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Ely Folk Club

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.

Events at Ely Folk Club 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.

Wednesday, 18th July 2018

Duncan McFarlane and Anne Brivonese

Duncan and Anne Photograph

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.'

Kaszak and Afifi

Martin and Fara photograph

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.

Wednesday, 19th Sept 2018


Piva Photograph

Eric Moulder formed the group just over a decade ago with the aim of bringing a fresh and energetic approach to the popular dance and ballad repertoire of the late renaissance period. The members of Piva have wide and diverse musical backgrounds and between them they have experience in playing renaissance, jazz, classical, baroque, folk and roots music. They bring all of these diverse musical influences together and fuse them with their knowledge of renaissance music and instruments. The result is a cohesive approach and attitude towards the renaissance repertoire: Piva’s aim is to be faithful to the music of the period whilst adding their own innovative arrangements and interpretations. All members of the group are multi-instrumentalists - playing up to 40 different instruments at a gig! Not only do Piva play the instruments - they also make them! Three members of Piva are professional instrument makers.

Hugh Boyde and Brian Cleary

Hugh and Brian photograph

Brian and Hugh met when playing with The Usual Suspects and there has always been a huge overlap in their musical enthusiasms, both in jazz and folk. This duo started very informally, as a weekly social get-together with instruments followed by a few beers. But it soon led on to doing floor spots at local folk clubs, and they decided to rehearse more seriously. They now have a fine repertoire, encompassing old jazz, ragtime, Irish and American folk, originals - in fact just about anything as long as it sounds good on their instruments. Brian plays acoustic guitar and occasionally the mighty Gzouk (ask him!) and Hugh plays mandolin with occasional tenor banjo interludes.

Wednesday, 17th Oct 2018

The Dovetail Trio

Dovetail Photograph

Presenting England's traditional songs with a bold and fresh approach, The Dovetail Trio explores familiar narratives with infectious energy and a passion for musical heritage. This collaboration effortlessly combines the distinctive voices and acclaimed instrumental talents of BBC Radio 2 Folk Award nominee Jamie Roberts, BBC Performing Arts Award winner Rosie Hood, and Newcastle Folk Degree alumnus Matt Quinn. Barnsley's Jamie Roberts is renowned for his narrative singing and driving guitar rhythms. In 2007 he joined folk quartet Kerfuffle with Hannah James and Sam Sweeney, and in both 2013 and 2016 was a BBC Radio 2 Folk Award nominee with duo Gilmore and Roberts. Rosie Hood's pure voice and engaging performances are garnering widespread acclaim. With a keen eye on the history of the songs she sings, particularly those of her native Wiltshire, she has performed at a number of the country's leading festivals and folk clubs, and opened for the Cecil Sharp Project. Rosie is, for 2015, a BBC Performing Arts Fellow with EFDSS. Multi-instrumentalist Matt Quinn has been playing the melodeon, mandolin and fiddle, and singing his way around the English folk scene for the last seven years in various bands including Dogan and the Boombox Karavan, The Mighty Quinns and the Eliza Carthy Ceilidh Band.


Glymjack photograph

Glymjack is an English folk act led by singer-song-writer Greg McDonald and described as 'Frank Turner meets Show of Hands' and 'as good as contemporary folk comes' by Acoustic. Produced with Show of Hands’ Phil Beer and Steve Knightley, debut album Light the Evening Fire was released to acclaim in 2018, with Froots calling Glymjack 'folk-roots with attitude' and Maverick opining 'virtually every song is a tour de force'. Live, Greg is often joined by fiddle virtuoso Gemma Gayner and bassist Dickon Collinson, delivering a high energy, harmony-rich set of hard-hitting originals, English folk songs and fiddle tunes.

Wednesday, 14th Nov 2018

Jimmy Aldridge and Sid Goldsmith

Jimmy and Sid Photograph

Jimmy Aldridge and Sid Goldsmith are one of the finest duos to have emerged onto the British folk and acoustic scene in recent years. Their combination of outstanding vocal work, sensitive instrumentation, and a powerful social conscience has brought them widespread critical acclaim. The songs themselves are always given centre stage but they are brought to life with stunning musical arrangements and vocals. There is an integrity that shines through their performances and a common thread of political struggle, resistance, and justice. Their critically acclaimed second album 'Night Hours' was released in December 2016 on Fellside Recordings. Described as 'exhilaratingly diverse and full of impeccably crafted songs', it has cemented the duo’s reputation as two of the most exciting musicians and social commentators on the scene. In September 2018 Jimmy Aldridge and Sid Goldsmith will release their third album with a major UK tour. The album will be a further development of the duo's songwriting and the contemporary sound that attracted such critical acclaim on their second release, Night Hours.

Martin Sumpton

Martin Sumpton photograph

Martin Sumpton hails originally from Merseyside, where he was well respected for his fine acoustic guitar style and sensitive renditions of mainly traditional material. His musical past is varied and includes a brief spell busking in Bristol and London with John Saich who shortly afterwards saw sense and moved back to his native Scotland to play bass with Capercaillie. Martin then started playing in the band 'Seasoned Selection' with guitarist Phil Hare. This led to some gigs, a lot of laughs and a couple of BBC Radio Merseyside sessions. Martin then moved to Derbyshire where he quickly gained an equally appreciative following. Here he formed the Chesterfield duo 'The Hot Bread Brothers', with fellow guitarist Mike Underwood, who were once affectionately described as 'More than just another two blokes with guitars'!! Martin was for a time resident at the well known Attic folk club in Chesterfield and also appeared a number of times at the prestigious Rockingham Arms Folk Club as featured support for such artists as Kate Rusby, Tom McConville and The Julie Matthews Band. He has also supported Roy Bailey at Chesterfield's Winding Wheel theatre.

Wednesday, 19th December 2018

Lucy Ward

Lucy Ward Photograph

Lucy Ward is an award winning singer-songwriter from Derby. She plays guitar, ukulele and concertina but considers her voice to be her first instrument. After getting her first guitar at the age of 14, Lucy ventured into acoustic clubs, it was there that she first heard the traditional music that she now loves. Captured by the lyrics and stories of traditional song Lucy delved further into the world of folk music, visiting clubs and sessions up and down the country before getting booked to play gigs in her own right. In 2009 Lucy reached the final of the BBC Young Folk Award and she hasn’t looked back since!

Andy Wall, Ruth Bramley and Ann Biggs

Andy Wall, Ann and Ruth photograph

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.