All programme and artist details now available or scroll down to see the line-up.
Two of the finest exponents of Traditional Song in the United Kingdom; it is difficult to accept that these relatively young men, have a combined 40+ years experience of performing at folk venues.
Raised in Norfolk and heavily influenced by such earlier Norfolk singers as Walter Pardon and Peter Bellamy, Damien is a stylish and distinctive singer, either unaccompanied or using guitar or concertina. Mike Wilson is the youngest member of the Wilson Family, the powerful Teesside singing siblings who have raised the rafters at many a festival or folk club event. Damien and Mike have a rich shared repertoire of traditional songs plus the work of modern folk writers such as Bellamy, Ewan MacColl and Mike Waterson.
Described by MOJO as ‘a mouthwatering collaboration’, Alasdair Roberts, Emily Portman, Lucy Farrell and Rachel Newton are four fine soloists sharing a mutual love of traditional songs, from both sides of the English and Scottish borders, with playful, boundary-defying musicianship. They were nominated for two BBC Folk awards in 2015 and this year have been nominated for Best Traditional Track for ‘Unquiet Grave’ from their latest EP Blow Out the Moon.
Specializing in Creole and “old skool” early Zydeco grooves. Songs by the likes of Geno Delafose, Boozoo Chavis, Preston Frank, Bois-Sec Ardoin and Jeffrey Broussard. Songs with hypnotic grooves, catchy melodies and driving rhythms. Traditional Louisiana Creole music combined with self penned compositions that respect the tradition yet deliver a unique UK twist.
The band gather together some of the most well known and respected names on the European Cajun, Creole, and Zydeco scene. On accordion and vocals is Chris Hall (R.Cajun and the Zydeco Brothers, Cajun Roosters, Bearcats, Zydecomotion). He is joined by Hazel Scott on vocals and guitar (Petite et la Gross, Cajun Roosters, Out of the Swamp), Murray Brailsford on bass (Bearcats, R.Cajun, Zydeco Boogaloo, Po Boys) and Jules Clark and Ben Topley on guitar and drums respectively from Derby band Southbound.
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 and thoughtful, striking arrangements of both traditional repertoire and original compositions, Lady Maisery are skilful explorers of the power, beauty and vitality of folk song. Each member is also an accomplished instrumentalist, they expertly create a rich tapestry of fiddle, banjo, harp, concertina, accordion and foot percussion. The trio are also one of the foremost English proponents of traditional mouth music, or “diddling”, a form of singing without words which is a perfect showcase for their sheer musicality. Over the last five years, the trio have released two critically acclaimed albums (5 stars in the Financial Times, Album of the Week in The Independent) made many appearances on national radio and toured widely, performing sell-out shows across the UK and Europe. Lady Maisery’s hotly anticipated third album is to be released in Autumn 2016.
Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne is known primarily for his work with BBC Radio 2 Folk Award nominees Granny’s Attic however, Cohen has recently made his first venture into performing as a soloist. As well as playing melodeon and concertina, Cohen is a fine singer, having won Bromyard Folk Festival’s Future of Young Folk Award for young singers in 2014. Cohen performs traditional songs and tunes from the UK with a particular interest in material from the West Midlands where he has lived for much of his life.
The Bromleys are John, Jenny and James (father, daughter and son), each gifted with a powerful voice. They sing a variety of folk songs in three part harmony. Together, they create a rich blend of voices that is unique to their kin. Singing runs through their blood.
Dr Butler’s Hatstand Medicine Band are a travelling troupe of musicological minstrels, peddling the good Doctors unique good-time tonic to all four corners of the land. Formed from a secret combination of early blues and jazz forms, a sprinkle of ragtime, a dash of hot swing, the essence of sweet spiritual, a pinch of the oldest of old-timey melodies and a teaspoon of Vaudevillian and Music Hall showoffery. All whisked together with the most esoteric of folk rhythms.
Born in Rochdale Becky Langan is a percussive fingerstyle guitarist who employs a combination of extended techniques that explore the outermost reaches of the acoustic guitar. Becky employs the use of unique alternative tunings, two-handed tapping, percussive tempos and natural harmonic melodies drawn from her inspirations Andy McKee, Jon Gomm and Thomas Leeb. Becky was a semi-finalist on Guitar Star 2016 (Series 2) which aired on Sky Arts – a TV show which scours the UK to discover a world class guitarist.
Didikai present a broad and diverse range of material with their enthralling duo featuring the sultry vocal talents of Amy-Rose and the musical finesse of Becky Taylor. They showcase an amazing breadth of line-up encompassing uilleann pipe and fiddle duets, songs accompanied by uilleann pipes, duet concertina, guitar and fiddle (but not all at the same time!), duelling fiddles, even some northumbrian small-piping delivered with more than a hint of humour and style.
From this enigmatic and highly original due you can expect anything from self-penned songs to traditional Gypsy ballads, rousing chorus songs and catchy tune sets. You are most certainly guaranteed not to get bored!
Magdalen Bath is our Young Musicians Battle of the Bands Winner for 2017! She plays mostly original songs and draws influence from a diverse range of genres from folk and jazz to punk and indie to create her own unique style of writing and performance.
Murston Bapchild and the Braxton Hicks are a four piece honky tonk band rooted in 50s and early 60s country music. imagine a mix of Western Swing, Hank Williams with a pinch of doo wap . Featuring amazing fiddle, authentic lap steel, great harmonies,cowboy vocals and rock steady double bass. A band you can both dance to and be carried away. They look the part and enjoy themselves on stage.
“My, oh my….What a night we had with Murston Bapchild and the Braxton Hicks!
Our full house was treated to a mesmeric miscellany of Americana from these superb entertainers. From the first chord, the audience was captivated by a superb mixture of Hank Williams, Louvin Brothers and other classics, interwoven with several of their own high quality original compositions. All were delivered with instrumental and vocal mastery..(superb harmonies)..and an easy rapport with the audience,established from note one…”
(Newport Lyceum Folk Club, Feb 2017)
Described by Andy Cutting as “one of the finest… up and coming young melodeon players in England”, Ollie King pushes the boundaries and expectations of the humble squeezebox. Firmly rooted in the English tradition, his playing explores the emotive side of the instrument, which he expertly showcases through his selection of material from both within and without the folk canon.”
Robyn and Georgia
Robyn and Georgia met in 2013 at a folk workshop in their native Rochdale, and have since then had the pleasure of each other’s company several times a week, due both playing with a local brass band, and dancing with a local clog, rapper and morris team. Over the years, they have performed together many times, (though never as a duo), and Todmorden Folk Festival will be their very first “official” outing.
The duo both play a variety of instruments, with Georgia singing and whistling on the penny whistle, and Robyn playing the melodeon (and any other instrument she can lay her mitts on). As both are clog dancers, they hope to incorporate this into their performance, as well as song and the odd tune thrown in for good measure. Prepare to be mildly entertained!
The Black Box Band plays lively English dance music for ceilidhs, barn dances & village hops. Line -up includes – Steve Harrison – melodeon, mouth organ, Chris Coe – hammered dulcimer, Chris Partington – fiddle, Alice Jones – piano, Sue Coe – dance caller & step dancer. They will be leading our Friday night ceilidh to get the festival started.
Umpteen Reasons to Swerve
Umpteen Reasons to Swerve are a duo hailing from the East Lancs area. They are called Jon Coupe and Mark Gavin. They play guitars and Jon sings. Mark sings too if he gets the chance or if there’s a spare microphone around. UR2S play songs. They only play songs that they like. Sometimes the songs sound a bit like the original versions; sometimes they don’t. Sometimes people clap after UR2S finish a song- it isn’t clear whether this is due to appreciation or relief that the song is over. Jon enjoys: long country walks, the novels of Charles Dickens and camp 1980s electro-pop. Mark enjoys: fighting the system, ‘stickin’ it to the man’ and spreading false rumours about Paul McCartney. They are mostly well-behaved and lead happy, wholesome family lives. Cherish them.
John Gilly McElligot
The Incomparable Gilly joins us from Scotland with his unique guitar style and song writing.
Sarah Watson’s mournful guitar-based country is influenced by Gillian Welch, Nanci Griffith, Phosphorescent, and Dolly Parton. Her lyrics reflect the conflicting emotions of everyday life, with her music drawing on the sparse beauty of the moorland landscape of her home. She also does a great cover of 9 to 5.
Friends since starting at Shade school at the age of 3 Nicole and Holly have both sung for as long as they can remember. They have both been members of Todmorden Hippodrome as well as singing in school productions, folk groups and choirs. Currently Holly is at Wardle Academy and Nicole attends Calder High, but both live in Todmorden. They have sung together as Chasen for over a year performing at Open Mic evenings and at a Flood Relief concert. They arrange their own harmonies and Holly accompanies them on the guitar. They were part of our Battle of the Bands in January and will delight you with their versions of popular songs
Bouncy, fun entertainment, performed by the one and only Isaac. Music and mayhem who knows
what can happen? With his rib-tickling covers, and side-splitting originals, Isaac is bound to leave you bewildered and slightly confused!
Wardle Folk Academy
A born performer and Todmorden local who studied Drama at Bretton Hall and has performed in various theatres, on film and in folk clubs. His long held love of history, especially WW1 and his well-known renditions of war related songs has lead us to commission Stand to! which is an expansion of a piece he originally wrote and performed for a service of Remembrance in Todmorden in 2015.
Sophie Cooper and Ruthie Boycott-Garnett
Sophie Cooper is a Todmorden based musician and co-founder of Tor Festival. Sophie’s solo music often explores themes of narrative and for Tod Folk Fest she has taken this interest further with the creation of a bespoke sound walk working with local storyteller and engagement artist Ruthie Boycott-Garnett. Ruthie will also be popping up as part of the children’s programme with folky things for all the family.
Les Panards Dansants
Magic Words with Emma Decent
Magic Words returns! Todmorden’s popular spoken word night which ran in 2012. Hosted by local writer and performer Emma Decent, the event which packed what is now Kava returns for one day only as part of Todmorden Folk Festival. Let the magic of words – poetry, prose and stories – carry you away for a fab event which kept writers and punters alike coming back for more.
‘One of the best spoken word nights I’ve been too, and I’ve been to some good ones.’
‘I am loving Magic Words, it is indeed magic.’
Sun 30 April, 5pm-7pm
Open mic slots, spoken word in all its forms welcome, stories, monologues and poetry. 5 mins slots, first come first served. Free event