LIVE REVIEW: Ouseburn Folk Festival @ The Old Coal Yard, Newcastle (20.09.19) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Richard Dawson & Nev Clay

Tonight feels like an incredibly special occasion before a note is even played; the line-up consists of a beautifully curated array of artists who can all be seen to embody ‘folk’ music, given its malleable definition. It is music of place, of circumstance and of perspective that draws all of these wonderfully disparate artists together.

Pentecostal Party opens proceedings; Dawn Bothwell’s melodic, intricate, electronic music washes over the venue like a warm bath and feels just as salubrious. Richard Dawson and Nev Clay’s song share is something truly memorable, with their friendship lending itself to excellent anecdotes. Nev plays a tear-inducingly beautiful version of Gracious in Defeat while Richard’s versions of Jogging, Two Halves and the Bangles’ Eternal Flame – a humourous and heart-breaking curveball – are demonstrative of an artist and a performer at the peak of his powers.

Afework Nigussie (who supported Richard on the Peasant tour in 2017) hails from Gondar in Northern Ethiopia. His percussive, passionate music is completely hypnotic, it moves the feet and lifts the soul. Mary Hampton is hushed and plaintive by comparison, but her beautiful, idiosyncratic take on English folk music is reminiscent of Linda Perhacs and Shirley Collins. Yama Washari bring the evening to a dreamy psychedelic conclusion, recalling the likes of Broadcast, free jazz and Japanese folk music, filtered through Yoshino Shigihara’s unique set of melodic sensibilities.

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