Over the course of her remarkable career, Maddy Prior has made it her mission to work with some of the most exceptional musicians in the world – both within Steeleye Span and beyond. To that noted list she has added accordion player, singer and clog dancer Hannah James and multi-instrumentalist Giles Lewin (Bellowhead / Carnival Band), forming a trio that explores the music of England, the British Isles and Eastern Europe. Debut album 3 For Joy took fourteenth century poems, tales of the industrial revolution from Ulster and music from the Southern Baptist Church tradition, while their latest Shortwinger is themed on the wild field, mainly concerned with birds, hares and their place in folk mythology. The trio will be performing songs from both albums as well as highlights from Maddy’s solo and band career – all presented in a daring acoustic style that enhances one of the finest voices this country has ever produced.
All at Sea with Steve Kniightley
Just six months after he wound up his 160 date “Grown Your Own Gig” tour of rural village halls the length and breadth of the country, Steve Knightley, the songwriting force behind Show of Hands, returns with a new tour, “All at Sea.”
Following his “Grown Your Own Gig” which began in early 2014, Steve, who with Show of Hands is acclaimed as the finest acoustic roots duo in England, has decided to turn his attention to maritime venues around the shoreline of England and Wales and will be anchoring at Ropery Hall on Saturday, January 30, as part of that tour.
Steve, who was once described by The Times as the “gravel voiced spokesman of the rural poor” will be playing in seaside halls, an Elizabethan Fort, on boats and in a rich variety of performing spaces all within sight of the waves and the tide.
As Steve says “As a West country songwriter I have written so many songs of sea farers and wreckers, travellers and traders, pirates and smugglers. Now I’m going to be able to sing them with the sound of the sea in the distance – I can’t wait!”
Steve’s appearance at the Maltkiln Road venue on Saturday, January 30, beginning at 8pm, is the first in a programme of end-of-the month folk nights promoted once again by Mad Dog Folk. Tickets cost £16 in advance or £18 on the door and can be bought online at www.roperyhall.co.uk, in person at the Craft Gallery or by calling 01652 660380.
As part of the Folk-16 programme at Ropery Hall, in February Moore, Moss and Rutter will be making an appearance followed in March by the Dan Walsh Trio in April and Russell and Algar in May. After a summer break folk comes back with a welcome return by Belinda O’Hooley and Heidi Tidow in September followed by Will Pound and Eddy Jay in October and Daoiri Farrell completing the folk line up at the end of November.
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We are happy to welcome Blackbeard’s Tea Party back to Ropery Hall with their brand of gutsy folk rock. Traditional songs and folk tunes are given a heavy rock edge with playful arrangements and driving dance rhythms. This is all mixed up in an engaging, high-octane stage show that frequently leaves audiences cheering for more.”
Back in the austere 1950’s a schoolboy drank a bottle of ink and instantly became the centre of attention in the playground.
Now read on…..
Rock veteran John Otway dubbed himself “rock’n’roll’s greatest failure” after many unsuccessful attempts to produce a second hit single to follow his 1977 classic (Cor Baby, That’s) Really Free with Wild Willy Barrett.
However, a mere quarter century later, he was back on Top of The Pops with the wonderful disco pastiche, ‘Bunsen Burner’ and back in the charts as a birthday present from his adoring and patient fans.
And, more recently, his “Beware Of The Flowers Cause I’m Sure They’re Going To Get You Yeah” voted the seventh greatest lyric of all time in a BBC poll.
But that, of course, was not enough.
A couple of years ago John realised that live footage from the many concerts over the years, plus many TV appearances – and a failed world tour attempt – would make an entertaining documentary film. So he made one. Initially expecting a couple of humble screenings for fans, the film premiered at the Odeon, Leicester Square, was shown at Cannes – and at prestigious UK film festivals including Cambridge during it’s national tour.
2016 saw a remarkably successful Kickstarter appeal which raised over £40,000 for John Otway and the Big Band to record their first new album in many years on the island of Monserrat, whose famous studios hosted bands such as the Rolling Stones before being devastated by forces of nature, being a preferable option to Harlow.
The album ( strangely enough called ‘ Montserrat’ ) is available now on Red Bowler Records.
Expect madcap mayhem and some scintillating stunts from a man old enough to know better…..and also to be surprised at just what a showman and musician really lies underneath the tomfoolery.
‘He’s a cabaret act masquerading as a rock act. He is gleeful, anecdotal, funny and life-enhancing.’
Canterbury Fayre Review.
“Martin Simpson has transcended borders and oceans to quietly become a superb storyteller and musician of great depth and unquestionable taste.” Stephen Fearing
The remarkable intimate solo performances Martin gives go from strength to strength – every gig is a masterclass. He travels the length and breadth of the UK and beyond, giving rapt audiences passion, sorrow, love, beauty, tragedy and majesty through his playing.
“What’s it like being the best guitar player in the world…?” Martin’s modesty and grace prevented him from answering this BBC Radio 4 interviewer’s question recently, but the facts speak for themselves.
40 years after he recorded his first album, Golden Vanity, in 1976, Martin is known as a guitarist of formidable talent. Equally at home playing English traditional folk, American folk and blues and his own compositions, he is consistently named as one of the very finest fingerstyle guitar players in the world.
He is listed in Gibson Guitars’ Top 30 Acoustic Guitarists of all time, and Acoustic Guitar readers voted him number 12 guitarist in the world in 2005.
Universally acclaimed as one of the finest ever acoustic and slide guitar players, and a fine banjo-picker to boot, his solo shows bear witness to an artist at the very top of his game. Whether interpreting material from tradition or singing his own potent self-penned songs, Simpson is a remarkable storyteller: captivating and profoundly moving. His own songwriting produced the poignant ‘Never Any Good’, from Prodigal Son, 2007’s Folk Album of the Year.
Martin continues to collaborate with a dazzling array of people from across the musical spectrum: Jackson Browne, Martin Taylor, June Tabor, Richard Hawley, Bonnie Raitt, Danny Thompson, David Hidalgo, Danú, Richard Thompson and Dom Flemons are among the great musicians he has worked with.
In recent years, he has been a lynchpin in the award-winning Full English, The Elizabethan Sessions and, in 2015, recorded Murmurs, an exciting new album with Andy Cutting and Nancy Kerr. Martin’s eagerly awaited new solo album entitled Trails and Tribulations will be released in September 2017 on Topic Records. Album guests include Andy Cutting, Kathryn Tickell, Nancy Kerr and John Smith.
He has had the most nominations of any performer in the 18 years of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, an astonishing 31 times, 12 of those as Musician of the Year, winning that particular accolade twice.
A virtuoso player without question, but above all Martin Simpson conveys his diverse treasure trove of material from the heart, performing with rare subtlety, intensity and honesty. A true master of his art.
Following another sell-out run at the Edinburgh Festival the Mock The Week regular and host of BBC R4’s Newsjack Angela Barnes will be taking her ‘beautifully structured show’ (The Scotsman) Fortitude on the road.
On November 9th 2016, two momentous things happened to Angela, which have deeply affected her. Donald Trump won the US election and she turned 40.
Now, Angela is in no rush to join the ranks of middle aged, she’s only just getting started. She didn’t become a comedian until 33, only learnt to swim when she was 37, didn’t fall in love until 38 and passed her driving test at 39. Why the hurry? She is un-pensioned, un-married, un-mortgaged and a fully paid-up member of the Peter Pan generation. People have stopped asking Barnes what she’s going to be when she grows up, and instead want to know when she is going to settle down; she hasn’t been bothered by the ticking of the biological clock, thus far – maybe it’s missing batteries. But what happens when the choices you make aren’t your choice anymore? Does her body have different ideas about the future?
“She’s just a gloriously down-to-earth, straight talking and extremely funny comic” The Guardian
“Storming hour of stand-up” Fest – ★★★★
Before becoming a comedian, Angela worked in health and social care. In 2011, she won the BBC New Comedy Award and became a finalist at the 2011 Latitude Festival New Act of the Year competition. Since then Angela has become a regular on BBC’s The News Quiz, Newsjack and Mock The Week. She has also appeared on BBC Three’s Russell Howard’s Good News, Russell Kane’s Whistle Stop Tour (BBC Radio 2), and BBC Radio 4’s The Now Show.
“feels like a sure-fire bet the instant she utters her opening lines.” The Scotsman
After an eventful year off (got a new laptop, etc.), the boy’s back in town, with resolutions galore but less courage in his convictions than ever. How much has Ivo learnt? And what good has it done him? As seen on Mock The Week, Live At The Apollo, As Yet Untitled, Live From The BBC, Fighting Talk.
“Sharp punchlines, topper gags and the unmistakable sense of a young comic finding another gear” – Scotsman.
“Honed to within a whisker of perfection… a joyous show” – Evening Standard.
“Like Hugh Grant’s less well-adjusted younger brother” – Guardian