In the new issue of Songlines (August/September #140), I highlighted some artists with forthcoming UK tours in July and August. Download a pdf here.
The California Feetwarmers
Ragtime, banjo stomps, trad jazz
This is feel-good, old-time music; close your eyes and you could easily imagine that you’ve been transported back to 1920s New Orleans with the juicy Dixieland blues and folksy swing this septet conjure up. Their instrumental line-up features sousaphone, banjo and even a washboard and their collaboration with bluesman Keb’ Mo’ – BluesAmericana – won them a Grammy-nomination. Their live shows are great fun – just ask those lucky enough to have caught them at a packed Old Fruitmarket in Glasgow for Celtic Connections in 2015.
This band of friends – their name translates as ‘The Closest Ones’ – are the youngsters of the Touareg rock scene. While their sound might be related to the granddaddies of the desert groove, Tinariwen (Eyadou Ag Leche of Tinariwen is even the cousin to Imarhan frontman Iyad Ag Ibrahim, aka ‘Sadam’), you can expect a more youthful and diverse take on the typical Touareg desert blues sound, with more moods, rhythms and styles. Their live shows are ecstatic, raucous and not to be missed!
Alistair McCulloch Trio
Scottish folk power trio
Featuring Alistair McCulloch on fiddle, Aaron Jones on bouzouki, guitar and vocals and Marc Duff on whistles, this trio blend traditional Scottish music and contemporary sounds. Each musician is well respected within the Scottish folk scene – McCulloch is the fiddle instructor at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Jones is a former Instrumentalist of the Year in the Scot Trad Awards and plays with Old Blind Dogs and Kate Rusby, and Duff is a former member of Gaelic heavyweights Capercaillie – but together they have become known for their boisterous live shows.
Brazilian singer and rabeca player
Rabeca player Renata Rosa has become one of the foremost performers of north-eastern Brazilian music. The rabeca is a rustic fiddle that is associated with forró, ciranda, and coco music. She learned the instrument from master musician Seu Luiz Paixão and she soaks herself in tradition, while also bringing a bit of the vitality of the big city (São Paulo) to her music. Her third album, Encantações, was a Top of the World in #125, and this tour offers a rare chance to catch this spectacular musician live.
Le Vent du Nord
High-energy folk from Québec
Over 17 years, eight albums and an impressive 1,800 live shows, this Québécois group – recently expanded to a quintet – have been keeping the French-Canadian tradition alive. Their sound is a mixture of whirling hurdy-gurdy, fiddle, bouzouki, Jew’s harp and mandolin, all of which supports their superb call-and-response vocals. An engaging live band, Le Vent du Nord are summer festival favourites and are well worth seeing again and again and again…