A year packed with shows and festivals in the UK and Europe – Celtic Connections, Glastonbury, Traversées Tatihou, Towersey and Sidmouth – meant The Old Dance School rarely made it home to Birmingham in 2011. Time-off touring was spent in the studio, Gorbals Sound in Glasgow (Lau, Glasvegas), writing and recording their new album, ‘Chasing The Light‘ due for release on May 7th 2012.
Championed by BBC Radio 2’s Bob Harris and heralded by a wide cross-section of press, Birmingham’s cinematic septet unleash their duelling fiddles, soaring brass crescendos, wind and vocal harmonies and earth shattering grooves in a genre busting live show. This is folk music but not as you know it, one minute rip-roaring, then next beautifully delicate.
The Old Dance School came into being in 2006 at the old Betty Fox School of Ballet in Birmingham, then a legendary party venue. The successive basement jam parties and sessions became a smelting pot of musicians as diverse as the city itself. Samantha Norman and Helen Lancaster’s duo relationship was just as familiar chugging on celtic fiddle tunes as string quartet recitals, Robin Beatty’s songwriting and screen composition credentials met Tom Chapman’s fixation with the rhythms of the Peruvian cajón, Aaron Diaz’s scandinavian jazz trumpet stylings and Laura Carter’s passion for early music, and the band was born. That period’s explorations and outings to play for ceilidhs and parties quickly became clubs and festival stages and culminated in the 2008 debut ‘Based on a True Story’, produced by fiddle genius Joe Broughton.
Five years, 50,000 miles, countless festivals, and several trips to A & E later, 2010’s breakthrough album ‘Forecast’ delivered a startling take on contemporary folk that is both firmly-rooted and unashamedly forward-thinking. With legendary Scottish producer Calum Malcolm at the helm, The Old Dance School’s second release was recorded in an intense period nested in the mountains of Snowdonia, landing rave reviews across the board.
The seven members of The Old Dance School may seem fresh faced, but don’t let them fool you, the diversity and scale of each one’s musical journey is quite remarkable. From international jazz festivals to European opera tours, film score commissions to classical recitals, green festivals to tattoo conventions, members of The Old Dance School have performed, recorded and toured with artists such as Martha Wainwright, Cerys Matthews, Graham Coxon, Zoe Rahman, Neil Yates, Jim Perrin, The Destroyers, Martha Tilston, Kevin Dempsey, Joe Broughton and Chris While.
Short Film: Chasing The Light
The new album ‘Chasing The Light‘ is released on Transition Records on May 7th 2012
Catch them live:
FEB 16th – RICH MIX, Shoreditch, LONDON Link