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Ian A Anderson

Friday, St Stephen’s

First inspired by ancient folk blues records, Ian A Anderson was caught up in the late 1960s blues boom, mentored by Alexis Korner and supported by radio DJs like John Peel. He performed regularly in key venues of the day like London’s celebrated Les Cousins and the Bristol Troubadour, but then took a sideways swerve into what now gets called ‘psych folk’. He released 4 solo albums of original songs and tunes, 3 of them on Bristol’s legendary Village Thing label, and appeared at the very first Glastonbury festival. In 2017 Ian started performing solo again for the first time in 45 years, he says “to scare myself.”

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Thom Ashworth

Sunday, St George’s

An acoustic bass guitar may not seem like an obvious choice as an accompaniment instrument, but Thom shows that this distinctive instrumental voice can find a home in folk music, and that 4 strings are enough to delve into the canon of British folk music. Equal parts interpreter of traditional song and insightful political songwriter, the press has repeatedly compared him to Martin Carthy, Chris Wood, and Billy Bragg.

Adventurous, exciting, and highly effective.‘ fRoots

… like a modern day Martin Carthy.Folk Radio UK

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The Molecatchers

Sunday evening ceilidh, Folk House

The Molecatchers have been playing upbeat ceilidh dance music for over a decade. The four-piece band’s lineup includes accordion, violin, guitars, mandolin and stomp-board. The music is a heady mix of traditional and modern tunes from the British Isles and further afield guaranteed to get even the most inexperienced dancer up on the floor.
Expert caller Hannah Moore will be guiding dancers through the figures.

Entry with full weekend or Sunday festival tickets, plus a limited number of ceilidh tickets are available separately.

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Mike Dennis

Saturday 4 May – Bristol Folk House

Mike Dennis is a classically-trained violinist whose boyhood love of Run DMC, Beastie Boys and Gangstarr led him to create a unique kind of string-heavy hip hop music he refers to as Violinica.

Performing using a violin, loop pedal and cajon, Mike builds up layers of dense harmony and embellishes with thoughtful, energetic rhymes drawing inspiration from daily British life and the perils and profits of love.

‘Violin in hand and with a multitude of effects at his feet, he builds up to a string and percussion crescendo before opening his mouth and… wow! This guy doesn’t just spit rhymes, they cascade out at a speed as ferocious as his lyrics.’ Wake The Deaf 

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Amadou Diagne

Saturday 4 May, Bristol Folk House

Amadou Diagne is a multi-instrumentalist, composer and singer, with the traditions of West Africa at his fingertips. Emerging from a family line of percussionists and praise singers in Senegal, his unique sound has seen him play stages and festivals all over the globe, collaborating with some of the biggest names in world music.

A former member of l’Orchestre National du Senegal, Amadou and his band Group Yakar have been developing a style that is uniquely their own. The music is hard to define, yet universally appealing, spanning Afrobeat to Blues, Jazz Funk to Mbalax, and traditional West African Praise singing to Rock. Catch Amadou’s seductive blend of musical styles on Saturday Night at Bristol Folk House.

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Saturday, St Stephen’s

From diverse backgrounds, Jo May and Sarah Matthews bring voice, violin and viola, tenor guitar, balafon and a whole range of other percussion instruments. The beauty of these wooden instruments blend to create intricate delivery of original and traditional material inspired by English songs, European dance tunes, West African rhythms and more. Jo (Against the Grain, Stepling, Token Women) and Sarah (Cupola, Moirai, Cross o’th Hands) will draw you in with lilting, hypnotic, and entrancing music. You can sway, sing or just soak in the sounds.

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Road Not Taken

Saturday, St Stephen’s

Playing their unique brand of melancholy songs and tunes, Road Not Taken are starting to make waves on the UK folk scene. From humble beginnings in 2014, after coming together to perform at Downend Folk Club in North Bristol, the band has seen a rapid rise, soon finding themselves supporting the likes of Lady Maisery, Rachael McShane & The Cartographers and Jim Moray, and spreading their wings further afield with performances at Oxford Folk Weekend, The Great Almonry Folk Weekend and Priston Festival.
Road Not Taken are singer Anita Dobson, guitarist Ant Miles, fiddle-player Claire Hamlen, and multi-instrumentalist Joe Hamlen.

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Harri Endersby

Saturday, St Stephen’s

Growing up in County Durham and its thriving folk scene, Harri Endersby’s music has been heavily influenced by the region’s crowd of prestigious folk singers and musicians, her lyrics being firmly rooted in the pastoral and the world of story-telling. Her new album ‘Homes/Lives’ presents a transition in style, beginning with acoustic, stripped-back tracks whilst gradually introducing electronic instrumentation and beats as the album progresses. This interweaving of genres has been inspired by Harri’s love of Icelandic electro-folk and the likes of Ásgeir and Samaris. Her 5-track EP ‘Ivy Crown’ released in 2014, rose to #17 in the iTunes singer-songwriter charts and
had tracks played on BBC Newcastle Introducing, The Folk Show on Bishop FM, and Roger William’s ‘World of Difference’. Her new album ‘Homes/Lives’ was released on the 25th February 2017.

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Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne

Saturday 4 May –  St Stephen’s Church

A spine-tingling traditional folk performer, Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne is a fine player of both the melodeon and anglo concertina. His rich voice soars through a range of historical ballads, industrial songs and shanties, with a penchant for material from the West Midlands, where he’s lived for much of his life.

Cohen was nominated for a BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award with Granny’s Attic. Expect traditional English folk songs and tunes along with a few original numbers.

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Hannah James

Saturday, Folk House

Hannah is a mesmerising solo performer. Her solo shows incorporate all of her disciplines: song, dance and accordion playing, punctuated by her understated, dry wit and charming story telling. Her bassy accordion style, and characterful, clear voice are underpinned by powerful foot percussion. Close your eyes and you could be listening to a full band.