GUESTS for 2020 include: Gatehouse – Crows – Nick Dow – Alan Reid – Jock Tamson’s Ideal Band – Heather Yule – Jane Cassidy & Maurice Leyden -Dougie Mackenzie & Brian Miller – Derek Williamson – Peter & Barbara Snape – Rachel Garvey – Jacinta McEvoy, John Wynne, John McEvoy – Mick Ryan & Pete Harris, Paul Downes, Dave Bordewey – Airghioila – Creel – Rosie Lindsay – Bob Knight – Graham Carter – Bill Adair. We have two underlying themes for the festival in 2020. These are ‘Travellers & Gypsies’ and ‘Musical links between Scotland and Ireland’ including a focus on ‘the tattiehowkers’.
Gatehouse are a relatively new, Irish traditional group boasting an exciting line up of experienced traditional musicians including singer Rachel Garvey, Jacinta McEvoy on guitar and concertina, John McEvoy on fiddle and mandolin and John Wynne on flutes and whistles.
Gaining inspiration from the rich history and beautiful hinterland of Lough Key Forest Park, Gatehouse take their name from the ‘Tiara’ gate lodge, situated at the entrance to the Rockingham Estate near Boyle, Co. Roscommon. They are a relatively new, Irish traditional group boasting an exciting line up of experienced traditional musicians including singer Rachel Garvey, Jacinta McEvoy on guitar and concertina, John McEvoy on fiddle and mandolin and John Wynne on flutes and whistles. The two Johns go back along way and with Jacinta McEvoy performed for many years as a trio. However, they were keen to develop their sound and move things forward while at the same time remaining true to the tradition.
This information is from Gatehouse “The trio were delighted when Rachel Garvey, one of the finest interpreters of traditional songs, agreed to join and so Gatehouse was born. Although our focus initially was on the music of North Connaught, we are constantly expanding our repertoire with new songs and compositions, along with a sprinkling of other influences wrapped in sensitive and tasteful innovation. Following the release of our highly acclaimed debut album, Tús Nua in 2016, the band has gone from strength to strength, performing at venues and festivals in Ireland, Denmark, Norway and the UK as well as on live TV. Encouraged by this success we decided to make our second CD ‘Heather Down the Moor’. On Heather Down the Moor we present more intricate arrangements and have developed our sound with the help John Joe Kelly on Bodhrán, Alan Kelly on Piano Accordion, Michael McCague on Bouzouki and Conor & Paddy McEvoy on Fiddle & Piano. Heather down the Moor was co-produced with Dónal O’Connor. We are excited about introducing new listeners to traditional music and song and hope you enjoy our unique approach to blending the old with the new.”
‘Crows’ feature some of the finest male voices in the English folk tradition, giving a unique blend of power, warmth and harmony … and also provide masterly musicianship enabling the band to give a wide variety of instrumentation to any song they choose to perform.
Dave Bordewey, Mick Ryan, Pete Harris and Paul Downes have reunited to reform the hugely popular 1980’s group ‘Crows’ and feature some of the finest male voices in the English folk tradition, giving a unique blend of power, warmth and harmony. ‘Crows’ also provide masterly musicianship enabling the band to give a wide variety of instrumentation to any song they choose to perform.
Paul Downes: English folk guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, singer and composer. Has worked with a wide variety of different members of the UK folk scene including Phil Beer, Steve Knightley, Arizona Smoke Review, Joyce Gang, Show of Hands, Jon Benns, Mick Ryan, Joe Stead and diverse other members of the 1970s & 1980s folk and country scene.
Dave Bordewey: Dave Bordewey has been involved with folk music for more years than he cares to remember. His roots are firmly in the tradition of the British Isles, from his first folk group at university with Tim Laycock, moving on to be a resident singer at Cecil Sharp House folk club, Dingles and Camden Town folk clubs and then as multi-instrumentalist with the band Crows throughout the 1980s. Dave Young became interested in folk music at the age of 18, having seen a local Morris side performing outside a local pub in Surrey. The following year he joined Cup Hill Morris Men first as a dancer, and later learnt the melodeon and anglo-concertina. He also played with several barn-dance bands in the South-East of England, before moving to Malvern in 2000.
Mick Ryan: is well known on the folk scene as a fine singer of traditional and original songs He was described by “Folk Roots” as ‘definitely the most underrated singer in the country.’ Having written both comic and serious material for the very popular band “Crows” in the 1980’s, he has since written for radio and a series of highly successful folk musicals: ‘A Tollpuddle Man’ (with Graham Moore); ‘A Day’s Work’ ; ‘The Voyage’; ‘Tanks for the Memory’ and, recently, ‘The Navvy’s Wife.’
Traditional Folk singer and song-collector for over Forty years. His guitar playing is impecable and vocal rendition is effortless.
Nick Dow is an all-round professional folk singer and folklorist, singing and researching English and Irish traditional songs, taught and encouraged by traditional singers from Dorset and Lancashire as well as singers from the travelling people. He also builds and restores gypsy wagons. Nick is an acknowledged expert on West Country folk song. Together with his wife Mally, has collected over 300 songs in Dorset, and discovered singers in Lancashire & Essex. He has also made recordings of gypsy singers, some of which have been included on Topic Records ’The Voice of the People’. Nick has lived an amazing life, travelling half way round the world, living on the road with the travelling folk and learning their songs, working as a TV and Film Extra, broadcaster, Narrowboat painter, writer, Folklorist, Guitar Teacher General Dealer. Every song Nick sings has a story attached to it, and his gigs are as informative as they are entertaining. As a guitar-accompanied singer, he sounds startlingly like Nic Jones, unaccompanied, he’s really a good and interesting singer.
JANE CASSIDY & MAURICE LEYDEN
JANE CASSIDY: Born in Kilkeel, Co Down and now living in Belfast, Jane has been performing traditional and self-penned folk-songs since the late 1970s, appearing with her brother Frank on the seminal TV series ‘As I Roved Out’. During the 1980s Jane toured extensively in Europe and released 3 albums, a single and 2 cassettes of children’s songs which she wrote for the UTV children’s series ‘Swings & Roundabouts’. She collaborates with her husband Maurice in writing and performing shows combining folk-song and history. The best known of these tells the story of Belfast woman ‘Mary Ann McCracken.
MAURICE LEYDEN: A native of Cookstown, Co Tyrone, Maurice has lived in Belfast since the late 1960s. He is a passionate researcher and collector of traditional Ulster folk-songs and has published 2 books, ‘Belfast City of Song’ and ‘Boys and Girls Come Out To Play’ each accompanied by a tape of selected songs. He is an accomplished singer of traditional songs and is much in demand for his ‘singing lectures’, one of which he gave in the Library of Congress in Washington. He is a familiar voice on the NI airwaves, having presented the Downtown Radio series ‘Folkal Point’ for 14 years.
Alan was a vital member of Scotland’s legendary folk group Battlefield Band for 40 years. His groundbreaking keyboard work helped cement the band’s reputation as one of the most influential of its generation, while his songs steadily gained admirers.
Alan was a vital member of Scotland’s legendary folk group Battlefield Band for 40 years. His groundbreaking keyboard work helped cement the band’s reputation as one of the most influential of its generation, while his songs steadily gained admirers. From beautiful ballads to a musical cycle on the life and times of Scots born sailor John Paul Jones Alan has forged a reputation for composing songs with beguiling melodies and strong historical content. He was nominated in the 2009 Scots Tradition Awards in the ‘Composer of the Year’ category. With the ’Batties’ Alan recorded almost 30 albums, won awards and toured all over the world, appearing at festivals in North America, Europe and Australia and New Zealand. His contribution to the band’s story has helped enshrine its stature in Scottish culture, confirmed when the band was inaugurated int the Scots Traditional Music Hall of Fame in 2016. He has written songs for several drama pieces, one of which was featured in the National Theatre of Scotland’s 2014 powerful production ‘Glasgow Girls’. He has been a regular teacher of Scots song at the prestigious Swannanoa Gathering in North Carolina.
PETER and BARBARA SNAPE
Peter and Barbara Snape have a great love of traditional British folk music especially that of the north of England where they live. Their songs and music offer a refreshing and individual approach which effortlessly embraces the carefully researched repertoire of material they love performing. They are convivial company, a proven quality act and a close-knit partnership that’s fully assured in its research, preparation and performance, and deservedly popular with audiences.
JOCK TAMSON’S IDEAL BAND
Jock Tamson’s Ideal Band needs a bit of explanation. The phrase ‘We are all Jock Tamson’s Bairns’ is well known in Scotland. This is interpreted in a metaphorical sense as a statement of egalitarian sentiments equivalent to “we’re all the same under the skin” or “we are all God’s children”. There is a Girvan link in that Jock Thomson was a Minister from Dailly in 1800. He later moved to Duddingston near Edinburgh and became the most famous minister of the local Kirk, holding the post from 1808 to 1840. One version attributing the origin of the adage to Thomson is that his first wife died after they had five children, he then married a widow who already had five children, and this second marriage produced another four children. When his wife then made introductions to visitors and tried to explain which family the various children belonged to, Thomson would interrupt her with the statement that “They’re a’ Jock Thomson’s bairns”. In folk music circles there is an obvious similarity in name to the much loved and missed folk group, Jock Tamson’s Bairns – but Girvan’s ‘Ideal Band’ will bring together musicians and singers from our extensive guest list as part of our ‘Kist of Riches’ concert. It will be a unique gathering.
Heather is a long established accredited member of the Scottish Storytelling Directory and has travelled all over Scotland and abroad, including Iceland, Norway, Poland and North America, performing, teaching and leading workshops.
Heather Yule grew up surrounded by storytelling, music, theatre and literature. When she was seven years old her mother, Dr Barbara McDermitt, began her PhD on folk narrative at Edinburgh University. Over the following years Heather was very fortunate to be taken by her mother on numerous recording trips. These included visiting the Gaelic tradition bearer Nan MacKinnon on the island of Vatersay in the Outer Hebrides; the master storytellers from the Scottish Traveller tradition, such as Stanley Robertson, Duncan Williamson and Betsy Whyte; and the Appalachian storyteller Ray Hicks in the USA. As a teenager, Heather began learning the clarsach (Scottish traditional harp) and later started to develop her own unique way of combining traditional storytelling with this instrument. Heather is a long established accredited member of the Scottish Storytelling Directory and has travelled all over Scotland and abroad, including Iceland, Norway, Poland and North America, performing, teaching and leading workshops.
DOUGIE MACKENZIE & BRIAN MILLER
Brian Miller is one of the stalwarts of the Scottish Folk scene coming to prominence initially as a member of The Laggan, and still a member of The Stars Band with Arthur Johnstone and Charlie Soane.
Airghioila, are three traditional musicians from the East Area of Ireland that broadly included parts of Co Louth, Co Monaghan and County Armagh.
Airghioila, are three traditional musicians from the East Area of Ireland that broadly included parts of Co Louth, Co Monaghan and County Armagh. They take their name from the Irish spelling of that area; the anglicised version of the name would probably be Oriel. The musicians are Johnny Gray on fiddle, Ian Sheckleton on button box and Gearaidh Matthews on guitar. They made a huge impression when they visited the festival in 2019, playing in sessions and also in the Invitation Concert. We are delighted to include them among our guests for 2020.
Creel are an exciting new band from Oban. Mixing classic Scots song with the best of West Coast Ceilidh sound.
Creel are an exciting new band from Oban. Mixing classic Scots song with the best of West Coast Ceilidh sound. Creel are as happy singing heartfelt songs from our tradition as they are to have you on your feet through the night. Rosie Lindsay on voice/piano, John Mackinnon on accordion/craic, David Duncan on vocals/whistles/bouzouki and Heather Fothergill on voice/guitar.
Rosie Lindsay …. (Text still to be uploaded to the website)
Bob Knight …. (Text still to be uploaded to the website)
Bill Adair …. (Text still to be uploaded to the website)
Graham Carter …. (Text still to be uploaded to the website)