Kings Place, London is to play host to a series of concerts ‘without voices’ – No Voices presents leading lights in the brand new wave of contemporary UK-based musicians changing perceptions about instrumental music borne out of folk traditions.
With innovative approaches to form and melody, the musicians featured in No Voices draw on, and breathe life into, traditional music with cinematic beauty.
This complementary series, curated by Ian Anderson of fRoots Magazine in association with Alan Bearman Music, offers a variety of approaches to new roots music, from the award-winning Welsh harp/Senegalese kora duo Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita, to the outstanding exponent of the Northumbrian pipes Kathryn Tickell and the 2016 Folk Award nominated Bristolian instrumental wizards Spiro.
The unifying thread sees these subtle instrumentalists using mesmeric, interwoven patterns and improvisation; elegant murmurating flow; tension and release, to evoke emotion and imagery without any need for the human voice. They create a place beyond words.
Kicking things off on Thursday 28 April are two of my favourites who are, like ourselves, based in the South West:
Spiro + Three Cane Whale
Both Spiro and Three Cane Whale are Bristol based and share a band member: Alex Vann. Spiro‘s latest offering Welcome Joy Welcome Sorrow was released in April last year via Real World Records and was also one of our Featured Albums of the Month (read our review here). Real World Records founder Peter Gabriel used the following description which sums them up perfectly:
“When I first listened to the music of Spiro, I thought it was really different. The sounds that hit you first are sounds that you are familiar with; they sound folky, but once you start listening to the music and how it’s composed you hear elements of systems music – people like Steve Reich, Philip Glass, dance music. All sorts of musical influences are woven into this very contemporary music. I think this is soulful music, passionate music and I love it.”
Three Cane Whale recorded their third album ‘Palimpsest’ earlier this year in Real World Studios in Wiltshire. Palimpsest was released in January from which we premiered Moon in a Bottle. The album features a number of guest musicians including Estonian violinist Maarja Nuut and British cellist James Gow augmenting the line-up on a number of tracks.
Kathryn Tickell & Superfolkus + Collectress
On Friday 29th April in Hall One there’s a focus on the North East with Kathryn Tickell, one of this country’s finest ambassadors for instrumental music and Superfolkus. Superfolkus are an irrepressible force, blasting the traditional and contemporary tunes of Northumberland and beyond into new and uncharted territory. Behind the scenes, Superfolkus is also a training and mentoring scheme for young musicians aged between 15 and 25 years old, founded and led by Kathryn Tickell and featuring Eve Simpson (voice, guitar, keyboards), Sophie Lynch (guitar, mandolin, fiddle), Scott Turnbull (guitar, mandolin, keyboards), Michael Biggins (piano, piano accordion) and Richard Hammond (percussion, mandolin.)
Support comes from Collectress who draw audiences into an eccentric world of experimental chamber music. Working as a collective, they combine minimalist lo-fi chamber writing with fluid, melodic improvisations.
Meanwhile, in Hall Two there is a late night show from Gadarene, a band that many folk festival goers who love to dance will know well (luckily this is a standing event). Gadarene play ultra modern ancient music, wild enough for audiences who want to dance. Blending obscure traditional English tunes from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries with arrangements drawing on multiple influences from funk, reggae, electronica and trance, the band celebrate the release of a brand new CD at this event. The line-up includes Nick Wyke (fiddle); Matt Norman (mandolin); Jon Dyer (flute); Laurel Swift (double bass/clogging) and Si Paull (cajon.)
Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita + BJ Cole & Emily Burridge
The final concerts on the Saturday (30 April, Hall One) are from Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita + BJ Cole & Emily Burridge. Winners of the prestigious fRoots Album Of The Year for their debut album Clychau Dibon and nominated for two BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards for Best Duo and Best Traditional Track, Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita play ‘heavenly music…intricately realised’, combining an infectious onstage chemistry which defies categorisation and merges the boundaries between the genres of classical, world, folk and traditional music. The harp occupies a vital place in the incredibly rich cultures of both West Africa and Wales and, remarkably, both nations share a centuries-old bardic tradition of intricate oral history, expressed through music, song and verse. Together, Finch and Keita have risen to the tough challenge of blending two completely different musical cultures and creating something coherent, relevant and entirely new.
BJ Cole and Emily Burridge create a dynamic energy with their complimentary musical perspectives, producing orchestral sounds in a new and refreshing context; weaving around one another in a sinuous dance of infectious sound and rhythm. Emily is classically trained virtuoso cellist with a talent for improvisation, and BJ’s has 35 year long session CV adding weight to the conviction that the Pedal Steel Guitar is long overdue for a re-evaluation as an orchestral instrument with a sophisticated repertoire. The duo perform their own compositions alongside works by Erik Satie, Debussy, Purcell and Copland amongst others.
For further details and to book tickets visit: www.kingsplace.co.uk/whats-on/curated-weeks/no-voices-new-instrumental-folk-music-a-place-beyond-words