Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Folk bands are taking a festive turn

Folk bands are taking a festive turn

A FOLK band with a festive name are returning to Nettlebed on Monday (December 12) as part of their 15th consecutive sell-out Christmas tour.

Since they first got together to record their eponymous St Agnes Fountain album in 2001, the quartet of David Hughes, Chris Leslie, Chris While and Julie Matthews have brought musical invention and laughter to the stardust atmosphere of the season.

Popularly known as “The Aggies”, the band come together for one month a year to perform their Christmas tour.

Every December they set out to bring audiences sparkling musicianship, humour and heartfelt “rhythmed-up” renditions of their favourite Christmas tunes — both originals and those you know so well, or thought you did.

While the albums accompany the putting up of thousands of Christmas trees throughout Britain, it is the band’s magical live performances that have endeared them to an ever-growing audience — with tickets being sold for this year’s tour as the curtain fell last year. Founder member David Hughes and Chris Leslie — of Fairport Convention fame — originally released an EP of six tracks, Acoustic Christmas, on guitar and mandolin back in 1998.

It sold out in three months but there was a clamour for more — which led them to recruit their friends Chris While and Julie Matthews (“best duo” winners at the 2009 Radio 2 Folk Awards). Monday’s show at Nettlebed village club starts at 8pm. Tickets are priced £17.50 in advance or £18.50 on the door. To book, call 01628 636620 or visit www.nettlebedfolkclub.co.uk

A bit closer to Christmas day itself, the Albion Christmas Band play Norden Farm Centre for the Arts in Altwood Road, Maidenhead, on Thursday, December 22. Their show, An Albion Christmas, has been touring for nearly 20 years and features the combined talents of Simon Nicol (Fairport Convention), Kellie While (Albion Band), Simon Care (Edward II), and Ashley Hutchings.

Expect a seasonal mix of carols, spoken word, humorous readings and dance. Tickets are £19.50, available from www.norden.farm/events

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