Posts Tagged ‘bbc folk awards’
Words by Kevin Bourke
Emma Sweeney is still only in her mid-20s but she’s been a notable figure on the Manchester traditional Irish scene since her early teens and was a finalist at the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Awards in 2003. Introduced to Irish music aged seven with tin whistle classes from Marian Egan, she progressed onto the fiddle at ten years old, taught by Colin Farrell and Andy Dinan. More recently, she’s been mentored by Mike McGoldrick, who lends his production and multi-instrumental skills to this refreshing release, her full-length debut after her 2010 EP The Other Crossing.
The indefatigable McGoldrick is joined by Donald Shaw and John Doyle in support, but this is very much Emma’s album. It stands out not only for its charm and a voracious musical curiosity that bodes well for her future, but also for a certain insouciance that wouldn’t seem out of place from her cousins, the Gallagher brothers. Her engaging version of a staple like ‘The Star of Munster,’ for instance, isn’t played as a reel, as it usually is, nor is she afraid to embrace bluegrass with a shimmering version of Randy Howard’s ‘The Golden Fiddle’ waltz. Yet on the only vocal track Emma somehow brings even more fragility to Nick Drake’s ‘A Place to Be.’ Perhaps the most ambitious and personal track is the closer and title-track, a tune replete with influences from her experiences at the age of 18, when she travelled to Kolkata, India, to found a project teaching the tin whistle to 300 street children and orphans from the city’s slums.
TRACK TO TRY: Endless Thoughts
The English Folk Dance Song Society (EFDSS) at Cecil Sharp House has another great series of unique concerts lined up for us. Here are the highlights…
First up are the Grammy Award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops – they’ll be kicking off the Spring/Summer season on January 23 with their modern takes on traditional string tunes.
Next in line is the Cecil Sharp Project on January 27. The project has received critical acclaim from the Guardian, who gave it an excellent four stars. The work is a memoir to Cecil Sharp – be sure to check it out. Musicians include Steve Knightley, Jackie Oates, Andy Cutting, Caroline Herring, Jim Moray, Patsy Reid, Leonard Podolak and Kathryn Roberts. On the following day, January 28, Caroline Herring and Kathryn Roberts will be pairing up for an exclusive concert.
Fans of Bellowhead will be pleased to hear that Sam Sweeney will be returning to the stage at Cecil Sharp House again on February 15. He had a brilliant time during his last gig with Rua Macmillan, to the point where his fiddle snapped! It didn’t keep him from playing though. This time he’ll be playing for the launch of his new album, with former colleague Hannah James.
Then Lucy Ward will be supporting Belinda O’Hooley and Heidi Tidow on April 25. She was nominated the 2012 BBC Folk Award’s Horizon category, so this is guaranteed to be a good one. The House will then host Irish singer Cara Dillan the following day. She’s considered to have one of the most stunning voices in traditional music, so make sure you don’t miss her on April 26.
Folk and hip-hop will collide on May 19 – this should be interesting! Chris Wood (BBC Radio 2 Folk Singer of the Year) will be collaborating with rapper/singer Dizraeili (BBC Radio 4 Poetry Slam award winner). Finally, Oslo Jammerkor will be making their London debut on April 29 and they’ll be joining the Cecil Sharp House Choir for a collaborative performance.
Also, don’t forget the Folk Rising evenings throughout the season, which will be bringing the best acts in emerging folk music to one of London’s most celebrated venues.
For more details on the Cecil Sharp House concert series, please visit the EFDSS website.