John Kirkpatrick is recognised as one of the most prolific figures on the English folk scene, performing solo, in duos, acoustic groups and electric bands, and has established an enviable reputation as an instrumental virtuoso and session musician, as well as a leading interpreter of English folk music. He grew up with hearty sing-songs. playing recorder and piano, and joined the Hammersmith Morris Men, when he was twelve. There he took up the melodeon, button accordion, and the anglo concertina, and got hooked on the traditional songs that were accompanied with a post-dancing pint.
John has been a member of the Albion Country Band, Magic Lantern, The Richard Thompson Band, Umps and Dumps, Steeleye Span, Brass Monkey, Trans-Europe Diatonique, and Band of Hope, as well as numerous ceilidh bands. As songwriter, composer, choreographer, and musical director, he has contributed to over sixty plays in the theatre and on radio. And as featured artiste, band member, or session player, his music can be heard on over 200 different commercial recordings.
Widely admired as a solo artist, collaborator, and member of folk superstars Lau, Kris Drever’s output is prolific. Son of Wolfstone member Ivan Drever, Kris followed in his father’s footsteps to pick up the guitar and use it to power his melodies. Since swapping Orkney for Edinburgh, Kris has played alongside the likes of Eddi Reader, Julie Fowlis, Karine Polwart and Kate Rusby among many others. In 2007 he joined Lau, and ever since, the band have garnered plaudit after plaudit.
Kris hasn’t stopped there, and added various other projects to his plate including Drever McCusker Woomble, working and touring with Heidi Talbot, another solo release (2010’s ‘Mark The Hard Earth’), and teaming up with Eamon Coyne for a duets album, ‘Storymap’. As Lau goes from strength to strength, Kris is carving a reputation for himself as a formidable force in music all on his own.
Ceri Rhys Matthews
Long-time pillar of the Welsh folk music scene and founder of the seminal band Fernhill, Ceri Rhys Matthews plays flute, pipes, guitar and sings. He also works in a duo with fiddler Christine Cooper. He has released a CD of flute music and spoken word called ‘Yscolan’ and established a series of residential music retreats at Pentre Ifan in West Wales, also called Yscolan. Ceri teachesfolk and traditional music at Newcastle university.
BBC Radio 2 Folk Musician of the Year 2014 Aidan O’Rourke has emerged in recent years as a leading light of the Scottish folk music revival. His warm and lyrical fiddle style and adventurous compositions have earned him acclaim across the folk world. With the success of Lau and his solo work, and being in demand as a composer, O’Rourke has become one of the foremost musicians in Scotland today.
Having grown up in Scotland with the sounds of Irish traditional music played by his father, O’Rourke won numerous fiddle playing competitions and was touring internationally by the age of 14. In 1998 he joined the band Blazin’ Fiddles, a group which had notable success in the folk world headlining at festivals across Europe. Lau formed in 2005 and have won Best Group at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards no less than four times. O’Rourke also formed the band Kan in 2010.
Over the last few years O’Rourke has developed an interest in teaching and is founder of the fiddle camp Blazin’ in Beauly. He has also appeared as a tutor at Celtic Connections Festival, the Cambridge Folk Festival, as well as in Ireland. As part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, O’Rourke was also selected to give a number of ‘composer surgeries’ and workshops at the South Bank Centre for aspiring young composers.
Sam Lee plays a unique role in the British music scene. A highly inventive and original singer, folk song interpreter, a passionate conservationist, committed song collector and a successful creator of live events. Alongside his organisation The Nest Collective and fellow collaborators Sam has shaken up the live music scene breaking the boundaries between folk and contemporary music and the assumed place and way folksong is heard. He’s injected a renewed passion into this old material, helping to develop its ecosystem by not only inviting in a new listenership but also interrogating what the messages in these old songs hold for us today.
With his forthcoming album, Old Wow, he’s summonsed up a truly compelling and emotional album that takes his work to yet another level.