St Albans Concert and Ninebarrow on Countryfile

On Friday 26 March at 8.00pm, Folk at the Maltings, St Albans presents an online concert with Lizzy Hardingham plus New Roots finalists Cathy Bennett and Robbie Sherratt.

Hertfordshire-based based folk musician and songstress, Lizzy Hardingham, is a powerhouse performer with “beautifully delivered songs that sing straight to the heart”. 2019 saw her storm the UK folk club and festival scene, including Cambridge Folk Festival, while in 2020 she captivated online audiences with “a voice that could fill a stadium and the sensitivity to bring a room to attentive silence”. Having recently been nominated for Fatea’s Female Artist of the year, Lizzy is currently being mentored by Young’uns Michael Hughes under the English Folk Expo artist mentoring programme and working on “firmly nailing her place as one of the rising stars of the folk scene”.

Cathy Bennett sings a mixture of traditional and recently composed songs in both Cornish and English and also plays the viola, sometimes using it to accompany her singing.

Robbie Sherratt is a fiddle player from the Staffordshire Moorlands. His debut album ‘Provenance’ draws from traditional music and melodies in and around his home county.

Tickets are £10 for individuals, £15 for two people using the same device, and £20 for three or more people using the same device. Concessions are £8, £12 for two people sharing the same device and £15 for three or more. www.ticketsource.co.uk/stalbansfolkmusic

And on Sunday 28 March at 6pm, Dorset duo Ninebarrow (Jon Whitley and Jay LaBouchardiere) are due to appear on BBC-1’s flagship rural affairs programme Countryfile.

Jon and Jay hard at work planting their woodland

To celebrate the recent release of their fabulous new album ‘A Pocket Full of Acorns’ and tying in with the arboreal title of the recording, Jon and Jay decided to set about redressing their touring carbon footprint by planting the Ninebarrow Woodland on three acres of land near Gillingham in north Dorset – no mean feat as it numbered 1,000 native English trees (including 500 oaks) and 200 shrubs.

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The new album ‘A Pocketful of Acorns’

Supported by a 75% grant from The Woodland Trust as part of their MOREwoods initiative and 25% from a crowdfunder, the project also ties in with the Plant Britain campaign, a two year challenge launched by BBC Countryfile, aimed at getting the nation planting in the light of climate change. www.plantbritain.co.uk/

The album’s title track was triggered by the inspirational true story of Newcastle-on-Tyne born Vice-Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood, Lord Nelson’s second-in-command at the Battle of Trafalgar.

At the time of the Napoleonic Wars, the grand ships of the Royal Navy were built from mighty oaks and became concerned that forests were being depleted. Fearful for the future of the Navy and the nation he took to carrying acorns in his pockets, planting them in suitable places as he went on his rambles. Says Jay: “The story really touched us. The notion of using one’s time on earth to help secure a future for those who come after us seems to have been lost in modern times.”

Nominated for the coveted Horizon award (Best Emerging Act) at the 2017 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards thepair have carved themselves a distinctive niche on the folk roots scene for their outstanding harmonies, high production values, and engaging original songs.

Says Jon: “Our music will always be inspired by the incredible landscape and history of our native Dorset as well as our sense of home and belonging. But these days we can’t help but be moved by the many changes happening to our planet and society – we hope this fourth studio album reflects that.”

PS. Don’t forget the clocks go forward at 01.00am on Sunday 28 March – I’d hate you to miss something you were looking forward to.

Stay safe and keep supporting live music.

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