Monthly Newsletter - Hitchin Folkus

MARCH 2019

Hi Folks

March already, although over the last few days one would have thought we had skipped spring completely and moved straight to summer.

We have three young artists for you on Sunday 3rd, Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar, supported by Kirsty Merryn.  Greg and Ciaran met in 2011. Quickly signing to Fellside Records, in July 2012 they released their debut album, The Queen’s Lover. The duo developed and honed their stage craft, becoming one of the most sought after young acts on the English Folk Scene.  In January 2013, the pair picked up the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk award. Extensive touring followed despite still needing to complete school and University exams, playing club venues and festivals such as Cambridge Folk Festival and Fairport Convention’s Cropredy.  After recording their second album in the November of 2013, they received the Horizon Award for Best breakthrough act at the 2014 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. The duo come from musical households and both began to develop their musical skills long before joining forces; Ciaran becoming All Ireland Fiddle Champion, and All Britain Champion on numerous occasions before the age of 16 and Greg had already begun a career as a solo musician. Powerful songs and searing instrumentals! While Ciaran was at University, Greg became involved in other projects, eg. Nancy Kerr’s Sweet Visitor Band and the Transports. Ciaran is also a member of Sam Kelly’s Lost Boys. YouTube.  London-based, New Forest-born Kirsty has been championed by Show of Hands’ frontman Steve Knightley, after he met her while teaching at an EFDSS songwriting retreat for upcoming folk singer songwriters.  Beguiling and mercurial, Kirsty’s music is heavily anchored in the folk tradition with jazz and classical backwaters. But it has a much wider reach, with her influences ranging from Cara Dillon to Joni Mitchell and Kate Bush - emphatic piano-based songs with sharply observed lyrics, packaged with panache in elegant, beautifully balanced settings and delivered in crystal clear, assured vocals. She wowed us last year, supporting Miranda Sykes. YouTube

The sheer entertainment experience that is The Churchfitters is with us on Sunday 10th.  Here, experience is the operative word, no CD or written word can prepare you for what you will see. Siblings Rosie and Chris Short and Boris Lebret, with his amazing assay of scrap metal instruments, create the unique and unmistakable sound of the Churchfitters. The instrumentals played on fiddle, glass harp, musical saw, whistles, saxophones, banjo, guitars, percussion and …….. Boris! Any band that has a Boris in it has to be a winner! YouTube  YouTube.  Supporting will be Saskia Griffiths-Moore. Saskia is a 26 year old independent English singer-songwriter, known for her pure, clear voice and her nu-folk style repertoire.  She arrived on the folk circuit by a somewhat stranger route than most, having previously been one of the world’s youngest craniosacral therapists, practicing on Harley Street.  In 2014 she left it all behind to move to the West Country and pursue a successful career in music. Club regulars will remember her from last year, supporting Greg & Ciaran. YouTube

Sunday 17th we have Steve Tilston. .  Steve is one of our most celebrated songsmiths, widely recognised within the world of folk and contemporary music; the words, arrangements and subtle, quite superb guitar playing could be no one else. Though known as a songwriter, Steve has always had an ear for the tradition and included new interpretations of old favourites on his original recordings, but it is as the writer of the classic, and much covered songs like “The Slipjigs and Reels, “Here’s to Tom Paine,The Naked Highwayman and the BBC Folk Award-winningThe Reckoning”, that Steve is best known.  Tonight will be a masterclass in songwriting!  Supporting this evening will be Tinderbox.  Tinderbox are an award winning acoustic duo featuring Dublin born Monique Houraghan with a distinctive ‘honey-like’ vocal, and husband Dan Tucker with an intricate finger style guitar technique. BBC 6 Music’s Tom Robinson has described Tinderbox’s music as “Gorgeous”.  R2 Magazine’s Dai Jeffries branded the music “Outstanding…refreshingly natural” and Folkwords columnist Tim Carroll commended the “…highly accomplished musicianship; with a deliciously pure voice and a lush embroidery of strings”.YouTube

Sunday 24th is an all ticket event, with Aly Bain & Phil Cunningham. This is a rare opportunity to see these legends of Scottish music in a club atmosphere.  Individually they are brilliant, together they are enthralling, they breath each other’s playing; as one.  Then there is the between tunes patter, they are just so funny. Unfortunately for those of you without a ticket, this concert is sold out.  YouTube  YouTube

We end the month on the Sunday 31st, with long time club favourite, Richard Digance, on his “Platinum Tour”.  Richard first played at Hitchin in 1973, when he was 24; he is 70 now, and has decided that it is time to “retire”.  Richard is a BAFTA Nominated entertainer and a Gold Award recipient from The British Academy of Composers and Songwriters. He is also listed in the Virgin Anthology of Music as an influential writer of comedic songs.  Not many guitarists have played a duet with Queen's Brian May, worked with Steve Martin, played an acoustic set with Status Quo or performed at The London Palladium with the late Robin Williams, Richard has.  Richard is also an established poet, his works are used around the world as English teaching aids for schools and universities.  As a music composer for documentaries he has been awarded two Local Radio Awards with Ralph Bernard CBE and his music is used extensively on TV and film projects mainly in The United Kingdom, most recently by BBC Radio2.  But most of all, he loves being on stage with his one man shows of music and comedy. So you never have to ask him why he longer appears on TV himself, he's just been far too busy, but now it is time to slow down, so don’t miss this opportunity to see him for, what could be, his last visit.  YouTube.

The Dunton Folk 2019 concerts commence on March 23rd with The Pitmatics.

The new Baldock Folk Club meets on Wednesday nights at The Orange Tree, Norton Road, Baldock.

Keiron & Maureen Jones


Picture gallery
Who played when?(work in progress, now adding links)
Directions to the club