February 2024: Downend Folk & Roots Preview




Two of the most recognisable faces from the UK folk scene come together in a new partnership to headline Downend Folk & Roots concert this month.

SykesMartin is the new collaboration from two of the UK’s finest folk singers. Miranda Sykes (Show of Hands) and Hannah Martin (Edgelarks, Gigspanner Big Band, Saltlines) draw on the tradition to form a set of songs that celebrate the power of two voices singing in harmony. Double bass, fiddle, banjo and guitars all come together around the duo’s vocal arrangements, taking their deep knowledge of roots music, adding a contemporary twist, and then singing these old songs back to their heart. Delivering beautiful ballads and rousing chorus songs, this set showcases two mesmerising storytellers joining voices to create a spine tingling testimonial to our shared musical heritage.

“As soon as you see the names Miranda Sykes and Hannah Martin together you’re excited. Two of the finest voices on the contemporary folk scene, this is elemental modern folk song,” said Songlines magazine.

Opening the evening will be Holly Clarke, a singer who draws from the old ballads and stories, conjures a performance that immediately captivates any listener.

As a performer, Holly transports the listener into the heart of ballads, immersing them in the narratives that have shaped humanities experience through time. From songs of the supernatural and folklore, to the tales of love and loss, Holly Clarke sings with an infectious energy and passion for traditional song.

Rising in popularity among folk audiences and performing with the likes of Nancy Kerr and James Fagan, Queer Folk, Holly Clarke has made a name for herself as a powerful singer and accomplished guitar player. Performing at festivals and venues such as Sage Gateshead, Sidmouth Folk Festival, Bromyard Folk Festival, Tiree Music Festival, The Fire Station Sunderland and many, many more.

Tickets for the concert, which takes place at Christ Church Downend on Friday 19 January 2023, are available online at downendfolkandroots.com and from Melanie’s Kitchen in Downend (cash only). They are priced at £14 each in advance or £16 on the door. Doors open at 7.00pm and the entertainment starts around 7.45pm.

There will be a bar, stocking cider, soft drinks, wine, hot drinks and real ale from locally-based Hop Union Brewery. Audience members are encouraged to bring their own glass/mug/tankard, as well as reusable bottles for water, as part of the drive to be more environmentally aware; there is a 50p discount for those that do. There will also be sweet treats available at the bar courtesy of the Radstock-based Great Cake Company, as well as a prize draw, which helps to fund the support artists for each concert. For further information, please email info@downendfolkandroots.com, visit downendfolkandroots.com or find them on social media.