Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Something to Tempt All Folk

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Something to Tempt All Folk

Article excerpt

Byline: By David Whetstone

This week provides clear evidence of the region's status as a leading light in traditional music, as David Whetstone explains.

Some of folk music's likely stars of the future will be entertaining at The Sage Gateshead throughout this week.

The first intake on Newcastle University's pioneering folk and traditional music degree course ( developed jointly with the Sage ( are nearing the end of their studies.

But the course has a strong performance element so it is only fitting that each student should get a chance to play or sing in front of an audience before being assessed on their efforts over four years.

As you will see if you attend any of the free recitals in Hall Two, many of these young musicians are already accomplished performers. Most will be hoping to earn a living from their music.

For one student, Katie Doherty, winner of the Musicians' Benevolent Fund Award for Song Creation in 2004, a particularly busy week beckons. As well as a student recital on Thursday, she's due to join award-winning folk performer Karine Polwart in a Sage concert tomorrow and also to perform next weekend during the Hexham Gathering.

From today until Friday, 13 students will present 30-minute individual recitals at The Sage Gateshead. That's 15 recitals altogether since Damien O'Kane will play banjo and then guitar, and Rachael McShane is a singer and fiddle player.

The week's programme is:

Today (noon) Lillias Kinsman Blake, flute and fiddle player and member of the group CrossCurrent; (1pm) Laura Thirkell, clog dancer; (2pm) Rachael McShane, main singer, and cellist, with CrossCurrent and a member of Bellowhead, named best live act in the BBC Folk Awards.

Tomorrow (noon) Shona Mooney, fiddler in the tradition of the Scottish Borders, a member of CrossCurrent and with a debut album, Momentum, out next month; (1pm) Roger Purves, mandolin and bouzouki player, member of group Roll A Penny; (2pm) Louisa Kelly, whistle and flute player who took up Northumbrian pipes after embarking on the course.

Wednesday (noon) Damien O'Kane, CrossCurrent member and banjo virtuoso; (1pm) Sophy Ball, fiddler and member of band 422 which is soon to release its third CD; (2pm) Yukhi Ohnogi, Japanese Celtic music performer in the tradition of whistle players Brian Finnegan and Mary Bergin. …

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