All this and Bagpuss too…
I love the atmosphere in and about Hartlepool when this wonderful festival rolls in to town. With singarounds and shanties around every corner there’s a special feeling in the place that is utterly infectious. And they’ve got a stunning line-up this year. Among the highlights is ‘East’ a new project from folk royalty, Martin and Eliza Carthy (pictured). Featuring Sheema Mukherjee, Barney Morse Brown and dancer Ewan Wardrop, it celebrates tunes and songs from the East of England, as well as extending further East via Sheema’s sitar-playing and arrangements.
And then there is Peggy Seeger. Sister of Pete Seeger and partner of the late Ewan MacColl, she has carved a special niche for herself in the UK and the US. Her sets typically see her singing an unaccompanied traditional ballad, followed by a tall tale about a circus act, followed by a topical song.
One of the most eagerly awaited shows this year is sure to come from the multi-winning Rura, one of Scotland’s most sought-after folk-based bands. Their exquisitely rugged yet refined blend of fiddle, Highland pipes, flutes, bodhran and guitar has won them a devoted following right around the world.
Making his first appearance at the festival is writer and performer John Hegley. His chaotic comedy, rapport with an audience, and hilarious struggle with words, make him a superb live performer. He will be bringing his skilled wordsmithery to his own songs and will be accompanied by fiddler Eleanor Moreton.
Other stand-outs include The Wilsons (the festival would not be complete without them), Kathryn Roberts & Sean Wakeman (this husband and wife team have twice won Best Duo at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards) and Iona Fyfe (this young lass has become one of Scotland’s finest young ballad singers).
Me? I’ll be making a bee-line for Bagpuss: The Songs and Music with Sandra Kerr and John Faulkner who wrote and performed on the iconic children’s show (and provided the voices for Madeline the Ragdoll and Gabriel the Toad).
Full programme from the website, below.Hartlepool Folk Festival, Friday 18-Sunday 20 October, various venues. hartlepoolfolkfest.co.uk