• A full day of music, dance, talks and workshops Folk at the Folk 16th September
Come all ye! We have a day full of music, dance, workshops, talks and sing arounds. On the 16th of September 2023 we are offering you over 25 different song, music and dance acts from around the county and beyond. There will also be talks and workshops. Entry to the main events is free but donations towards the upkeep of the Folk of Gloucester will be very welcome. For participation in workshops and talks there is a suggested donation of £5. There will be real ale and locally sourced food at the Folk of Gloucester Cafe.
Acts include the Ukrainian Choir, KOZACHKY, Yesterday’s Men with Gerry Ffrench from Liverpool, Songs from the Workhouse (a special project form Glostrad), and the Cotswold Punk Folk band, the Swing Rioters. There will also be talks including from Martin and Shan Graebe and a workshop on accompanying songs from Jeff Gillett. Scroll down to see the full list of acts…
Performances will be taking place in the garden, Barber Room and upstairs within the Folk. There may be some activity in the street and at the Cross too!
Folk at the Folk 3
The Festival Acts…..
New to Folk at the Folk KOZACHKY is an amazing Ukrainian folk choir.
The Ukrainian vocal ensemble “Kozachki” was created in October 2022 from a group of women who were forced to leave their homes and relocate to Bristol because of the war. The group hails from different parts of Ukraine: Kyiv, Odesa, Lviv, Melitopol, Kharkiv, Zhytomyr, Vinnytsia. It includes musicians, singers, managers, scientists, doctors and beauticians.
Today, with their singing, they want to convey to you the culture of their people and their love for Ukrainian song!
Blackthorn Buskers are a five piece multi-instrumentalist electric harmony folk band based in Gloucestershire. Their songs come from around the world and include traditional and modern folk songs along with some original material. They have five singers, three of whom are well known around the folk clubs as soloists in their own right. You can expect to hear unaccompanied harmony traditional songs and sea shanties along with fully accompanied songs. Their aim is to provide a lively and varied fun night of music for all.
‘I’m a folksinger – this is what Folk Music sounds like.’ Gerry announced to the audience at the Liverpool Irish festival a couple of years ago; this was after they had been singing along to the choruses of her self-penned songs. They seemed mildly surprised but continued to join in happily nevertheless. And indeed her music is rooted firmly in the folk tradition, often telling the stories of everyday lives in the melting pot the was Liverpool in its maritime heyday. With titles like Cunard Yanks and I Was Born in The Holy Land, you could almost be forgiven for thinking that her music is only about Liverpool or the past, but her wry observations of everyday life in songs like Lampedusa, The Middle Aisle of Aldi and The Wonder Hornpipe, bring her repertoire bang up to date; much to the delight of her charmed audiences.
Yesterday's Men with Gerry Ffrench
Harry Lowrey and Arthur Garnett play concertinas and sing shanties, songs of the sea and traditional folk songs. Having appeared alongside legendary sailor and shanty collector Stan Hugill for many years as members of the legendary shanty band Stormalong John, they stand apart as two of the finest voices to have come out of Liverpool. Their early recordings have shaped the repertoire and style in which maritime music is performed all over Europe and North America, and they continue to influence new generations of folk musicians.
Over six decades of performing together, Harry and Arthur have developed a close musical sympathy, delighting audiences everywhere with their natural Liverpudlian ability to spin a yarn.
At Folk at the Folk 3 they will be joined by fellow Liverpudlian Gerry Ffrench. Not to be missed.
Mice in a Matchbox
Mice in a Matchbox are a lively acoustic duo who take traditional and modern folk tunes and some classic well-known favourites, as well as original material, and deliver them with their own foot stomping arrangements. When there is a seated audience, they weave tales of their Atlantic sailing adventures in their small 32 foot boat, into the performance.
It’s not folk music as you might expect!
“Talis Kimberley – Story-Songs & Geek-Folk
Geek-folk, Story-Songs, krakens, and second chances: improbable coffee-shops, and ghosts who take up knitting… Talis Kimberley performs with warmth and humour, and her work is inspired especially by folklore, history, and our relationship with the land.
She’s a prolific Wiltshire-based writer who performs with guitar and English concertina.
Talis will sing you ravens, bones, and the story behind the story – love, and loss, and the sweetness of everyday magic, stirred with a hazel wand and served up with a slice of myth-cake.
Talis occasionally dabbles in spoken word – the sillier the better – she’s a keen yarn-crafter, and she plays fiddle for Devizes Jubilee Morris.”
Ominous Folk of Hopeless Maine
The Ominous Folk of Hopeless Maine are James Weaselgrease, Tom Brown, Susie Roberts, and Nimue Brown. This is the Hopeless, Maine performance wing and the fabulous photo is the work of Darkbox Images.
We sing – often in four part harmony – a mix of traditional, original and interestingly sourced material. Shows are 45 minutes to an hour, and mix script and storytelling to give a flavour of life on the imaginary island. We work well in folk and steampunk settings, we’ve also been to a theatre festival and a Goblin Masquerade.
Originally from the NE of England, Lyn Briggs is a singer-songwriter who is now based in Stroud. Her music has been played on many radio stations including Oscar Brand’s Folk show for WNYC in New York and BBC Radio W Midlands. She has performed in the USA, Australia and UK.
She writes about social history and the emotion of the human experience. Her words are all about music; her poetry has rhythm, tone, pitch and pace. Sometimes these poems transform into songs and even short stories. She is currently recording an album of original material.
Jenny Shaw is best known as the presenter of the Handed Down podcast, an affectionate and often irreverent exploration of the traditional songs of the British Isles. A singer, multi-instrumentalist and storyteller, her fast paced live show pulls the audience into the lost worlds of the past with songs, tunes and tall tales.
As a young musician she was a member of the Hull band Mediaeval Fete, alongside Zinta and Ramona Egle (Camine, Jacob’s Ladder) and has since been involved with folk clubs and sessions in Hertfordshire, East Yorkshire and South Gloucestershire. She launched Handed Down in 2021 and performed her first live show based on the podcast at the Folk at the Folk Festival in 2022.
Discovery are Jeff and Elaine Gillett.
They sing traditional and modern folk songs which they present with warmth and humour and with the accent on story-telling. Their richly varied repertoire includes songs that will make the audience laugh, cry – or sing along. A unique element is Jeff’s settings of poems from William Blake’s ‘Songs of Innocence and of Experience’.
They perform in unaccompanied vocal harmony or with the songs enhanced by Jeff’s supremely tasteful, restrained yet inventive accompaniments on guitar, English concertina, Appalachian dulcimer and mandola.
The Jovial Crew is a group of consenting adults who like to have a good time. They perform at festivals and events throughout Gloucestershire. They have performed at events such as Gloucester Folk Festival, Stroud Wassail, Apple Day, the 1315 procession and Gloucester goes retro.
They sing songs from the great heritage of English folk song. Timeless classics such as “The Cream of Society”, “Joan’s Ale Was New” and “John Barleycorn”.
At Folk at the Folk this year they will be performing the New Gloucester Play featuring the villainous Baron de Piffle and local heroes the Gloucester Cheese, Severn Bore, Aethelflaed, Doctor Foster, the Tailor of Gloucester and Hubert Cecil Booth… the inventor of the vacuum cleaner.
Kaboozle was founded in 2018 by Tom Stickland who had played in several percussion groups in the Gloucester and Bristol area. The vision was a small percussion group who could enjoy playing a varied and entertaining set. The group have developed a set of mainly original arrangements inspired by popular rhythms and claves.
Karen Swan and Gilly Elkin
Karen Swan has been described as an enigma, probably because of wandering across genres alt/contemporary folk rock with a touch of avant-garde.
Her distinctive sweeping vocal style and haunting insightful songs transport the listener to her creative wonderland.
Based in Bristol UK originally from Birmingham UK. Also an actor writer and clown and has performed worldwide.
In a career spanning more than five decades, Gilly Elkin has made her mark on the music scene with her haunting voice, catchy melodies and touching lyrics. She has worked alongside some of the greats and her songs have topped the indie charts. More than a pop artist, her roots are in folk music and she spent several years in the United States, honing her song-writing skills and working with some of the top names in the music industry over there.
Martin and Shan Graebe
Cancelled due to Covid
Martin and Shan Graebe sing traditional songs together, mostly unaccompanied and in harmony. Shan is well known for the workshops that she leads on aspects of voice use and care. Martin researches, writes, and talks about many aspects of traditional song and is one of the founders of the Traditional Song Forum, of which he has been the Secretary since it was founded 25 years ago. His book As I Walked Out, Sabine Baring-Gould and the Search for the Folk Songs of Devon and Cornwall (Signal Books, 2017) has received both the Katharine Briggs Folklore Award and the W. G Hoskins Prize. His new book about Alfred Williams, The Forgotten Songs of the Upper Thames, was published in Autumn 2021.
From the Tudor Court to the Brit Awards....a history of Morris dancing in Gloucestershire
A talk by Stephen Rowley
Exotic entertainment in the Tudor court, and the Brit Awards.
Throughout the C20th Morris dance was best known as a rural village tradition, with white costumes, crossed ribbons and bells. Then came wild dancers in ragged jackets, and more recently women wearing gold waistcoats and exotic make-up. Are these all morris dance? What is it all about? Where did it come from?
Folk historian, Stephen Rowley, capers through 500 years of morris, bells and all.
Folk of Gloucester Choir
Gloucester Folk choir is a new group, started in Feb 2023. They sing folk songs from near and far and their focus is on a beautiful, connected sound and community. Gloucester Folk choir is for any level of singer and all songs are taught by ear, in the true folk tradition. Sorrel Wilde leads the choir, as well as leading The Island Folk Choir in Bristol.
Harry Lowery and Arthur Garnett: Shanties and songs of the sea
Stan Hugill was the last living exponent of real Shanty singing; as a young man he sang shanties on the last merchant sailing ships which sailed from these shores. in the 1980’s Harry Lowery and Arthur Garnett had the good fortune to meet and work with Stan professionally. By then he was an old man but with their band Stormalong John, they recorded three albums with him.
Shanties were work songs which were only used on board merchant vessels to help the sailors perform their various tasks. Different rhythms were required for different tasks : long haul, short haul, pumping and capstan shanties. evolved for this reason, Come along and hear Harry speak about the history of this traditional genre , tell tales of the sea and play some examples.
Storm Along John
Rough Diamonds: Musical Director Hilary Davies
Traditional and Contemporary folk music from the British Isles, South Africa, America and beyond – in fabulous four part a cappella harmony.
Community choir leader Hilary Davies brought the original group together in 2008, for a two week visit to South Africa to sing with and learn from The Diamond Choir, a choir of mine workers from the Cullinan Diamond mine, near Pretoria. It was a truly amazing and life changing experience. On their return, the choir wished to continue singing together and so Rough Diamonds was formed.
‘Charlie’s Angels’ came together in 2021 after Janice Anderson and Anne Cunningham met at Minchinhampton Folk Club. They both have vast experience singing in bands and music venues particularly in the South West. Anne sang with contemporary folk band ‘Badgers Set’ and is now a solo performer in her own right. Janice is known locally as one of the blondes in ‘Blondes with Beards’ and as former lead singer with local band ‘Redwing’ & duo ‘Junk’.
Their repertoire is varied but always features strong vocals and harmonies with guitar and uke accompaniment.
‘Charlies Angels’ can be seen regularly on Thursday evenings at Minchinhampton Folk Club and at other local live music events.
Stroud Red Band
The Stroud Red Band is a community-based ensemble that plays on the streets in support of progressive causes. We play a selection of African, Latin, protest and the odd Jazz or pop tune, along with all your favourite Marxist marching classics like Bella Ciao, the Red Flag and the Internationale.
We take classic, mainly English, traditional folk songs and “punk them up”. We also take more modern songs and “folk them up”. We aim to give everyone something that they will recognise…
We are loud.
The original Swing Riots were a series of disturbances in the rural counties of England in 1830. Increasing mechanisation was threatening the livelihoods and agricultural workers. The workers responded with protest and, in some cases, violent actions including the burning of hay ricks and the smashing of threshing machines.
Expect to have a good time….
Kate Akers and Karl Merrick
Kate and Karl are one half of the Twiddlers, the group that caused such a stir after hours in the cafe with their inspired playing. They create a fresh and lively sound that really makes you want to sing along.
Forest of Dean Mummers
For over 30 years, the Newnham Christmas Play has been performed at various pubs around the Forest of Dean. Originally part of the Forest of Dean Morris the group has now been renamed as “The Forest of Dean Mummers”. The repertoire has been extended and the cast now perform throughout the year as well as maintaining the traditional Christmas Play.
They will be performing their Coronation Play – A Heavy Head Bears The Crown
– which was commissioned for the Coronation of Charles III. One of the (in)famous Ruardean bears is accidentally crowned king but just for one day.
Styx of Stroud
Styx of Stroud is a mixed Border Morris side, launched in 2012 to perform traditional and contemporary dances in the Border style – so like the best cider, that’s from the borders of Herefordshire, Shropshire, Worcestershire and (just a little bit) Gloucestershire.
We wear tattercoats, black with flashes of red and green to reflect the felt-making heritage of our home town of Stroud in Gloucestershire. Where we still make the yellow stuff for all the tennis balls at Wimbledon and the green for snooker tables (fun facts).
Bow Brook Border Morris
Bow Brook is a border Morris side from Worcestershire.
Moira Craig and Ron Taylor
Two folk legends are performing as a duo.
Moira is a fine singer, best known as being part of the trio Craig Morgan Robson
Ron has been singing folk songs since the late 1960s. He first sang semi-professionally with The Songwainers, the Cheltenham-based vocal harmony group, with whom he made one album for Argo in 1971.
Shepherds Crook/ Songs from the Workhouse
Shepherd’s Crook Folk Choir based in Winchcombe specialise in traditional songs, many from Gloucestershire, e specially arranged and sung in unaccompanied four-part harmony. This popular choir have sung at successful events at the National Trust’s Croome Court, Sudeley Castle, Hailes Church, Adam Hensons’ Cotswold Farm Park, various festivals in Winchcombe and elsewhere, and are always well received at concerts and workshops.
They are currently working on songs collected at Winchcombe workhouse by Percy Grainger and Cecil Sharp, also performing songs based around wool, the backbone of the Cotswolds.
Accompanying Song: Workshop by Jeff Gillett
As well as performing solo, Jeff Gillett has worked as an accompanist for (among others) Ron Taylor, Jim Causley and Sarah Morgan. He has been described by Keith Kendrick as ‘arguably the most sensitive accompanist on planet Earth’. Here, he attempts to de-mystify the art of song accompaniment and make it accessible to instrumentalists of all abilities.
He offers a fully participatory workshop for singers, guitarists and other instrumentalists. The focus is on how to play accompaniments (for yourself or for others) that leave space for the singer and don’t put the song in a straitjacket
Singers are invited to bring along a song: possibly one that they think is too free to accompany!