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Music Editorial

ouseburnfolk19.jpg Behold! The Ouseburn Folk Festival

If you’re looking for a three-day, multi-venue, festival in September, which is going to be resplendent with gigs, dance, art, film, workshops and a ceilidh, then you’ll need to be making tracks in the direction of Ouseburn.

In August we finally managed to lay our hands on one of the most eagerly awaited releases of the year in the shape of Richard Dawson’s ‘2020’ album. Dawson (pictured), of course, is one of the most feted singer/songwriters in the region and scored a huge critical hit with his astonishing ‘Peasant’ long-player in 2017. And, we’re very pleased to report, his skew-whiff state-of-the-nation newie is every bit its match (it’s due out on 11 October, but you can get a taster on YouTube of ‘Jogger’, just one of the many great songs on it).

And one of the highlights of this new festival is sure to be ‘Myth and Movement’, a special night curated by Dawson. We’re promised an evening of musical, mythical mirth-making, featuring some incredible visiting and homespun performers who each stretch the possibilities of song making into new forms. Among the acts lined up for this night at The Old Coal Yard are Pentecostal Party (enchanting electronic art songs from Dawn Bothwell, one quarter of the brilliant Hen Ogledd), Afework Nigussie (a musician and singer from northern Ethiopia), Mary Hampton (a Brighton based singer/songwriter), Yama Warashi (with her dreamy, evocative sound) and Dawson himself who will be performing with another local hero, Nev Clay.

Another highlight at The Old Coal Yard will be a two-hour choir session with the 2017 BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winner Lucy Farrell. Farrell will also play the ‘Heritage & Habit’ night at The Cumberland Arms alongside Holly & The Reivers (who blend old timey music and folk) and Jim Boyle & Dave Gray (a duo who explore traditional melodies in a contemporary way).

Add in a family ceilidh at Hotspur Primary School, singing sessions, workshops (including clog dancing and spoons), and more besides, and you’ve got the kind of festival that looks set to break down barriers and bring people in who may not have previously thought: folk, that’s for me.

Ouseburn Folk, Friday 20-Sunday 22 September. More info: facebook.com/ouseburnfolk