Fiddle player and BBC Radio 2 Folk Musician Of The Year Sam Sweeney has been named as the inaugural Artistic Director of the English Folk Dance and Song Society’s (EFDSS) new National Youth Folk Ensemble.
Sam, who works with some of the most acclaimed English folk bands including Bellowhead, Fay Hield & The Hurricane Party, Eliza Carthy and The Wayward Band, and founded Leveret with Andy Cutting and Rob Harbron (see video below), will work closely with EFDSS to develop the programme in its first year. He will lead on the artistic vision of the Ensemble, collaborate with a team of professional folk artists, devise content for the residential courses and co-create repertoire with the young musicians by drawing on English regional traditions and styles.
Recruitment for the first cohort of young musicians to join the Ensemble will begin in spring 2016, with the National Youth Folk Ensemble formally starting in October 2016. A series of sampler days will take place across England between March and June 2016 as the first level audition process for joining the Ensemble.
Katy Spicer, EFDSS Chief Executive, said: “Sam is such an exciting appointment. He is a well-respected and highly sought after performer who has such an enthusiasm and commitment to develop the next generation of folk musicians. We are delighted he is joining EFDSS and are so looking forward to working with him.”
Sam Sweeney said: “I am thrilled to have been appointed as the first ever Artistic Director of the National Youth Folk Ensemble. English instrumental music has long been my passion and I cannot wait to start working alongside EFDSS and an incredible team of tutors in inspiring and collaborating with these young musicians to take our traditional repertoire to new and exciting places! This is a massive deal for the English folk scene and a huge opportunity for the musicians who join the Ensemble. I am proud to be a part of the inaugural year of this amazing venture.”