Sam Kelly & Jamie Francis in concert at the Ram Club Christmas Party

Festive fun guaranteed – 

Sam Kelly and Jamie Francis are proven winners at the Ram Club, having played in a trio and as The Changing Room – two fabulous performances. Sam is a hugely talented and hard-working young musician with a memorable voice and Jamie one of the best banjo players you will ever see. This dynamic duo will set the party alight with their mix of old and new. Adding to the frivolities will be a table laden with festive fayre – plus a spectacular gallery of unusual raffle prizes. Huge fun guaranteed.

Friday December 15, 7.30pm (music begins at 8.30). At the Old Cranleighan Club, Thames Ditton, Surrey KT7 0HB.

NB: This will be a ticketed event – details to follow – please see the website. All welcome.


Cecil Sharp House Music and Performance Series – May to August 2017

Music and Performance Series – May to August 2017

The English Folk Dance and Song Society has unveiled its line up for the 2017 summer music and performance season at England’s national folk arts centre, Cecil Sharp House in London.

Programme highlights include:

  • A solo performance from singer songwriter and former Bellowhead frontman Jon Boden on May 18
  •  A debut Cecil Sharp House performance by the voice of Clannad​ ​Moya Brennan on June 1
  • The acclaimed Made in the Great War storytelling and music project from Sam Sweeney on June 8
  • An evening with one of folk music’s most loved dynasties, the Seeger MacColl family featuring singer, songwriter and feminist icon Peggy Seeger performing with Neill and Calum, her sons with Ewan MacColl, on June 9

Luke Jackson with special guest Rebecca Loebe

Wed 3 May, 7.30pm

Tickets: £14 | £10 under 26s

A meeting in Kansas, USA led to a transatlantic partnership of two exceptional charismatic young songwriters.

Luke Jackson is a rising young Roots singer/songwriter from Canterbury in Kent.  2013 saw him nominated for both the Horizon Award for Best Emerging Talent and the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award and in 2014 he was named Fatea’s Male Artist of the Year.

Rebecca Loebe is a young singer-songwriter known for her distinct voice, well-crafted songs and ability to bring an audience to her journeys, introducing them to the characters she meets and observations she makes as she travels.

Jon Boden
Thurs 18 May, 7.30pm

Tickets: £20 | £10 under 26s

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.

As a total contrast to the eleven-piece Bellowhead, autumn 2016 saw Jon launch his first ever solo tour. The show promises to incorporate elements from the wide creative span of his career to date – from the self-penned pop songs of Painted Lady, to the funked-up power-pop arrangements of folk songs that characterised Bellowhead and Spiers & Boden, to the post-Apocalyptic song-world of Songs From The Floodplain, to unaccompanied ballads as featured on his mammoth A Folk Song A Day project in which he recorded and released 365 folk songs in one year across 2010-2011.

Through his solo work and his work with Bellowhead and Spiers & Boden Jon has won eleven BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards – more than any other artist. His solo shows will provide an intimate insight into a man of many and various talents and promises to take the audience deeper into the song worlds of traditional music and of his own song writing.

Rosie Hodgson
Wed 24 May, 7

Tickets: £12 | £10 under 26s

As a rising star of the English folk scene, Rosie Hodgson will present an evening of songs from her new album Rise Aurora, accompanied by fiddle-singer Rowan Piggott. Expect an eclectic mix of original and traditional material; beautiful inventive songs overlaid with delicate harmonies, driving fiddle, spell-binding guitar lullabies and maybe even some clog stepping! There is a very long and bright future dawning for this young duo.

“…audible magic woven with voice, fiddle and guitar; Rise Aurora is an impressive debut album by this young songwriter who has risen through the folk circuit to become a BBC Young Folk Awards finalist.”  fRoots

Heg and the Wolf Chorus
Wed 31 May, 7.30pm

Tickets£12 | £10 under 26s

Following the hugely successful UK tour throughout the Autumn, Bristol four-piece Heg & The Wolf Chorus are back on the road in the spring 2017 performing their acclaimed debut album Raising The Fires.

The band performs the album’s enchanting story of a witch who was wrongfully burnt at the stake. The scorned woman casts a spell, ending the world as we know it and conjuring all the mythological creatures back to roam the Earth. Inspired by traditional Scottish folklore and written at the foothills of the Cuillin mountains on the Isle of Skye, the vivid imagery and magnificent landscapes can be heard in every spine-tingling song. This release presents the band’s distinctive sound and Heg’s visionary songwriting on a scale unlike anything they have released before, bringing theatrical elements to their performance with a strong story-telling theme throughout.

Moya Brennan – The Voice of Clannad
Thurs 1 June, 7.30pm

Tickets: £18 | £10 under 26s

When Bono stated recently, “I think she has one of the greatest voices the human ear has ever experienced”, he was heralding what many people know already about The Voice of Clannad, Moya Brennan. She sings like nothing you’ve ever heard before! So it makes sense that her live solo shows – with all the musicality and power of Clannad but with added, heart-warming intimacy – should be such a rich and moving experience. Her effortless vocals and timeless music pay homage not only to her vibrant traditional Irish heritage but also her grasp of contemporary forms.

With Clannad she rose to prominence with a pioneering approach to traditional music, which has garnered them 15 million record sales worldwide and a string of awards, including a Grammy in 1998. Her career to date includes 25 albums, numerous film scores and she has sung with many great artists, including The Chieftains, Robert Plant, Paul Brady, Shane MacGowan and Bono.

Made in the Great War
Thurs 8 June, 7.30pm

Tickets: £18 | £10 under 26s

Eight years ago Sam Sweeney, fiddle player with folk big band Bellowhead, bought a violin with a label inside showing the date 1915, the name Richard S. Howard and the words “Violin No. 6, Made in the Great War”.  Research revealed that the violin had been started, but never finished, by a music hall performer from Leeds named Richard Spencer Howard who was conscripted in 1915 at the age of 35, and killed two years later at the battle of Messines near Ypres.

The pieces of the fiddle had lay in a manila envelope for nine decades and it was over ninety years after Richard S Howard began working on the fiddle that it was finally finished and placed in the shop of Roger Claridge. This is where Sam found it.

To mark the ongoing 100th anniversary of World War I and to retell the story of Richard S. Howard, Sam Sweeney (fiddle/viola), winner of the “Musician of the Year” Award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2015, has collaborated with award-winning storyteller Hugh Lupton, fellow Bellowhead band mate Paul Sartin (oboe/fiddle), and Rob Harbron (concertina/harmonium), to create a music and spoken word performance, featuring on stage the actual fiddle made by Richard S. Howard.

An Evening with The Seeger MacColl Family
Fri 9 June, 7.30pm

Tickets: £18 | £10 under 26s

The Seeger MacColl family are one of folk music’s most loved dynasties. Singer, songwriter and feminist icon Peggy Seeger performs with Neill and Calum, her sons with Ewan MacColl. Join these three exceptional musicians for a gloriously relaxed evening of great music and witty family banter. Expect to hear songs of love, politics and storytelling, including some from Peggy’s award-winning latest album alongside Ewan MacColl’s best loved songs. This is an intimate evening with a remarkable family that will linger long in the memory.

Rosie Hood – ‘The Beautiful and the Actual’ album launch
Wed 14 June, 7.30pm

Tickets: £12 | £10 under 26s

Rosie Hood is a young folk singer from Wiltshire, known for her strong, pure voice and engaging solo performance. In 2015 Rosie was a BBC Performing Arts Fellow with the English Folk Dance & Song Society and in 2016 she was nominated for the Horizon award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. 2017 will see Rosie release her first full-length solo album The Beautiful & The Actual, a collection of old and new folk songs.

Cecil Sharp House Choir and Alton Community Choir
Sat 17 June, 7.30pm

Tickets: £10 | £6 under 26s

EFDSS is excited to be hosting special guests Alton Community Choir, under the expert direction of Carolyn Robson, for this collaborative concert. Since forming in 2008, Alton Community Choir’s numbers have grown steadily from an initial 12 members to almost 70.  The Choir delights in finding unique ways to celebrate the folk traditions, which so inspire their repertoire.  Cecil Sharp House Choir was formed by EFDSS in the same year. Led by the inspirational Sally Davies, the Choir has become known for its spirited and moving renditions of folk songs from England and the wider British Isles. Both choirs will sing selections of glorious a capella harmony arrangements.

Elliott Morris
Wed 21 June, 7.30pm

Tickets: £12 | £10 under 26s
With hundreds of gigs behind him Elliott Morris has a formidable reputation as one of the hardest-working and most sought-after young artists on the acoustic scene.  The singer-songwriter, featured in Acoustic magazine as “The Next Big Thing”, taps the strings and beats the guitar’s body to create an intricate spectacle, together with an original and unique sound integral to his songs.

Elliott’s original compositions marry intricate guitar lines with heartfelt, honest vocals and clever wordplay, combining elements of folk, roots, jazz and country. Embracing the traditional and the contemporary – this is folk music for the 21st century.  Elliott’s versatile blend of folk, pop and rock has complemented a range of major artists he has supported including Frank Turner, Seth Lakeman, Lau, Big Country, and The Three Degrees, and revered folk veterans Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick. He has also supported Paul Carrack (Squeeze, Mike + The Mechanics, Eric Clapton) on many of his UK tour dates.

“One of the most impressive guitarists to grace our studio for a very long time…a compelling listen – and mesmerising to watch!”  Dean Jackson – The Beat / BBC Introducing

The Takeover
Sun 9 July, 7pm

Tickets: £6

Showcasing talented young folk bands and musicians, this concert wraps up an evening of activities for young people, including ceilidh dancing and a jam session. The Takeover is curated, organised and hosted by EFDSS


Youth Forum and EFDSS’ resident folk collective, London Youth Folk Ensemble.

Ticket booking

Booking information for each event is detailed within individual listings at

Tickets can also be purchased from the reception desk at Cecil Sharp House (in person only), Monday – Friday, 9.30am – 5.30pm. No transaction fee.

EFDSS has a level of ticket pricing for people aged under 26 for every EFDSS programmed event. The cost of a youth ticket will never exceed £10 and will run alongside the existing adult and concession prices.

Other concerts also take place at Cecil Sharp House throughout the year, put on by independent promoters. See for more information.

Loudon Wainwright III Announces London Performances Of ‘Surviving Twin’

Proper Music presents

Loudon Wainwright III.  SURVIVING TWIN.

Surviving Twin” is a posthumous collaboration in which Grammy Award winner Wainwright connects some of his best songs with the writing of his late father Loudon Wainwright Jr, the esteemed LIFE Magazine columnist. The performance is a game of creative catch between son and father, exploring issues like birth, loss, parenthood, fashion, pet ownership, and mortality. In a one man show, Wainwright recites a selection of his father’s compositions interspersed with songs from his own catalogue. “Surviving Twin” has never been previously performed in the UK.

Loudon’s illustrious career as a songwriter, humourist and actor, spans over two-dozen albums. He collaborated with Joe Henry, on the music for Judd Apatow’s hit movie “Knocked Up”, penned music for the British theatrical adaptation of Carl Hiaasen’s novel, “Lucky You” and also recorded several songs for HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire”. His songs have been recorded by many including Johnny Cash, Mose Allison, Earl Scruggs, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Rufus Wainwright and Bonnie Raitt.

As an actor, he hit the screens early in his career playing Captain Calvin Spalding, the “singing surgeon”, on the American television show, M*A*S*H and has subsequently appeared in films directed by Martin Scorsese, Hal Ashby, Christopher Guest, Tim Burton, Cameron Crowe, and Judd Apatow.

A limited edition, deluxe hardback programme including an 18 track CD of show excerpts will be available exclusively at the performances.


Tickets for 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th of March are available here

‘Surviving Twin’ in Loudon’s words

“It started in Maine. I was up in Vacationland to do a show and since there were no hotels near the gig that met my primary on the road requirement (windows must open, at least a few inches) I was housed in someone’s cabin. Not really a cabin per se though, since there were modern amenities, among them cable TV, laundry facilities, and a dishwasher. But the place had a cabin like feel to it, with a trace of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store ambience. Deer antlers and a pair of antique cross country skies were mounted on the interior walls and there were black and white photos hanging in carved wooden frames –a children’s Sunday school class from the 1920s and some strapping men with handlebar mustaches assembled in a 19th century logging camp. In the middle of the cabin’s living room was a swaying, upholstered easy chair and on the floor next to it, a magazine rack containing copies of old LIFE magazines. At some point I sat down and pulled out an issue from 1971 with Tricia Nixon on the cover, knowing it was possible that one of my dad’s “The View From Here” columns might be in the front section of the magazine. Sure enough there was one, and not just any old column but one of his best, for my money the very best. It was “Another Sort Of Love Story” a twelve hundred word essay about having to put our family dog John Henry to sleep. I started to read it and was laughing immediately. By the time I got to the pay off at the end of the piece I was sobbing, the perpetual Gordian knot in my gut having been relaxed and released for the first time in God knows how long. Of course I had known the writer, as well as the dog and had loved them both, although expressing that love to the former had always been a pretty tall order for me, practically an impossibility.

The experience in Maine shook me and I decided to find and read all my Dad’s columns. When they first were published in the magazine in the 1960s and 70s I mostly ignored them because having a famous father had been, by in large, kind of a drag. I was the son of the famous LIFE magazine writer Loudon Wainwright. Wasn’t that great? Wasn’t I proud? Those 2 questions always led to a third, which I invariably asked myself: How the hell was I going to top that?

My father’s “The View From Here” columns appeared when LIFE was ubiquitous, on every coffee table in America, way back when there were coffee tables. My father wrote a lot about politics and current events, the big stories of his day, but during my rereading process I quickly realized that my favorite columns of his were the personal ones: the one about having to put the dog down, the fire that destroyed our house in 1966, buying himself a Saville Row tailored suit in London, and visiting his mother for the last time in a nursing home. His political stuff didn’t really grab me when I read it because it was of its own time and that time had passed. I did, however, enjoy Dad’s forays into criticism. Occasionally, in his column he would write about a movie (loved “Dr Strangelove”, hated “ET”) and he took a pretty nasty swipe at Linda Ronstadt’s 1983 re-recording of old standards “What’s New?”. He also relished reporting on the cultural movements of that time, and it’s cast of iconic clowns, be they baseball’s Billy Martin, the hippies, Richard Nixon or the Maharishi. Dad interviewed Martin Luther King and was with press corps traveling with Robert Kennedy when the senator was gunned down at The Ambassador Hotel in LA. He wrote the profiles of the original Project Mercury Astronauts and counted John Glenn and Scott Carpenter among his friends. I remember watching in awe the trim, athletic Carpenter doing back flips off the one meter diving board at The Bedford Golf and Tennis Club pool in the early 1960s. Initially my father, a former Marine, was a grudging supporter of the Vietnam War, but that changed as the conflict worsened and dragged on. In 1969 he and his close friend and colleague at LIFE Philip Kunhardt came up with the daring idea of publishing the photos, names and home towns of a single week’s war dead in the magazine. LIFE had always been pretty middle of the road so this was a radical and provocative move, and it prompted angry letters and cancellations (“You have succeeded in turning the knives in the backs of grieving parents”) but also high praise (Your story… was the most eloquent and meaningful statement on the wastefulness and stupidity of war that I have ever read”).

Martha Fay, who lived with my father the last 12 years of his life and is the mother of my half-sister Anna, lent me a collection of letters Dad wrote to his mother when he was in the Marine Corps from 1942-45. Some were typed, but most were handwritten in pencil and pen, and many were blackened and singed from the aforementioned family fire. These letters were a trove of information for me and an important source and starting point for “Surviving Twin”. Dad was just 17 in 1942 but already his abilities as a writer were apparent. He never saw combat in World War II but his observations, fears, and complaints about life as a young recruit are funny, bitchy, moving , and revealing. In the last of these letters to his mother my father cautiously brings up the subject of Martha Taylor, a young woman from south Georgia he has met and fallen in love with. Soon that woman would become my mother.

In September of 2013 Surviving Twin was premiered at Playmakers Repertory Theatre in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and was directed by artistic director Joe Haj. Dad had attended UNC after his stint in the Marine Corps so it was a gas for me to be on the Chapel Hill campus performing his work almost 70 years on. In 2014, after some rethinking and reshuffling, ST was produced at The West Side Theatre in New York City and that was also a happy coincidence, because the producer and director of the show at that point was an old friend and writing partner of my father’s, Peter Askin. The most recent incarnation of Surviving Twin was once again re-imagined and then presented in New York at Subculture in June of 2015. My director and invaluable collaborator for that outing was Daniel Stern. Dick Connette was an associate producer and he has also been my backer and co-producer in the making of the CD that forms part of the Souvenir Programme.

I’ve been performing Surviving Twin for several years now, either in it’s entirety or presenting selected parts of it at my regular gigs. For me this posthumous collaboration, the combining and connecting of my father’s work with my own, has been artistically satisfying, and emotionally powerful. On a good night my long gone old man and I engage in a game of creative catch in front of a paying audience. The two of us are getting along better than we ever have. – LW3 Oct. 2016

Fairport Convention’s golden anniversary

Folk-rock pioneers celebrate fiftieth year in 2017

Fairport Convention, the legendary band who originated British folk-rock, celebrate their golden anniversary this year.

When Fairport takes the stage on Saturday 27 May 2017 for their birthday concert at the Union Chapel in Islington it will be fifty years to the day since their first-ever gig.

Formed by Ashley Hutchings in 1967’s ‘summer of love’, Fairport Convention is one of the few touring bands with an unbroken history stretching back five decades. They have been performing and recording more or less constantly since their inception.

Fairport Convention has been one of the most influential UK bands in popular music and has nurtured the careers of some great names, among them Richard Thompson, Sandy Denny and Dave Swarbrick.

The band saw many changes of personnel during its early years but Fairport Convention’s current line-up has been together since 1998. Simon Nicol, lead singer and guitarist, is the only founding member still with Fairport; bass player Dave Pegg has been in the band since 1970.

To mark its fiftieth anniversary year, Fairport Convention will be releasing a new album. Titled 50:50@50, half the tracks are studio recordings of brand-new songs and half are live performances from Fairport’s core repertoire. The album features guest vocals from Robert Plant and Jacqui McShee.

Fairport are on the road in January on a UK-wide tour which starts tonight (24th Jan) at the prestigious Celtic Connections music festival in Glasgow. A second tour in early summer will include the birthday concert on 27 May before the band’s year culminates at their own music festival at Cropredy, Oxfordshire, in August. Fairport’s headline set will see past members joining the current line-up on stage for a reunion performance.

“Fifty years after I first heard them the mighty Fairport Convention still sound as good as ever.” Bob Harris, BBC Radio 2

02 Feb 2017


Pavilion Theatre

Buy Tickets Here

01903 206206


03 Feb 2017

Tunbridge Wells

Assembly Room

Buy Tickets Here

01892 530613


04 Feb 2017



Buy Tickets Here

01603 763111


05 Feb 2017


Drill Hall

Buy Tickets Here

01522 873894


07 Feb 2017

Winchester SOLD OUT!!

Theatre Royal

Buy Tickets Here

01962 840440


08 Feb 2017


Corn Exchange

Buy Tickets Here

01392 665866


09 Feb 2017



Buy Tickets Here

01452 503050


10 Feb 2017

Southport SOLD OUT!!

The Atkinson

Buy Tickets Here

01704 533333


11 Feb 2017


The Opera House

Buy Tickets Here

01298 72190


12 Feb 2017

St Albans


Buy Tickets Here

01727 844 488


14 Feb 2017



Buy Tickets Here

01282 664400


15 Feb 2017



Buy Tickets Here

01952 382382


16 Feb 2017


Theatr Brycheiniog

Buy Tickets Here

01874 611622


17 Feb 2017


Electric Palace

Buy Tickets Here

01308 426336


18 Feb 2017

Bromsgrove SOLD OUT!!

Artrix Theatre

Buy Tickets Here

01527 577330


19 Feb 2017


The Quays

Buy Tickets Here

0843 2086000


21 Feb 2017



Buy Tickets Here

01227 769075


22 Feb 2017



Buy Tickets Here

01227 769075


23 Feb 2017


The Maltings

Buy Tickets Here

01252 745444


24 Feb 2017

Bury St Edmunds

The Apex

Buy Tickets Here

01284 758000


25 Feb 2017


Union Chapel

Buy Tickets Here



26 Feb 2017


Cresset Theatre

Buy Tickets Here

01733 265705


28 Feb 2017


Winding Wheel

Buy Tickets Here

01246 345222


01 March 2017


The Sage

Buy Tickets Here

0191 443 4666


02 March 2017


Victoria Hall

Buy Tickets Here

01729 825718


03 March 2017

Whitby, Yorkshire


Buy Tickets Here

01947 458899


04 March 2017


City Varieties

Buy Tickets Here

0113 243 0808


05 March 2017


Trades and Labour Club

Buy Tickets Here


Show of Hands announce special guests for fifth “Big Gig” at Royal Albert Hall

The phenomenally popular Devon band will mark their milestone year with a return to one of the world’s most famous stages on Easter Sunday 2017 (April 16).

Show of Hands

Singer songwriter Steve Knightley and multi instrumentalist Phil Beer have forged one of the most successful ever partnerships in acoustic roots music and have already scored four sell-outs at the iconic London venue.

Now they will to head back to the capital to take on the gamble of hiring and selling out the historic 5,000-seater hall for a fifth time. They will be accompanied by their long term special guest – bass player and vocalist Miranda Sykes.

Miranda will also appear in her duo with top mandolin player Rex Preston. In the space of just a few years they have become one of the most sought after – and unusual – duos on the English folk roots scene.

Miranda Sykes and Rex Preston (left) and Phillip Henry & Hannah Martin

Returning to the Albert Hall for the first time since clinching the Best Duo title in the 2014 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards will be another stand-out act – the much celebrated and innovative pairing of Phillip Henry & Hannah Martin. The alchemy of Martin’s evocative songwriting, rich vocals and fiddle and banjo playing and the much extolled skills of Henry on dobro, harmonica, lap steel and more fuse into a wholly distinctive world sound bridging blues, folk, country and Americana.

The third duo will be Canada’s hugely entertaining Matt Leonard and Leonard Podolak who supported Show of Hands on tour in 2012. Podolak is best known for his work with the Juno/Grammy award-winning Canadian band The Duhks and is an acclaimed 5-string claw hammer banjo player.

Gordon, who took part in the London debut of Riverdance, promises a lively entertainment-packed addition to the Albert Hall extravaganza. The audience are likely to be treated to a set of old-time traditional fiddle and banjo music, punctuated by outbreaks of clog dancing and “hamboning” (traditional African American body percussion!)

Also in the line-up will be Devon’s Lost Sound Chorus who last year appeared with Show of Hands at Exeter Cathedral in a concert marking the centenary of the first day of Battle of the Somme. Long-time collaborator, composer and keyboards player Matt Clifford who famously worked with The Rolling Stones will also be on the Albert Hall stage as will Devon teacher Chris Hoban, who has penned some of Show of Hands’ more recent songs including Katrina, Hallows’ Eve and The Old Lych Way.

Triple BBC Radio 2 Folk awards winners, Show of Hands, first played and sold out the Albert Hall in 1996, to the surprise of the sceptics. In 2001 their legions of fans from the UK and across the Channel descended on Kensington again, when the show was filmed by Carlton TV and, unusually, the Albert Hall witnessed a raffle! Five years later, they were back for a hat trick success in SW7 and, in 2012, followers were delighted when they returned for a fourth encore with guests including American singer songwriter Richard Shindell.

Knightley, who has been hailed as one of the country’s best singer-songwriters, says: “Hiring somewhere as high profile as the Albert Hall is obviously not something you undertake lightly but it’s a challenge we relish. We are lucky enough to have an incredible fan base, not only in the UK but in France, Holland, Germany and beyond and hopefully a lot of them will be there to help us celebrate a quarter of a century  as Show of Hands!”

The “Big Gig” will be as much a celebration of their DIY cottage industry ethos as anything. Says Steve: “The Albert Hall show will be very much a journey through our 25 year repertoire, featuring key songs down the years. Phil and I have played cathedrals, castles, concert venues, village halls and festivals around the world and built up a vast network of venues and an army of fans through ongoing goals of attention to detail and high live production values. We’re thrilled to be performing for thousands of the fans again at one of the world’s most famous concert halls – the experience of playing there just gets better every time.”

Beer, named “Musician of the Year” in the 2011 Spiral Awards and nominated for the same title at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, agrees: “We have had four hugely memorable nights at the Albert Hall and it will be great to see so many of our fans under one roof again in what will amazingly be our 25th year on the road!”

Show of Hands are known for their genre-hopping music, which focuses on strong narrative songs often touching on rock, blues and country. Their success escalated after they established an early internet presence and became a perfect example of a successful cottage industry, using many West Country-based people in their support team, including David Oddy, who hand makes their musical instruments, from guitars to cello mandolins and cuatros.

They grew up on opposite sides of the River Exe and still both live near Exeter but their appeal has seen them tour much of Europe as well as Canada, India and Australia. Their success lies in their unique sound, finely honed stage presence and consistently acclaimed, often acutely topical songs, most of which are penned by Knightley.

The enduring partnership has seen a marked rise in profile in recent years, bringing numerous prime time TV and radio appearances from BBC1-s Countryfile to The Andrew Marr Show and BBC Breakfast while Steve had a programme devoted to his song writing on BBC Radio 4’s Open Country and they made their Hyde Park debut, as part of the March for the Alternative rally.

Last year, their latest critically acclaimed studio album The Long Way Home saw them returning to their musical roots and brought them a nomination for “Best Album” in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.

Travelling full circle to the songs and tunes that inspired them to start playing as a duo it revisits all the classic ingredients of traditional folk themes – songs of war, exile, invention, seafaring and loves lost and found.

Royal Albert Hall tickets prices: Grand Tier £60; Loggia £60; Second Tier £55; Stalls £47.50; Front Arena £47.50; Rear Arena £45; Circle £35 (restricted view £30). Box office: 0207 589 8212 or 0845 401

Cecil Sharp House Music and Performance Series – January to April 2017

Folk Sounds Best at Cecil Sharp House
Music and Performance Series – January to April 2017

The English Folk Dance and Song Society has revealed the line up for its 2017 winter-spring music and performance season at England’s national folk arts centre, Cecil Sharp House in London.

Programme highlights include:

·   A rare opportunity to find out more about the adventures of broadcaster Andy Kershaw with a two-hour audio visual show on January 26

·   A re-telling of Peter Bellamy’s The Transports on February 2 featuring The Young’uns, Faustus, Nancy Kerr, Greg Russell and Rachael McShane

·   Duo performance from Welsh harpist Catrin Finch and Senegalese kora player Seckou Keita on February 14

A special concert from the BBC Concert Orchestraplacing some of the great folk-influenced works of the 20th Century alongside a brand new commission from Jane Harbour, violinist with renowned folk group Spiroto mark Radio 3’s 70th season on March 31

·   A concert of songs featuring Jim Causley, Bryony Griffith, Jackie Oates and Paul Sartin to celebrate a decade of work to revise and update the work of the late Frank Purslow on February 16

·   The Theatre Ballads on March 23 that will premiere the EFDSS / PRSF commission that will bring historic folk ballads to life live alongside puppetry and simple illustrations with Bryony Griffith, Kate Locksley, Ewan McLennan and John Kirkpatrick

·   The debut performance of the National Youth Folk Ensemble on April 12




Martyn Joseph
Thurs 19 Jan, 7.30pm



£16 / £10 under 26s

He’s a jaw dropping guitar player who has developed a unique percussive style, teamed up with a powerful show stopping voice, and has been called “The Welsh Springsteen”, but there are also shades of John Mayer, Bruce Cockburn and Dave Matthews – but Martyn Joseph stands in his own right, built on a reputation for giving what thousands have described as the best live music experience of their lives.

Juxtaposition is a key theme in Martyn’s work. The simplicity and the complexity of the human condition and all that it encompasses is underpinned with a heady promise of hope. There is versatility to Martyn’s music that is hard to categorise. His songs are pictures, and stories, and feelings all put to music and delivered by a master craftsman. Autumn 2015 marked the release of Martyn’s brand new studio album Sanctuary and he’ll be showcasing these new songs, along with other familiar and much loved material.

The Adventures of Andy Kershaw
Thurs 26 Jan, 7.30pm



£16 / £10 under 26s

A fascinating and often hilarious two-hour audio-visual presentation from “the finest British broadcaster bar none…an amazing man”. (Stephen Fry).

Recollections from a life spent on the front lines of rock and roll in some of the world’s most extreme and dangerous countries. To say Andy Kershaw has led a varied life is an understatement. From being Billy Bragg’s driver to presenting Whistle Test and Live Aid, then going on to report for the BBC from Iraq, North Korea and Rwanda. Catch him while he’s taking a rare sit down to talk about his life.

“One man’s improbable rise through British media, from badly dressed political student to presenting Live Aid in front of a TV audience of billions; from being Radio 1′s most belligerent maverick DJ, to being a war correspondent for the likes of Radio 4.” (The Independent)

The Transports
Thurs 2 Feb, 7.30pm



£20 / £10 under 26s

Join some of Britain’s leading folk musicians for a timely re-telling of Peter Bellamy’s legendary folk ballads.  BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winners The Young’uns, Faustus, Nancy Kerr and members of Bellowhead – all in one show!

This new production combines The Transports’ incredible music with spellbinding storytelling. At a time when migration makes headlines daily, this tale of past migration shows how little has changed in the global movement of desperate people. The accompanying project Parallel Lives charts – town by town – those who once left Britain with those who have recently arrived.

There’s seldom been a more vital moment to bring back The Transports – not just a great music experience, but a sharp reminder of folk music’s power in portraying the way the world actually works.

Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita
Tues 14 Feb, 7.30pm

​Tickets: ​

£18 / £10 under 26s

It’s been whirlwind few years for Welsh harpist Catrin Finch and Senegalese kora player Seckou Keita since the release of their debut album Clychau Dibon in October 2013. Announced winners of Best Cross-Cultural Collaboration in the Songlines Magazine Music Awards 2014, winners of the prestigious fRoots Album Of The Year for Clychau Dibon, nominated for two BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards for Best Duo and Best Traditional Track, and featured in Songlines Magazine top ten albums of 2013, the sky is indeed the limit for this fearless pair of virtuoso musicians whose “heavenly music…intricately realised” (Songlines Magazine) and infectious onstage chemistry defies categorisation and continues to merge the boundaries between the genres of classical, world, folk and traditional music.

The harp occupies a vital place in the incredibly rich cultures of both West Africa and Wales and, remarkably, both nations share a centuries-old bardic tradition of intricate oral history, expressed through music, song and verse. Together, Finch and Keita have risen to the tough challenge of blending two completely different musical cultures and creating something coherent, relevant and entirely new.

The Wanton Seed
Thurs 16 Feb, 7.30pm


£15 / £10 under 26s

The distinctive voices of Jim Causley, Bryony Griffith, Jackie Oates and Paul Sartin come together to present a concert of songs celebrating the reissue of the song books Marrowbones (EFDSS, 2006) and The Wanton Seed (2015) and marking the launch of the new omnibus edition of The Foggy Dew and The Constant Lovers, published by Francis Boutle Publishers.

This concludes a decade of work to revise and update the work of the late Frank Purslow who selected and edited material from the early manuscript collections of the Hammond brothers and Dr George Gardiner to produce the original, influential books in the late 60s and early 70s.

The Rachel Hamer Band
Wed 22 Feb, 7.30pm



£12 / £10 under 26s

Winners of our Graeme Miles bursary award in 2016, The Rachel Hamer Band are an exciting new four piece folk band based in Newcastle. Fronted by Rachel Hamer, a powerful and emotive singer from Whitley Bay, the band sets the backdrop into which Rachel seamlessly blends to create their moving and intricate sound.

Backed by Grace Smith, fiddle player/singer/clog dancer, Graeme Armstrong, guitarist/singer and Sam Partridge, flautist/pianist they combine their passion for traditional tunes with Rachel’s extensive repertoire (courtesy of having been born and bred on the local traditional folk scene) to arrange their innovative and exciting music. Tonight they launch their new album, Hard Ground.

“The magic of these four lies in their cutting-edge combination which whilst steeped in the tradition has a brilliant fresh sound” Folk Radio UK

Blair Dunlop
Sat 25 Feb, 7.30pm

​Tickets: ​

£14 / £10 under 26s

Blair Dunlop, the award-winning British singer, songwriter and guitarist, has now released three albums two EPs and toured widely around the globe.  All of this in a short four-year career is astounding alone, but what sets Blair apart from his peers is the lyrical and musical maturity with which he writes.

His third album Gilded was released in May 2016 on his own label – Gilded Wings – and was widely acclaimed gaining BBC Radio 2 Playlist status for the two single releases (The Egoist and 356) both of which were remixed by Ed Harcourt.

Prior to this Blair released his acclaimed album House Of Jacks in mid-2014 which lived up to the promise of his 2012 debut Blight and Blossom (the quality of which contributed to his winning the BBC Radio 2 Horizon Award).

“Dunlop brings an air of tenacity while displaying a fine repertoire of well-crafted songs spanning traditional and contemporary.  He’s determinedly taking the traditions of folk in his own direction.”  The Independent

The Rheingans Sisters
Sat 18 Mar, 7.30pm



£12 / £10 under 26s

Winners of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Best Original Track in 2016, The Rheingans Sisters’ are a fiddle-singing duo whose influences today range from the Scandinavian fiddle tradition to classical music.  Rowan and Anna grew up in the Peak District surrounded by traditional music and were encouraged to pick up the fiddle by their violin-maker father from an early age.

Critics rapturously received their latest album, Already Home, with its rich tapestry of fiddle and voice performed by two players of distinct style and reference.  Bringing a fresh perspective to traditional songs, their own compositions combine their individual talents for songwriting and composing.

The Estuary Songwriting Project
Wed 22 Mar, 7.30pm



£12.50 / £10 under 26s

Featuring Hazel Askew, M.G Boulter, Lucy Farrell, Piers Haslam, Roshi Nasehi, Nick Pynn, Alasdair Roberts and Kate Waterfield.

The Leigh Folk Festival has asked eight established and emerging musicians, songwriters and composers to produce original songs and compositions inspired by and celebrating 25 years of the Leigh Folk Festival, during a week-long residential song-writing LAB at Metal in Southend.

Each artist hails from a different musical background with their own style of song writing and instrumental playing and the material produced will deal with a handful of themes around the Thames Estuary including its landscape, natural history, social history, legends and folklore


Theatre Ballads: Horse & Bamboo Theatre
Thurs 23 Mar, 7.30pm


: ​

£16 / £10 under 26s

The ballad is a story, a story in song.  In this new EFDSS commissioned piece Horse + Bamboo depict songs of a great fight, a broken contract and a female smuggler. Each is a historic ballad arranged and performed live alongside puppetry and simple illustrations, drawing out the tales before your eyes!

The voices, harmonies, stories, puppets, music and animation will combine to create an evocative new look at visual theatre and folk music. Featuring Bryony Griffith (fiddle, viola, voice and piano), Kate Locksley (voice and narrative presentation), Ewan McLennan (guitar and voice) and John Kirkpatrick (melodeon, accordion and voice).

The James Brothers
Wed 29 Mar, 7.30pm

​Tickets: ​

£12 / £10 under 26s

Join James Fagan and Jamie McClennan for virtuoso Antipodean-steeped folk with a comic twist. The James Brothers are not really outlaws, neither are they brothers and only one of them is called James. The pair come from the lands down under – Australia and New Zealand to be precise; lands in which the traditional songs and tunes of the British Isles have evolved their own unique characteristics, like musical marsupials

It’s these songs and tunes, and several of their own making as they draw from the folk, blues and bluegrass that inspired them, that The James Brothers have united to play – combining the virtuosity for which they’re renowned and the gusto and spontaneity of a pub session.

The Swingles: Folklore Album Launch
with special guests Twelfth Day and EFFRA
Thurs 30 Mar, 7.30pm




£25 / £10 under 26s

For more than half a century, The Swingles have pushed the boundaries of vocal music, releasing more than 50 recordings, winning five Grammy awards, and appearing on numerous film and TV soundtracks including Sex and the City and Glee. The group’s versatility has led to collaborations with artists as diverse as the Modern Jazz Quartet, Jamie Cullum and Labrinth. The seven young singers who make up today’s London-based group are driven by the same innovative spirit that has defined The Swingles since they first made waves in the 1960s.

Special guests tonight include acclaimed folk duo Twelfth Day (fiddle player Catriona Price and harpist Esther Swift) as well as contemporary folk band EFFRA.

“Stunning reinventions of songs by the likes of John Martyn, Elbow and Mumford & Sons, with subtle beatboxing and audacious harmonies… superhero singing to truly raise goosebumps.” The Guardian

BBC Concert Orchestra with Spiro
Fri 31 Mar, 7.30pm


£18 / £10 under 26s

In a special concert to mark the BBC’s fruitful and longstanding relationship with the English Folk Dance and Song Society, the BBC Concert Orchestra presents a concert placing some of the great folk-influenced works of the 20th Century alongside a brand new commission from Jane Harbour, violinist with renowned folk group Spiro.

This performance is part of Radio 3’s 70th season, celebrating seven decades of pioneering music and culture.

Aly Bain & Phil Cunningham
Sat 1 Apr, 7.30pm



£18 / £10 under 26s

Having toured together since 1986 to packed concert halls all over the world, Scottish duo Phil and Aly recorded their first album The Pearl in 1994 and followed it with many more highly acclaimed albums including Five and Twenty CD to celebrate their 25th Anniversary. They also have two Best of collections released of their work.

Aly was a founder member of the Boys of the Lough and his passionate fiddle playing has also found its way onto recordings by the likes of Eddi Reader and Richard Thompson. He was responsible for launching the Transatlantic Sessions’ TV series in which both he and Phil continue to feature.

Accordion player Phil has been named as one of Scotland’s 25 most influential people and his mastery of the instrument has led to him working with the likes of Mark Knopfler, James Taylor, Rosanne Cash and Midge Ure.

“They are simply the best traditional musicians you are ever likely to hear” The Herald (Glasgow)

National Youth Folk Ensemble
Wed 12 Apr, 7.30pm

Tickets: ​

£10 / £6 under 26s

The National Youth Folk Ensemble launched in October 2016, bringing together 18 of the most talented young folk musicians from across England. Following three intensive weeks in Somerset, Lancashire and the Chilterns, working with folk luminaries such as Sam Sweeney (Artistic Director 2016-17), Rob Harbron, Jack Rutter and Sarah Hayes, the Ensemble performs its first full-length concert.

Expect modern arrangements of folk tunes from England and beyond, alongside new compositions drawing on traditional music, all created and performed by these rising stars.

To find out more information, including how to join the Ensemble, visit The ensemble is supported by Arts Council England.

Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar
Thurs 13 Apr, 7.30pm

​Tickets: ​

£12 / £10 under 26s

A welcome return for the two-time BBC Folk Award winners. Greg Russell’s strong singing and guitar and Ciaran Algar’s lyrical fiddle playing give “everything that folk music should be about. There is tradition, there is musical invention and evolution of the tradition and there is the sort of protest on which the revival was based” (Dai Jeffries – Folking).

Soon after the joining of the pair, the duo signed to Fellside Records and in July 2012 released their debut album, The Queen’s Lover. Numerous tours followed as the duo developed and honed their stagecraft, becoming one of the most sought after young acts on the English Folk Scene. “The press coverage and folk club reports have been glowing and rightly so” (R2 Magazine).

The duo hail from musical households and both began to develop their musical skills long before joining forces. Algar, originally a member of TRI, became All Ireland Champion and All Britain Champion on numerous occasions before the age of 16, and Russell had begun a career as a solo musician supporting acts such as Karine Polwart and Lau, amongst others.

Oh Susanna
Wed 19 Apr, 7.30pm

Tickets: ​

£14 / £10 under 26s

Suzie Ungerleider began performing as Oh Susanna in the mid-1990s, crafting a persona that matched the timeless qualities of her music, sounds that drew from the deep well of early 20th Century folk, country and blues, yet rooted in her finely-honed storytelling skills.

This Canadian songstress has a voice that can pierce a heart of stone and tonight she celebrates the release of her brand new album. Her superbly crafted songs often tell stories of troubled souls who rebel against their circumstances to attain a quiet dignity. These are tales of longing and love, of small town joys and pains, of our simple feelings and strong passions. These are tales that look into our beautifully flawed human hearts.

Sat 29 Apr, 7.30pm

​Tickets: ​

£12 / £10 under 26s

Nominated in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2014, RANT is the meeting of four of Scotland’s finest fiddle players, two from the Shetland Islands and two from the Highlands.

Bethany Reid, Jenna Reid, Sarah-Jane Summers and Lauren MacColl join forces to create a sound rich and vibrant, evocative of the exciting scene they create music in. Using just their fiddles, they weave a tapestry of melodies, textures, layers and sounds. Known for their work as soloists and with various bands, this is a celebration of the instrument they all have a passion for. Four fiddles: one beautiful sound!


Ticket booking

Visit for ticket sales for all EFDSS events. Booking information for each event is detailed within individual listings at

Transaction fees apply to tickets booked through ticket agents. For a detailed breakdown of charges, please visit A 10% transaction fee applies for all tickets bought online.

Tickets can also be purchased from the reception desk at Cecil Sharp House (in person only), Monday – Friday, 9.30am – 5.30pm. No transaction fee.

EFDSS has a new level of ticket pricing for people aged under 26 for every EFDSS programmed event. The cost of a youth ticket will never exceed £10 and will run alongside the existing adult and concession prices.

Other concerts also take place at Cecil Sharp House throughout the year, put on by independent promoters. See for more information.

Sarah McQuaid Autumn 2016 UK Tour

sarah-mcquaid-2016Singer/songwriter/guitarist Sarah McQuaid sets out on her final UK tour before she takes a year-long break from the road to record a new album – see details of dates below.

Born in Madrid, raised in Chicago and now based in Cornwall, Sarah McQuaid has spent the past seven years touring virtually nonstop on both sides of the Atlantic, earning critical accolades along the way.

Of one of her concerts last autumn, The Huffington Post wrote: “Finding treasure feels great, and such is the case with musician Sarah McQuaid. … I’ve attended hundreds of concerts of all kinds, and her subtle mastery onstage launches her straight into my fave shows ever. One voice, one guitar, and the wondrous reminder of the magic of music. Sarah has the gift.”

Following hard on the heels of a seven-week USA tour that saw her playing 39 shows from coast to coast and drew rapturous reactions (visit to read a few of them), her autumn 2016 UK outing will be her final tour before she takes a twelve-month break from the road in 2017 to focus her energies on writing and recording a fifth solo album, as well as penning a sequel to The Irish DADGAD Guitar Book, the popular tutor she authored on the alternative guitar tuning she uses exclusively.

“I’d like to do a follow-up book that focuses on song accompaniment and that demonstrates the versatility of DADGAD,” Sarah explains. “A lot of people think of it as a specifically ‘Celtic’ tuning, but I write all my songs in DADGAD, and it’s great for all sorts of different genres, from blues to classical music to rock ’n’ roll.

“I’m also very excited about the next album – I don’t want say too much just yet, cos I’m afraid I’ll jinx it if I do, but if all goes according to plan I’ll have a pretty major piece of news about that very soon!

“And after spending a huge chunk of the past seven years on the road I do feel I’ve earned a bit of a break. I’ll still do local gigs, and I’ll also do festivals that only take me away from home for a couple of days at a time – there are a number of festivals that I haven’t been able to get to because I’m always away on tour in other countries when they’re happening, so it’ll be great to be actually available for those.

“For example, I’ve just been booked for the Costa del Folk Festival on the island of Ibiza in April 2017, and if that offer had come up last year or the year before, I’d have had to say no – so I’m very happy that it came at a point when I could say yes.

“But mostly I really want to be able to focus on the new album. Like I already said, watch this space!”

Released in 2015, Sarah’s fourth solo album Walking Into White was selected as Album of the Month by UK publication FolkWords, which went on to nominate it for both Best Album from a Female Artist and Album of the Year. Germany’s Folker hailed it as “Ein mutiges Album mit einem potenziellen Pophit” (“A courageous album that includes a potential pop hit”), while The Musician called it “A work that grows with each listen.”

“The songs are acutely observed and literate, almost like journal notes set to music. They’re measured and tranquil but they’re never dull because there is always a sense of restlessness and unease behind the poetry…. And it’s all lovely,” wrote Ian Pickles in R2/Rock ’n’ Reel.

Before she can get down to work on its successor, she’s got a busy schedule ahead of her, with a scant week at home to recover from her seven-week September-October USA outing before she starts her four-week UK tour on the 3rd of November.

“And after that,” says Sarah, “I’m looking forward to having a good long break from living out of a suitcase!”





Nov 3 St Austell: Restormel Arts @ The Bosuns Charlestown

Nov 4 Burton-Upon-Trent: The Brewtown Folk Club

Nov 5 Bracknell: Artree Live, South Hill Park Arts Centre

Nov 6 West Totton (Southampton): Hanger Farm Arts Centre

Nov 7 Croydon Folk Club

Nov 8 Cambridge: Strummers Music

Nov 11 Cardigan: The Cellar

Nov 12 Buxton: The Green Man Gallery

Nov 13 Halifax: Square Chapel Centre For The Arts

Nov 14 Stirling Folk Club

Nov 15 Edinburgh: Leith Folk Club

Nov 16 Corran: The Ceilidh House & Heritage Centre

Nov 17 Morpeth: Gallery 45

Nov 18 Leeds: HEART – Headingley Enterprise and Arts Centre

Nov 19 Liverpool Acoustic @ View Two Gallery

Nov 22 St Neots Folk Club

Nov 23 Keighley: Exchange Arts Centre

Nov 24 Scarborough: Woodend Gallery

Nov 25 Tewkesbury: The Roses

Nov 26 Combe Martin: Shammick Acoustic

Nov 27 Tavistock: The Wharf

Nov 29 Topsham: The Bridge Inn

Dec 1 Redruth: Regal Theatre


See for full details of all concerts.

November highlights at the home of English folk, Cecil Sharp House, London

There are some great performers heading to
Cecil Sharp House this November


Songs for London
As part of ‘London Sounds’ – The ‘Blue Plaque’ Concert Series
Thurs 3 Nov, 7.30pm

Tickets: £15 / £10 under 26s

Performed by a stellar group of London based folk artists including Stick in the Wheel, Sam Carter, Lisa Knapp and Jack Harris, Songs for London is one of three concerts presented by The London Society to mark the 150th anniversary of English Heritage’s Blue Plaque. It will celebrate those folk collectors memorialised with Blue Plaques, Cecil Sharp and Percy Grainger, and the enormous contribution that musicians and composers have made to the life and culture of London. This series of concerts is also the campaign launch to secure more Blue Plaques particularly for those from the folk and jazz genres.

Wed 9 Nov, 7.30pm
Tickets: £20 / £10 under 26s

Oysters 3
Thurs 10 Nov, 7.30pm

Tickets: £15 / £10 under 26s

Oysterband return with the fittingly titled best-of album, This House Will Stand. The band play two special nights with a full band concert (with special guest Pete Flood (ex-Bellowhead)) and an Oysters 3 gig the following evening – a night of relaxed acoustic reminiscence with the three founder members: John Jones, Alan Prosser and Ian Telfer.

With such a rich history this gives the band a chance to explore their relationship with traditional music as well as their own songwriting and the amazing journey it has taken them on. On the crest of an almost 40 year international career, and with their distinctive mix of crafted lyrics, big tunes and deep experience of British traditional music still evolving, the time was right for a fresh overview. This House Will Stand: the best of Oysterband 1998-2015 comprises 15 classics chosen by the band from their last six studio albums (including Ragged Kingdom, their multi-award-winning collaboration with June Tabor) and 14 unreleased tracks, rare B-sides and intriguing ‘alt’ versions. Six of the 29 tracks are traditional.

Wed 16 Nov, 7.30pm

Tickets: £12 / £10 under 26s

Calan breathe fire into the old traditions with their infectious rhythms and high voltage routines before melting into some of the most beautiful and haunting songs. Having introduced a new generation of music fans to Welsh traditional music they play fiddles, whistles, guitar and bagpipes and a traditional reed instrument from Wales called a pibgorn made from a wooden pipe and the horns of a bull.

The band began by busking in the streets of Cardiff raising money to pay for university fees and now play to audiences throughout Europe and North America with 2015 culminating in a performance alongside Bryn Terfel and Sting at the Royal Albert Hall in London as part of Bryn Terfel’s 50th birthday party.

“…a diverse ride between giddy Welsh reeling, healthy acoustic folk-pop with upfront attitude and brashness of youth.” fRoots

Wesley Stace’s Cabinet of Wonders
Sat 19 Nov, 7.30pm

Tickets: £25 / £10 under 26s

Cabinet of Wonders returns to Cecil Sharp House, after the sold out UK premiere in 2015. This New York based show brings together a different group of musicians, authors, comedians and poets for each performance, combining their individual talents to create and deliver a unique and unforgettable experience.

The night has played host to some of the biggest names in the poetry, music and literary worlds and tonight we welcome Michael Chapman, Bridget Christie, Nina Persson (The Cardigans), Rupert Thomson plus more to be announced. Please note that the line-up may be subject to change.

Wed 23 Nov, 7.30pm

Tickets: £12 / £10 under 26s

Methera is a unique ensemble: a string quartet with roots firmly planted in the musical traditions of England, Sweden and beyond. Their national tours, BBC Radio 3 broadcasts and collaborations have helped them establish a reputation as a scintillating live act. Methera’s previous appearance at Cecil Sharp House was featured on their second album. Now they return to celebrate their 10th anniversary with a national tour and the launch of their third album.

Lucy Deakin (cello), John Dipper and Emma Reid (fiddles) and Miranda Rutter (viola) combine a deep knowledge of traditional music with a wide range of other influences and expertise and a deep sense of musical interaction. Newly composed pieces sit alongside timeless traditional material; their music is both sophisticated and earthy, groundbreaking and familiar, enchanting and thrilling. Chamber folk at its best.

The Small Glories
Thurs 24 Nov, 7.30pm

Tickets: £14 / £10 under 26s

Folk powerhouse pair The Small Glories are Cara Luft and JD Edwards, a dynamic new duo planted on the Canadian Prairies. These two veteran singer-songwriters have teamed up and are already building a buzz around their tight harmonies, authenticity and visceral performances. Luft is a Juno award winner, co-founder of folk trio The Wailin’ Jennys, and recently collaborated with Bella Hardy as part of the EFDSS exchange project with Folk Music Canada.

Edwards has a voice that defies categorisation, one that easily ranges from gentle and melodic to fierce and powerful, leaving listeners begging for more. He is truly one of the finest singers of his time. Mix that with honest, passionate songwriting and it’s easy to see why he’s an enchanting musical powerhouse.


Getting there:

Show of Hands invite you to walk with them this autumn

Show of HandsHeading fast towards 25 years in the business (to be celebrated at Royal Albert Hall next Easter), the incomparable Show of Hands reunite for a bumper autumn-winter tour of England and Wales starting November 1.

The multi award-winning, Albert Hall quadruple sell-out duo (stand-out singer songwriter Steve Knightley and inspired instrumentalist Phil Beer) will be joined by their long-standing double bassist/vocalist Miranda Sykes for the 23-date “Walk With Me” tour.

Kicking off at Taunton’s Brewhouse Theatre in Somerset the tour finale will be no less than three nights back in their home county of Devon on December 8, 9 and 10 at Exmouth Pavilion – just yards from the folk club where they first started playing. They will also play a flagship gig at London’s Hackney Empire.

Opening for them will be 27 year-old Oxfordshire singer songwriter Megan Henwood winner of the 2009 BBC Young Folk Award. Her rich, distinctive voice and niche-defying music has come to fruition in her latest album Head, Heart, Hand and in her sublime new duo with fellow songstress Jackie Oates.

Recognised as leading ambassadors for roots music, Show of Hands will be performing songs from their latest studio album The Long Road Home which was nominated for Best Album at this year’s BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and which includes Knightley’s BBC Radio 2 playlisted Walk with Me (When the Sun Goes Down) from which the tour takes its name.

* Hear ‘Breme’, the opening track from the album:

On sale on the tour will be a new CD recorded live at stunning Exeter Cathedral on July 1st. On that night Show of Hands performed a special concert marking the centenary of the first day of the Battle of the Somme. They were joined by one of Britain’s best-known and best-loved acting couples, Jim Carter and Imelda Staunton along with Chris Hoban and Devon’s Lost Sound Chorus, raising funds for the West Country project Shrouds of the Somme.

The three will also each perform solo and they will unveil a quartet of contrasting new songs written by Steve over the past month – Make the Right Noises, Mad Dog Mcrea, Have No Secrets and Break Sweat. Through September Steve used social media to share the songwriting process getting feedback from Facebook followers. Says Steve: “I hadn’t written any new songs for a while so I gave myself the challenge of writing a song a week for a month.” At the same time he had another target – to abstain from alcohol and sugar on weekdays! “It was a “get healthier, get songwriting” campaign – it worked well and I’ve really enjoyed it.”

“Walk With Me” tour dates

Nov 1: TAUNTON Brewhouse T: 01823 283244
Nov 2: CARDIFF St David’s Hall T: 029 2087 8444
Nov 3: HIGH WYCOMBE Swan Theatre T: 01494 512000
Nov 4 CAMBRIDGE Corn Exchange T: 01223 357851
Nov 9: LONDON Hackney Empire T: 0208 985 2424
Nov 10: BIRMINGHAM Town Hall T: 0121 345 0600
Nov 11: GATESHEAD Sage T: 0191 4434661
Nov 12: HARROGATE Royal Hall T: 01423 502116
Nov 13: TRURO Hall for Cornwall T: 01872 262466
Nov 16: MANCHESTER Royal Northern College Music T: 0161 907 5555
Nov 17: LIVERPOOL Epstein Theatre T: 0844 888 4411
Nov 19: SALISBURY City Hall T: 01722 434434
Nov 20: BRISTOL Colston Hall T: 0844 887 1500
Nov 23: PORTSMOUTH New Theatre Royal T: 02392 649000
Nov 24: ST ALBANS The Alban Arena T: 01727 844488
Nov 25: TUNBRIDGE WELLS Assembly Hall Theatre T: 01892 530613
Nov 26: WORTHING Assembly Hall T: 01903 206206
Nov 30: PETERBOROUGH The Cresset T: 01733 265705
Dec 1 : OXFORD New Theatre T: 0844 8713020
Dec 2: DORKING Dorking Halls T: 01306 881717
Dec 8 EXMOUTH Pavilion T: 01395 222477
Dec 9: EXMOUTH Pavilion T: 01395 222477
Dec 10: EXMOUTH Pavilion T: 01395 222477                                      

Show of Hands release ‘The Gamekeeper’ to mark centenary of first day of battle of the Somme

Leading British actors Jim Carter & Imelda Staunton join the band in special centenary concert in Exeter Cathedral on July 1


Show of Hands, one of the leading acts in British folk, are to release a single and video to mark the centenary of the first day of WW1’s Battle of the Somme.

BBC award-winning singer songwriter Steve Knightley and multi-instrumentalist Phil Beer will offer one of Knightley’s finest songs, The Gamekeeper as a download single from July 1, tying in with a day-long tribute in their home city of Exeter to the 19240 Allied servicemen lost on the opening day of one of the worst battles in history.

That night, the Devon duo, and long-term collaborator Miranda Sykes, will perform a special centenary concert in Exeter Cathedral, joined by one of Britain’s best-known and best-loved acting couples, Jim Carter and Imelda Staunton.

Imelda Staunton - Jim Carter

While Jim has been Emmy-nominated for his role as Carson the butler in TV’s ratings-topping Downton Abbey, Imelda won ‘Best Actress in a Musical’ Olivier Awards for her performances in both Sweeney Todd and Gypsy, and is known to many for her role in the Harry Potter films.

Devon’s Lost Sound Chorus will also take part in the event which will raise funds for the West Country project Shrouds of the Somme with profits to be donated to armed forces charity SSAFA and The Exeter Foundation – the Exeter Chiefs rugby club charity – to be distributed among local and military causes.

Tickets for the 7.30pm concert, price £15 to £25, are available from Exeter Cathedral on 01392 285983 or online at

The concert will feature songs and poetry from Show of Hands’ acclaimed album Centenary –Words and Music of The Great War, described by one critic as “uplifting and redemptive”. The double album, which also featured Carter and Staunton, includes ‘The Gamekeeper’, with its moving WW1 analogy.

‘The Gamekeeper’ is available as a single download on iTunes.

Full of visual imagery, it tells of a Devon man returning home to his life as a gamekeeper after fighting in France with the poignant parallel of “walking towards the waiting guns”.

The song also features some of the West Country’s finest musicians including BBC award-winning duo Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin, with some beautiful dobro work from Henry, as well as Jim Causley, Rex Preston and Geoff Lakeman.

At Exeter Cathedral, Jim Carter and Imelda Staunton will read poems by war poets such as Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon and Rupert Brooke against musical backcloths composed by Show of Hands. Says Imelda: “We were delighted to be asked to work on the centenary project. The music is beautiful and the poems work so well. It is very moving and we feel very proud to be a part of it.”

Earlier in the day, Exeter’s Northernhay Gardens will see the public opening of the powerful Shrouds of the Somme Memorial – a remarkable community art installation by Rob Heard.

Shrouds of the Somme Memorial

The Somerset artist has painstakingly hand stitched calico shrouds onto 19240 12 inch figures representing every Allied soldier who died on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

The gates of Northernhay Gardens will be opened to reveal the art work exactly 100 years to the minute from the time the whistle sounded for the British to go ‘over the top’ at 7.30am on July 1.

Steve Knightley, who has been closely involved in the unique project, serving on the committee, says: “It will be an extraordinary event and very moving to cast your eyes on this incredible sight of shrouded figures next to Exeter’s war memorial, making that massive loss from just one day so real.

This is the culmination of two years’ work for Rob but will hopefully make visitors think and remember for years to come.”