Occasionally a singer comes along that embodies the magic and depth of emotion that you felt when you first heard the likes of Dick Gaughan or Nic Jones. Ewan McLennan has that magic and depth that you don’t learn. You’re born with it. A must hear!
Ewan’s singing and playing covers the broad range folk music has to offer; from traditional ballads sung unaccompanied, to dance tunes or melancholic airs arranged for the guitar, and, as importantly, his own contemporary songwriting that follows firmly in the folk tradition. Having grown up in Scotland, Scottish songs and tunes naturally form a large part of his repertoire. However, his singing and playing around Yorkshire where he has lived for the last four years, his study of the songs of the working class movement in Britain and America, and his love of Irish traditional singing all ensure that the origins and focus of his songs are varied. Ewan’s accomplished guitar work and unique vocal style convey his passion for the music he sings and writes.
Ewan was encouraged to play music by his family at an early age, beginning on the piano at the age of six or so. This was an instrument he continued to play for a long time, focussing first on classical music for many years, and then also jazz standards and improvisation.
Although by no means strictly traditional or British, singing was commonplace within his family, and he grew up familiar with the musical voices of his parents and grandparents. The collection of records, tapes, and later cds in the home Ewan grew up in gave him an early exposure to the traditional musics of Britain and America. Growing up in Edinburgh, the influences of Scottish culture and Scottish traditional repertoire are clear within his music today.
Hesitantly picking up the guitar at a slightly later age, Ewan could be heard repetitively playing and keenly admiring the early, more socially-aware songs of the great Bob Dylan. This led, gradually, to a broad exploration of English-language folksong, as well as a fascination in how radical ideas of a social and political nature had been, and could be. expressed through music. In addition, with all these songs came a new desire to sing. Soon, Classical guitar became an additional focus, one which he went on to study for some years. The classical rigour and technique remain very much a part of Ewan’s interpretation and performance of folk music and songwriting today.
From Scotland Ewan moved to Leeds in 2005 to begin a three year degree course in music at Leeds University School of Music. It was during this period that he became increasingly obsessed with traditional music and singing, and the guitar. The specific interest in folk song came partly from the realisation that it could (and in fact often did) combine what had been his three passions for years: music; history; and social change. Soon, at the School of Music Ewan found himself paying particular attention to the vast repertoire of industrial folksong, eventually doing two major pieces of work on the role of folksong in the American and British labour movements, both during the early 20th century.
During his time in Leeds, Ewan also became a regular at the Grove Folk Club, soaking up the atmosphere, learning style and repertoire from the singers around him, and generally developing his talents for traditional singing.
Today, Ewan’s singing and playing covers the broad range folk music has to offer; from traditional ballads sung unaccompanied, to dance tunes or melancholic airs arranged for the guitar, and his own contemporary songwriting, following firmly in the folk tradition.
Jute Mill Song
28 January 2010, TBC
Celtic Connections Showcase Concert, Glasgow
5 February 2010, 20:00
Raggalds Acoustic, Raggalds Inn, Brighouse
10 March 2010, 20:00
Cottingham Live Folk Club, Cottingham
11 March 2010, 20:00
Roxy Art House, Edinburgh
‘Karine Polwart and Friends’
13 March 2010, 20:00
Davy Lamp Folk Club, Washington
17 March 2010, 20:00
Carrington Triangle Folk Club, Nottinghamshire
23 March 2010, 20.00
Acoustic Collective, The Wharf Tavern, Stalybridge
30 March 2010, 20:00
Hillsborough Folk, Sheffield
18 April 2010, 20:00
Grimsby Folk Club, Grimsby
7 – 9 May 2010, Times TBC
Holmfirth Folk Festival, West Yorkshire
12 June 2010
Gower Folk Festival, Parkmill (near Swansea)
25 June 2010, Time TBC
Dent Folk Festival, Cumbria
26 – 27 June 2010, Times TBC
Crawley Folk Festival, Sussex
2 – 4 July 2010, Times TBC
Sark Folk Festival, Channel Islands
10 July 2010, 20:00
Acoustic Caberet @ The Red Shed, Wakefield
12 July 2010, 20:00
Not the White Horse Folk Club, Beverley
17 – 19 July 2010, 16:00
Saddleworth Folk Festival, Uppermill
25 – 27 August 2010, Times TBC
Whitby Folk Week, North Yorkshire
4 – 7 November 2010
Tour of Holland (further details to come)
16 November 2010, 20:00
Almondvalley Folk Club, Westlothian, Scotland
19 November 2010, 20:00
Rolling Hills Folk Club, Melrose, Scotland
13 February 2011, 20:00
Folk on the Moor, Devon
18 February 2011, 20:00
Seaford Folk Club, Sussex
21 February 2011, 20:00
Tonbridge Folk Club, Sussex