Ely Folk Club takes place in The Old Dispensary, 13 St Mary's Street, Ely, Cambs, CB7 4ER. There is no bar, but you are welcome to bring your own drinks or buy drinks from the pub across the road and bring them with you.
New start time: From September 2013 events at Ely Folk Club will start at 8.00pm, unless otherwise stated.
Concerts take place most months, usually on Wednesday evenings. We also hold occasional extra events.
Tickets may be booked in advance by telephoning 01353 740999 or 01353 664706.
North Devon singer-songwriter Jenna Witts is a free spirit who writes wonderfully melodic songs and is an accomplished keyboard player and acoustic guitarist. She has been on five nationwide tours with Steve Knightley and has recorded three solo albums. Her first album, 'Barefoot and Eager', was named one of the Financial Times Top 10 world albums of 2007. Her second album, 'Brother', has had airplay on Radio 2 and her latest album 'Hitchhiker' reached number 1 in the 'Radio Caroline Countdown of Albums' chart. Jenna has also toured with Seth Lakeman and supported Fisherman's Friends, Elkie Brooks and Reef, to name but a few. You can find all of Jenna's tour dates, music and news on her website. Jenna is no stranger to Ely Folk Club, having first performed here back in 2007. We are delighted to welcome her back.
Martin Kaszak and Faradena Afifi are a new duo performing a rich variety of acoustic music and original material from Folk to Country Blues and more modern songs. Martin is known for his warm vocals and finger-picking guitar and Faradena is a talented singer and musician providing beautiful close harmonies and playing viola and cello. Their first official performance was supporting John Renbourn and Wizz Jones in 2015 and Martin and Fara's performance attracted much praise and attention from these Folk/Blues legends. This will be their first performance as a duo at Ely Folk Club.
Cloudstreet - hot harmonies and beautiful ballads. John and Nicole's performances are packed with vitality, humour and excitement, as they breathe new life into some of the great songs of the Australian, English and Celtic traditions and carry the tradition forward with original songs and tunes. Driving guitar and Irish flute support their enthralling vocals. Their trademark dazzling harmonies and their impassioned presentation are leavened with humour and great tales from their travels. Cloudstreet makes their audience feel that they are the privileged viewers of something very special. (A "cloudstreet" is a row of thermals marked by cumullus clouds. When gliders fly from thermal to thermal by following the clouds, they "fly the cloudstreet", staying aloft for miles.)
Kev Walford, singer/songwriter, originally from Liverpool, formed his first band in 1967 and built up a great following in the North West of England. Kev then relocated to Suffolk and became a part of the Suffolk Songwriters group. For the last 18 months Kev has been collaborating, gigging and recording with local singer Kelly Pritchard where they have started to build up a great reputation in the East of England. Kelly is a well-established jazz singer based in Woodbridge. She previously fronted her own band 'Chasing Storms', playing a selection of original songs and jazz standards and also performs as 'Vocally Vintage' singing songs from the 40s and 50s. Kev and Kelly's music can best be described as Americana/Folk with maybe a touch of Cajun and Country thrown into the mix, with beautiful harmonies. These two obviously get along well, as can be seen in their live shows where the music is laced with self-effacing humour. They've so far released two EPs and are currently working on a third, striving to make each of these releases very different from the previous. They've so far had an outstanding first year together gigging all over Suffolk and Norfolk and occasionally venturing out into Essex and Cambridgeshire.
Performing at Ely folk club as part of their tour to celebrate the launch of their debut album The Poacher's Fate. Laura and Ted take a no-nonsense approach to traditional English folk song, taking their cues from revival singers such as Frankie Armstrong, Peter Bellamy and the Watersons and placing an emphasis on strong vocals, tight harmonies and unfussy arrangements. With repertoire drawn from and inspired by their homes in the North West and East Anglia, expect to hear a distinctive range of songs sung with passion.
Gerry Colvin was born in Barrow-in-Furness. In the 1970s, Gerry joined pop band 'The Man Upstairs'. They released three singles and toured with 'The Smiths'. In the early 1980s he co-founded and fronted the legendary John Peel favourite skiffle-cowpunk indie outfit 'Terry and Gerry'. This seminal band toured Europe and the USA and appeared on countless Radio and TV shows including 'The Tube' and 'The Old Grey Whistle Test'. Their five singles and album all reached No.1 in the indie charts. In 2010 Cherry Red released 'Let's Get the Hell Back to Lubbock', the definitive 'Terry and Gerry' compilation. In the early 1990s Gerry worked in Nashville as a professional songwriter and back in the UK collaborated with Alison Moyet, co-writing on an album project. He also penned TV themes, musicals, film scores and wrote and presented for BBC Radio 2. His band 'Gerry Colvin's Inexperience', a fusion of Soul, R and B and Folk-Country, became a firm favourite on the College circuit. In 1993 Gerry formed the folk-pop band 'The Atlantics': they toured extensively including a slot at Glastonbury Festival where Gerry was compere, and appeared on BBC's prestigious 'Pebble Mill at One'. Colvin's other major project at this time was film music as vocalist with 'The National Screen Orchestra'; he also performed as a comedy double act with Hollywood superstar Mackenzie Crook. In 1995 Gerry co-founded the five piece folk band Colvinquarmby. They released six critically acclaimed albums and were voted best band at the prestigious Fairport Convention Cropredy Festival in 2009. In 2010 they won the Hancock Award for 'Best Live Folk Act'. In May 2013 Gerry was invited by New York producer and Robert Plant song collaborator Dave Barratt to record 'Revolution' for the 'Beatles complete on ukulele' album and website. In 2015 the original line-up of Terry and Gerry reformed and toured nationally with rock heroes Status Quo culminating with a concert at The Albert Hall!! Terry and Gerry also appeared at Glastonbury that year and released the 'Dear John' EP: a self penned tribute to the late John Peel. Cherry Red re-issued the greatest hits album too!! In 2013 Gerry released a self-penned solo album 'Jazz Tales of Country Folk' . His new CD 'Six of One half a Dozen of the Other', a collection of ten brand new songs, is available now. And his novel 'The Rabbits of Zakynthos' will be published next year.
Bernard Hoskin is a songwriter, singer and multi-instrumentalist from Cambridge whose distinctive and original sound is based upon English songwriting and world music rhythms as well as the more common folk, country and blues styles. An experienced performer, he accompanies himself on 6- and 12-string guitars and mandolin playing a mixture of original and traditional songs and covers. He has opened up for many of the big names of the folk scene including Bert Jansch, Martin Carthy, Harvey Andrews, John Renbourn and Jacqui McShee, Clive Gregson, Isaac Guillory, Andy Irvine, Phil Beer, Colvin Quarmby, Johnny Dickinson, Pete Atkin, June Tabor and the Oysterband, Dougie MacLean, Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker, Megson, Gigspanner, Henry Priestman, Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar, Carrivick Sisters, O'Hooley and Todow, Lucy Ward and the Amy Wadge Band. He has produced eleven CDs and was descrioed by Beverley Folk Club as 'an incredible singer-songwriter who has supported many famous names, past and present, whilst simultaneously establishing himself as one of the finest male solo artists working in the contemporary folk music field today.'
With a voice described by Mike Harding as 'beyond sublime', Sam Kelly has been steadily making a name for himself among audiences and peers alike as a hugely talented singer, song-writer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist. Based in Cornwall, Sam has already accumulated an impressive musical portfolio, performing in many different bands (Sam Kelly and The Lost Boys, The Changing Room, Company of Players, Phil Beer and Friends) and recording with the likes of Nic Jones, Cara Dillon, John McCusker, Belinda O’Hooley, Seth Lakeman and many more. Sam has performed multiple live sessions for BBC Radio 2 and 3, and has several national TV appearances under his belt. Coming from a Celtic background, Sam has been an integral part of many projects aiming to rekindle and raise awareness of the Cornish language, and is already known as one of the finest Cornish language singers in the world, being described by Cornish language expert Dr Ken George as 'the best Cornish singer I've ever heard'. In November 2015, Sam became the first person ever to sing in the Cornish language on national radio, during a live session for Radio 2. After the release of his debut solo album - The Lost Boys - Sam was awarded the Horizon Award for emerging artists at the 2016 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, which cemented his place as one of the most rapidly rising stars on the folk scene. Sam's main musical collaborator, Jamie Francis, is rapidly gaining a reputation as one of the most innovative and exciting banjo players on the UK folk scene. Also a virtuoso guitarist, Jamie has been involved with almost every project Sam has been a part of, and has his own impressive musical portfolio including his own prog-blues band Stark. Sam and Jamie form a formidable duo when it comes to song-writing, arranging of folk songs and traditional tunes, and re-working of old time hits. With dynamic, fast-paced instrumental performances rubbing shoulders with tender ballads and stunning original songs, interspersed with funny anecdotes of their various misadventures - seeing these guys live for a rare duo show is not an opportunity to be missed!
The genius of a Dana and Susan Robinson performance lies in their ability to capture the imagination of their audience, evoking a transformative experience that touches on the deepest humanity. They can make the audience howl with laughter or hush with poignant reflection as they take them on a journey across America and convey the mystery and wonder of the places they visit. Underpinning the songs is the undeniable rhythm of their trademark guitar/banjo sound. Whether it is quiet or driving, there is a steady and unrelenting groove to the music that supports the lyric and delivers the story in an effortless and magical way. A native of the Pacific Northwest, Dana relocated to New England where he discovered both a thriving songwriters scene and the deep well of traditional mountain music. In the early 1980's, Dana settled in northern Vermont and built a house 'off the grid' (no electricity and phone) on 30 acres near the Canadian border. There he founded a popular bakery, café and folk music venue. Dana launched into full-time touring after the release of his 1994 debut CD, Elemental Lullabye, and after receiving a request to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City for Putumayo's Shelter benefit project. Sue grew up in a musical family in New England. She studied piano, oboe, and Scottish fiddle before meeting Dana in 2002. Sue was working in the environmental field in California when she met Dana at a house concert. Upon moving to North Carolina a short time thereafter, Sue launched into studying with many of the great oldtime musicians in the Asheville area, and naturally adapted to the on-the-road lifestyle.
Duncan is a highly regarded singer-guitarist who splits his sets equally between traditional fare and his own songs which are written, most definitely, in the trad idiom. Rated by Mike Harding as a 'fine showman', his intrinsic seriousness of intent and approach is laced with a healthy irreverence and humour that The Living Tradition calls 'hugely entertaining'. As a solo performer he has graced main stages at Sidmouth's Ham Marquee, Beverley and Costa Del Folk, Spain. One typical review reads 'One of the many stand-out gems, a real treat, was the witty and charismatic Duncan McFarlane. This talented guitarist and vocalist has a lively stage presence and whether regaling us with a story, singing a traditional song, or one of his own cleverly written songs, Duncan is a true delight'. With his band he has played main stages at festivals such as Shrewsbury and Sidmouth (twice at both) and many other festivals over some fifteen years or more – including Ely! He has also run guitar workshops at several festivals and performed 'live sessions' on many BBC Radio folk shows. Accompanying him on fiddle and harmony vocal duties will be band member Anne Brivonese. Together they've made several albums over the years, including 'All Rogues and Villains' which gained a five-star review from R2 magazine. Duncan last played Ely (solo) in 2006 – but it's worth noting that his first ever folk club appearance, whilst still a schoolboy, was for Ely Folk Club in the Old Fire Engine House! Last word from Mike Harding then: 'He writes some great stuff that guy and I love his lively versions of traditional folk songs; absolutely great; really powerful playing and singing.'
Andy Wall, Ruth Bramley and Ann Biggs will, between them, open the evening's music. Ruth has been running the club since 1993, joined by Andy in 1999. Ruth and Ann first sung together over twenty five years ago. Under the name Big Apple Pie they performed in many local schools, at children's parties and for 'grown-up' events too including a number of folk clubs and festivals. Although they don't do many gigs these days, they both still thoroughly enjoy singing together. Andy is a much more frequent performer, playing at many festivals, clubs and other events. In 2009 he finally released a much anticipated CD. As an added bonus for the evening, there will be something in the way of seasonal entertainment...oh, and mince pies, of course.
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