Sometimes folk, sometimes not.

That’s the first line from the official biography of a duo called INDIA ELECTRIC CO. But it could equally describe the eclectic range of folk, roots, acoustic and singer/songwriter acts that are regularly put on at Downend Folk Club. And that’s why this is such a nice match, and why India Electric Co. are amongst the first headline acts to be invited back for a second helping.

You see, India Electric Co. (otherwise known as Cole Stacey and Joseph O’Keefe) were amongst the first batch of headliners when we launched back in in 2014... and it was a key moment in the early life of the club.

A packed audience that night (it sold out weeks in advance) were treated to an extraordinary evening of musicianship which really marked the club out as something for local music-lovers to make a regular monthly feature in their diary. Many people still refer back to that night as one of their favourites so far. So having Cole & Jospeh back? Well, it was obvious, really!

India Electric Co. use traditional instruments in contemporary styles to explore diverse themes from Eastern Europe, Irish traditions and urban alienation to end up with something “quirky and glittery - a veritable musical magpie’s nest.” (Mary Ann Kennedy, BBC Radio 3).

After releasing their debut debut album ‘The Girl I Left Behind Me’ in 2015 they began extensively supporting and accompanying Midge Ure throughout Europe. They performed live sessions on BBC Radio 2, 6 Music, as well as playing the likes of Glastonbury Festival and Cambridge Folk Festival. In 2017 they’re embarking on their first tours of Australia, New Zealand, Scandinavia and Ireland to coincide with the release of their latest recordings.

Opening the evening’s entertainment will be rising star JACK COOKSON.

Jack is a multi-instrumentalist and singer songwriter from the South West. His distinct style combines his deeply articulate lyrics with memorable melodic hooks and intricate, fingerstyle guitar arrangements, influenced by elements of blues, folk and punk. He has shared the stage with the likes of Franz Nicolay (Against Me!/The Hold Steady), Cory Branan and Austin Lucas, and in early 2016 he was announced as one of the final four nominees for the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award.

Tickets for the event, which takes place at Frenchay Village Hall on Friday 16th June 2017, are available from MELANIE'S KITCHEN or online HERE. There will be a full bar, stocking cider, soft drinks, wine, hot drinks and locally-brewed real ale from Hambrook-based brewery GREAT WESTERN BREWING CO., as well as locally-made NAUGHTY BROWNIES. You are encouraged to bring your own glass/mug/tankard/bucket as part of the club’s drive to be more environmentally sustainable. There will also be a raffle with a range of great prizes (all raffle money is invested into programming our support acts).

There is a Facebook Event for the concert HERE, where you can keep up with all the latest ticket news, previews and information. Simply click 'Interested' or 'Going' to be kept in touch.

On the stage at Christ Church Downend, under the stained glass window of St Cecilia, patron saint of musicians, an almost-full church of music lovers were left enthralled by an evening of fine music; first from local act Susie Dobson, and then from the phenomenal Sam Kelly and the Lost Boys.

With a new EP on the horizon, SUSIE DOBSON treated us to a smattering of traditional and contemporary songs, delivered with a breath-taking voice and accompaniment from ukulele, dulcimer, guitar, and violin. Just over a year since her first appearance, it’s clear to see that this talented 18-year old has grown in both musicianship and confidence. Surely big things await.

But it was for the headline act, SAM KELLY AND THE LOST BOYS, that most of the 120+ audience had parted with their hard-earned cash, and the four-piece certainly did not disappoint.

Starting with a number of rousing sing-a-long choruses, it soon became apparent that Sam Kelly has the kind of voice that almost doesn't need amplification, but with the added impact of drums, cello and banjo against his own guitar, the sound really filled the whole church.

Before the end of the first half we were lucky to experience a quite unique rendition of the Dire Straits classic ‘Sultans of Swing’ - complete with banjo solo from Jamie Francis - and then a moving love song in the Cornish language called ‘Gurello’, which translates to "let it rain." All of this was delivered with a style that felt both contemporary and refined, yet also fun and exciting.

The second half was equally as energetic, finishing with a high-paced cover of Fleetwood Mac's ‘The Chain’.

With the heavy drums and occasional appearances of electric guitar, one could be forgiven for wondering: is this folk music? Is this rock music? Is this something else entirely? All that can be said for sure is that it was an utterly entertaining night full of great music from very talented musicians. St. Cecilia would be proud.

Words: Joe Brydon 

Photo: Alan Cole

When Downend Folk Club formed just over three years ago, the promise was to being the cream of the UK’s top folk musicians to the area.

If an artist could sum-up the club’s commitment to keeping that promise, it would be SAM KELLY; the winner of the Horizon Award at the 2016 Folk Awards and a former Britain’s Got Talent finalist to boot!

Sam is a Cornwall-based singer, song-writer and multi-instrumentalist. As a young child Sam spent many a night enraptured, listening to his Irish grandfather tell folk tales, sing folk songs, and play folk tunes on his melodeon. Having caught the bug, Sam has dedicated his life to rediscovering and renewing the sounds of his gaelic heritage, and creating exciting new music that transcends the boundaries of traditional and popular music.

Sam's debut EP - entitled 'Your Way Home' - was released in March 2013, followed up with the release of the widely acclaimed 'Spokes' EP in February 2015. Sam has gained a reputation for an incredibly high class and dynamic live show, rapidly becoming a firm favourites at venues and festivals in all parts of the country. After a barnstorming performance to a completely rammed Club Tent at Cambridge Folk Festival 2015, Sam and his band were invited to play their first session on Radio 2 live from the festival.

Not content with resting on his laurels, Sam took his band straight back into the studio to record his debut album. 'The Lost Boys' came out in November 2015 to a storm of rave reviews. Sam has been touring the album with his full band - Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys - and they’re due to release their first album as a band in this summer 2017. Sam will be joined on-stage by Jamie Francis (banjo), Graham Coe (cello) and Evan Carson (percussion).

Opening the evening will be Downend’s own rising star SUSIE DOBSON.

Born with a love of song, Susie first discovered a passion for performing while studying Musical Theatre at school, and through singing lessons enforced by her parents which, to her surprise, she found she enjoyed.

After being introduced to the ukulele by friends, she soon bought her own… and another one… and another one…!

Having made her public debut on-stage at Downend Folk Club, Susie began to fall in love with traditional song, to complement her existing contemporary musical tastes… and thus, her unique style was born.

The folk scene in Bristol began to sit up and take notice, and Susie soon found herself opening for the likes of Gilmore & Roberts, Hattie Briggs, Said The Maiden and Claudia Schwab, as well as performing at Bristol Folk Festival, Folk On The Water, Keynsham Music Festival, Bristol Fringe and a host of local events.

She is currently working on her debut EP, tentatively entitled ‘Scrapbook’, which is due for release in Summer 2017. Susie will be joined on-stage by Ant Miles on guitar and Amy Reynolds on violin.

Tickets for the event, which takes place at CHRIST CHURCH DOWNEND on Friday 19th May 2017, are available from MELANIE'S KITCHEN or online HERE. There will be a full bar, stocking Severn Cider, soft drinks, wine, hot drinks and locally-brewed real ale from Hambrook-based brewery GREAT WESTERN BREWING CO., and locally-made NAUGHTY BROWNIES. There will also be a raffle. You are encouraged to bring your own glass/mug/tankard/ bucket as part of our drive to be environmentally sustainable.