What’s going on at the Ham during Sidmouth FolkWeek?

PUBLISHED: 12:42 04 August 2017 | UPDATED: 12:42 04 August 2017

The Yves Lambert Trio. Picture: Josue Bertolino

The Yves Lambert Trio. Picture: Josue Bertolino

Josué Bertolino

Three daily concert events take place at the Ham – at noon, 3.15pm and 8pm – featuring headline names from the UK folk scene and beyond!

The Spooky Men's ChoraleThe Spooky Men's Chorale

In the opening evening concert, Coope Boyes and Simpson deliver their final Sidmouth appearance as part of a series of farewell concerts after 25 years as the foremost exponents of a capella English roots singing. They are joined by much-loved performer Roy Bailey, the master of compassionate, political song.

There is no additional charge for Week and Weekend ticket holders.

Saturday night offers up the gift that keeps on giving, festival favourites Spooky Men’s Chorale, a mighty wall of voices renowned for its Visigothic bravado, absurdist humour and eye-moistening tenderness. They are supported by talented Irish multi-instrumentalists Jacquelyn Hynes Trio

Festival Patrons Show Of Hands return for their ever-popular annual Sunday night, with a special West Country Concert with Miranda Sykes and Dartmoor choir, Lost Sound Chorus. Dartmoor musical patriarch Geoff Lakeman, in the wake of his long-overdue debut album, delights with his concertina playing and song repertoire.

Slow Moving CloudsSlow Moving Clouds

A Sounds of Modern Scotland Concert with Lau takes place on Monday night. The exciting musical adventurists and thrilling performers, Kris Drever (vocals, guitar), Martin Green (accordion, wurlitzer, keys, electronics) and Aidan O’Rourke (fiddle) make a welcome return to Sidmouth. The Siobhan Miller Trio, led by one of the finest singers to emerge from Scotland over the past decade, offer up a repertoire of soul-stirring traditional song in support.

Tuesday night sees magic-weaving master harpists Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita – Catrin from the Welsh tradition and Seckou from the Senegalese griot line – join together to make delicate, beautiful and thrilling instrumental music. Drone-based Dublin trio Slow Moving Clouds combine roots in Nordic and Irish traditional music with minimalist and experimental influences.

Wednesday night is a treat, with Ralph McTell & Wizz Jones. A rare and long-awaited recent duo album, About Time, may have been about 50 years in the making, but it was worth it! These two musical icons have long been friends and musical allies, and their joint music-making is a masterclass in easy going intimacy and natural skill. Wondrous old time stylists, Sheesham and Lotus & ‘Son deliver a showstopping performance – a modern-day Mississippi Sheiks.

Thursday night features the amazing Sligo-based septet Dervish, game-changers in the Irish trad. music scene with their driving rhythm section, soaring fiddle and button accordion, beautiful vocals, energy and talent. Folk Award winner Daoiri Farrell is a fine Irish singer proving to be a force to be reckoned with.

Slow Moving CloudsSlow Moving Clouds

The week finishes with winning finale formula featuring popular duo with powerful songwriting O’Hooley & Tidow, local hero and BBC Radio 2 Folk Award Singer of the Year nominee-led Jim Causley Trio and energetic young Somerset duo The Drystones.

Ham Afternoon Concerts at 3.15pm (sponsored by Hobgoblin Music) feature a further array of musical heroes and rising talent.

On Saturday 5th, four time BBC Radio 2 Folk Award nominees Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker infuse ageless stories of love and loss with a blast of fresh air. Josienne’s pure glass voice and Ben’s exquisite command of many instruments provide a bedrock for interpreting words centuries old or Clarke’s own lyrics, allowing the song centre stage. West Yorks-based Alice Jones is “a seriously impressive singer of traditional songs.” (fRoots)

Sunday’s afternoon show features Chris Wood, an uncompromising writer whose songs reveals his love for the unofficial history of the English-speaking people. His latest release So Much To Defend conveys his contemporary parables with gentle intelligence, wit and profound musical soul. Support comes from fine singers, multi-instrumentalists and storytellers Jimmy Aldridge & Sid Goldsmith.

Show of Hands. Picture: Kyle BakerShow of Hands. Picture: Kyle Baker

Breaking The Spell of Loneliness, a remarkable collaboration between writer George Monbiot and musician Ewan McLennan, comes to the Ham stage on Monday afternoon. The writer and singer use music and word to open up the issue of loneliness and bring people together. “A powerful, poignant set.” (Guardian)

Duncan Chisholm is one of Scotland’s most recognised and accomplished fiddle players and composers, playing the Tuesday afternoon concert. Fiddle playing at its best, Duncan’s feather-light handling of dynamics and ornamentation, allied with his pure-distilled tone, lend his characteristic spine-tingling magic to his music. In support, Brighde Chaimbeul, piper/whistle player from the Isle of Skye, who won the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award in 2016.

Remember the legendary performance from La Bottine Souriante at Sidmouth? The Yves Lambert Trio is headed up by the pioneer in Quebec folk music whose 35-year music career reflects a taste for risks, adventures and challenges – notably with La Bottine Souriante. They head up the Wednesday afternoon show, with Jenn Butterworth and Laura-Beth Salter, with their eclectic mix of folk music from UK, Scandinavia and America and beyond, in support.

Thursday afternoon is all about winners! BBC Radio 2 Folk Award Best Group Winners, the Anglo-Scottish Furrow Collective – Lucy Farrell (fiddle, viola, saw, voice), Rachel Newton (harp, fiddle, voice), Emily Portman (banjo, concertina, voice) and Alasdair Roberts (guitars, voice) – are drawn together by a shared love of traditional song and balladry and an open, intuitive approach to collaboration. Scots Trad Instrumentalist of the Year and BBC Radio 2 Folk Award Musician of the Year Rachel Newton supports with a solo set.

Sheesham Lotus & SonSheesham Lotus & Son

The last afternoon concert features a rare and exciting duo collaboration between fiddler Sam Sweeney and singer/guitarist and musical icon Martin Carthy, two of the most vibrant of the English folk scene’s performers, from two different generations. Support comes from fantastic young Norwich based folk/Americana trio Alden, Patterson and Dashwood weave rich vocal harmonies, fiddle, dobro, guitar and mandolin around beautifully written original songs and melodies.


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