Hitchin Folk Club

Monthly Newsletter - Hitchin Folkus

March 2017

Hi Folks

Flying in the face of the “B” word, we have a truly trans-European month for you with musicians from France, Spain, Ireland, Scotland (mainland), Scotland (Shetland) and, of course, England.

We get March under way on Sunday 5th with one of the folk scene’s most innovative acts, Churchfitters. The Churchfitters is a folk band like no other. Heart-wrenching vocals accompanied by a musical saw. Foot-stompingly fast fiddle mixed with infectious funk-rock bouzouki, made from two Mercedes hub caps. A bass guitar made out of a frying pan, and traditional tunes reinvigorated with mesmerising jazz sax.  The three virtuoso musicians from England and France strut their stuff on a stage that bristles with instruments - adding flute, banjo, dulcimer, tin whistle, guitar, ukulele, standup bass incorporating a motorbike fuel tank and a sackful of percussion to their ensemble. And let’s not forget the unique ‘bing-bong’ machine made out of hack-saw blades.
Throw in some exquisite harmonies, a slew of startlingly original songs and a few jokes that create instant rapport and you’ve got a high energy show that always leaves audiences cheering. On the face of it, it maybe sounds silly and slapstick, but behind the “eccentricities” is seriously good music. How do you adequately describe such a musically diverse, uplifting band? You leave it to Mike Harding, a self-confessed ‘huge, huge fan’. He calls them 'totally brilliant and beautiful'. This really is a night not to miss! 
YouTube  Supporting will be Bill Reed.

One of the most exciting bands to grace our stage must be the Urban Folk Quartet.  They will be with us again on Sunday 12th.  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 Tom Ryder.

Making their twelfth visit to Hitchin, usually around St. Patrick’s Day, Craobh Rua are with us on Sunday 19th. Craobh Rua (pronounced CRAVE ROO-AH) translates from Irish to Red Branch and is a name that is well known in Celtic history from The Red Branch Knights of Ulster. Hailing from Belfast they perform Irish Traditional music with their distinctive Northern style. Formed more than thirty years ago and boasting two of the original band, their music has delighted audiences and earned them wide acclaim and recognition and are now regarded around the world as one of the finest ambassadors of Irish Traditional Music. Craobh Rua’s impeccable musicians bring their own individual experience to the group and fuse their talents to bring life to a wide array of instruments including banjo, mandolin, fiddle, Uilleann pipes, tin whistle, guitar and vocals. They take a refreshing, unpretentious but uncommonly skilled run at some of the greatest music in the worldYouTube  Supporting will be Mike Excell.

In 2013 Aly Bain & Phil Cunningham announced that they would no longer be touring the English folk clubs.  This was devastating news for us, as Phil & Aly’s concerts had been a highlight on our calendar for many years. However, we have managed to persuade them to come back to Hitchin on Sunday 26th, as part of Maureen’s 50 years celebrations!  Aly is Scotland's supreme traditional style fiddler. His playing is unique - driving, impassioned and pure - with vibrant, unmistakable tone that has earned him a following of ardent fans throughout the world. Born in Lerwick, Shetland in 1946 Aly began playing the fiddle at the age of eleven. In his early twenties, Aly headed to mainland Scotland. His dramatic playing, with great tone and technical ability brought early recognition as an outstanding musician of the folk music revival, and almost overnight, raised the level of expectation for music lovers throughout the country.  Phil is a superb, innovative instrumentalist, with not simply the fastest fingers in the North but some of the most sensitive ones, too! The man who, in Scotland at least, made the accordion respectable again! He was the powerhouse behind two innovative and hugely influential bands, Silly Wizard and Relativity, is a television and radio presenter, producer and director, involved in some of the seminal programmes that have enabled Scottish music to walk tall.  In 1986, Aly asked Phil to join him in a new series, Aly Bain and Friends. It was the start not only of Phil's television career but also a partnership that has endured until this day………and they are funny, so funny.  YouTube   SOLD OUT!

Tickets. We are now down to 15 tickets available for Daphne’s Fight on May 14th

The take up on the coach trip to the Royal Albert Hall for the Show of Hands concert on Easter Sunday, has been such that she now has a bigger coach.  So plenty of space if anyone else wants to take advantage of the Hitchin to door service.

Keiron & Maureen Jones

    

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