Monthly Newsletter - Hitchin Folkus


Hi Folks

Well, what a great start to the new season we have had?  Starting with the precocious talents of Hattie Briggs and Sam Carter, followed by another wow night from Daphne’s Flight.  Those of you who stayed home to watch the final episode of “The Bodyguard” missed a super one from Brooks Williams then, last Sunday, a first time visit from Melrose Quartet filled the room, certainly won’t be the last time!

On to October.  Sunday 7th we have Kathryn Roberts and Sean LakemanTwo of the British folk scenes most accomplished performers, Kathryn and Sean have graced stages the world over in a number of guises. However, the intimacy and strength of passion shown as a duo, combined with an ever evolving eclectic repertoire ensures a rare treat for any listener. Both are hugely experienced; Kathryn first came to Hitchin in a duo with Kate Rusby and Sean first came to notice as one of the teenage trio, the Lakeman Brothers. YouTube.  Support will be Dan Wilde. Dan has been performing his own brand of richly observant folk both in the UK and around the world for the past five years. And in that time, he’s developed a growing fan-base and a reputation amongst those who know as "a fantastic songwriting talent who without a doubt will deserve and demand your attention(Eclectically Challenged). His profound lyrics, melded with a unique melodic sensibility that have led to comparisons with the likes of Paul Simon, Richard Thompson and Ron Sexsmith. Dan’s words have been described as, “deeply personal and introspective but engrossing and charismatic(Folkwords) and they reflect his peripatetic restlessness. YouTube

Emily Smith & Jamie McClennan will be with us on Sunday 14th.  Time has passed ridiculously fast since Emily was named BBC Radio Scotland’s Young Traditional Musician of the Year back in 2002. The accolades continued as she won the USA Songwriting Competition in 2005, Scots Singer of the Year at the Scots Trad Music Awards in 2008, and she received two nominations in the 2012 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.  In that time she’s toured the world, thrilling audiences from Cambridge Folk Festival all the way down to the National Folk Festival in Australia, via Europe, Russia, Canada and New Zealand. Her face has been all over the TV thanks to BBC Four’s Transatlantic Sessions and, in 2013 Emily toured as part of the show’s extended family, singing with the likes of Mary Chapin Carpenter, Eric Bibb and Teddy Thompson - adding to an impressive list of onstage collaborators which also includes Richard Thompson, Eddi Reader and Beth Neilson Chapman. Her time on Transatlantic Sessions has definitely had an effect on the feel of her music, creating a delightful style of country folk (nothing to do with The Archers!)  Emily will be accompanied, as usual, by multi-instrumentalist husband, Jamie, last seen at Hitchin with James Fagan under the guise of the James Brothers. YouTube  Supporting will be club resident, Bill Reed.

There will be a welcome return to Hitchin for Lady Maisery on Sunday 21st.  In an English folk scene currently bursting with bold and innovative folk music, vocal trio Lady Maisery shine brightly. With their unique approach to harmony singing, intelligent and thoughtful arrangements of both traditional repertoire and original compositions, Hazel Askew, Hannah James and Rowan Rheingans harness and celebrate their united voice. Whether unearthing a feminist twist hidden in a traditional tale, delivering a poignant anti-war ballad, or showcasing their immense multi-instrumental talents in original compositions that draw on a myriad of musical influences, Lady Maisery are skillful explorers of the power, beauty and vitality of song. Over the last five years, the trio have toured widely, performing sell-out shows across the UK and Europe. Underpinning every performance are Lady Maisery’s distinctive harmonies: sometimes lush and rich, sometimes dark and invigorating, they intertwine with assured precision. The trio are also one of the foremost English proponents of mouth music, or “diddling” – once common in England, and still found across parts of southern and northern Europe, this form of singing without words is a perfect showcase for their sheer musicality. Each also an accomplished instrumentalist, many songs are expertly accompanied by a rich tapestry of Rowan’s fiddle, banjo and bansitar, Hazel’s harp and concertina and Hannah’s accordion and foot percussion. YouTube  YouTube. Supporting tonight will be Lizzy Hardingham, for the first time on our stage. Lizzy is a young, local singer songwriter, who both writes her own intimate material and arranges tradition folk material.  YouTube

One of the most exciting bands to grace our stage must be the Urban Folk Quartet.  They will be with us again on Sunday 28th.  UFQ are Joe Broughton, Paloma Trigás, Tom Chapman and Dan Walsh. Four highly accomplished musicians, a dozen instruments and four voices coming together to craft a knockout show of globally–influenced, electrifying acoustic music that has been taking the international folk scene by storm. Self-described, ‘electro-African-dubstep-Celtic-folk,’ The Urban Folk Quartet give traditional Irish folk tunes a global twist with Spanish, Turkish and bluegrass undertones creeping in. It’s not hard to appreciate the precision and beauty with which these artists play their instruments: banjos, guitars, fiddles, mandolins – even a triangle, which takes centre stage for an entire song – blend meticulously to create an explosion of energetic, toe-tapping beats.  What a truly awe inspiring experience they are, four wonderful musicians enjoying making extraordinary music for us, culminating last time in the unusual spectacle, for Hitchin, of the audience on their feet, bouncing up and down!  YouTube. Supporting will be Kelly Oliver, currently basking in the glory of a plethora of rave reviews on her new CD, Botany Bay. YouTube

Dunton Folk concert this month is on Saturday October 6th, with Lucy Ward supported by Chris Fox.

 Keiron & Maureen Jones


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Who played when?(work in progress, now adding links)
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