Well, we think we've done it again with our programme for Spring 2016... we hope you'll agree!
On Friday 15th January, we'll be joined by TOBIAS BEN JACOB & LUKAS DRINKWATER, February's guests are GILMORE & ROBERTS on Friday 19th, LUKE JACKSON will be with us on Friday 18th March, while the programme is completed with a visit from MAIREARAD & ANNA on Friday 15th April.
There's something for everyone there, with traditional and contemporary sitting comfortable aside one another, with a nice mixture of established acts and emerging ones!
The programme is complemented by some great support acts, as IAN ROLAND opens the show in January, The SUSIE DOBSON TRIO in support in February,HANNAH CUMMING joins us in March and STEFFAN LEWIS & RACHEL FOSTER kick us off in April. Please note that support acts are subject to change.
Tickets are on sale right now via the "Gigs & Tickets" section of this website, so do support YOUR folk club and book in advance!
The next gig is a real coup, if we do say so ourselves... we've been looking forward to this for ages!
A night of glorious harmony singing awaits, as The Young’Uns welcome you into their world. Their close, involving sound will for perfectly into the intimate confines of DFC’s base at Frenchay Village Hall, and we encourage you to enter the spirit of the night, and, along with The Roaring Trowmen, sing along to your heart’s content.
Picking up a boat-load of awards this year, including BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards’ Best Group, Spiral Earth Awards’ Best Live Act and FATEA Awards’ Best Group, Sean Cooney, Michael Hughes and David Eagle are described as a “force of nature on stage.” Blending alarmingly impressive harmonies, humour and social commentary, they have hit the heights of Glastonbury, and Cambridge Folk Festival,and regularly find success on BBC Radio 2 and beyond. ,
“Glorious harmonies, waspish wit, powerful songs and relentless banter…..irresistible” - The Guardian
Since their first tentative steps over a decade ago, they have tapped into the sound of their native North East, developing their identity and their mission, and performing in front of many thousands of appreciative people, from tiny pub sessions to huge events up and down the country.
Now onto their fourth album, Another Man’s Ground, which “celebrates working class heroes of the past and present with powerful and poignant tales of struggle, poverty and peace”, the group are set to be another highlight for Downend Folk Club.
“Robust beauty…an evocative love letter to the North East. In Cooney, The Young’uns clearly have a songwriter of considerable talent” - Songlines
Support will come from The Roaring Trowmen, four hearty souls from old Bristol town, who supply sea shanties and songs of the salty deep. Rousing, rolling and roaring, the group are guaranteed to add a unique element to the night. New songs, old songs and everything in between, the Trowmen ply their trade at festivals, fundraisers, weddings, parties.. .and now Downend Folk Club!
As is fitting for a night of nautical expression, the event will also include a raffle in aid of the RNLI, and also an info stand to find out more about the organisation.
The event will be held at Frenchay Village Hall on Thursday 20th November 2015. Doors open at 7.30pm and there will be a full bar serving GWB real ale, cider, wine and a range of soft drinks, for which we encourage you to bring your own glass.
There’s always a near enough full house at Downend Folk Club, and the recent EWAN McLENNAN gig was no exception, as the friendly and convivial confines of Frenchay Village Hall were populated with a crowd of regulars, returning punters and newcomers. It is refreshing, in these straightened times, to see such a good crowd coming in regularly, supporting their local venue, and showing interest in the club, its performers and the music in general.
And the audience were treated to two performers, who, in different ways, summed up what folk music is all about.
MC Steve Johnson, deputising for a Folk Expo-ing Ant Miles, stood in with good grace and good humour. His presence is but one example of the professionalism and dedication of the club and its organisers, who look after all of the facilities of the venue – the raffle, the bar etc, and help maintain the homely, comfortable, but reverential atmosphere that the club is becoming rightly known for.
First up on the night was NIBS VAN DER SPUY, a South African singer and songwriter on a short tour of the UK. He enthralled and entertained the crowd with deceptively ‘simple’, honest, homely songs, accompanying himself with guitars of various shapes, and harmonica. With both vivid and immediate imagery, Nibs delivered quiet stories, exquisitely told. His delivery is comforting, his voice welcoming and his songs an interesting blend of influences (from the Beatles, via his British grandmother, to the indigenous music of Kwazula Natal). Songs like 'Shaded In Blue' and 'Anna Rosa', and tunes like 'Brunette On A Bicycle' were delivered on what looked like a solid-bodied, electro-acoustic guitar, before Nibs turned to a Puerto Rican 10 string Quattro guitar. 'Once I Climbed A Lion Mountain' shows how he is able to bring his local settings and experiences to a wider audience. Very much more than a support act, Nibs Van Der Spuy has the songs, the presence and the performance to turn his hand to many things.
After a break for parish announcements and recharged glasses, Ewan McLennan took to the stage. Immediately capturing the audience with his straightforward, make-it-look-easy delivery, McLennan put me in mind of both the guitar excellence of Martin Simpson and, vocally at least, Dick Gaughan, especially in settings of songs like Burns’ 'A Man’s A Man For A’ That'.
Photo: Julian Cox
From the overture and opening of the set, through songs in both Scots and English, he displayed both the humour and humility needed to attain the complete package of a folk singer that he is rapidly becoming. Real, unaffected, and once again, honest, I found myself nodding away, agreeing with him and his songs.
And of those songs, whether they be traveller songs from the north east of Scotland, or Ewan’s own, they often touch on the travelling life, both of home and far away. Performances like 'The Coat O’ Gold' remind you of the truth and power of folk music, with McLennan delivering classic Scottish music with a modern twist. He’s a performer who knows what he is doing and does it better than many – the Downend audience was kept in quiet rapture throughout his set.
'Lampeduza' was faultless and heartbreaking, showing that songs of migration can never be consigned to history, whilst Ewan reached for his banjo on 'The Miles I’ve Travelled'.
Into the second half, we were treated to the real life descriptions of 'Down The Line' and Alistair Hewlett’s 'The Granite Cage' and its description of the Red Clydeside period of 1915-1919. It’s obvious that Ewan is interested in stories of justice & representation, evidenced by the anti-war feelings of Ian Campbell’s Old Man’s Tale, Arthur McBride and the fascinating Blacken The Engines, which recounts a workers revolt in the East Kilbride Rolls Royce factory and its links to the 1973 Chilean coup.
In fact Chile turned up again, with 'Whistling The Esperanza'’s stirring tribute to the Chilean miners further illustrating Ewan’s ability to turn stories into songs. With an encore of I’m A Man You Don’t Meet Everyday, Ewan rounded out his performance of honesty, truth, emotion and understanding – and how can you sum up folk music better than that?
- Gideon Thomas, Committee Member
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