Back when Downend Folk Club launched in the Spring of 2014, Chairman Ant Miles was interviewed about the club on BBC Radio Bristol. Amongst the questions that day was, “Who is that one act that you really want to get to perform at the club?”. Ant answered empahtically and without hesitation: “LADY MAISERY”.

And the long-awaited day is finally here. The multi-award winning trio will grace the stage at CHRIST CHURCH DOWNEND for our November event as they tour their brand-new album, 'Cycle'.

In an English folk scene currently bursting with bold and innovative folk music, this vocal trio shine brightly. With their unique approach to harmony singing and thoughtful and striking arrangements of both traditional repertoire and original compositions, Hazel AskewHannah James and Rowan Rheingans harness and celebrate their united voice. Whether unearthing a feminist twist hidden in a traditional tale, delivering a poignant anti-war ballad, or showcasing their immense multi-instrumental talents in original compositions that draw on a myriad of musical influences, Lady Maisery are skilful explorers of the power, beauty and vitality of song. Over the last five years, the trio have toured widely, performing sell-out shows across the UK and Europe.

Photo: James Fagan

Underpinning every performance are Lady Maisery's distinctive harmonies: sometimes lush and rich, sometimes dark and invigorating, they intertwine with assured precision. The trio are also one of the foremost English proponents of mouth music, or "diddling” – once common in England, and still found across parts of southern and northern Europe, this form of singing without words is a perfect showcase for their sheer musicality. Each also an accomplished instrumentalist, many songs are expertly accompanied by a rich tapestry of Rowan’s fiddle, banjo and bansitar, Hazel’s harp and concertina and Hannah’s accordion and foot percussion.

Since the release of their debut album in 2011, 'Weave and Spin' (named Album of the Week by The Independent), Lady Maisery have attracted substantial attention, including being nominated for the Horizon Award at the 2012 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and regularly appearing live on national radio. Their second album 'Mayday' (2013), a darker and more politically coloured record, cemented their growing reputation as a truly unique band on the English folk scene, with five star reviews from the likes of The Financial Times newspaper, music critics called it an album full of “ideas, purpose and urgency…powerful, enthralling work” (Songlines). Their third album 'Cycle' was released at the end of October and is already attracting excellent reviews, including four-stars from the The Guardian... you can read that review HERE.

Lady Maisery’s members are all highly respected performers in their own right: Hannah James is currently touring her first solo show ‘JigDoll’ and also plays in folk legend Maddy Prior’s trio 3 for Joy; Rowan Rheingans is half of the critically acclaimed duo The Rheingans Sisters and also plays with BBC Folk Singer of the Year Nancy Kerr’s Sweet Visitor Band; and Hazel Askew is well known as a musician and singer in award winning duo The Askew Sisters and the early music group The Artisans. All three are also key members of the English/Scottish supergroup Songs of Separation whose debut album and stunning premiere at Celtic Connections festival pushed them straight into the indie album charts top 20 in January 2016 - a very rare accolade British folk!

Opening the evening’s entertainment will be Midlands-based duo ASHLAND, a Midlands based acoustic, folk and roots duo with Kathryn Marsh on vocals and David Sutherland on guitar/vocals.

The idea for the duo came from Kathryn’s search for a musician willing to learn songs penned by her father; songs which helped form many of the musical memories of her childhood. David, a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter with an impressive history of collaborating with others, (Kim Lowings and Chris Cleverley) offered to help. Both musicians soon realised that Kathryn’s pure, yet powerful vocals worked well with David’s own material and so in October 2015, Ashland was formed.

The concert will be held on Friday 18th November at our second home of Christ Church Downend. Doors open at 7.30pm, with the music starting around 8.00pm. There will be a full bar, serving locally-brewed GREAT WESTERN BREWING CO. real ale as well as wine, cider, soft drinks and tea and coffee. Tickets are priced at £14 each, but you can get them for £12 each up until a week before the event as part of the club’s ‘Early Bird’ ticket scheme. Tickets are available from MELANIE'S KITCHEN in Downend, BRISTOL TICKET SHOP and online HERE. Members tickets are £10 each from the Members Only area of this website. Just login using the details that were emailed to you when you joined. The 'Early Bird' and Members ticket offers end at midnight on Friday 11th November.

 

There is a Facebook event for the concert where you can find out all the latest news. Click HERE and tell us you're coming! You can also like us on Facebook HERE and follow us on Twitter HERE.

 
We are thrilled to announce our spectacular line-up for Spring 2017.

The programme kicks off with one of the fastest-rising trios on the UK folk scene at the moment. MOORE, MOSS, RUTTER scooped the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award back in 2011 and have gone from strength to strength ever since. (Friday 20th January 2017).

February brings a really eye-catching gig as we welcome KATHRYN ROBERTS & SEAN LAKEMAN, who are no strangers to BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards themselves and, indeed, are the reigning Best Duo. Something of a coup for Downend Folk Club! (Friday 17th February 2017).

Our monthly meeting falls on St Patrick’s Day in March, so we thought it was only appropriate to feature an Irish music act… so we pulled out all the stops to bring you an absolutely legendary duo. CHRIS SHERBURN & DENNY BARTLEY don’t do an awful lot of gigging these days, but they’ve agreed to grace our stage, where they’ll be joined by EMILY SANDERS. (Friday 17th March 2017).

The programme is rounded off by a former support act that you told us you’d like to see more of. THE BLACK FEATHERS were last seen opening for Phillip Henry & Hannah Martin in April 2015…. two years on, they’ll be back to headline their own show. (Friday 21st April 2017).

And that’s not all! You’re used to quality support acts, and this programme is no exception as we welcome HARRI ENDERSBY in January, while opening for Kathryn & Sean will be OLLIE KING. The fabulous NIAMH BOADLE supplements the Irish theme in March, while Bristol-based SASKIA will get us underway in April.

Tickets are on sale NOW and we’ve also kept the option of a Season Tickets that you can buy tickets for all four gigs in one easy click! Just click HERE to buy tickets.

We hope you’ll be as excited by this programme as we are. Do let us know what you think on FACEBOOK, TWITTER etc... and remember, you're always welcome to suggest acts that YOU'D like to see us feature!

I am a recent convert to the tradition of live folk music and am still learning who people are and what I like - and don’t. From the moment I discovered Downend Folk Club I have enjoyed the variety of musicians, instruments and sounds. There is always something different to discover and no two evenings are ever the same. The welcome and sense of communal appreciation is warm and enduring – and the bar is always open.

This month we were treated to a blend of a solo artist, Mike Weaver who opened the evening, and a duo, ANGE HARDY & LUKAS DRINKWATER, for our main act. Neither disappointed and it was a blend of reflection, fun and challenge – I have come to expect nothing less! For me, feeling that I connected with the person behind the performance is a must to getting the most from the evening – just knowing that they are well known and supposedly fab musicians doesn’t do it unless there is a connection.

Returning for a second appearance at the club, MIKE WEAVER hails from Worcestershire and opened the evening with a blend of personal and traditional songs in his relaxed and informal style. Telling stories and reflecting on times gone by and people no longer with us, Mike demonstrated his heart and soul in his ‘Pembrokeshire Fair’, he echoed spirituality in his ‘From Here to Africa’ and brought this all together in ‘Gather I Must’ to close a set which exuded beautiful harmonies, clear storytelling and a passion for people.

Photo: Chris Dobson

Ange Hardy and Lukas Drinkwater are both accomplished and respected musicians in their own right and have come together to tour their new album, ‘Findings’. They were joined for the evening by Archie Churchill-Moss.  ‘‘Findings’ are the parts used to join jewellery components together to create something beautiful; this new album is about bringing together two musicians to create something even greater than the sum of their parts. The duo’s material contains their own findings in the form of traditional songs that they’ve rearranged as well as lines from traditional material interwoven into their own songs.

We were treated to an evening of excellent musicianship, a wealth of instruments and talent and an insight into something of the people whom they are behind the instruments and the songs – all in all a beautiful blend to connect with, reflect on and enjoy fine storytelling and human warmth. The duo tackled the issues of the day: child refugees washed up on Greek beaches, children living out daily life as carers – ‘The Invisible Children’ and reflections on being a parent in this modern world, as well as the obligatory folkie ballards with a new take where people die and all is doomed! I particularly appreciated the rapport and ease between Ange and Lukas and the way in which this extended to the whole room throughout the evening. All in all a great night out that will linger long in the memory.

- Shelley Peterson