Ian Carr & The Various Artists Join ABM

We are delighted to welcome  guitarist Ian Carr with his band,  The Various Artists, to the ABM roster. There’s a fine line between musical genius and a vortex of chaos and Ian Carr has long danced along it like a reckless Highland dancer with his laces undone. fRoots’ writer Andy Cronshaw once described him as “the most innovative and sympathetic guitarist that Britain has produced in years, in any genre…”

Ian is joined by The Various Artists, the roof raising  Swedish/ Scottish live incarnation of Ian’s acclaimed, “Who He?” CD, featuring Maria Jonsson (viola d’amore, vocals), Staffan Lindfors (double bass/ vocals), Laura Wilkie (violin/vocals) Thomas Gibbs (piano/harmonium/clarinet/vocals).

They have a new album to tour in 2020 and are looking forward to bringing this to the UK for summer festivals and for an autumn tour – get in touch if you have dates to offer as you may become their anchor date!

Folk Award Nominations

Something to celebrate! Congratulations to all the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards nominees, announced last night on Mark Radcliffe’s Folk Show. We are thrilled that Alan Bearman Music artists are so well represented this year, with some well-deserved nominations going to Sam Sweeney (Musician Of The Year); Jimmy Aldridge & Sid Goldsmith (Best Traditional Track), Ye Vagabonds (Best Traditional Track); Brighde Chaimbeul (Horizon Award) and Ryan Young’s regular musical partner Jenn Butterworth (Musician Of The Year). Well done all!

We are also delighted that Irish trad. legends Dervish will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award!

We look forward to the Folk Awards results, announced on 16th October as part of Manchester Folk Festival.

New Eliza Carthy Tour

Eliza Carthy MBE should by now need no introduction. A multi-award winning singer, songwriter and musician from a formidable English music dynasty.

Describing herself simply as a “modern English musician”, Eliza Carthy herself is one of the most recognisable faces of the English folk revival. Her first “solo” album of traditional music in 14 years, Restitute is literally a homely affair, recorded as it was at Eliza’s home in the picturesque Robin Hood’s Bay, North Yorkshire.

The band for the Restitute tour comprises Eliza Carthy, Ben Seal, Ben Somers, Willy Molleson and David Delarre – with support slot and special guest appearance from Saul Rose.

In addition to the Restitute material, the band will perform songs from brand new recordings of original songs by Eliza Carthy & Ben Seal – taken from their forthcoming album Northern Glowerhouse presents Through that Sound my Secret was Made Known.

Touring 27 March to 11 April 2020

Green Ribbons

We’re delighted to be booking shows for a brand new project dedicated to the celebration of unaccompanied song. Green Ribbons features the amazing Debbie Armour (Burd Ellen), Frankie Armstrong, Alasdair Roberts and Benjamin “Jinnwoo” Webb (Jinnwoo, Bird In The Belly) singing solo, in duet and in full ensemble.


Their debut release on Belgian label Matière Mémoire and live show will feature an intimate collection of traditional and newly composed songs.

Touring 6-19 April 2020


Martin Simpson announces new album ‘Rooted’

Singer, songwriter and guitar virtuoso Martin Simpson releases brand new studio album Rooted on August 30 on Topic Records. Produced by Andy Bell and recorded in Sheffield and Oxfordshire, Rooted will be available on CD, LP and digital with the deluxe 2CD and deluxe digital versions including a bonus disc of instrumentals, Seeded. Pre-order: smarturl.it/martinsimpsonrooted

Summing up the themes of his new album, Martin says: “The music and songs embrace nature and travel, mental health, real life stories, loss, politics and history… and the threads that bind all this together can be followed back a long way, to 1965 when I got my first guitar and started to soak up material and ideas at a very rapid rate.”



Rooted features an array of stellar guest musicians, including Nancy Kerr (fiddle and viola), Andy Cutting (melodeon and diatonic accordion), Liz Hanks (cello), John Smith (electric guitar and vocals), Ben Nicholls (string bass and electric bass guitar), Julie Matthews (vocals), Alan Barnes (clarinet), Max Simpson (vocals), Amy Smith (vocals), Chris While (vocals) and Tom A Wright (drums and percussion). Richard Hawley and Dom Flemons contribute backing vocals and bones respectively to first single ‘Neo’ (out 21st June).  As well as vocals, Martin himself plays banjola, 5-string banjo, 6-string fretless banjo, electric bass guitar and electric and resonator guitars!

Martin will tour extensively in support of Rooted. See full dates here: http://www.martinsimpson.com/gigs/

Rooted track listing:

1.Trouble Brought Me Here; 2.Kimbie; 3.Born Human; 4.Ken Small; 5.Hills Of Shiloh; 6.Henry Gray; 7.Who’s Going To Shoe Your Pretty Little Foot?; 8.Queen Jane; 9. Joe Bowers; 10. Fool Me Once; 11.Kingfisher; 12.Neo; 13.More Than Enough

Seeded track listing (bonus disc with deluxe CD and deluxe digital albums):

1.Arbutus Turnaround; 2.A Blues; 3.Bonny Kate; 4.Mama, It Ain’t Long; 5.Queen Jane (Instrumental); 6.Waenglapiau; 7.Who’s Going To Shoe Your Pretty Little Foot? (Instrumental)

Hand in hand with his long and storied solo career, Martin has been central to seminal collaborations like The Full English, The Elizabethan Sessions and Simpson Cutting Kerr. He has worked with a dazzling range of artists from across the musical spectrum: Jackson Browne, Martin Taylor, June Tabor, Richard Hawley, Bonnie Raitt, Danny Thompson, David Hidalgo, Danú, Richard Thompson and Dom Flemons, to mention a few. He is consistently named as one of the very finest acoustic, fingerstyle and slide guitar players in the world and is the most nominated musician in the history of the BBC Folk Awards, with a remarkable 31 nods. A true master of his art.

For more info, contact Claire Horton : claire@clairehortonpr.com


Now Booking – Band of Burns

Band of Burns is a unique collaboration of twelve artists from the top echelons of the folk scene – including members of such prestigious groups as Afro Celt Sound System and The Langan Band and The Breath. These individuals come together to perform a truly distinct show which celebrates the life, works and philosophies of Robert Burns, sharing a profound belief in the values he championed – equality, social justice and the power of love – and in their pressing relevance amid today’s troubled times.

The band is a tightly knit ensemble of musicians who all shine bright in their own right, with a string of awards and an admirable checklist of every big concert venue in the UK. They collectively create one of the most powerful and compelling sounds of Folk and World music.

“A shimmering collection … that does full justice to the poet’s humane vision”
The Times

Alastair Caplin (Musical Director, Violin, Viola, Vocals, Guitar)
Ríoghnach Connolly (Vocals, Irish Flute) John Langan (Vocals, Guitar, Cajon)
Adam Beattie (Vocals, Guitar, Double Bass) Mikey Kenney (Violin, Vocals)
Dila Vardar (Vocals, Finger Bells) Dominie Hooper (Vocals, Cello)
Ellis Davies (Guitar, Vocals) Ewan MacDonald  (Violin, Cittern)
Dave Tunstall (Double Bass, Border Pipes) Lewis Murray (Violin Viola)
Feilimi Devlin (Bodhran)

Album launch dates 11-13 Oct 2019, touring 16 Jan – 2 Feb 2020 & available for festivals 2020. 


Aly Bain | Ale Möller | Bruce Molsky – New Tour

We’re excited to be booking a UK tour for three outstanding traditional performers. Sharing their Celtic, Nordic and Appalachian cultures: Aly Bain, Scotland’s supreme traditional style fiddler; Swedish multi-instrumentalist Ale Möller, and American old time fiddler, singer, guitarist and banjo player Bruce Molsky form a dynamic diversity.

Touring UK 14-23 November 2019. 

“Our far-flung trio of pals love meeting up whenever we can and enjoy our music most when it’s ‘in the moment’. We very much hope that you too enjoy this meeting-point!” Aly, Ale and Bruce

“Dynamic yet seamless diversity…with the extra warmth and zest of patent mutual ease, enjoyment and admiration.” The Scotsman

Ye Vagabonds Announce New Album ‘The Hare’s Lament’

The third release on Rough Trade’s River Lea imprint is the work of brothers Brían and Diarmuid Mac Gloinn who grew up in the rural town of Carlow on the southeast of Ireland. The Hare’s Lament (released 22nd March 2019) is an album of traditional songs learned from some of the greats of Irish music; from precious archive recordings of a grandfather they never met; from the unique collection of singer Róise na nAmhrán from Arranmore Island in Donegal (their mother’s birthplace) and from contemporaries in the singing communities around Dublin, of which Ye Vagabonds are a valued part.

In 2018 the group was nominated for a BBC Folk Award on the strength of their self-released and largely self-written debut album, and received several nods from the RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Awards. They spent the year touring throughout Ireland, the UK and mainland Europe, and took part in the Celtic Colours Festival in Cape Breton before returning home to work on their second LP.

With The Hare’s Lament, Ye Vagabonds have produced a record that might remind listeners of the exquisite harmonies and intricate musicianship of the legendary Planxty while being evidently part of the current, innovative and vibrant Irish folk scene, alongside their pals Lisa O’Neill and Lankum. These songs speak to people now as they’ve always done.

In the meticulous sleevenotes for the album, Brían and Diarmuid write:

“These ten songs have been in circulation for a great number of years, successively renewed and recharged by each generation of singers. There is no single definitive source or version associated with many of them.”

Singing in Irish and English and accompanying themselves on violin, bouzouki, guitar and mandolin, the brothers are joined on this record by their regular touring band member Alain McFadden on harmonium, their brother-in-law Jessie Smith on additional fiddles, John Flynn on tin whistles (two played at once, held together with rubber bands) and fellow River Lea signing Brìghde Chaimbeul on smallpipes.

“We researched the songs in archives, written sources, and by asking around, finding new verses, different melodies, related songs. Our memories (often through their infidelity) did a good deal of the work for us, and the songs developed over time as we started to play them and sing them. Sometimes if we listen back to the recordings we initially learned from, it’s clear how much we left these sources behind.”


ABM at Celtic Connections

Happy New year! ABM is looking forward to attending Showcase Scotland, as part of Celtic Connections, and will be running a stand at the Trade Fair on 1st February, where delegates can come and talk to us about our diverse roster.

Amongst the ABM acts appearing at this year’s Celtic Connections are:
Brighde Chaimbeul (18th Jan, St Andrews In The Square);
Chris Smither (18th, The Tron);
Ryan Young (20th Jan, Piping Centre);
Ye Vagabonds – guests at The Dublin Sessions (20th Jan, City Halls);
Rachel Newton (24th Jan, Mackintosh Church);
Sam Sweeney – The Unfinished Violin (27th Jan, Strathclyde Suite, GRCH);
Mairearad Green and Anna Massie (2nd Feb, Drygate);
Eli West with Olav Mjelva (3rd Feb, New Auditorium, GRCH.)


New Old Time Sounds

We welcome several generations of quality American roots artists to the UK this year.

The summer sees the return of the amazing and much-revered hardcore Americana singer/musician Tim Eriksen from mid July – mid August. Available for festivals and venue bookings.

New to the UK, raw and compelling duo Mama’s Broke appeal to a wide range of audiences with their original and urgent old-time songwriting and playing. The duo will be here from mid July – mid August and promise to wow festival and arts centre audiences.

In November (2nd– 20th), the brilliant Riley Baugus makes the trip back to the UK for some solo dates with his show Banjos, Ballads, Stories and Songs of the Southern Appalachians. An unmissable act!

Finally, we welcome back to the UK Bruce Molsky’s excellent trio with Allison de Groot and Stash Wyslouch. Molsky’s Mountain Drifters will be touring 24 May – 2 June 2019.

Trad. Reclaimed: Women In Folk Music

Co-curated between ABM and BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2017 Musician of the Year – harpist and singer Rachel NewtonTrad. Reclaimed is a music-based series at Kings Place, London (15-17 March 2019) as part of the Venus Unwrapped series.

Trad. Reclaimed celebrates both women musicians and singers in the contemporary folk scene and iconic figures in its development. Showcasing pioneering forces in the tradition, some of the country’s finest instrumentalist talent and powerful purveyors of song, the weekend aims to redress a gender imbalance often found in the wider music scene. Celebrating the light and shade, energy and dynamism, grit and nuance of some of the finest trad. players, as well as the sheer diversity of skills and inspiration.

The increasing contemporary consciousness about the visibility of women in music helps to shine a light on imbalance in folk music events. ‘I want people to be aware of it,’ says Newton. ‘To go to a festival with all men on the platform and to think, “There’s something weird about this!

“I like the idea of reclaiming something: It feels like we’re doing something powerful but not aggressive. And although it’s a great chance to showcase the talented women in folk today, it’s not a women-only event. The point I’ve always been trying to make is that it’s not about taking anything away from anyone … it’s just trying to even out the playing field. The more women are visible on stage, not just singers but instrumentalists as well, the more young girls and women are likely to think that they can do it too. There’s nothing more powerful.’

The weekend event features ground-breaking women in folk – from a musical play about iconic Irish singer Margaret Barry to a conversation with influential folk singer and song collector Shirley Collins. There will be also be performances from some pioneers of the current generation of folk musicians, from the joyous all-women line-up The Shee to Kathryn Tickell’s evocative reflections on her native landscape with The Darkening. Offering breadth and balance to the weekend, also featured are the acclaimed sister act The Rheingans Sisters, Hannah James’ Innovative dance and music show JigDoll, newcomers Solasta and panel discussions related to gender issues in folk music with contemporary singer and writer Emily Portman and more.


Box Office 020 7520 1490


Trad. Reclaimed Programme Of Events

The Shee Big Band + Hannah James’ JigDoll

Fri 15 Mar 2019 – 7.30pm // Hall One

The Shee bring electro-harp, accordion, fiddles, flute, mandolin and three powerful voices together with a range of individual musical influences to produce an adventurous brew of Folk, Gaelic and American music.

A rarity in folk music, Hannah James is a singer, musician and innovative clog dancer. Jig Doll combines all of these disciplines in a beautiful show exploring the life of the travelling player, with newly-composed music in a magical setting woven around percussive dance.


Women in Folk – Music Panel Discussion with Rachel Newton, Emily Portman, Sarah Coxson, Jo Frost and Sarah Jones

Sat 16 Mar 2019 – 2pm // Hall Two

Rachel Newton brings together a group of women from across the music industry to discuss issues around gender in folk music with questions from the floor.


Shirley Collins in Conversation with Emily Portman

Sat 16 Mar 2019 – 4pm // Hall Two

Iconic English folk singer and song collector, Shirley Collins, has enjoyed a momentous recent return to the stage. Her deep and lasting influence on many contemporary singers is significant, inspired by her belief in the ‘song not the singer’ at the core of her performances of traditional material. Emily Portman is one such singer. With their shared passion in the source material, this event promises to be an insightful and engaging conversation about lives lived in song.



Sat 16 Mar 2019 – 6pm // Ground Floor Foyer

Solasta is an outstanding young folk trio, fast building a name for themselves on the back of their inventive arrangements, unique sound and exhilarating live performances.


She Moved Through The Fair: The Legend of Margaret Barry with Mary McPartlan, Lisa Knapp, Gerry Diver, Gillian Horgan, Luke MacLeod and Colin Irwin

Sat 16 Mar 2019 – 7.30pm // Hall One

Hailed as an icon and ‘real soul singer’ by singers as diverse as Norma Waterson, Bob Dylan and Van Morrison, Margaret Barry was extraordinary. Born in Cork in 1917 she left home at 16 with nothing but a bicycle and a banjo, setting off to busk her way through the harsh streets of Ireland. What happened next is part of folk music legend.

Written by music journalist Colin Irwin and Irish singer Mary McPartlan, She Moved Through The Fair features many of her most famous songs (Bold Fenian MenFactory Girl and Galway Shawl) along with dialogue from interviews with colourful characters who shared her adventure. A poignant and funny musical drama, debuted at Celtic Connections festival last year to wide acclaim, this is the first time the show will be performed in the city where Barry spent many of her vintage years.


Now She’s Fairly Altered her Meaning: A gendered response to British Traditional Songs with Emily Portman

Sun 17 Mar 2019 – 2pm // St Pancras Room

In this talk with musical accompaniment, songwriter Portman discusses her own feminist interpretations of the traditional songs she sings and the original songs she writes.


Rachel Newton – Solo Recital

Sun 17 Mar 2019 – 4pm // St Pancras Room

Singer and harpist Rachel Newton specialises in interpreting traditional folk songs in both English and Scottish Gaelic, in new and innovative ways.


Kathryn Tickell & The Darkening + The Rheingans Sisters

Sun 17 Mar 2019 – 7.30pm // Hall One

Kathryn Tickell is widely acclaimed as the world’s foremost exponent of the Northumbrian pipes. She is a composer, performer, educator and successful recording artist whose work is deeply rooted in the landscape and people of Northumbria. This new full-band project featuring musicians from Northumberland, Scotland, Ireland and England invokes the dark, powerful, shamanic sounds of Ancient Northumbria and broadcasts them to the modern world with a global resonance and outlook.

Rowan and Anna Rheingans make bold, playful and innovative contemporary music, anchored in folk traditions but not bound by them. Their performances – fiddle, viola, banjo, concertina and voices – showcase an intuitive and moving musical conversation between two musicians at the height of their powers.