Global Traditions: Flook and Urban Folk Quartet
The Bradshaw Hall, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire
Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, 200 Jennens Road, B4 7XR
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Photo © Naoki Fujioka
An epic double header of FLOOK and URBAN FOLK QUARTET
Urban Folk Quartet will be launching their eagerly awaited 7th album before the iconic Flook bring their virtuosity to the stage for the first time at RBC. We are delighted to be able to present these legends of the Irish and British folk scene.
“Virtuoso playing abounds … the most creative bodhran player on the planet … superb technique plus a genuine feel and some stonking tunes is a powerful recipe” MOJO
Brian Finnegan whistles and flutes
Sarah Allen flutes and accordion
Ed Boyd guitar
John Joe Kelly bodhrán
“Four brilliant musicians. Four times as much brilliant music” Time Out
Taking inspiration from their roots in the Irish and English traditions, Flook have an enviable trademark sound, weaving and spinning traditionally rooted tunes over precise acoustic grooves, with a rare blend of fiery technical brilliance, delicate ensemble interaction and a bold, adventurous musical imagination. There is certainly no shortage of virtuosity amongst the members of Flook, but the unique impact of this band stems from the wholly intuitive, almost symbiotic, exchange between the various flutes, frets and skins.
"Head and shoulders above the rest... Magnificent" The Irish Times
More than twenty-five years after their first gig together, Flook continue to inspire and enchant audiences of all ages. Their most recent album ‘Ancora', released in 2019 to critical acclaim and nominated for BBC Folk Album of the year, clearly demonstrates that, with their roots firmly anchored in the tradition, Flook still hold fast to their reputation as major musical innovators.
Urban Folk Quartet (special album launch show)
"Seriously exceptional musicians" R2
“One of the tightest line-ups I have ever seen.” Songlines
In an age where the word “folk” encompasses everything from acoustic pop to hardcore traditional music, the use of such labels to distinguish one musical experience from another has arguably been stretched further than ever.
The Urban Folk Quartet’s distinguishing features have much less to do with the traditional idea of genre. Yes, this is fiddle-led music that draws heavily from celtic dance forms and traditional song but from there on in it is unlike any folk band you have ever heard. Just as English country dance unassumingly met with big band jazz musicianship in the mid 20th century, The UFQ’s approach to the folk ethos is to embrace any and every influence that genuinely makes sense of their time and place and makes sense in their music. From funk grooves to middle-eastern melodies, afrobeat to north Indian rhythms.
The first of those phenomenal fiddlers is Galician Paloma Trigás, who has shared stages and recorded with with the likes of The Chieftains, Sharon Shannon and Altan, during her tenure touring the stadiums of the world with Spain’s biggest folk star, Carlos Nuñez. The second is Joe Broughton (Albion Band, Bellowhead, Joss Stone) long established on the folk scene as the fieriest English fiddler and showman of his generation. Also an exceptional guitarist and mandolin player, in UFQ Joe deftly shares multi-instrumentalist duties (often mid-song) with Dan Walsh. Touted as one of the finest banjo players in the country as well as a gifted singer and guitarist, Dan (Seth Lakeman Band, The Levellers, Walsh & Pound) joined UFQ in 2014. The line up is completed by Tom Chapman, (Jacqui McShee's Circle, While & Matthews, Russell & Algar) widely considered to be the most accomplished and innovative cajonero the UK has to offer.
With the vibrant and diverse Birmingham music scene as a fundamental influence, UFQ is a truly international band. Foreign touring and globally- influenced music have been at the heart of what they do since day one, when in June 2009 their first four gigs took place in four different countries.
Since then UFQ’s trail has blazed across the world, playing everything from secluded coves to 30,000 capacity festival fields, igniting audiences and winning them a devoted fan base from The Bay of Biscay to edge of The North Pacific. UFQ's cross-genre appeal sees them occupying a singular position, crossing scenes and continents and sharing bills with the most eclectic range of artists.
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Forthcoming events in Global Traditions
Forthcoming dates will be announced soon.