Spotlight On: Paper Aeroplanes

Paper AeroplanesPhoto courtesy of Paper Aeroplanes

I have a confession to make, I’ve had the Paper Aeroplanes on my radar for a while (no pun intended) but I’m only just realising just what a tragedy it is to not have shared them with you earlier! This is some serious ear candy. But let me start at the beginning.

As with all good heart-rending, deep and emotionally layered music, the story begins with vocalist Sarah Howells experiencing a great personal loss and her subsequent journey leading her to meet guitarist Richard Lewellyn leading them to begin working together from as early as 2005. It wasn’t until 2009 that the Paper Aeroplanes actually formed as their musical journey brought them into the folk-tinged spectrum and since then, they have released 2 albums and 3 EPs. However their third album Little Letters just came out on both iTunes and Amazon – so something tells me I have a whole lot of back catalog to track down.

Cue their live performances. They are currently wrapping up a tour of the UK and I managed to catch them in London last week (review to come) but I can share that they have a repertoire that will create an engaging and at times theatrical experience for any audience member. They can move from the familiarity of the folk-pop end through sometimes country-esque sounds and in to true ballads and laments and back out the other side to an indie-folk crescendo. Their maturity of sound shows evidence that they’re inspired by the likes of Laura Veirs, Bjork, Jeff Buckley, Gillian Welch, Everything but the Girl and Lucinda Williams.

With their evident evolution through each recording, the Paper Aeroplanes are are duo (currently touring with band) that should definitely be watched. They are the kind of act that would be at home in an intimate venue as well as on a main stage of a large summer festival.

Country of Origin: Wales, UK
File Under: Indie-Folk or Folk-pop
Sounds Like: The Verses meets Lisa Mitchell and the Cranberries
Facebook: facebook.com/paperaeroplanesmusic
Website: www.paperaeroplanesmusic.com
Soundcloud: soundcloud.com/paper-aeroplanes

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 22nd March

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– New Sydney gypsy folk duo Betty & Oswald have a bunch of local dates over the coming weeks. Details here

– Made up of half of Brisbane-based celtic band Súnas, Two Crows are a brand new duo project and have a bunch of east coast dates coming up. Details here

– For the second year in a row Fanny Lumsden is going to the country in April for a tour of country halls. Details here

– Melbourne-based experimental vocal trio Aluka have announced a debut album and upcoming tour. Details here

– Melbourne trio The Walters have released the new animated video for their single “Bring Me Water”. Details here

– We’re big fans of “Pot Of Honey” the new single and video from The Mid-North. Details here

– The JamGrass Music Festival folks posted a bunch of videos on their Youtube channel from 2012 and we’ve selected a couple to embed on the blog. Details here

– Aussie supergroup The Hillybilly Killers – Bill Chambers, Tim Rogers and Catherine Britt – have an east coast tour planned for March and April. Details here

– One of our favourite regular folk nights, Sydney’s Little Features, is back for 2013 with an awesome lineup this Saturday – Jacob Pearson, Charlie Gradon, Arbori, Mimi Gilbert and Achoo! Bless You. Details here

Bluesfest, which is just a week away, has added a handful of artists to its lineup and a brand new venue. Details here

– Sydney’s Boy Outside has teased his new single ahead of a launch this April. Details here

Skipping Girl Vinegar have released their new video “Making Our Way” ahead of their appearance at Bluesfest next week. Details here

Stu Larsen and Natsuki Kurai are teaming together for a national tour this April. Details here

Interviews

“It’s kind of getting to a – kind of – a really good stage at the moment. We’re recording another album, a new album and that just – everything’s just kind of falling into place a bit. It’s not like – it all feels nice. Everyone, the vibes are great, you know. Like anything it’s hard work, but all the hard work got a lot of return”Bobby Alu chats to Janine Estoesta. Interview here

“I think the thing with this record, Sugaring Season, is there are no bells and whistles, there are no tricks and gadgets. It’s probably one of the most straight ahead records I’ve ever made. It’s also one of the deepest records I’ve ever made – and I’m not entirely sure what I mean by that. It’s not like I’ve reinvented the wheel or anything but I’ve got rid of anything extraneous”Beth Orton chats to Gareth Hugh Evans. Interview here

Blog

“It’s St Patrick’s Day again and like good folkies we’re celebrating with a few pints of the black stuff and more jigs and reels than you can poke a bodhrán at. And of course St Patrick’s day means our traditional St Patrick’s playlist. This year we’ve taken the playlist “in house” (after a couple of years of guest writers) to bring you some of our favourite contemporary Irish singer-songwriters, bands and artists. Enjoy your day and enjoy the music” – St Patrick’s Day playlist by Gareth Hugh Evans. Blog here

“There’s nowhere near enough room here to list the richness of Warren’s contribution to Australia’s culture. That contribution will be formally recognised at this year’s National Folk Festival with a preview showing of Larrikin Lad, a one-hour biographical documentary about Warren, produced by by Rebel Penfold Russell, Pat Fiske and Adam Bayliss” – Peter Logue talks about the upcoming documentary on Australian legend Warren Fahey, Larrikin Lad. Blog here

Reviews

Recordings

“This trio are truly delightful and charming to watch and listening to the tad bits of stories about lady dance troupes, playing alongside Rage Against the Machine, a kidnapped tram, remind me of the extra features parts you get with the latest movie you purchase on DVD”Nikita Andrea reviews Most Requested: Live 2009 – 2012 from The Little Stevies. Review here

Gigs

“The joys of social media, a couple of weeks ago I stumbled across an unassuming Facebook event for ‘Wales @ Cecil Sharp House’. I’ve been to Wales and liked it, and I live in London, so it seemed a good combination to investigate”KTBell reviews Wales in London at the Cecil Sharp House, London. Review here

“I think the band were as surprised as we were. I think they are every night. In 1979, when she recorded her first album, producers Lenny Waronker and Russ Titelman told the top-class session musicians they’d hired just to follow her lead”JDX and Serena Skye review Rickie Lee Jones at The Old Museum, Brisbane. Review here

Releases This Week

Child Ballads
Child BalladsAnaïs Mitchell and Jefferson Hamer
iTunes

Tooth and Nail
Tooth & NailBilly Bragg
iTunes

Back on the Milks
Back on the MilksThe Starry Field
iTunes

Gigs Next Week

Betty & Oswald
Monday 25th March – 505, Surry Hills, NSW

Breaking Hart Benton
Friday 22nd March – The Empress Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 24th March – The Wheatsheaf Hotel, Adelaide, SA

Brighter Later
Sunday 24th March – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC

Counting Crows
Wednesday 27th March – QPAC Concert Hall, Brisbane, QLD

Communion Melbourne feat. Jack Donne, I, a Man, Kathryn Rollins, House of Laurence, Mustered Courage
Sunday 24th March – The Toff in Town, Melbourne, VIC

Dave Di Marco
Friday 22nd March – The Brewery, Byron Bay, NSW
Saturday 23rd March – The Loft, Gold Coast, QLD
Sunday 24th March – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD

Damien Dempsey
Tuesday 26th March – The Entertainment Centre, Darwin, NT
Wednesday 27th March – The Contemporary Arts Centre, Cairns, QLD
Thursday 28th March – The Old Museum, Brisbane, QLD

Don’t Mention The Wall
Friday 22nd March – Springwood, NSW (house concert)
Thursday 28th March – Newcastle University, NSW (lunchtime show)

Eli Wolfe
Friday 22nd March – The Armidale Club, Armidale, NSW
Saturday 23rd March – 5 Church Street, Bellingen, NSW

Glen Hansard and The Frames with Lisa Hannigan
Saturday 23rd March – Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne, VIC
Monday 25th March – Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW
Tuesday 26th March – Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW
Friday 29th March – BluesFest, Byron Bay, NSW

Jack Carty and Jordan Millar
Friday 22nd March – The Workers Club, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 23rd March – The Loft, Warrnambool, VIC
Sunday 24th March – The Grace Emily, Adelaide, SA
Thursday 28th March – Manhattans Wine Bar, Launceston, TAS

Jake Shimabukuro
Wednesday 27th March – Powerhouse, Brisbane, QLD

Jordie Lane
Friday 22nd to Saturday 23rd March – Yackandandah Folk Festival, Yackandandah, VIC
Sunday 24th March – Hills Are Alive Festival, South Gippsland, VIC
Tuesday 26th March – Lizottes Central Coast, Dee Why, NSW w/ Ruthie Foster
Wednesday 27th March – Lizottes Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW w/ Ruthie Foster
Thursday 28th March – Memorial Hall, Bellingen, NSW w/ Ruthie Foster
Friday 29th March to Monday 1st April – National Folk Festival, Canberra, ACT

Little Features feat. Jacob Pearson, Charlie Gradon, Arbori, Mimi Gilbert, Achoo! Bless You
Saturday 23rd March – Hibernian House, Sydney, NSW

Luka Bloom
Friday 22nd March – Wrest Point Showroom, Hobart, TAS
Saturday 23rd March – National Theatre, Melbourne, VIC
Monday 25th March – The Tivoli, Brisbane, QLD
Thursday 28th March – The J, Noosa, QLD

Michael Kiwanuka
Tuesday 26th March – St Michael’s Church, Melbourne, VIC
Wednesday 27th March – St Stephen’s Uniting Church, Sydney, NSW

MoFo feat. The Underscore Orkestra and Chaika
Friday 22nd March – The Gaelic Club, Sydney, NSW

Nick and Liesl
Sunday 24th March – Gratitude Day, Coffs Harbour, NSW

Passenger
Sunday 24th March – The Playhouse Theatre, Hobart, TAS
Wednesday 27th March – Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide, SA

Patrick James
Saturday 23rd March – Baby Black Cafe, Baccus Marsh, VIC
Sunday 24th March – The Workers Club, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 29th March – The Front, Canberra, ACT

Paul Brady
Friday 22nd March – The Fly By Night, Perth, WA
Sunday 24th March – Brunswick Music Festival, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 28th March – The Irish Club, Brisbane, QLD

Paul Simon with Rufus Wainwright
Wednesday 27th March – Entertainment Centre, Adelaide, SA
Thursday 28th March – Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, VIC

Seth Lakeman
Friday 22nd March – Lizottes, Newcastle, NSW
Saturday 23rd March – Lizottes, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 24th March – Brass Monkey, Cronulla, NSW
Wednesday 27th March – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD
Thursday 28th March – Bluesfest, Byron Bay, NSW
Friday 29th March – Bluesfest, Byron Bay, NSW

Simone Felice with Jess Ribeiro
Thursday 28th March – The Exeter, Adelaide, SA

The Lumineers with The Falls
Thursday 28th March – Enmore Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Friday 29th March – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

The Starry Field
Friday 29th March – The Clever Duck, Cairns, QLD

The Tiger and Me
Friday 22nd March – The Brisbane Markets, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 23rd March – The Joynt, Brisbane, QLD
Sunday 24th March – The Brisbane Markets, Brisbane, QLD
Tuesday 26th March – The Vanguard, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 28th March – Hotel Steyne, Sydney, NSW

Two Crows
Friday 22nd March – Australian Celtic Studies Centre, Newcastle, NSW
Saturday 23rd March – Clarendon Guesthouse, Katoomba, NSW
Sunday 24th March – Mt Kembla Village Hotel, Mt Kembla, NSW
Wednesday 27th March – Front Gallery and Cafe, Canberra, ACT

Wilco
Wednesday 27th March – Hamer Hall, Melbourne, VIC

William Elliott Whitmore
Saturday 23rd March – Mojo’s Bar, Fremantle, WA
Sunday 24th March – Enigma Bar, Adelaide, SA
Tuesday 26th March – Corner Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Wednesday 27th March – Annandale Hotel, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 28th and Friday 29th March – Byron Bay Bluesfest, NSW

Yackandandah Folk Festival
Friday 22nd to Saturday 23rd March – Yackandandah, VIC

Friday Folk Flashback

“Barrett’s Privateers” – Stan Rogers

I heard this song the other day and it brought back so many memories of growing up in folk clubs and folk festivals – I’m sure this song was a mainstay of singing sessions in my childhood. Now I just want to go out and learn it!

Review: Wales at Cecil Sharp House, London UK

DSC_0588Review and photos by KT Bell

The joys of social media, a couple of weeks ago I stumbled across an unassuming Facebook event for ‘Wales @ Cecil Sharp House’. I’ve been to Wales and liked it, and I live in London, so it seemed a good combination to investigate.

I headed along a little later than planned and came to discover the absolute delight that was a whole day, indoor festival celebrating some of the best folk music currently coming out of Wales. It was also super conveniently close to my home and was housed in the intriguing Cecil Sharp House, the home of the English Folk Dance and Song Society. It had never occurred to me that such a place existed but it does and houses a wealth of exciting folky opportunities! But I digress.

Wales at Cecil Sharp House - Mabon

I arrived in time to catch the second half of Jamie Smith’s Mabon. One of the things that continues to excite me about folk music is the increase in young people both appreciating and playing it. Now, the audience here were mostly older than myself but many of the acts were my age or younger, and the verve and vitality they put in to their music is incredibly infectious. This quintet was in no way short of energy, character and mischief. The phrase that came to mind, conjured by their energetic folk tunes, was harmonised chaos, but in the enthralling, completely immersed, ‘got to hear more’ kind of way. Described as ‘high-energy interceltic musical mastery’ they deftly switched between toe-tapping jigs to haunting ballads and took a few swift turns through traditional Welsh and Celtic folk tunes switching between instrumental numbers and both English and newly introduced Welsh lyrics, I was left clamouring for more. So much so that I bought their album instantly and have had it on loop every day at work since. It’s that delightful mix of energy and celtic folk that can carry you comfortably through the day and reminds me of the likes of the Crooked Fiddle Band and the Barons of Tang. Happily they will be back in London on the 19th April and I shall see what I can do about heading along to get another live dose – seriously addictive. If you’re

Wales at London - Parti Cut LloiGiven the event was in one hall, with smaller rooms downstairs to hold other, more intimate performances and even a family Twmpath/ Ceilidh (don’t worry if you struggle to pronounce those, think country dancing, much like a good old barn dance), I milled around a bit in the main hall and waited for the next act which was intriguingly called Parti Cut Lloi. I’m always a bit dubious of an all male choir, often you hope it will be a Spooky Men’s Chorale or Man Choir type of performance but can often be left wanting. I was very pleasantly surprised to discover the harmonies and a Capella sorry, plygain delivery of their all Welsh repertoire of traditional songs from the middle of Wales (I looked it up, they really are from the middle of Wales!) was absolutely enchanting! And their name means “The Calf Shed Party” which makes mostly sense given their numbers were halved for this performance because the others were all tending to their farms as it’s mid lambing season. I met a few of them in the bar a bit later, cheeky and down to earth blokes all round.

Wales at Cecil Sharp House - DnAWhile the main hall was setting up for the next act, I headed down to one of the smaller rooms to take in DnA, a mother and daughter duo on Harp and fiddle. The connection between the two of them while performing is visceral and intense but in a way they focuses your attention on the skill and harmonies they create. I even learned a bit of Celtic Harp history, the trick of placing a 10 shilling note between the strings to help create the thrumming chorded harmonies in a tune I swiftly forgot the name of. But all in all, their set was quite easy to lose yourself in.

Wales at Cecil Sharp House - Rag FoundationI headed back upstairs to the main hall in a lulled sense of peace only to be awakened again by the Rag Foundation in full swing. An incredibly polished and professional 5 piece, they deliver a more urban folk with an edgy and powerful tone that marked the change from day to night and the energy from mellow and toe tapping, to surging rhythms. From the South of Wales, their verve had a different quality and an energy of it’s own which had the heart pumping and the audience entranced.

Wales at Cecil Sharp House - Cerdd CeginFor a reprieve after the sheer energy of Rag Foundation, I headed back downstairs to catch Cerdd Cegin, an intriguing combination of one Canadian come Welsh Harpist and two fiddle players. Positioned to face in towards each other, it felt a little like voyeurism to be drawn in to the world they expertly created with their entwining melodies and harmonies. Described as “a secret music, a quiet music, music for kitchens and friends”, the trio did not disappoint with an incredibly intimate yet short set – Ceri Owen-Jones, Harpist, needs to learn to either talk quicker or make his stories shorter. However, their last piece was breathtaking. Ceri introduced the song by explaining the time and place that inspired the composition, he went for a walk in the west of Wales and discovered himself caught on the side of a mountain with a storm baring down on him and a very slippery, frantic scramble back down to safety, and every ounce of anxiety, adventure and sheer relief was captured and conveyed by the trio. Fascinating!

Wales at Cecil Sharp House - AlawThe knot of onlookers, once the set was over, all flooded back up to the main hall to catch the fresh, new collaboration that is Alaw. Boasting the violi player and accordion player from Mabon (Oliver and James Smith himself respectively), the mix of their folk with the crisp guitar addition make for a new dynamic and a different energy around the music they deliver. A beautiful mix of enchanting melodies and moody ballads and an among delivery of on stage banter that they were still ‘ironing out’ and making mental notes of what did and didn’t work, much to the audiences’ amusement, made of a friendly and warming set.

Wales at Cecil Sharp House - CalanThe final act for the night was a youthful and vivacious Calan, a 5 piece of energetic folk complete with some crazy Welsh instruments. They have stolen hearts across Wales and seem to be a driving force for rekindling Welsh folk in the broader UK landscape. It helps that they’re young and good looking. They reminded me of Wales’ answer to Skipping Girl Vinegar only they also whipped out clog/ step dance off between main vocalist Bethan and her Father which we all eagerly crowded around to witness. It was a clap/ cheer off and apparently her dad always wins… and did again. The vitality of Calan had the hall buzzing with enjoyment. I can see they will go far and the Welsh will be proud of the way they are being represented.

Altogether a fabulous day out and more Welsh spoken than I have ever heard! (Not that I’ve heard much Welsh, but you get the drift) And big props to Cecil Sharp House and the English Folk Dance and Song Society for providing a space for the Arts Council of Wales and Folk Development for Wales government initiative produce such a showcase of Wales to the rest of the UK, and hopefully, the world!

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