Meet The Artists
Click on the images to go to the artists website.
Show of Hands
After twenty five album releases, more than twenty years on the road, tours in fourteen countries from America to Australia, four Royal Albert Hall sell-outs, three BBC Folk Awards, two Honorary Doctorates……... Show of Hands have unequivocally become one of the leading forces in British folk. Steve Knightley and Phil Beer are respectively recognised as one of the UK’s best singer songwriters and one of its finest multi-instrumentalists. We are truly honoured and humbled to welcome the two of them to our virtual stage.
Martin and Eliza Carthy
For more than 50 years Martin Carthy has been one of folk music’s greatest innovators, one of its best loved, most enthusiastic and, at times, most quietly controversial of figures. His skill, stage presence and natural charm have won him many admirers, not only from within the folk scene, but also far beyond it. Eliza Carthy is undoubtedly one of the most impressive and engaging performers of her generation. Twice nominated for the Mercury Prize and winner of innumerable other accolades, Eliza Carthy has revitalised folk music and captured the most hardened of dissenters with intelligent, charismatic and boundary-crossing performances.
Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman
One of the UK folk scene’s most rewardingly enduring partnerships. Bonded by an unseen alchemy, Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman have entwined their professional and personal relationship into an enviable class act of imaginative song-writing and musicianship. The Dartmoor-based husband and wife have twice won the coveted 'best duo' title at the BBC radio 2 folk awards (2016 & 2013). They consistently deliver assured, distinctive performances both live and recorded. We cannot wait to welcome the duo to our virtual stage.
Called “Canada’s finest singer-songwriter” by one of the most respected and lauded music journalists of the last 50 years, James Keelaghan is an artist who has proven to be a man for all seasons. Fusing his insatiable appetite for finding the next unique storyline Keelaghan also forges his pieces with brilliantly defined craftsmanship and a monogrammed artistic vision, making him one of the most distinctive and readily identifiable voices of not only the Canadian scene, but as a member of the international singer-songwriter community.
John Kirkpatrick has been dancing, singing, and playing his way around the English folk scene since he joined Hammersmith Morris Men in 1959 at the age of twelve. Displaying a rare skill on a variety of push-pull squeezeboxes - the melodeon, the button accordion, and the Anglo concertina. As both the Patron of Chippenham Folk Festival and a favourite stalwart of Chester, it would have been a crime not to have him on our joint venture. Welcome back John.
Keith travels the world singing his songs and bringing his unique storytelling to children, at festivals, schools and pre-schools.
His repertoire is such that he seems to have songs and stories for every imaginable topic [as well as many that you might not have imagined yet!]. To say children love Keith is like saying they love chocolate, it just goes without saying! Keith's stories and songs will have children of all ages [and any grown-ups in the area!] in stitches. He specialises in infectious, interactive songs, tales and tunes, guaranteed to get everyone joining in.
You really haven't seen children’s entertainment until you've seen Keith entertaining children!
Possessed of an ‘extraordinary voice’ that’s “full of character” (The Telegraph), over the last 8 years, Greg Russell has established himself as one of the most significant performers on the U.K. folk scene. Singing and playing guitar, bouzouki and banjo alongside Ciaran Algar, in 2013 he won the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award and in 2014 won the Horizon Award. In 2017, with a mixture of original and traditional songs, Greg released his debut solo album, ‘Inclined to be Red’ to wide acclaim; “a powerful statement” (Acoustic), “excellent” (RnR Magazine), “a splendid thing” (Maverick) and “convincingly individual” (fRoots).
More than simply a folk-singer, multi award winning singer-songwriter, musician and proud Devonian, Jim Causley is an all-round entertainer and during the past decade Causley has been nominated no less than six times for a BBC Radio 2 Folk Award. Described by Mojo as “the finest singer of his generation”, Causley’s unique voice and persona have helped him become one of the most well-loved and respected figures of today’s contemporary roots and folk scene
Fiddle player and author of the book 'Seasons of Change', Tom has worked with numerous singers and bands, including Pilgrims' Way, Gavin Davenport, Jon Loomes, Gren Bartley, Zoe Mulford, and Albireo. Heavily involved in the dance scene, and veteran of over 1500 gigs, he stands at the leading edge of the English folk scene. His style is English at heart, whilst encompassing elements of many other traditions. It is a unique, vibrant style full of exuberance, energy and wit, yet capable of expressing extraordinary emotional depth.
Joe is a singer-songwriter who has been described as a “cross between Ry Cooder, Woody Guthrie and Paul Brady”. He is influenced by the traditional music heard in the folk clubs he grew up around and the Americana and blues he experienced during his adventures in the USA, which included living in a pickup truck for the best part of a year and later walking 1400 miles with a guitar on his back from Chicago to New Orleans! He has won many more fans since his appearance as a contestant in TV show "The Voice UK 2021" where he reached the semi-finals.
Since the early 1970s Roy has had a deep-rooted commitment to folk and traditional music its legacy and performance. In addition to his solo performances Roy has also worked in collaboration with other artists (most recently with Mick Ryan on his folk operas 'The Navvy's Wife' and 'The Pauper's Path').He performs at venues all over the country and his commitment to placing traditional music firmly in the heart of the contemporary sees him often working in partnership with regional and local organisations and groups on a variety of projects from festivals, education and heritage, to social care settings.
Dave Webber and Anni Fentiman
Dave and Anni have been delighting audiences with their breath-taking harmonies since they first joined forces in 1985. Working largely acapella and featuring mainly traditional, traditional idiom material, the strength, clarity and richness of their voices has won them wide acclaim both in the UK, Holland, Denmark, Finland and especially the USA, where they have toured extensively. Anni has developed a specialist repertoire of songs originating from her native North East, and Dave has been writing songs in traditional vein since 1982 many of these are widely sung and have become part of the general song repertoire of singers all over the world.
Brown Boots is Will Allen on melodeon and Martin Clarke on fiddle. Will is a supremely talented multi-instrumentalist, although his primary focus is as a melodeon player and fiddler.. Martin is a highly-skilled fiddle player, with musical roots in the North East of England, stemming from his time living in Durham. Their musical background is rooted in playing music for dancing, as well as gaining inspiration from playing with their many talented musical friends at festivals and pub sessions across the country.
Virginia And John Kettle (from Merry Hell)
Virginia and John Kettle are at the heart of the creative force within Merry Hell and the energies that have driven the band ever upwards, whether this be as songwriters in their own rights or performing as female lead singer and guitarist respectively. As a married couple they are able to appear together, despite being separated from their bandmates by the current social distancing situation. 'No Place Like Tomorrow', Virginia’s first solo album since joining Merry Hell, was released last year to hugely positive reviews, as was the band's new album 'Emergency Lullabies' - both CDs spending time at the top of Amazon's Folk Music charts.
Phoebe Rees is a musician and songwriter from Oswestry. Influenced by a diverse range of musical genres and cultures, she predominantly combines elements of Celtic, English and American Folk traditions into her music making. Drawing on inspiration from her early years in the Scottish Highlands, experiences as a classical viola player studying in Edinburgh and London, and subsequent travels throughout the rest of the British Isles, Europe, South America and India.. Phoebe sings and accompanies herself mostly on the fiddle, viola and guitar.
“Mossy Christian is an award winning professional musician, singer, and dancer. But, more importantly he is a young man with a deep understanding of traditional song, music and dance… With fiddle, vocals, Anglo concertina and one row melodeon. Mossy has been delighting audiences with performances at festivals and folk clubs across the UK. He is building himself an impressive well-earned reputation as a performer, teacher and researcher.” - Gina Le Faux
Wet the Tea
WetTheTea is a multi instrument act that have traditional Irish Musical roots with many other influences to create something a little bit different. With bluegrass, English folk and modern elements thrown into the mix, original songs and tune sets are quite unique. Throw in some old gems with a difference and you get... WetTheTea. Vocals, fiddle, mandolin, bouzouki, flute, whistles, guitar, banjo, bass and more...
Full House combine playing festivals, clubs and other venues with their role as the resident band at The Raven Folk Club, Chester. Founded some thirty-odd years ago, Full House now comprises Chris Lee (mandolin, guitar, bass, vocals), Ian Jones (melodeon, flute, whistle, vocals), Nick Mitchell (vocals, guitar, mandola), Fluff Smith (vocals, fiddle, whistle) and Mark Woolley (bodhran, cajon, low whistle). This sensitive and original acoustic 5-piece line-up uses dazzling mandolins, pulsating melodeons, breath-taking whistles and subtle strings to present a varied repertoire of traditional, contemporary and self-penned material.
Jack Hogsden is a folk musician from East Sussex. His technically percussive style of fingerpicked guitar, paired with his wide vocal range brings new life to the ballads and songs that make up such a large part of Englands' heritage. He has taken many of the tunes used for Cotswold Morris dancing, North-West Morris and the session/ceilidh tunes and adds his unique, stylistic approach on melodeons to show how the music and dancing of England is still thriving, and at the forefront of British folk.
Paul Walker and Karen Pfeiffer
Acclaimed for their unique onstage-chemistry and mellow harmonies, the Anglo-German duo Paul Walker & Karen Pfeiffer combine their beautifully written songs with traditional and contemporary folk favourites. Paul’s vocal and guitar style blended with Karen’s voice, clear yet so powerful, leaves audiences mesmerised. The duo have recently been touring their show in New Zealand, Australia, Germany, Ireland and the UK.
Les Barker writes strange poems and comes from originally from Manchester, but he's now Welsh. He was an accountant before he became a professional idiot. He's written 85 books, which sell in large numbers at his gigs because people don't quite believe what they've just heard. His poems have spawned a number of folk heroes: Jason and the Arguments, Cosmo the Fairly Accurate Knife Thrower, Captain Indecisive and Spot of the Antarctic, to name but two. He's very difficult to describe. But there's only one of him. Go and see him (and buy some of his books).
Bob and Gill Berry
An acclaimed and talented Folk Duo, Bob and Gill Berry have been performing their eclectic mix of folk music together for more than 34 years. As principal organisers of the Chippenham Folk Festival from 1997 until 2019 their knowledge and experience of the folk scene is readily apparent in the depth and variety of their material, which ranges from unaccompanied close harmony to instrumentally backed contemporary folk songs. It is however, Gill’s stunning voice and Bob’s harmonies and sensitive accompaniment that really showcases the respect and love they have for this genre and for each other.
Friday & Monday
Carolyn Robson studied at the Royal Academy of Music before working as a presenter for Radio 4’s Music Workshop, Education Officer for EFDSS, Senior Advisory Teacher for the Voices Foundation, teacher, performer and soloist. She draws on a wealth of songs from the British tradition and sang with the renowned a cappella trio Craig Morgan Robson until Sarah Morgan’s untimely death in 2013.
Carolyn now sings in various collaborations with Moira Craig (of Craig Morgan Robson); Iris Bishop (duet concertina / accordion); and, as Makepeace, with Kevin Dempsey (guitar) and Paul Hutchinson (Accordion).
Friday & Monday
Moira Craig has long been recognised for her superb interpretations of Scottish, Irish and English songs and ballads. She joined forces with Sarah Morgan and Carolyn Robson in 2003 as the renowned a cappella trio Craig Morgan Robson, until Sarah Morgan’s untimely death in 2013. She and Carolyn continue to perform as a duo.
With them will be Ron Taylor, who is recognised as a fine solo performer, and an instinctive and imaginative harmony singer, performing with such iconic groups as the Songwainers and Regal Slip, as well as in a duo with Sue Burgess.
Their well chosen material, strong voices and effortless harmonies will delight all aficionados of the genre.
Banter are: Simon Care on melodeon, Nina Zella on keyboards and vocals and Tim Walker on drums, percussion, and brass. They are rooted in English traditional music but incorporate influences of pop, jazz, soul and big band sounds. Although just three people, they create a huge sound and have been described as the world’s smallest big band. Banter brings songs that are barking, social comment with pop beats, irony and ridiculously danceable tunes! We can’t wait to welcome Banter to our living room to dance the night away.
Doug Eunson and Sarah Matthews
Doug Eunson (Melodeon) and Sarah Matthews (Fiddle) play rhythmic English ceilidh dance tunes, choosing great traditional and self-penned melodies, enriched with harmony, and strong driving groove! Experienced dancers themselves, they play for dancing regularly and form the core for other dance bands such as Cupola and DanceCupola, performing at festivals across the UK. They have been honoured, during these Lockdown Days, to be able to do online Zoom Ceilidhs for Folk Weekend Oxford, Whitby Folk Week, and The Straw Bear Festival.
Folk Camps Party Band
Folk Camps Party Band First came to Chippenham in 2018 and knocked us all for six, in a good way. This year we have brought them back again in the hope that we can repeat the effect, this time on line. A mass folk band of epic size and skill, they have a massive age range and an amazing ability. They have grown out of the Folk Camps organisation. We are more than pleased to have them back to lead us in another stunning event.
Ali and Sundry
Contra dancing is all about people sharing energy and creativity. Ali and Sundry will play some big, bold dance tunes, with ricochets, with balances, and of course, with swing! With Mike on mandolin, Leddy on double bass and Adam on guitar, there will be at least 18 strings: we think this will be enough! There will be free reeds from Ali, and improvised musical happiness, in this one off special combination for Chippenham.
Martyn is recognised as a first rate national caller with too many festival appearances to list. He brings clear calling and an obvious enthusiasm for ceilidhs. A massive repertoire of dances with over 60 of his own. All this is coupled with a great rapport with bands and it ensures lively nights. His most fervent wish is that the dancers have a brilliant time.
A Ceilidh with Fee Lock calling is a dance (and life) experience like nothing else! Combining her infectious spirit and rock star chic she is a consummate performer and expert choreographer of verve, enjoyment and energy. Fee considers her crowd very carefully and always calls to match the dance level and vibe in the room. Look out for Fee’s dance moves on screen too.
Gill & Barry Goodman
Gill and Barry Goodman will be presenting an illustrated talk on some of the more unusual English customs with songs and pictures. They have been involved in the folk scene since 1971 and have experienced or been involved with many of the customs featured in the presentation. “Good Morning, Lords and Ladies” will lead you through the year to discover the magic, mystery and madness of English traditional customs in story, song and visual images – a truly “multi-media” presentation! Barry is also a well-known caller who has worked with many of the finest ceilidh bands in the country. Barry’s clear but relaxed style has made him a popular choice at folk ceilidhs nationwide.
Saturday & Sunday
Graeme Knights and Jim Mageean
Although Jim and Graeme have worked together many times over the years, they officially started singing together in 2002 at Whitby Folk Week. Jim had been running the Shanty Sessions there for over 30 years and Graeme kindly offered to help out (it’s a tiring and thirsty job singing shanties for 2 hours every day of the festival!). They’ve been running these sessions together ever since, and also run similar events at many other Festivals around the country.
The two singers are mostly known in association with the late, great Johnny Collins who sadly passed away in July 2009.
Mike is a dancer and caller from Berkshire, who calls at clubs, public dances, ceilidhs and festivals throughout the country.Mike enjoys calling American square & contra dances, Running Set, English, and English Ceilidh dances, especially smooth-flowing dances with a bit of zest.Mike is very keen to make folk dancing fun and accessible to everyone, at all levels of expertise and ability, and is known for his clear, concise and good humoured calling.
Gary Gacko' Bridgens is a freelance artist with other 30 years of professional experience. Gary's Showman persona Gacko has audiences of all ages captivated, laughing and participating whether it be storytime in the Family area; or entertaining the 'big kids', aka adult audiences for late-night stories, Gary is a Story Teller, Songwriter and Workshop Sessions in puppetry, storytelling and ukulele. He will never cease to surprise.
Ursula Holden Gill
Ursula Holden Gill is a Professional Storyteller, Writer and Educator who is currently based between West Yorkshire & The West Midlands. She frequently travels internationally and throughout the UK, using music, movement and real-life observation to inform her own original and traditionally inspired work, to nurture other artists and to connect people of all ages with their creativity. She is particularly passionate about her work with children and young people, in animal welfare and in the therapeutic value of Storytelling.
John Row a storytelling veteran of the U.K. festival scene he has been a firm favourite at Chippenham, Cambridge and New Forest folk festivals as well as Glastonbury and Cropredy festivals among a host of others for longer than he cares to remember. He has told on four continents in hundreds of schools, prisons, libraries and museums delighting audiences of all ages. Since March 2020 he has curated the worldstorytellingcafe.com putting on around two hundred tellers from over twenty countries averaging six shows a week.
With over 20 years of experience delivering storytelling, performance and theatre activities for schools, arts organisations, communities and festivals across Britain. Arriving on the Sunday of the festival, Ian joins Gacko in leading the castle in tales of travel and adventure, myth and legend captivating and enthralling audiences of all ages he can be found raising the roof in late-night stories for the adult audiences of the festival before leading the family castle participants in the Monday Parade in his pedal-powered gipsy caravan.
Moose was a boy soprano in a church choir and dabbled in singing during his schooldays. Although a member of Chingford Morris Men in the early seventies, it was not until he moved to rural north Essex at the start of this century, that he started to sing after dance outs with Chelmsford Morris. This led to him joining Capstan Full Strength, at that time an excellent shanty crew looking for a bass harmony voice, and subsequently to membership of harmony group Sound Tradition. Despite mostly performing with the group, he also relishes solo singing opportunities, as these allow him to explore a completely separate repertoire.