Our promise to bring some of the country’s top emerging folk talent to the area continues this month as we feature highly-rated duo ALEX CUMMING & NICOLA BEAZLEY.

Alex & Nicola are an exciting box & fiddle duo performing both songs and tunes from around England. They are both recent graduates of the Newcastle University Folk and Traditional Music Degree and were New Roots Finalist in 2014.

The last couple of years has seen Alex & Nicola build up a great reputation performing at some top venues and festivals including Towersey Village Festival, Whitby Folk Week, Sidmouth Folk Week, Bromyard Folk Festival, Sage Gateshead and more. Their show at Downend Folk Club is part of a nationwide tour to launch their much-anticipated debut album ‘Across The Water’.

With Alex's rhythmic danceable accordion style & strong voice and Nicola's stunning and gutsy fiddle playing, the duo create a big sound and give a new voice to the wonderful canon of English Folk Music.

"...their instrumental skills are wonderful" - Folk Radio UK

Alex Cumming started to learn Piano Accordion when he was six years old and has now become a regular on the English folk scene as an Accordionist, Singer and Ceilidh Caller. As well as performing with Nicola Beazley, Alex performs and records with vocal quartet, The Teacups, BBC Folk Award Nominee Ange Hardy, up and coming band KARA and ceilidh band Dyer:Cumming's. Alex has performed across the country at many top festivals, folk clubs and venues as well as appearing on BBCs Edwardian Farm, BBC Radio 2, and hosting his own folk show on Newcastle Student Radio.

“Highly skilled at their craft” – cloggin.co.uk

Nicola Beazley started learning the violin at the age of seven, and since then has been performing as a folk musician in many different guises across Europe. With her six-peice band, Ceol Tire, Nicola has toured the Czech Republic, Germany and Ireland with their debut album ‘Aeroplane Seats’, and has also performed on BBC Radio Lancashire’s Folk show The Drift. Nicola also plays with a Newcastle based harp, dulcimer and fiddle trio, Speldosa, and alongside performing with Alex Cumming, Nicola has performed, called ceilidhs and taught at many of the big Folk Festivals and Clubs. Nicola currently lives in Sheffield and works with folk organisation Soundpost.

Opening the show at the club’s regular home of Frenchay Village Hall will be local favourites ROAD NOT TAKEN… or three of them anyway! With regular members Joe Hamlen and Claire Stobie enjoying a well-earned holiday, the original trio of Anita Dobson (vocals, kalimba), Ant Miles (guitar, harmonium, piano, mountain dulcimer, backing vocals) and Joe Brydon (slide guitar, harmonica, bouzouki) will kick off the evening by trying out a selection of new songs ahead of some high-profile local headline shows later this year.

The concert will be held on Friday 19th August at Frenchay Village Hall. Doors open at 7.30pm for an 8.00pm start, and there will be a full bar, serving GWB 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 the club’s drive to cut down on waste. There will also be a raffle featuring some great prizes.

Tickets are available from Melanie’s Kitchen and online HERE. They are priced at £11 each, but if you buy before Friday 12th August they’ll cost you just £9 as part of the ‘Early Bird’ scheme. Members tickets are a bargain £8 each and are available direct from Ant Miles or from the Members area of the website.

We're thrilled to be bringing you an extra FREE concert this 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.

Local support will be announced nearer the time,

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!

Usually every event at our local Folk Club has a good support act and a great main act, and the concert on Friday 15th July was no exception.

The evening's entertainment was started by LARA CONLEY, who gave a lovely set which started with a song accompanied with a Bodhran, a percussion instrument that produced a tremendous sound. A very good solo performance from an artist who usually performs with others.

Photo: Chris Dobson

The main act was a real treat for young and old. A young man who showed a great depth of knowledge of music going back to the 60’s. SUNJAY's performance was smattered with old and new songs and done in a very proficient and professional manner. His mastery of his guitar was noteworthy and very accomplished... he has been playing since he was four years old! His voice was commanding and full, which showed his enthusiasm and passion for his work.

His music is a unique blend between blues and folk and done in a way that involved and captured the audience’s appreciation and full admiration. For anyone who missed this concert, missed a real treat and from a man who I think will go far in the music industry in the future. 

Finally we would all like to wish Ant a speedy recovery from his short stay in hospital!

- John Press, DFC regular