And now for something completely different…

Downend Folk Club’s November concert features one of the hottest properties on the music scene right now, and confirms the club’s commitment to bringing a diverse programme to the music lovers of South Gloucestershire.

GRACE PETRIE is a folk singer, songwriter, and activist from Leicester.

She first exploded on to the national protest scene in 2010 with the emotive anthem 'Farewell to Welfare', which captured perfectly the spirit of the new wave of dissent in austerity Britain. Since then, she has written, recorded and toured relentlessly. Her unique takes on life, love and politics, and the warmth and wit with which they are delivered have won over audiences everywhere, and she has quietly become one of the most respected and prolific songwriters working in the UK today.

Grace’s career boasts several studio albums, a dedicated fan base and national tours supporting Emmy the Great, Billy Bragg and comedians Robin Ince and Josie Long, as well as a string of festival appearances including regular visits to Latitude and Glastonbury. She has collaborated with some of the most respected names in folk, including Leon Rosselson, Roy Bailey and Peggy Seeger. She is a frequent guest on BBC Radio 4’s the Now Show and has appeared on Channel 4’s Random Acts, and has been featured in The Guardian, Diva Magazine and the Independent on Sunday’s 2013 Pink List of influential LGBT figures.

Opening the evening’s entertainment will be GAVIN OSBORN.

Gavin is a humourous but heart-felt singer-songwriter, originally from Bedford but has resided in the Bristol/Bath area for several years. He's performed shows with comedian Daniel Kitson and supported Belle & Sebastian.

Tickets for the event, which takes place at Frenchay Village Hall on Friday 17th November 2017, are available from MELANIE'S KITCHEN or online HERE. Over half the tickets have already gone, so advance booking is HIGHLY recommended as a sell-out seems a certainty. Please note that this event is not suitable for under-14s.

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 the our drive to be ecologically sustainable.

What’s in your Granny’s Attic? A stack of old 78s? Your Dad’s Subbuteo? A picture; slowly aging and showing the moral decay of an old lady? Some old rubbish? Or three frighteningly young, obscenely talented folk musicians who look as though they may have taken a wrong turn on their way to Fresher’s Week? Probably not the latter if we’re honest.

That, however, is precisely what this GRANNY'S ATTIC contains. Attacking traditional folk songs with boundless energy and the casual brilliance of youth Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne, George Sansome and Lewis Wood give Downend Folk Club yet another glimpse of the future. And it’s a future you’d certainly want to visit. It’s hard to put in to words just how wonderful a violin, a guitar and a selection of squeeze boxes can sound but these three play with such joy and verve that it’s impossible not to get entirely carried away. Starting with a rollicking broadside featuring Nelson and Trafalgar the 'Wheels of the World' show us what we have in store. Earthy three part harmonies, effortless musicianship and a trawl through the obscure outer reaches of Folk Song.

It’s hard to believe that it was three years ago that Granny’s Attic were nominated for the BBC Young Folk Award. It’s even harder to believe that they didn’t win it.  

Despite the fact that their combined ages are approximately equal to the average age of the audience Granny’s Attic know their trad from their Elbow. The set is littered with ballads and broadsides, collected songs and Morris tunes. There are songs that are hundreds of years old and freshly minted dance tunes. Each one conjuring a particular event or a time long gone but each, just like every good folk tune should, containing a seed of the contemporary.

Take 'What I Saw in my Dream...' for instance. A song of folk whimsy but with words exposing social ills and righteous anger. Sadly some of those 19th century problems don’t seem so very different from our own.

Particularly brilliant were the instrumental tunes. Mostly written by violinist Wood they swirl around beautifully. Taken from the latest album, 'Lazy House/Right Under the Bridge' was so joyous, ridiculously infectious and a total delight. Feet tapped, hands clapped and faces smiled.

The feeling that you’re left with from Granny’s Attic is that these three really mean it. There’s no polite polish, no nod to those that find folk a bit "difficult" and no tired cover of the 60s legends. Quite frankly they are all the better for that.

Before this hard-core folk fest local trio EMBER offered a wonderful set of original songs. Mike Richards sings and plays guitar on thoughtful, sensitive acoustic numbers with Meg Batch’s beautiful violin and Hajnalka Deak’s understated piano weaving them together in to something lovely.  Their new EP, 'Paintings', was heavily plundered but it is clearly packed with excellent songs that you would want to re-visit.

So, Granny’s Attic then? Full of promise, joy and verve. And nothing weird. Or rubbish.


Words: Gavin McNamara

Photo: Alan Cole

Another great evening awaits South Gloucestershire’s music lovers this month as we welcome a band who made a real splash at BRISTOL FOLK FESTIVAL a while back… so much so, that our regulars have DEMANDED they appear on our programme!

GRANNY'S ATTIC - Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne (melodeon, concertina, vocals), George Sansome (guitar, vocals) and Lewis Wood (fiddle, vocals) – are a folk trio who play the tradition with verve, energy and their own inimitable style. These three young men are all exceptional musicians, fine singers and play traditional songs and tunes from the British Isles alongside self-penned material.

Originally formed in 2009 as three students at secondary school with no better way to spend their lunchtimes than scrape a tune or two, Granny’s Attic gradually became less about avoiding socialising with their peers and more about actually playing music, and so Granny’s Attic premiered in 2010 at the prestigious Claines Church Fete.

2011 saw the release of their debut EP ‘Mind the Gap’ featuring a mix of traditional and original tunes. Around this time, the band took their first forays into regular live performing, with early highlights including the first of many appearances at the Worcester Music Festival and a support spot for the legendary John Kirkpatrick at Worcester’s Huntingdon Hall.

The following year saw the release of their first full-length album, ‘Better Weather’, featuring a mixture of traditional tunes and songs as well as some self-penned tunes. With a solid mix of traditional songs, tunes and a number of Lewis’s own tunes, their latest album ‘Off The Land’ was released in August 2016.

Opening the evening’s entertainment will be local band EMBER

Formed in Bristol in January 2016 when Downend Folk Club regular Mike Richards met Hajnalka Deak in an ill-fated attempt to learn the cello, the pair began to explore some musical ideas on guitar and piano and found a number of songs and arrangements quickly followed. 

Earlier this year, Ember added fiddle-player Meg Batch and recorded their debut EP ‘Paintings’.

Tickets for the event, which takes place at Frenchay Village Hall on Friday 20th October 2017, are available from MELANIE'S KITCHEN or online from 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 GWB, 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 ecologically sustainable. 

There is a Facebook event for the evening HERE... why not give it a share?