Spiro announce new live collaboration with Synergy Vocals

Spiro have announced a series of shows in the UK in April/May at which they will launch a new collaboration with Synergy Vocals. The show will be called ‘Tongue Like a Drum’.

Spiro’s raw, punk-infused minimalism and trademark intricate interplay steps up a level in this exciting new collaboration with Steve Reich’s vocalists of choice, the incredible Synergy Vocals and analogue-synth player Ruth Wall. The groups merge to create one emotionally charged but exquisitely controlled machine as Spiro’s main composer Jane Harbour harnesses the super-human technique of Synergy’s voices.

With influences including minimalist classical music and electronica, Harbour has created a new form of systems music for vocals that deconstructs and rebuilds the meaning of language. Crystallising emotional experience in surreal vignettes, Harbour’s lyrics retell and subvert the tales behind English folk songs; conjuring filmic images and exploring our timeless struggle with the human condition, loss and female power.


Sat 18 Apr LONDON Cecil Sharp House
Sat 25 Apr EDINBURGH The Queen’s Hall
Thu 30 Apr BRISTOL St. George’s
Wed 06 May OXFORD St. Barnabas Church

Sam Sweeney Band – New Album News & Tour

Sam is releasing his highly anticipated second solo album, Unearth Repeat, on Hudson Records in March 2020, with extensive live dates in May with a four piece Sam Sweeney Band and a follow up album tour in Nov/Dec (23rd – 6th). 

Unearth Repeat celebrates a new direction, not only for Sam but for English music. His new band are injecting into the English tradition something that has never been heard before. The music has the groove and swagger of traditional English music with the huge sound, flare, energy and festival spirit of bands coming out of the Celtic and Scandinavian music scenes. This is Sam making music on his own terms, with a massive sound and a stellar line up of his favourite musicians: the acoustic and electric guitars of Jack Rutter and Louis Campbell and the double bass of Ben Nicholls.


Wild Singing 13-15 March 2020

Wild Singing is a weekend festival of folk music inspired by the natural world for Kings Place’s year-long Nature Unwrapped series – Friday 13th – Sunday 15th March 2020.

Co-curated by Matthew Bannister’s award-winning Folk on Foot podcast, the weekend sees influential figures from the UK folk scene, Eliza Carthy, Nancy Kerr & James Fagan and Martin Simpson in evening concerts, preceded by ‘in conversation’ events with Matthew which will feature film and recordings made when he walked with the artists in the landscapes that inspired their music.

Daytime events including performances from environmentally-inspired artists The Rheingans Sisters and Kitty Macfarlane and projects The Songhive Project and The Wilderness Yet.

Evening Shows: In conversation & live performance

Eliza Carthy  // Fri 13 Mar 2020 – 7.30pm, Hall One

One of the most influential figures in the UK folk scene, Eliza Carthy re-interprets the folk tradition for a new generation. Ahead of a live performance, Eliza will talk to Matthew Bannister about family, heritage and the link between her music and the vast expanse of beautiful ocean around her home in Robin Hood’s Bay. Their conversation will be interspersed with rare original footage from the podcast recording, of Eliza and her family singing around the kitchen table in Yorkshire.

Martin Simpson // Sat 14 Mar 2020 – 7.30pm, Hall One

Regularly voted one of the world’s greatest guitarists, Martin Simpson has been nominated for an astonishing 23 Radio 2 Folk Awards – and won artist of the year twice. In the first half, Martin will talk to Matthew Bannister and share film footage of the emotional visit they made to his childhood haunts in Scunthorpe where Martin’s passion for the natural world was fostered by his father on rambles through local woods. They scavenged for animal carcasses and Martin learned to stop, look and listen to what was around him. In part two, Martin Simpson plays old favourites and songs from his latest album Rooted.

Nancy Kerr and James Fagan // Sun 15 Mar 2020 – 7.30pm, Hall One

For twelve years, the award-winning singer, songwriter and instrumentalist Nancy Kerr lived on a narrow boat on the Kennet and Avon Canal in Wiltshire. In the first part of this evening, she’ll be in conversation with Folk on Foot podcast host Matthew Bannister about the effect that exposure to the travelling life had on the music she makes and her attitude to the natural world. You’ll see film footage, shot during the podcast recording, of Nancy playing and singing on the towpath. In the second part, Nancy and James Fagan will perform one of their “trademark high-energy live shows” (Folk Radio UK).

Daytime Concerts & Special Events

Matthew Bannister presents Folk on Foot on Film // Sat 14 Mar 2020 – 2.30pm // St Pancras Room

In this talk, broadcaster Matthew Bannister takes you behind the scenes of his award-winning podcast, Folk on Foot. He shares the many hours of film footage he’s shot while walking with top folk musicians in the landscapes that have inspired them; featuring Karine Polwart, Seth Lakeman, Cara Dillon, The Young’uns, Steve Knightley of Show of Hands, Eliza Carthy (and Family), The Unthanks, Martin Simpson, Julie Fowlis, Jon Boden, Nancy Kerr, Duncan Chisholm and more – often performing against spectacular backdrops.

The Rheingans Sisters // Sat 14 Mar 2020 – 4.30pm, Hall Two

Award-winning musicians, composers and folk scholars The Rheingans Sisters perform music from their critically acclaimed third album Bright Field, in which the natural world is the cathartic setting of many songs exploring our shared humanity.

The Shackleton Trio // Sat 14 Mar 2020 // Foyer event 6.30pm

This trio’s self-penned material blends seamlessly with imaginative re-workings of traditional folk standards, influenced by British, American and Scandinavian folk traditions, with a regional twist from the group’s native East Anglia.

Songhive – Beelore & Folksong in the British Isles with Rowan Piggott, Rosie Hodgson, Philippe Barnes & Tom Evans // Sun 15 Mar 2020 – 2.30pm, St Pancras Room

Songhive is a project founded by singer and musician Rowan Piggott, comprising songs of ‘beelore’ and folksong of the British Isles, to raise awareness of the current plight of the bees.

Kitty Macfarlane // Sun 15 Mar 2020 – 4.30pm, Hall Two

Kitty Macfarlane is a songwriter and guitarist from Somerset, whose music is rich with visual imagery and written with an eco-eye.

The Wilderness Yet // Sun 15 Mar 2020 // Free Foyer event 6.30pm

The Wilderness Yet weave a tapestry of traditional & self-penned songs with a charm and familiarity that is usually only found in seasoned line-ups.​

Tickets now on sale here: https://www.kingsplace.co.uk/whats-on/wild-singing-nature-inspired-folk/

Now Booking Awake Arise

In an unmissable collaboration, five of the English folk scene’s most inventive artists bring you Awake Arise – A Christmas Show For Our Times; celebrating the riches of our varied winter traditions and reflecting upon the hope and resilience in music and song that can bring joy to us all in the darkest season.

Award winning trio Lady Maisery (Hannah James, Rowan Rheingans and Hazel Askew) have for nearly a decade produced ‘some of the most exquisite, thrilling vocal harmony work in the English folk scene’ The Guardian

The beguiling musical partnership of Jimmy Aldridge and Sid Goldsmith complete the powerful line-up, bringing the outstanding vocals, sensitive instrumentation and powerful social conscience that has won them widespread critical acclaim. ‘Rousing stuff’ The Observer.

Featuring traditional songs, folk carols, spoken word and newly written music to galvanise and brighten this darkest season, Awake Arise is a warm gift to the wintertime from five of the most  engaging and celebrated performers on the English folk scene. In this most uncertain of winters, Awake Arise is more than just a great night out; these are essential songs which remind us who we are and why we matter to each other.

Touring 11-22 December 2020. 

Jack Rutter Joins ABM

ABM is delighted to welcome Jack Rutter, the outstanding young folk singer, guitarist and multi-instrumentalist from West Yorkshire, to the roster.

Jack has a well-earned reputation for his solo work, as well as being highly sought after as a musical collaborator (Seth Lakeman, Sam Sweeney and Jackie Oates) and having played in the celebrated instrumental trio Moore Moss Rutter.

In 2020, Jack will be performing unearthed gems from the folk canon from his brilliant new solo album Gold of Scar & Shale. Jack’s masterful playing and arrangements on guitar, bouzouki, duet concertina and harmonium provide the perfect accompaniment for his soaring vocals.

Jack is available for solo tour bookings in March and October specifically, though he has availability throughout the year for periods when he is not in demand from other touring musicians! He is also available for summer festival bookings.

‘In the spirit of the old traditional singers, Jack Rutter takes a song, shapes it, lives with it and brings out something unique. This album makes my heart sing.’ Kathryn Tickell OBE, BBC Radio 3 

Welcome to The Rheingans

We are thrilled that The Rheingans Sisters have just been added to the ABM roster – an innovative musical force on the folk scene and beyond. The award-winning duo offer a thoroughly contemporary musical vision, at once deeply anchored in pan-European folk traditions and uniquely creative, forging bold and beguiling new sounds.

Performing live, the sisters are full-hearted performers and spontaneous improvisers, with adventurous use of fiddles, voices, banjo, bansitar, tambourin à cordes, spoken word, dancing feet and percussion. Theirs is an intuitive musical conversation between two musicians at the height of their powers.

In 2020, The Rheingans Sisters will bring their playful, powerful and richly connecting music to wider stages with a much-anticipated fourth album release on the Bendigedig label in August.

Touring 25 Sept – 20 Oct 2020 + summer festivals. 

“Superb” – The Independent  
“Quite simply extraordinary” fRoots

Now Booking Usher’s Island

Usher’s Island sees the coming together of five of the most acclaimed and influential names in Irish Traditional music – Andy Irvine and Donal Lunny, both members of Planxty, Paddy Glackin, a founding member of The Bothy Band, the ubiquitous Michael McGoldrick, formerly of Lunasa and Capercaillie, and John Doyle who has played with many of the greatest names in Irish music, including Solas, Liz Carroll, Eileen Ivers & Mary Black, not to mention driving the rhythm section of the hugely popular Transatlantic Sessions.

Each member of Usher’s Island is a talented soloist in their own right, but in this new band they offer a blend of old and young and of vocal and instrumental talents that results in exceptional music and dynamic live performances.

We’re now booking a short tour for the band during November 2020 – get in touch to discuss plans.

Video – Live at Shrewsbury Festival:

Introducing The Magpie Arc

The Magpie Arc is a new cross-Border band out of Sheffield and Edinburgh featuring the multi-award-winning talents and wide musical influences of Adam Holmes, Nancy KerrMartin SimpsonTom A Wright (The Albion Band and Ashley Hutchings Morris-On Show) and Alex Hunter (Adam Holmes and The Embers).

There will be new songs. There will be some great (and maybe unusual) covers and there will be reworked traditional songs. There will be folk, and there will very likely be blues. A bit of country, there may even be some rock ‘n’ roll.Whatever happens, it will be a musical mix of everything you could expect from such a line-up, from lush harmonies to intricate electric guitars, gorgeous fiddle lines and rock solid bass and drums.

Writing and rehearsing over the next three months, the band are recording their first album early next year, and this will be released to coincide with summer festivals and an autumn UK tour in 2020.

Great night at the Folk Awards

Congratulations to all the winners and nominees at last night’s BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. Thanks to all involved in making it a great night.

From the ABM agency roster, we are delighted that Dervish were deservedly acknowledged with a Lifetime Achievement Award for their 30 year long contribution to Irish trad. music, and they played a cracking live number too!

More accolades went to the brilliant Ye Vagabonds for Best Trad. Track with The Foggy Dew and Brighde Chaimbeul won The Horizon Award

Here’s to another great year of music making from some brilliant artists.

Cahalen Morrison Joins ABM

Cahalen Morrison has carved out a place for himself as a unique voice in American music. We are thrilled that Cahalen has joined the ABM roster, and equally excited that he has just been confirmed for the 2020 Transatlantic Sessions tour in Jan/Feb – a brilliant launch for his solo UK touring. An insightful and poetic songwriter, a subtle and accomplished roots multi-instrumentalist and a captivating singer, Cahalen will be available for touring and festival bookings in late Spring/early Summer.


RTÉ Announces Shortlist for 2019 Folk Awards

ABM are delighted to hear that Ye Vagabonds have made such a big impact on the shortlist just announced for the RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Awards 2019 taking place in Vicar Street on 24th October, including Best Traditional Folk Track for Bacach Shíol Andaí and The Foggy Dew, Best Folk Album for The Hare’s Lament and Best Folk Group, in the fine company of Dervish. More info here.