“The confident, gutsy guitar, picked or slide, has immediacy and intimacy in equal measure; and Christmas’s urgent, hoarse vocals can’t help but involve the listener in the moods and stories of the songs”
Between 1969 and 1974 Keith Christmas recorded 5 vinyl albums, played 3 tracks on David Bowie’s first album and was booked for the first ever Glastonbury festival.
He released his latest CD ‘Crazy Dancing Days’ in December 2016. Early versions of 8 songs that were posted on the internet have been played over 47,000 times, 14,000 of them an appeal for tolerance to refugees, ‘Cross the Water’.
Solasta are an outstanding new folk ensemble who are fast building a name for themselves with their inventive arrangements, unique
sound and exhilarating live performances.
Comprised of award-winning Scottish fiddler Elisabeth Flett, Welsh cellist Hannah Thomas and English guitarist Jamie Leeming, their dynamic interpretations of Celtic based material are rooted firmly in tradition, whilst incorporating elements from diverse musical worlds including classical, jazz and early music.
Their self-titled EP, released in April 2016, is an excellent showcase of the trio’s rich and unified sound, a seamless blend of each member’s distinct artistic voice. Notable performances include Celtic Connections Festival, closing the 2016 Cecil Sharp House Fiddle Convention, Sidmouth Folk Week (as EFDSS Folk Rising Plus Artists), The Green Note and Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club. They have featured on BBC Radio Wales (Celtic Heartbeat), RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, Resonance FM, and The Irish & Celtic Music Podcast in the USA.
“Utterly superb, breathtakingly good, consummate young musicians with true flair and imagination” Sheena Wellington, Honorary Life Member and Patron of the Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland
Solasta are comprised of award-winning fiddler Elisabeth Flett, cellist Hannah Thomas and guitarist Jamie Leeming. Notable performances include Celtic Connections Festival, Sidmouth Folk Week (EFDSS Folk Rising Plus Artists), Cecil Sharp House, The Green Note and Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club. They feature regularly on folk radio shows and podacsts, including BBC Radio (Celtic Heartbeat and Genevieve Tudor’s Sunday Folk), RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta (ROI), Resonance FM, and The Irish & Celtic Music Podcast (USA).
Each member is an outstanding instrumentalist and sought after performer in their own right. Elisabeth Flett has performed with a variety of bands and ensembles, including folk duo Shamblestone (BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Awards 2017 Semi-Finalist) and sea shanty band The Mead Men, supported bands such as Breabach (Letham Nights, 2013) and won the 2015 London Fiddle Convention Senior Fiddle Championship. Cellist Hannah Thomas regularly performs on the West End production of Wicked, and has played at venues such as the London Palladium and Hackney Empire. Guitarist Jamie Leeming has a host of international tours and recordings to his name, and has performed at venues such as the Hammersmith Apollo and BBC Music Big Weekend.
Solasta are also Live Music Now Musicians providing interactive concerts at care homes, hospitals, SEND schools in and around London.
Solasta’s debut album, “A Cure For The Curious”, is a bold reimagining of Celtic sounds, and a meeting point between virtuosity and curiosity. Firmly rooted in tradition, the trio draw upon elements of classical, jazz and early music in their evocative and exhilarating arrangements. Fiddle, cello and guitar blend together seamlessly, taking the listener on a spellbinding journey from raucous plate smashing at a Greek wedding to the songs of water sprites from the shores of Inishvickalline.
LES BARKER - Let these plaudits speak for themselves.
Les Barker writes strange poems, parodies and monolgues and comes from originally from Manchester, but he's now Welsh. He was an accountant before he became a professional idiot. He's written 85+ books, some in Welsh, which sell in large numbers at his gigs because people don't quite believe what they've just heard. His poems have spawned a number of folk heroes venerated throughout the folk scene in Britain and overseas.
...he may be the best writer of parodies and wordplays that the English-speaking world has ever heard.
-Tom Nelligan, Dirty Linen
There are subtleties which you didn't notice the first time round, and there are clever puns and turns of phrase so good you look forward to hearing them again.
-Caroline Walker, Folk Roots
This man is a genuine genius of comic rhyme who appeals to people of all ages with a truly entertaining family show. I have seen him reduce a whole marquee full of festival goers at Victor Harbor to a mass of helpless laughter and aching sides.
-Ron Ashton, Port Lincoln Times, Australia
Les Barker is the greatest comedy talent we possess....This is probably the funniest tape I have ever heard. He's a master at exploiting the idiosyncracies of the English language, weaving in myth and history to build bizarre stories.
-Agraman, City Life
South Australian newspaper headline
The Lancashire monologist equivalent of Tom Lehrer....Scintillating daftness, absurdity run amok.
-Ken Hunt, Q Magazine
'Mrs Ackroyd Explores her Roots' is not about national or regional identity. Radio 2's gentle, modestly off-the-wall comedy is a discovery...mild-mannered presenter Les Barker blends Edward Lear's nonsense, Stanley Unwin's wordplay, the surreal inconsequentiality of Reeves and Mortimer and the demotic robustness of Stanley Holloway monologues.
-Martin Hoyle, Financial Times
...his jokes, having slipped the surly bonds of earthly logic, go marching on.
-Nick Beale, Folk Roots
The man's a comic genius with a solid presence in folk music and at folk festivals.
Depending on your state of health this man could be a real tonic to your wellbeing or fatal. Mostly he's a ray of sunshine capable of brightening up the darkest day.
He proved a masterful wordsmith, captivating listeners with his quirky verse and playful personality, touching on occasional tables, snails in a fast food restaurant and dachshunds with erections. His gallery of unlikely heroes included Cosmo the fairly accurate knife thrower, Arnold the Armadillo and Spot of the Antarctic. Truly a prince of the pun and sultan of the surreal.
Les Barker proves that poetry can indeed be entertaining,
dazzling the audience at Artworks with poems from his huge range of published works. His cardigan clad, unassuming manner on stage as he peers shyly at the audience through his spectacles, and his
soft Manchester accent delivers the brilliant flow of words and ideas, leaving the listener gasping with laughter.
-Gulf News, New Zealand
At his best, he is an inspired genius. The only man who could produce work to match 'Deja
vu' was the late great Spike Milligan.
...a piquant mix of hard to categorise skewed humour with purple flourishes. Stories of small animals and large furniture...
...a poetic onslaught of humor and thought....able to go bouncing through ludicrous situations.
Les Barker is more than silly; he is probably one of the silliest performers ever to grace Godfrey’s stage, and in a way that only a Brit could be silly. Part poetry, part monologue, but surely one of the most side-splitting evenings you can have. If you enjoy hearing the pun elevated to a true art form, this is the place to be. How can intelligence be so damned funny?
-Mike Space, Godfrey Daniels
Lifetime Achievement Award – BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2014
For more than 50 years Martin Carthy has been one of folk music's greatest innovators, one of its best loved, most enthusiastic and, at times, most quietly controversial of figures. His skill, stage presence and natural charm have won him many admirers, not only from within the folk scene, but also far beyond it.
Trailblazing musical partnerships with, amongst others, Steeleye Span, Dave Swarbrick and his award-winning wife (Norma Waterson) and daughter Eliza Carthy have resulted in more than 40 albums, but Martin has only recorded 10 solo albums, of which the much anticipated Waiting for Angels (Topic TSCD527) was the latest. Whether in the folk clubs (which he continues to champion), on the concert stage or making TV appearances (he was the subject of the acclaimed `Originals' music documentary strand on BBC 2) - there are few roles that Martin Carthy hasn't played.
He's a ballad singer, a ground-breaking acoustic and electric-guitarist and an authoritative interpreter of newly composed material. He always prefers to follow an insatiable musical curiosity rather than cash in on his unrivalled position. Perhaps, most significant of all, are his settings of traditional songs with guitar, which have influenced a generation of artists, including Bob Dylan and Paul Simon, on both sides of the Atlantic.
`Arguably the greatest English folk song performer, writer, collector and editor of them all' Q Magazine
‘Carthy is a master of the ballad of substance, songs that tell stories, whether they are traditional, his own or from contemporary writers.’ The Telegraph