In an age where the word “folk” encompasses everything from Laura Marling to traditional music (and no-one is quite sure just where to put Mumford And Sons anymore), the use of labels to distinguish differing musical experiences has been stretched to breaking point.
Although the fiddle-led music of the Urban Folk Quartet draws heavily on Celtic dance and traditional song, their distinguishing features have much less to do with the traditional than the contemporary. Their approach to the folk ethos is to embrace any and every influence that makes sense in their music, from funk grooves to Middle-Eastern melodies, Afrobeat to North Indian rhythms. Writing in Songlines, Olivia Houghton calls the band “a sizzling hot ensemble who fuse folk with elements of dub, house and rock….built on the rhythms of a cajón-wielding percussionist and oud-playing bassist, led by two phenomenal fiddlers.”
The first of those phenomenal fiddlers is Galician Paloma Trigás, who has shared stages and recorded with The Chieftains, Sharon Shannon and Altan during her tenure with Spain’s biggest folk star, Carlos Nuñez. The second is Joe Broughton (Albion Band), long established on the folk scene as a fiery English fiddle-player, guitarist and mandolin player, who shares multi-instrumentalist duties (often mid-song) with Dan Walsh (Seth Lakeman, The Levellers), one of the finest banjo players in the country as well as a gifted singer and guitarist. The line-up is completed by Tom Chapman, widely regarded as the most accomplished and innovative cajonero in the UK.
Since forming in 2009, The Urban Folk Quartet’s genre-defying, all-embracing approach to folk music has captivated audiences in high-energy performances across the world – their first four gigs took place in four different countries and with the vibrant and diverse Birmingham music scene as a starting point, they are a truly international band, with globally-influenced music at the heart of everything they do. Five albums in, their latest is this year’s The Escape, a new studio album and the first to feature Dan Walsh.
This gig is presented by Glovebox.
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