultation with Johnny Roadhouse and a good friend who knows his stuff, the PA (yes, I'm still banging on about it!) arrived and it was all very exciting. At its debut event, though, one of the speakers decided not to work.
For someone with a car, this is probably annoying, but for someone without a car, it means getting a taxi on my lunch break to nip to Johnny Roadhouse, in amongst the fresher madness, and get it sent back. No fault of anyone's, of course, and Johnny Roadhouse were fabulous in placing a new order.
But, honestly - PAs are the bane of my life.
Anyway, thanks to all who crammed into the basement at Postcards to listen to Maliika, Glass Ankle and Samson and Delilah. I must admit, I was a little worried that people wouldn't meander down from the top floor to us. I assumed bands would be playing to Chris and I. But thankfully, we were blessed with a large crowd (well, as large a crowd as the basement room can muster!) the entire time.
And, of course, the bands were fantastic. I hadn't seen Maliika before, but those two girls have the most incredible voices! I can't get enough of Glass Ankle, who have now augmented their lineup with a lovely, almost-shoegazey, chimey guitarist. The songs are sweet but without twee-ness, and anyone who rhymes 'Hovis' with 'pelvis' can safely assume my patronage. And it was great to have a sneak preview of Samson and Delilah's new material from their forthcoming second album: it was all very atmospheric.
You can read Cath's review of the event here.
As for other stuff, I've written a piece for Manchester's premier arts and culture 'What's On' site, Go See This. It was really fun to do, but there are sooo many more folk gigs on this autumn, this was just my personal pick.
I've also had the pleasure of interviewing Mabon's fiddle player, Oli Wilson-Dickson, for Fiddle On and have an interview scheduled with Athene from 3 Daft Monkeys. Their new album is on the way, and I had a good listen at the weekend - they've really run with the carnival idea, it's a great listen.
You can read my review of the Olof Arnalds gig last week at Dulcimer here. She's getting loads of airplay on 6music at the moment, and had a really lovely interview with Cerys Matthews on Sunday. And I think she's actually converted Chris to folk music...
And finally, I'm off to see Le Trio Joubran at Band On The Wall this Friday. Though I've never seen them before, I'm dying to see the masters of the oud take to the stage and blow me away. The trio consists of three generations of a renowned Palestinian oud maker family - imagine having that claim to fame? A friend of mine who is fascinated by the Israeli-Palestine conflict and their respective cultures is a big fan, so I'm sure she'll be able to tell me more when we're at the gig. I'll give a full write up afterwards.
So what else is going on? Well, you might like to read my Her Name Is Calla review, and get your tickets for this Saturday's Postcards From Manchester festival which I'm very excited about. And it'll be the first outing for our brand new PA! (Right, I'll shut up about that now.) We're off to see Olof Arnalds at Dulcimer on Thursday, too, which should be ace.
First of all, the Bailey Sisters - a locally based, close harmony group with whom I often converse on Twitter - turned up and volunteered to fill in for Chris Knowles who had to pull out due to illness. So, after a quick rehearsal in the ladies, up they got and sang four songs, encouraging the crowd to participate, too. It was a welcome and unexpected start.
Many of the audience had seen the respective bands of Daniel Land and Jayn Hanna, and had witnessed Daniel moonlighting in Jayn's The Steals, but few had seen them play together. They told us repeatedly that they were under rehearsed, but you couldn't guess - Jayn's voice is even more mesmerising when you're up close and Daniel's simple accompaniment of soundscape washes is simple but effective.
And then it was Jim. He abandoned the PA and took to the floor, to his audience on his level. He is like a master of ceremonies: he introduces his own act, his material and his thoughts and emotions with ease, confidence and authenticity. Did I say I got a bit teary?! I did.
Anyway, you might want to read a review from an outside agency, not from someone as biased as me - the promoter!
Now it's the weekend and Air Cav is recording our debut album. It's very exciting, even though I haven't yet played a note. We're at this fine establishment and I'm pleased as there's two horses in patting distance from the front door. As soon as we're done - I should imagine it'll be a while - I'll let you know where you can hear it.
I'm incredibly excited - as you might have gathered - as I'm a BIG fan of Jim. And then it turns out that Daniel Land, of psych shoegazers Daniel Land And The Modern Painters (and who travelled with Air Cav to Holland last year), grew up with Jim in Devon! I won't pretend that I wasn't starstruck... Hopefully I'll be able to conceal it on Thursday. Daniel Land will also be playing at the gig, with a helping hand from Jayn Hanna of The Steals. And to top it all off, my good friend, Christopher Knowles, will be back for a return visit. I'm looking forward to hearing some of his new material. (Kro Bar, Thursday 2nd September, £5 / £3, doors 7.30pm)
OK, so I lied. There are, of course, other folky happenings this week in Manchester. Bella Hardy, of whom I've gushed about here many a time, will be playing FOR FREE at the Bridgewater Hall on Friday. The only catch? It's at lunchtime, so be prepared to suck up to your boss to let you out... http://www.bridgewater-hall.co.uk/performance/15756.aspx
And have a look at the latest copy of EDS, the magazine from the English Folk Dance and Song Society. (Though the latest copy hadn't been updated online at the time of writing - it should have a picture of Fay Hield on the cover.) There are a couple of reviews by me - Alasdair Roberts and Jack McNeill and Charlie Heys' new ones - and a great one about Twelfth Day's Northern Quarter: 'There can be no doubting their outstanding musicianship and the quality of their singing voices or the considerable hard work that has been put into these arrangements...'
See you on Thursday!
Wheres Me Jumper encourages customers to design their own jumper which will be forever immortalised in wool, handknitted in Manchester. Beki's had some very exciting commissions to date, including one from Bloc Party drummer, Matt Tong, which are showcased on her website
Unsurprisingly, fashionistas (OK, that word probably really irritates the REAL fashion set, but hey, I never get to use that word) have gone mad for WMJ, with coverage being generated on blogs and via social media. Watch this space...
Morris is all too familiar with being the butt of jokes. But here, in Morris: A Life With Bells On, the jokes are very much welcomed, embraced and perpetuated.
In the style of the mockumentary, we meet Derecq Twist, one of the most revered dancers in the country and Squire of Millsham Morris. The narrator swiftly becomes attached to this man of simple pleasures: Morris, cider, tractor mechanics and cribbage. The Twist family are well known as a Morris dynasty, and we are soon introduced to the vigorous training regime in which Derecq and his fellow dancers are subject to. No wonder Millsham Morris are held in such high regard.
Training with basketball players and finely tuning their bells and weighted hankies are just part and parcel of their drills, where their commitment to Morris presides over day jobs and love lives.
But Derecq is also a boundary-pusher, much to The Morris Circle’s dismay, and he is not content with dancing the ‘prescribed dances’. His attempts to bring his dance into the twenty-first century soon bring about his side’s downfall.
Derecq finds himself on the other side of the Atlantic, reduced to dancing ‘the devil’s dance’.
Morris: A Life With Bells On knows Morris inside out. The writers, producers and possibly even the actors hold Morris dear, enjoying and revelling in its quirks. However, and more importantly, it understands perceptions of the dance, and its position in modern day Britain – and the oft-publicised challenges it faces longterm.
And the film tackles it with abandon, offering no solution but affection and hilarity.
Anyway, For Folk's Sake will be curating our own stage at the very wonderful Postcards From Manchester festival on Saturday 18th September at the Deaf Institute. Organised by a collective of some of the finest promoters in the city, Postcards brings together local and national indiepop bands all under one roof.
Now, I'm certainly not au fait with indiepop, apart from the jangly slices I witness at some of the nights I frequent in Manchester, so I'm really looking forward to putting sounds to some of the names I hear my friends raving about. And bringing some folk-influenced music to the proceedings, of course.
Representing the folk world will be:
Samson and Delilah http://www.myspace.com/thesamsonanddelilahshow
Glass Ankle http://www.myspace.com/glassankleband
And I'm told that our stage - the basement! whoop! - will also host an array of stalls with more indie merchandise than you can shake a stick at. Nice!
Get your tickets here, read more about it here and come along!
And the violin has crept into my latest round of book proposals. Now, I'm always thinking up book proposals - I could write a list of my ideas I've had since I was a small child - but I rarely get on with either proposing the book in question or writing the thing. But I was thinking - would a book about the violin, more importantly playing the violin, make a good book? I've interviewed loads and loads of violinists - mainly folk fiddle players - over the years, many for the inimitable FiddleOn magazine.
And I love the idea of collating some of these themes that come up time and time again into a book: why the violin attracted them in the first place, how they learnt, when they learnt, classical learning vs self-taught, etc, etc. I'd hope it'd be a nice, fat compendium focused on giving fiddle players the recognition they deserve whilst simultaneously exploring more about the role of the violin in folk and popular music. (I've recently interviewed Sarah Neufeld of Arcade Fire and Bell Orchestre, and I'd kill to interview The National's violinist... I'd definitely have to branch out more to that side of the spectrum)
Anyway, the bottom line is - would anyone, save the fiddle massive, want to read such a book? Would it make for interesting reading? Or is this a case of my rather nice interests fuelling my book proposal list again?
Bit weeny, that, isn't it? OK, here's the full run down:
Thursday September 2nd - Jim Causley, Christopher Knowles, Daniel Land and Jayn Hannah (The Steals)
Thursday October 7th - Harp And A Monkey, The Minnikins, Johnny5thWheel&thecowards
Wednesday 20th October - special 2nd birthday show with The Shee and We Are Willow Part Two
Thursday 11th November - Katriona Gilmore and Jamie Roberts, The Daydream Club
Thursday December 2nd - A Very Ceilidh Christmas with Monster Ceilidh Band, Jack McNeill and Charlie Heys, and Marry Another
Aint she a cracker? We've got local musicians, musicians from Devon, Birmingham, Newcastle, Yorkshire, Canada, London, established acts, emerging acts, people we've never met before... we're very chuffed! And all will take place at our new home, upstairs in Kro Bar, opposite the University of Manchester.
Except for some very exciting news... FFS has been asked to curate a stage at the marvellous Postcards From Manchester festival on Saturday September 18th. We'll let you know all the details as soon as we do(!), but for now, here's a link to their facebook presence.
Thank you to all who came to For Folk's Sake's London debut last week, hosted by the indescribable Magpie's Nest crew. You've heard me whitter on about them already, but they really are worthy of such praise! We had a packed room upstairs at the Queen's Head and Ottersgear, Rebecca Sharp, Eliza And The Bear and Mama Rosin entertained delightfully. Let's hope they invite us back some time! hint hint wink wink.
And stepping away from folk for a second, I've recently had the pleasure of a phone conversation with Chuck from Crocodiles, as documented here at the The Quietus.
There's also a really exciting new initiative in Manchester: Manchester Scene Wipe. These guys produce high quality impromptu videos of visiting and local bands and artists. A great resource for all music lovers, really. To celebrate their 100th video, they're putting on their favourite acts at the Deaf Institute next Thursday (12th August) so do pop down and witness Cats In Paris, Denis Jones, Brown Brogues and With That Knife, plus a DJ set from the people responsible for the best night out in town, Underachievers.
So come on down to hear folky sounds and spoken word from the rainy reason, alongside a headline set from the very dapper cajun band, Mama Rosin.
We will be presenting our good friends Ottersgear and Rebecca Sharp, as well as Eleanor Rees' poem 'Eliza And The Bear', which features a live harp score composed by Rebecca. Regular FFS-ers will know and love these acts, and we hope you Londoners will, too!
More information and reduced advanced tickets can be bought here
My interview with Arcade Fire and Bell Orchestre's Sarah Neufeld http://www.highvoltage.org.uk/features.php?id=660
The latest Fiddle On magazine has my interviews with Phil Cunningham and Aly Bain, and Emma Sweeney. It also contains my account of the Fiddle On Tenth Anniversary weekend. You can now join Fiddle On on facebook too: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/FiddleOn?ref=ts
My interview with Katriona Gilmore and Jamie Roberts is in the latest issue of fRoots but I must admit that I haven't seen that myself yet!
Here's a scan of the PYT piece I did a little while back:
Cat and Esther have recently finished studying at the Royal Northern College of Music (I would say graduated, although they haven't yet) and it was great to see so many of their college peers attending the launch, many of them with instruments in hand having just finished their own rehearsals.
I think there is a stereotype that music colleges (perhaps all specialised arts colleges) breed real, bitter competitiveness. And that 'classical' music institutions are stuffy, constrained atmospheres where students are prevented from experimenting with other musical genres and styles.
But I've seen absolutely no evidence of this through my minute window in to Twelfth Day's world - musician friends have helped record and produce the album, even designing the artwork for the CD. The loudest whoops and cheers last night came from Twelfth Day's musical colleagues, and one of the support bands, Tawse, consisted of RNCM students and graduates.
Twelfth Day might make music very much bound to their trad Scots backgrounds, but their peers have embraced Rabbie Burns like Bartok. The Spotlight sessions at the RNCM actively encourage students to perform their own music in whatever format they choose.
Music colleges have always fascinated me - for the past couple of years I've been gathering sound bytes and interviews from those who have attended or teach at the Folk and Traditional Music course at the University of Newcastle - and it was lovely to experience such an open-minded, supportive atmosphere last night.
Yes, Jon Boden (of Spiers and Boden, Bellowhead and formerly one of Eliza's Ratcatchers) has begun a new project - to document a folk song every day to raise the profile of unaccompanied singing. Excellent!
PYT is out now and my article - kindly edited, nay hacked - is on the back page.
I thought you might like to read the unabridged version here:
Then on Tuesday I'm going on a tour of the underground myriad of tunnels in Manchester.
Wednesday is Glastonbury.
Though I won't be present, The Whitworth Art Gallery is presenting an ace Midsummer House Party on Thursday, the spoken word part of which was curated by FFS. So if you're in Manchester, get down there - it's free and Jackie Hagan and Gemma Lees will be in the kitchen, telling you some words. There was also be music and art - obviously.
Then the following Wednesday, 30th June, when Glastonbury is a mere hazy memory (and a sea of abandoned tents, no doubt) Twelfth Day take to the Kro Bar stage to launch their album, Northern Quarter. Come and join us!
Yes, the very lovely Catriona Price and Esther Swift, fiddler and harpist respectively, will soon be hitting the road, the airwaves and all other kinds of cliches in celebration of their debut album, Northern Quarter.
And my, what an album it is - their trad Scottish roots meld seamlessly with technical precision and skill gleaned from their years of classical training. Please let me know if you're a writer / PR / presenter type and would like a copy and haven't been sent one already.
The album launch is being hosted by the one and only For Folk's Sake, plus Manchester legends, Friends of Mine. I think it's fair to say Friends of Mine haven't really delved into this kind of musical territory before, so it'll be interesting to see what the FOM massive make of Twelfth Day! Supporting will be a welcome return to the scene for Hannah Nicholson (Paperwives) and Ben Cashell. And the best thing? Tickets are a mere £3 in advance from here
However, most involve public votes where the only bands even glanced at by the festival panel are those with 100 top friends on myspace and multiple IP addresses - perfect for increasing festival website traffic.
The folks at The Quietus, however, seem genuinely more altruistic. They're even honest about the nature of their judges: 'Bad Cop (Luke) and Even Worse Cop (John)'. Good on them.
I've also had the pleasure of interviewing the delectable Hannah Peel for the High Voltage fanzine. I'd seen Hannah play as part of the expanded lineup with The Unthanks, but this was the first time I'd heard her solo stuff and my, what a voice.
‘the basis for the musical culture is the vernacular of the broad mass of the people – its traditional (often called ‘folk’) idiom; popular music and processional music are elaborate superstructures built upon the common base.'
Very sensible man.
I love Twelfth Day's promo photography.
It has to be said that I can rarely say that about folk musicians: they tend to adorn their CDs with inherently awful photos of themselves looking uncomfortable and geeky, with ill fitting clothes, or in cliche poses (looking to an invisible horizon, hair caught by a breeze).
But more of that another time. Manchester's music and fashion photographer extraordinaire, Shirlaine Forrest, captured Twelfth Day perfectly in unusual, eye catching yet honest shots.
And in yesterday's MEN, one of the suite was given full appreciation next to David Sue's article in City Life. Thanks, David! Of course, Twelfth Day are opening FFS tonight at Contact Theatre so do come down - it's going to be a great night.
Yes, I'm delighted to announce that the Arts Council has granted FFS an award to enable us to buy a brand new PA system. This is going to be a massive help to us, cutting down on overheads so that we can expand our reach by booking more established acts, extending our marketing activities and making sure all our acts are rewarded for their performance.
Thanks, Arts Council!
This is my first attempt at embedding a tune on Wordpress, so here goes!
Anyway, I was lucky enough to get to know Ric Sanders, fiddler extraordinaire with Fairport Convention, when I was a teenager and he taught me this tune he wrote. As tunes go, it's quite a simple ditty, but it's stuck with me ever since. And I've never even been to Portmeirion.
Chris and I recorded it in our flat - that's Chris on guitar. I was playing in the bathroom and I don't think it's too bad a sound, all things considered!
Then at the weekend, I took part in a fiddle weekend at Wilderhope Manor in Shropshire, courtesy of Fiddle On and in celebration of the magazine's tenth anniversary. I had a great workshop with Pete Cooper alongside 30 or so other fiddlers, and we went on walks and took part in sessions.
I must confess that Saturday night was my first ever session, despite playing the violin since I was 7 and loving folk music. Having very few folky friends, I've never summoned up the courage to go to a session by myself. I was hoping that I'd recognise a few tunes and quickly convert that to my fingers on the spot, but that didn't go quite to plan - I only knew a handful of tunes! But I really enjoyed myself nonetheless, and I've vowed to start going to the Jolly Angler and the Ducie in Manchester. eeek!
When audience members are pleasantly surprised (or perturbed and shocked). When audience members think that yes, they might listen to folk music again, or no, I won't always go outside for a fag when a spoken word artist is on.
I'm glad that audience members don't ever tend to feel indifferent to performers at FFS.
Here's a review of the most recent FFS from someone who wouldn't normally touch folk with a proverbial barge pole: bit.ly/bTJTa1
Thank you all so much for getting in touch with requests for gigs. By all means, do still get in touch as it's always lovely to hear from interesting musicians and poets from all over - but we won't be looking to book anyone until February 2011 now.
Thanks again for your continued support. We'll release news of all forthcoming gigs asap.
And if you're in Manchester tonight, make sure you head down to Eighth Day from 7pm!
Our May egg-stravaganza (sorry!) is booking now...
We're delighted to be hosting the Manchester leg of The Magpie's Nest's Two For Joy tour. In case you don't already know, the Magpie's Nest won Folk Club Of The Year at this year's BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and I see this tour as their celebratory lap of victory. Maybe I'm being over the top, but it's fantastic to see a folk club go on the road!
So on May 8th at Contact Theatre, The Long Notes and Plaster of Paris will perform, with our very own Twelfth Day opening. Tickets are £8/6 and you can get them in advance from here: http://www.contact-theatre.org/ For more details and to confirm your attendance, visit our event page on facebook: http://bit.ly/b9tQ0V
See you at Eighth Day cafe on Thursday!
Wish me luck! *gulp*
And it was pretty close up - I managed to exchange a few words with him after the event. My uncle was a roadie / light technician for Kevin's pre-Dexys band, The Killjoys, and I'm pleased to say that Kevin remembered him well. So much so that they've since exchanged a few emails!
Wow. I'm truly exhausted. Last night's FFS at the Zion was fantastic - such a big, varied crowd and such fabulous performers. Thanks to everyone who came down and listened, performed, helped out, promoted, etc, etc. And wasn't the cake nice? Well, all except my second batch of shortbread which shouldn't even be fed to ducks - they'd break their beaks. Apologies if you got a piece of that.
But anyway, I'm delighted to announce the next FFS - April 8th at Eighth Day cafe. (Should be easy to remember, that one!) We're joined by musicians from all corners of the British Isles, so be sure to join us from 7pm.
I went to see Eliza last night at Band On The Wall. Lovely to see a big and relatively young audience! She was as fabulous as ever, and played mainly new stuff (one in particular was amazing, but the title escapes me!) and material from Dreams Of Breathing Underwater and Angels And Cigarettes. When she does the more chantreuse-y, sexy, bluesy self-penned stuff, the fiddle takes a little more of a back seat but I don't mind as that means she revels in her husky voice. You can tell she loves to sing those songs.
She said that her new album - also original music - will be written in a week and a half, compared to the last one which took seven years. I assume she was joking, but I'm looking forward to it already!
Anyway, if you'd like to hear more from their artists, head on over to their website and you can download their compilation, 'Trace', for free! http://bit.ly/9rNIB7
Tune in at 11.20pm on Sunday night, or listen again from Monday via http://bit.ly/cR2XFy
Prior to stumbling across their glossy flyer in a leaflet rack, I had never heard of the Scottish Fiddle Orchestra and was intrigued - would it be a hoard of fiddles playing rousing tunes? I hoped so, as I've become a real Scottish music fan.
The Bridgewater Hall was packed, and many of the audience were decked out in kilts and sporrans. Pipers were weaving their way through the crowd. The atmosphere was lively and the fact that I still had no idea what I was about to witness made for a rather exciting build up. I couldn't have cared less that we were the youngest by a long, long way - I'm used to this at folk gigs.
But as the Scottish Fiddle Orchestra took their seats, and a compere - apparently well known on the Scottish scene - began cracking jokes, I realised this was more of a nostalgia concert. The tunes were not frenetic and raw, but lazily over-romanticised in their arrangement. Guest solo singers were invited to the spotlight and warbled their way through like the opening of a football tournament.
It reminded me of the country dances we were taught at primary school - gentle music with just enough bounce to persuade young knees to participate. A kind of watered down, easy listening soundtrack.
However, Cat and I were the only ones who seemed bitterly disappointed. The audience were laughing heartily at the greetings-card-jokes and clapping in time with the music. To me, it didn't seem heartfelt or genuine and I was pleased to leave.
I've seen Lau several times and - though it might be a cliche to say it - they really do get better every time. And after's Friday's performance, I've officially promoted them to 'my favourite band' status.
Here's my review...
I like that - it shows that the folk scene is all-encompassing and open-minded. You just need to find it first.
Emma's got a new website: http://emmasweeneyfiddle.com/ which I believe is still under construction, and she'll be playing the April FFS at the Eighth Day on, fittingly, April 8th.
Also appearing will be Lancaster's Dan Haywood's New Hawks and Rantum Scantum, all the way from Edinburgh. Make sure you get down early on so you get a good spot at the front!
And the first review I put up myself on Spiral Earth. First person to spot a typo or missed bit of formatting wins a chocolate bar of their choice.
The new issue is out and as ever, there's lots of bits and pieces to get your teeth into. The cover piece is an interview with Natalie Haas about the finer points of accompanying fiddle players - very enlightening! I've got an interview with the lovely Charlie Heys, too.
Check out http://www.fiddleon.co.uk/ for subscription details. It's their tenth birthday - the perfect time to subscribe!
Anyway, here's my review of their gig at the Deaf Institute on Tuesday night:
Ah well, her adoring crowd really were very adoring, so I very much doubt she cares about what I think.
And it seems like others are doing the same:
What? The folk! - http://www.myspace.com/lastnightiwasasinner - another Manchester based collective putting on acoustic nights
Cool As Folk - A night at Odder bar in Manchester, playing 'the snazziest selection of nu-folk, indie-folk and folktronica!'
Folking Cool - http://www.folkingcool.co.uk/ - I only stumbled across this today, but it looks like a mix of old and new folk which is always nice.
Then there's the London-based For Folk's Sake (http://www.forfolkssake.com/) who have a really beautiful site with lots going on.
Has anyone spotted any others?
And anyone who is in the Lancashire area should get down to The Met in Bury on Friday night and witness Lau. Amazing!
Mikey Kenney – known as Ottersgear on stage – has performed at the Manchester night on two occasions and has been inspired to launch the night in Liverpool.
He said: “I’ve really enjoyed performing at For Folk’s Sake in Manchester and feel it showcases a real high calibre of traditional and acoustic artists.
“Sometimes city centres miss out on this kind of music in such an intimate environment, so I approached Sophie, the promoter of For Folk’s Sake, and asked if she would mind whether I started a similar night in Liverpool under the same umbrella.”
Sophie Parkes, promoter of For Folk’s Sake, said: “I am honoured that Mikey has decided to take FFS to Liverpool and I will support him in any way I can. I am sure Liverpool audiences will be as receptive as they are here in Manchester.”
For Folk’s Sake has been running for almost a year and a half, and aims to bring traditional folk and language-led music to a city centre platform.
For Folk’s Sake launches in Liverpool on Friday 12 February at the Leaf Café. It will feature performances from The Existence Of Harvey Lord, Eliza And The Bear, Harp And A Monkey and Lewis Mason.
Single Cell have put together a really varied programme of events throughout their residency which will appeal to all sorts of different people, and For Folk's Sake has been invited to host a special event in the main theatre (gulp!). This will take place on Thursday March 18th from 8pm, but you might like to know what else is going on...
Running from 26th February—27th March 2010, Finding Zion is a month long festival of events taking place in and around Zion Arts Centre, curated by Single Cell Collective.
We’ve chosen to stage events that promote the creative talent of Hulme while exploring the politics and culture of this unique area. There’s plenty of opportunities to get involved, whether it’s bringing your bike to the critical mass, siting down for a meal at the People’s Kitchen or taking a walk through Hulme’s psychogeography. The events culminate with Hulme Busking, a day of incredible musical performances throughout Hulme, ending with a special event at Zion Arts Centre.
At some events we ask for a donation rather than charge a ticket price to take into account personal circumstances. All donations go to the running of the events and/or funding future creative activity in Hulme.
‘Respond’ is Zion Arts Centre’s trilogy of residencies which ask for creative solutions to engaging communities. Finding Zion is Single Cell’s Response during which we aim to open up this resource to the community, bridging the gap between the vibrant creativity of Hulme and this amazing building that lies at its heart.
This programme is about providing opportunities for creative people in Hulme, so if you want to get involved get in touch.
Critical Mass comes to Hulme
18:00—00:00, Friday 26th February
What: Mass bike ride through Manchester followed by party at Zion Arts Centre including The Spokes Bicycle Dance Troupe, Pedal Powered Soundsystem, DJ’s including Sir Robin from Longshot playing reggae and 2 step, amazing bands and delicious food.
Where: Meet at the Central Library at 6pm for the ride and 7pm at Zion Arts Centre for the after-ride party.
Get involved: Bring a bike, wear orange, free bike valet parking at Zion!
Cost: Ride - free. Party - suggested donation £3
Organised by Manchester Critical Mass, I Bike Mcr (www.ibikemcr.org.uk)
Peoples’ History of Hulme
13:00, Sunday 7th March
What: Create a fantasy map and embark on a metaphysical treasure hunt, discovering performers, musicians, and random surprises on this pyschogeographic tour of Hulme exploring politics, regeneration and myth.
Get involved: The Peoples’ History of Hulme is suitable for people of all ages, some gentle walking outdoors is required so dress for the weather.
Where: Meet at 1pm at Kim By the Sea, Old Birley Street M15 5RF
Cost: Free of charge
Organised by the Loiterers Resistance Movement (nowhere-fest.blogspot.com)
For Folk's Sake
20:00, Thursday 18th March
What: The very best in live folk music and spoken word featuring Little Red Rabbit’s Anna Kashfi, fresh from the release of their latest album, Survival (www.annakashfi.co.uk) plus performance poet, Mab Jones (www.mabjones.webs.com) and Honeyfeet (http://www.myspace.com/honeyfeetmusic).
Where: Theatre space at Zion Arts Centre
Cost: £3 (available on night or in advance from venue)
Organised by For Folks Sake (www.forfolkssake.org.uk)
Workshop 14:00—17:00, Performance 18:00—20:00, Saturday 20th March
What: An incredible opportunity for MCs, DJs and spoken word artists to collaborate with experimental electronica musicians. An afternoon workshop with music facilitators followed by an evening performance before a select crowd. All ages, all abilities welcome.
Where: Various spaces at Zion Arts Centre
Get involved: All noise-makers, word-shapers, beat-breakers and soundscapers!
Avant-garde electro pioneers come forth! Whatever your skills sign up.
Cost: Free but registration for the workshop is essential: firstname.lastname@example.org
Organised by Single Cell Collective
People’s Kitchen Meal and Hulme Film Night
18:00-23:00, Tuesday 23rd March
What: A delicious communal meal* cooked on site by volunteers from that Hulme institution, People’s Kitchen. Followed by a selection of short films depicting the cultural history of Hulme, exploring issues such as politics, parties, housing and immigration, with guest speakers.
Where: Gallery space at Zion Arts Centre
Get involved: Contact us to book a place at the table: email@example.com
Or get in touch if you have film footage of Hulme you want to share: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cost: Suggested donation £3
Organised by People’s Kitchen of Bentley House TARA, Clearer Channel www.clearerchannel.org and Single Cell
*All dietary requirements catered for on request, food is vegan and where possible organic
12:00—19:00, Saturday 27th March
What: Finding Zion culminates with a day when Hulme reveals its true musical creativity. Featuring musical performances in spaces all around Hulme. Look out for some surprise acts in some unusual locations. The day ends with special performances from 6pm-9pm at the Zion Arts Centre.
Where: Meet at midday in Hulme Park outside the Zion Arts Centre. Midday-6pm, various locations tbc around Hulme, 6pm-9pm Zion Arts Centre
Get involved: Get in touch if you are a musician who would like to play or would you like to suggest a location or request a song: email@example.com
Cost Daytime event: free; Evening event: suggested donation £3
0161 226 1912
However, even after almost a year and a half of putting on For Folk's Sake, I still get terrified before each one. On the eve of For Folk's Sake, I am usually melancholy: I expect a half-arsed crowd, bands to demand money as I am frog-marched to the cashpoint, and I always say to myself this is the last one. Ever.
Though, I must admit, the nights have never gone disastrously wrong. In fact, far from it. PAs have turned up late, leads have been forgotten. There's been absent-minded poets and microphones balanced on egg-boxes, local drunkards destroying the furniture and there was one occasion when I tripped over a lead and shouted an expletive. But nevertheless, the artists have enjoyed performing - the vast majority asking to come back - and the support from the loyal following has been overwhelming.
For Folk's Sake has gone from strength to strength, and this year, is travelling to London, expanding to Liverpool, participating in a residency, launching a debut album and hosting a tour.
But even when I feel like my confidence is growing and I'm making headway, this week's For Folk's Sake was decidedly quiet and the nerves once again crept in. I found myself apologising to the bands and punters, exclaiming that it's never normally this quiet, and insisting that I've done the same amount of publicity that I've always done.
And then there was my biggest faux pas to date. After thanking first band, Kamal Arafa, for their outstanding performance, I declared them to be a tight outfit. Once I saw the violinist's face fall, I realised what I had said.
No, no, not clothes, I said, waving my hands frantically in the air.
I'm referring to how together they were, I insisted, stressing each syllable.
The crowd had grown by this stage, and now many were laughing uncomfortably.
Oh god, I sound like Alan Partridge, I said, in a vain attempt to salvage any reputation I had left, shuffling off stage and welcoming the setting of the stage for the next band.
Of course, I dwelled on this episode for a good half an hour before I realised it actually didn't matter and was soon forgotten by the crowd, the performers and everyone else, bar myself.
And the crowd had grown. It still was perhaps one of the smallest audiences I'd had, but it was still enough for the room to feel lively, attentive and snug.
After the gig, and by the time I had got home, I was already saying to myself everything's quiet at the beginning of the year. You've got loads going on this year, don't give up.
So I won't. There's video footage from Thursday being edited, there's tech specs being forwarded for our next gig - Thursday March 18th at the Zion Centre, there's artwork being prepared and I'm already booking September through to December.
Bring it on.
She's a real character: http://spiralearth.co.uk/attitude/attitudestory.asp?nid=4069
I had the pleasure of voting at this year's Folk Awards as part of the panel and I'm delighted to see some of my votes come up trumps. But poor old Mawkin:Causley - I was rooting for you, boys!
We're also delighted to announce Kamal Arafa will be performing, too. A string-heavy serendipity, make sure you head to the Bay Horse basement at 7.30pm to catch them: http://www.myspace.com/kamalarafa
And one more cheeky plug to vote for us in the Spirals: http://www.spiralearth.co.uk/spirals2010/club.asp
See you at the Bay Horse this Thursday (4th Feb) from 7pm.
Apologies it’s been a long old while, but I thought I’d gather up all our exciting news in one big go…
First of all, we start the year at the Bay Horse NEXT Thursday (Feb 4th) with:
- Multiple slam champion, Ash Dickinson, with victories in Edinburgh (2007), Cheltenham (2008), the Museum of Scotland Slam (2005). Ash won the BBC Radio 4 Midlands Slam in July 2009. You can check out videos of his dynamic performances here, as well as his ‘Ashist Manifesto’.
- Lo-fi folky quirky loveliness from Glass Ankle http://www.myspace.com/glassankleband
- And special guests
For Folk’s Sake has been nominated at the Spiral Awards for best folk club of the year. Voting closes on Feb 12th, so please click here to vote for us.
Then in March, we’re lucky enough to have been invited to participate in the wonderful Single Cell Collective’s residency at The Zion Arts Centre. If you haven’t heard of Manchester’s multidisciplinary arts collective, Single Cell, you might want to check them out
- For Folk’s Sake will be in the MAIN THEATRE (gulp!) at the Zion on Thursday March 18th with Anna Kashfi, who have just released their latest album, Survival, on Little Red Rabbit records. http://www.myspace.com/annakashfi
- We are also delighted to be joined by Cardiff poet, Mab Jones, who was one of only six poets who made it through to the UK Farrago Slam Championships last year. What an achievement! You can check her out here: http://www.mabjones.com/
- Other guests will be announced shortly.
April 8th’s venue is currently yet to be confirmed, but we have a fantastic lineup planned, with artists from all over the UK:
The wonderful Northern Irish troubadour, Stephen MacCartney
Brummie poet and comedian, Claire Jones
Scotland’s songstress, Lindsay Sugden
And Manchester’s very own former BBC Young Folk Award finalist, fiddler Emma Sweeney
I don’t want to overwhelm you with ALL our news in great detail, but look out for further information about our date at Contact Theatre in May, with the Magpie’s Nest tour (the London folk club who have just won BBC Radio 2 Folk Club of the Year at the 2010 Folk Awards!)
As well as:
- The Twelfth Day album launch in June
- And our first ever London For Folk’s Sake in July!
Phew! What a year it is going to be!
So we’ll see you all next Thursday (Feb 4th) at the Bay Horse then? As ever, it’s £4 on the door (£2 concs), 7pm until the music dries up xx