The life of early whalers comes alive at Ropery Hall

Six distinctive and hugely talented artists come together at Ropery Hall at the beginning of April for a journey into the bawdy, brutal and thrilling world of the early whalers.

Chasing the Whale brings together the acclaimed Folk/Indie/Jazz trio Kings of the South Seas, (whose debut album of the same name was released in 2015)  and a traditional “shape-note” singer and musician from New England, Tim Eriksen who together will perform stunning new arrangements of traditional song that merge folk, jazz, music hall and rock.

“The music is all  woven together by award-winning author Philip Hoare’s captivating tales (both historical, but also his own extraordinary experiences of swimming alongside whales around the globe) and Adam Clitheroe’s film portraying the powerful imagery of these voyages,” explained Liz Bennet of The Ropewalk.

She added that to make a deeper connection with those extraordinary times, the majority of the live performances will take place in locations with a whaling history.

“Here at The Ropewalk Hall’s Barton Ropery made ropes for the whaling industry so it is really fitting that one of their performances is being held here,” she said.

“Through words, song and film The Kings of the South Seas – together with the special guests – the audiences are invited to board their ship as it sets sail on a voyage into these extraordinary times,” Liz continued. “This show depicts a whaler’s life from the era of Moby Dick brought to life through music, narration and film. “

“Going back through the ages, man’s quest to hunt the largest mammal on earth saw them endure dangers and hardships of epic voyages, some of which lasted several years, while at the same time these crews discovered mysterious new lands and people, founding an industry that connected Britain with the South Pacific and America.”The performance, funded by Arts Council England,  is being held on Saturday, April 2, starting at 8pm.  Tickets cost £13 in advance or £15 on the door and can be bought online at www.roperyhall.co.uk, in person at the Craft Gallery or by calling 01652 660380.

 

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Blackbeard’s Tea Party

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.”

By richardhatfield |

John Otway

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.

 

By richardhatfield |

Martin Simpson

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.

By richardhatfield |

Angela Barnes: Fortitude

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 NewsRussell 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

By richardhatfield |

Ivo Graham: Educated Guess

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

By richardhatfield |

PHILL JUPITUS – JUPLICITY

Join stand-up comedian, poet, improviser, and TV stalwart Phill Jupitus for over an hour of tales, laughs and diversions. Watch in delight and/or horror as this experienced funny man drags laughs out of the chaos of his own life and the uncertain world that surrounds it.

Adult themes and situations, but delivered childishly.

Phill became a familiar face when he started as team captain on BBC2’s pop quiz Never Mind The Buzzcocks in 1996, which went on to run for 19 years. Aside from Never Mind the Buzzcocks and live stand up shows all over the UK, he also appears as a regular guest on QI (BBC2) and Alan Davies As yet Untitled (Dave), and in 2012 returned to television stand-up for the first time since 2000 with an appearance on Live at the Apollo (BBC1).

On BBC Radio 4 Phill is a regular panellist of the award winning I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue and The Unbelievable Truth and was resident curator on The Museum of Curiosity. In addition, he has presented numerous radio documentaries including, Phill Jupitus’ Comic Strips, Calvin and Hobbes and The Man Who Bought Hendrix’s Stage.

Phill’s theatre work includes playing Bottom in the Bath Theatre Royal production of A Midsummer’s Night Dream, appearing alongside Jason Manford in the UK touring production of The Producers as Franz Liebkind, the West End production of Urinetown in the role of Caldwell B. Cladwell at the Apollo Theatre and his West End singing debut in 2009 when he played Edna Turnblad in the hit musical Hairspray at The Shaftesbury Theatre.

By richardhatfield |