The fact that tickets for our September event are already well on the way to selling out will come as no shock when you hear that the headliners are the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award-nominated LEVERET.
The trio features three of England's finest folk musicians in an exciting collaboration. Andy Cutting, Sam Sweeney and Rob Harbron are each regarded as masters of their instrument and are involved in numerous collaborations with a huge range of artists. Together their performances combine consummate musicianship, compelling delivery and captivating spontaneity.
Leveret's music is firmly rooted in the English tradition but sounds fresh and new, with original settings of ancient tunes sitting alongside new compositions by some of today's finest tunesmiths in the folk field. Their music is not arranged at all in the conventional sense; instead it is played entirely in the moment, combining consummate musicianship, compelling delivery and captivating spontaneity in a sound which feels both timeless and contemporary. The material may come from archive sources and manuscripts, but there is nothing academic or historical about the sound; it's warm, listenable, engaging and refreshing.
“You won't find English folk music played better than this.” - R2
Fiddler Sam Sweeney is a former BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 'Musician of the Year', thanks to his work in Bellowhead, Eliza Carthy's Wayward Band, The Full English and his own Made In The Great War project. Melodeon genius Andy Cutting is the current holder of that award (for the third time, no less!), and as well as his new trio with Martin Simpson and Nancy Kerr currently performs with Blowzabella, Topette, June Tabor and Roger Daltry. Concertina wizard Rob Harbron is known for his work with The Full English (Best Group and Best Album BBC Folk Awards 2014), Emma Reid, Fay Hield, Jon Boden and others.
“Three of England's finest traditional players weaving exquisite tapestries out of old and new tunes. Just sublime. I can't recommend seeing them live enough.” - Verity Sharp, BBC Radio 3
The English folk tradition has not always valued its instrumental repertoire as highly as some of our neighbours, and yet the tunes exist in their thousands in manuscripts and archives. For every tune in current circulation, there are dozens more that are waiting to be rediscovered, and Leveret's music has helped inspire a growing interest in instrumental music. A Leveret gig is a current and contemporary performance of English repertoire by three top-notch instrumentalists with deep roots in the tradition.
“Classy players … their intuitive way with tunes is glorious” - Mojo
Opening the show at the club’s larger venue at Christ Church Downend will be THE HUT PEOPLE, a duo who are constantly gaining more of reputation as one of the most entertaining acts to appear on the folk scene in a long while.
In their surprisingly engaging and often hilarious show, they perform a truly unique high-octane blend of folk music from around the world - perfectly formed & embellished with a foot stomping accordion and mind-boggling array of exotic percussion (with some Quebecois foot percussion & dancing thrown in for good measure too!).
The concert will be held on Friday 16th September at Christ Church Downend. Doors open at 7.30pm for an 8.00pm start, and there will be a full bar, serving Hambrook-based GREAT WESTERN BREWING CO. real ales, SEVERN CIDER, a selection of wines, soft drinks and tea and coffee. You are encouraged to bring your own glass/tankard/mug as part of our drive to cut down on waste. There will also be a raffle featuring some great prizes including CDs, beer and more.
Tickets are available from MELANIE'S KITCHEN in Downend, BRISTOL TICKET SHOP and online here. They are priced at £14 each, but if you buy before Friday 9th September they’ll cost you just £12 as part of the ‘Early Bird’ scheme. Members tickets are a bargain £10 each and are available direct from Ant Miles or from the Members Only area of this website.
You don't have to wait long for your next fix of fabulous live music, as we're bringing you a FREE extra event to celebrate the end of the Summer!
We've teamed up with our friends at FANCOURT MUSIC and CHRIST CHURCH DOWNEND to bring you CLAUDIA SCHWAB & FRIENDS in Concert on Wednesday 31st August, when Claudia will be recording the entire event for use as live videos.
Claudia is an originally Austrian fiddle player and composer, who lives and works in Ireland. As a musician of the world, in her music she amalgamates different traditions and styles such as traditional Austrian, Irish, Classical Indian, Swedish and Eastern European folk.
Her musical journeys brought her to Egypt, California, Italy, Slovenia, India, New York, Moldova, Transnistria, Sweden, Germany and Hungary, as part of orchestras and bands as well as touring her solo project.
Since having completed her BA in music and psychology in 2012 and an MA in ethnomusicology at UCC in 2013, she works as a freelance musician.
Claudia will be joined on stage by STEFAN HEDBOG and MARTI TAERN (regular members of Claudia's trio) as well as top UK folk musician HANNAH JAMES.
And as if that wasn't enough, the evening's entertainment will be opened by rising local star SUSIE DOBSON.
Susie is a familiar face to the Downend Folk Club faithful, having previously brought her unique brand of contemporary folk music to slots in our local showcase and opening for Gilmore & Roberts, while she has also played at Bristol Folk House, Bristol Folk Festival, Folk on the Water and much more during a busy first year performing.
17-year old Susie will be joined on stage by another familiar face, multi-instrumentalist JOE BRYDON from local band Road Not Taken.
The event will take place at Christ Church on Wednesday 31st March 2016. Doors will open at 7.30pm for an 8.00pm start. Entry is free (donations towards costs will be taken on the night but there is no obligation). There will be a bar run by Downend Folk Club, stocking the usual GREAT WESTERN BREWING COMPANY real ales, Severn Cider, a range of wines and soft drinks and teas and coffees.
There is no need to reserve places... simply come along and enjoy an evening of free entertainment. Please invite as many people as you can, as part of the point of this is so that Claudia will have a big audience for her videos!
Downend Folk Club. Downend Folk Club.
On the third Friday of each month, music lovers from all over the area (and some some from further afield) gather at one of our two homes to listen to some of the best music this country has to offer.
The range of styles that we have put on has varied widely… regulars have witnessed foot-tapping folk-pop, melancholy blues, talented singer-songwriters and even hints of country and Americana. This is though, at its heart, a folk club, and this month’s offering was absolutely, completely, and unashamedly from the very folky end of the spectrum. Not that that should be read in any way as an apology, because ALEX CUMMING & NICOLA BEAZLEY are two musicians right at the very top of their game.
Photo: Chris Dobson
They came to town at the end of a tour to promote their new album, ‘Across The Water’, and the moment the pair took to the stage, Alex’s larger-than-life personality was immediately to the fore. “Hello, Downend!” he cried, before the pair kicked off their first set with a rousing rendition of ‘Bonny Ship The Diamond’. Downend responded with enthusiastic singing along and tapping of feet… so early in the evening! The signs were good. Further similar sing-along songs followed throughout the evening… including an opportunity for the gathered West Country folk (including Alex himself, although he now lives in the USA!) to accompany the duo with their very best pirate sounds; and an excellent rendition of ‘Billy Taylor’, which kicked off the second-half.
The classic coupling of squeezebox and fiddle, married with Alex’s very folky voice and Nicola’s subtle harmonies, is a combination well-suited to these rip-roaring sea shanties and rousing traditional sing-alongs, but this is a duo capable of much, much more… during some of their tune sets, in particular, there were moments of pure beauty, not least in ‘Bethan’s’, a set of tunes written by Nicola for a friend, and ‘Oliver’s’, which she wrote for Alex’s son, born earlier this year.
"Two musicians right at the very top of their game"
By the time they finished their set with ‘Come Me Lads’ (a West Country version of ‘Let Union Be’), the healthy crowd were very much in a clapping and singing-along mood. The demanding of an encore can often feel a little prerequisite, but there was no doubting the sincerity of the crowd’s cheers and calls for one more… Alex and Nicola had thoroughly earned it!
The evening was kicked of with a short set from local band ROAD NOT TAKEN who, despite being shorn of two of their regular members and with another two confessing to feeling considerably under the weather, performed an enjoyable set, mostly taken from their debut EP ‘Back Into Storyland’, released earlier this year.
But it was to Alex Cumming & Nicola Beazley that the evening rightly belonged. This was an evening of no-nonsense English folk music… but it was English folk music at its very, very best.
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