Ninebarrow

Friday 14th September 2018 (8.30 pm)

Ninebarrow are a multi-award-winning folk duo, who are impressing audiences across the country with their innovative and captivating take on the folk tradition. Described by Mark Radcliffe as sounding ‘like two halves of one voice’ and by Kate Rusby as ‘absolutely amazing’, Jon Whitley and Jay LaBouchardiere combine breath taking vocal harmonies and melodies, delivering original songs that are inspired and rooted in the landscape and history of the British Isles. As well as crafting unique and engaging original material, Ninebarrow also take a wide-range of traditional folk songs and rework them in their own, distinctive way.

 

In 2017, the duo were nominated at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in the ’Horizon’ category for ‘Best Emerging Artist’. One of the highest accolades in their genre, it was made even more exceptional because it was only a few months prior to this that Jon Whitley and Jay LaBouchardiere relinquished their jobs as a teacher and GP in favour of a full-time music career.

Joe Topping

Friday 28th September 2018 (8.30 pm)

Joe Topping is a singer-songwriter from the Wirral with influences that draw from both sides of the Atlantic: from the traditional music heard in the folk clubs he grew up around to the Americana and blues influences from his adventures in the USA which have included living in a pickup truck and driving around America for the best part of a year. 
He has developed his own bottleneck guitar style which he employs in many of his original songs and has played on stage and in the studio with many legends of the British folk scene including members of Fairport Convention, While and Matthews, Andy Irvine... Joe currently plays in the bands Elbow Jane and Rainbow Chasers.

Robyn Stapleton

Friday 12th October 2018 (8.30 pm)

Scottish singer Robyn Stapleton was awarded BBC Radio Scotland’s Young Traditional Musician of the Year in 2014 and has quickly become one of Scotland’s most sought-after folk singers. With a uniquely pure tone, wonderful control and an empathy and sensitivity for traditional song, she is described as having one of the fines voices in Scottish music. Robyn sings the songs of her Scottish and Irish heritage, in the Scots, English and Gaelic language. She has performed with many prestigious ensembles, including the RSNO, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Scottish Ensemble. Her debut album, Fickle Fortune has received outstanding reviews:

“Her warm, sweet voice has a depth and colour that belies her youthfulness” – fROOTS

 

Brought up in the South West of Scotland, Robyn was first introduced to singing through the poetry of Robert Burns and has fast become one of the most respected singers of Burns’ song. She has been invited to perform his most famous works on BBC television and radio, alongside Oscar-winning actors, and on legendary radio programme, Desert Island Discs.

January 2017 marked the release of Robyn’s second album, Songs of Robert Burns. Through the poetry of Scotland’s national bard, the album explores the themes of history, humanity, love and nature. The album features many of Scotland’s finest instrumentalists, including Patsy Reid, Jenna Reid, Aaron Jones, Signy Jakobsdottir and a quartet of four of Scotland’s finest string players, bringing a powerful and evocative dimension to these iconic songs.

Keen to pass on her knowledge of traditional music and culture to others, Robyn has a strong reputation as a song leader and tutor, and was recently named an ‘Ambassador of the Scots Language’ (Education Scotland). In addition to performing and teaching at home in Scotland, Robyn is committed to sharing traditional music and song internationally. She regularly performs overseas at concerts and festivals, sharing and promoting Scotland and Ireland’s music and language.

Shona Donaldson

Friday 19th October 2018 (8.30 pm)

Originally from Huntly but now living in Tarland I am a fiddle player and scots singer. I grew up surrounded by music and song and went on to study Scottish music at university. I teach scots song, mainly north east repertoire, perform at concerts solo and along with my fiddler husband Paul Anderson and compete in traditional singing competitions.

Scottish music has always been such an important part of my life. At family parties it was normal to be singing for hours with my granny on the piano, spoons, fiddle and pipes and our very own Donaldson family song book with all the favourites! It has always been a natural thing for me to sing and especially in Doric as it's the language I use everyday. There isn't a day that goes by where I don't sing ,be it at a concert or competition, practicing when doing my housework or bedtime songs to my two boys! I find singing and teaching local songs, songs in which I can relate directly to having known the area all my life particularly rewarding and it helps to nurture a sense of community which, to me, is invaluable.

A particular highlight has to be winning the Bothy ballad champion of champions competition in Elgin in 2016. Bothy ballads can be a male dominated tradition so it was a real joy to be the first woman in its 34 year history to win. To win the bothies had been an ambition of mine since I started singing so you can imagine how chuffed I was!

Hopefully I will keep singing, performing, competing and teaching north east songs and there may be plans for a new cd sometime in the future!

Maurice Dickson

Friday 9th November 2018 (8.30 pm)

You could be forgiven for asking yourself: “Now where have I seen that face before?” Truth is, if you have been floating around Europe for the past 15 years or so, you might well have seen Maurice Dickson, if it was Monday, it must have been Germany …or was it Spain, Portugal, Holland, Belgium, France, North Africa …or the Canary Islands. As they say in Scotland, a stone’s throw from Maurice’s native Northern Ireland, he has `earned his spurs’. The long journey began in 1975 when he started playing, singing and writing. A year later, aged 16 he put together his first band, which belted out his own material and cover versions of the day until 1979 when he traded his engineer’s overalls for the insecurity of a life on the road. Setting off with a guitar, a sleeping bag and £75, he spent four-and-a-half years slogging it round Europe and North Africa, learning the tricks that only that kind of experience can give an artist – how to judge an audience, how to hook it, how to play it, how to reel it in and put it in the bag.

 

Reinvented - This stagecraft is one major reason why he has now built an enthusiastic audience on the acoustic music circuit throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland to add to his many admirers in continental Europe. Another reason has to do with the painstaking way in which he has re-invented himself in recent years to appeal to a wider audience. In 1987 he was blitzing the local scene back home in Northern Ireland with his own R&B band, Shades of Blue. But he found himself more and more drawn towards acoustic styles. The transaction speeded up in 1992 when he worked a season playing solo in Greece and then visited Egypt. Something clicked into place in 1993, he bit the bullet and spent months working 8 hours a day to develop the new and complete style of folk and blues guitar picking which, along with finely crafted lyrics, is now his trademark. Putting in all that hard work at an age when many people feel they have already cracked it produced instant results, his powerful own brand of contemporary folk, which won him the folk section of the International Showcase 1993 at the Limerick Arts Festival. Since then he has been writing, recording and touring constantly in Ireland, Scotland, England, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Denmark and the USA.

Luc McNally

Friday 23rd November 2018 2018 (8.30 pm)

Luc McNally is a guitarist and singer from Dipton, County Durham. His work has taken him all over the UK and to Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Estonia and the Czech Republic.

Having been introduced to traditional music by 4 years with Kathryn Tickell’s Folkestra Youth ensemble, he went on to study Scottish Music for two years at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

As well as teaching guitar and playing multiple Scottish/Irish music sessions around Glasgow, he plays with new rock/traditional band Dosca, with electronic/Celtic group Sketch, and in a songs and tunes duo with piper and whistle player Eddie Seaman.

Having recorded his first EP in the summer of 2015, Luc is now working on a debut album featuring some of Scotland’s finest young musicians.

Kitty Macfarlane

Friday 30th November 2018 2018 (8.30 pm)

Kitty Macfarlane is a Somerset-based singer and songwriter.   Her lyrics combine honest snapshots of everyday humanity with the bigger questions that have connected minds and voices for centuries, driven by her own fingerpicked guitar. As well as the release of her debut EP Tide & Time - featuring Sam Kelly (co-producer), Jamie Francis, Lukas Drinkwater, Maya McCourt and Ciaran Algar, and gaining her first national airplay on the BBC Radio 2 folk show with Mark Radcliffe, and Tom Robinson's show on BBC 6Music - 2016 has seen Kitty complete an extensive national support tour with award-winning duo Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman. Other highlights range from support sets for Seth Lakeman, Alasdair Roberts, Rachel Sermanni, Blair Dunlop, and Feast of Fiddles, to appearing as a theme-tune on Radio 4, being a featured artist for a BBC Introducing documentary, and making the semi-final of the BBC Young Folk Award in 2015. Kitty has also recently been awarded a creative bursary from the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) for a songwriting project of her own devising.

Sandy Brechin & Ewan Wilkinson

Friday 14th December 2018 2018 (8.30 pm)

Sandy and Ewan have been playing together for more than ten years. They regularly tour Scotland, England and Wales, appearing at folk clubs and several folk festivals throughout the year, as well as their annual spots at the Edinburgh International Festival Fringe. They have toured Australia three times, and also played in Bahrain and Sweden.

Ewan and Sandy play a mixture of Scottish, Irish and English traditional songs and tunes, together with contemporary folk songs and original compositions. Many of the contemporary folk songs are written by Ewan himself.

Ewan’s debut album Lost in the Day, a collection of songs featuring Sandy on accordion and backing vocals, was released in 2009. Ewan and Sandy’s album Hard Times Come and Go, released in 2015, is a mix of songs and tune sets, including three new songs by Ewan – along with blazing tune sets led by Sandy, accompanied by Ewan on guitar and various guest musician friends on other instruments.

Ewan’s powerful baritone voice and unique guitar technique combine with Sandy’s unbelievably fast and adept accordion playing to make an exceptional album.

Alan Reid

Friday 11th January 2019 2018 (8.30 pm)

Alan Reid is a gifted singer, songwriter and musician, best known for his time at the helm of Scotland's Battlefield Band, who have been pre-eminent in Scottish traditional music for over forty years.  Alan spent several decades as with the group, as they toured worldwide to an ever increasing audience, and his songs and keyboard playing were a major feature of their repertoire during this period.

 

Since retiring from the band in 2010, Alan has been performing in a duo with Dutch guitarist and singer Rob Van Sante

The Ian Walker Band

Friday 15th February 2019 2018 (8.30 pm)

Ian Walker is a successful and popular singer and songwriter from Glasgow. He has released twenty albums/song books and his last solo CD in 2011, “Singing the River”, was nominated for the British Country Music Association (BCMA) Awards in London hosted by Alvin Stardust. In 1988, with Fellside Records, Ian won the Music Retailers Association (MRA) Award for Excellence in London presented by Sir Patrick Moore. Ian’s songs have been covered and recorded by many other artists worldwide and have been sung before Nelson Mandela and Arun Ghandi. Ian has performed in America, Holland, Germany, Ireland and throughout the UK.

 

Jimmy Scott is based in Bo’ness and has been singing and playing his own brand of country Gospel music since the 1960s. From an early age, music played an integral part in family life originally with the old Gospel hymns, but later melding with the songs of The Carter Family, Hank Williams, Jim Reeves and Johnny Cash amongst others. In 2005, Jimmy released his own solo album “Bread upon the Water” and supported “The International Ambassador of Country Music” George Hamilton 1V on his UK Tours in 2005 and 2006 and at the Americana Festival, Newark, England.

 

Moe Walker is from Holywood, Northern Ireland and has performed as an acclaimed singer on the music scene for many years. With her group Tricycle she appeared on STVs popular Scottish Variety Show “THINGUMMYJIG” along with Alastair McDonald and The Alexander Brothers. In recent years, Moe has recorded and provided harmonies and accompaniment in a variety of line ups and has sung in the USA, Holland, Germany and throughout the UK.

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