Songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Cera Impala is a banjo-wielding mama who oozes wild style and has unique, timeless voice and a writing style that draws you in like magic. She creates songs that feel instantly familiar. Cera performs with her hand-picked band, The New Prohibition, featuring the talents of Joel Sanderson on double bass and Dr. Dirk Ronneburg on fiddle.
And opening the evening will be the stunning new Edinburgh duo, The Jellyman’s Daughter, who are making huge waves and wowing audiences wherever they play.
Tickets are going fast so get your orders in for what is going to be a real treat!
We realise it’s a wee while now since the turn of the year but hey, we’re relaxed about that…
2014: what an amazing year in so many ways and for Letham Nights it was positively stellar with 6 really top notch acts taking to our humble stage and belting out performances that conjured up no end of superlatives. Follow the links for a wee reminder:
It seems wrong that most of these amazing artists have to work quite so hard to make a living from their music when they are quite obviously far superior to most of what we hear on the mainstream music channels. But they love what they do and we love them for it. At Letham Nights we believe in creating a stage for local talent and bringing high quality music to the community regardless of what the media tells us we should be following. We are committed to bringing you the very best!
So, 2015… what do we have up our sleeves for you? Our programme is building nicely! So far, here are the acts we have booked for your delectation:
28th March – Cera Impala & the New Prohibition with guests, The Jellyman’s Daughter. We know Cera better as one of the Bevvy Sisters – the one with the top hat wielding a banjo! Well, we are delighted to say that she is coming to Letham with her own band and it’s going to be a treat! And we’ll have support from the stunning new Edinburgh duo, The Jellyman’s Daughter, who are making huge waves and wowing audiences wherever they play. Tickets here >>
30th May – Jez Hellard, Scott Cook and Fraser Ross - 3 brilliant singer-songwriters from different corners of the globe coming together to tell stories and sing songs – heartwrenching and heartwarming in equal measure. Jez and Scott played for us in 2013 to great acclaim and now they are back. This time we have invited the amazing Fraser Ross from New Zealand to join them and we think that the chemistry between these guys is going to create something really special. Tickets here >>
4th July – TBC – the hall is booked, the bands contacted. Just remains to sort out a few wee tweaks… Watch this space!
10th October – Kirsten Adamson – yes, it is she of the silky, slinky vocals and mean guitar picking. By the time this comes around, Kirsten will have launched her new solo album and if, like us, you were part of the Kickstarter campaign to get this off the ground, you’ll understand that this show is going to be a cracker! Tickets here >>
Wowzers trousers, ladies and gentleman! It was a soulful one, right enough, but no less rousing for all that. Some of the finest voices and songwriting talent we’ve yet assembled joined together for a toe-tapping Christmas shindig that will be remembered for years.
First on stage was old friend of Letham Nights, Robert Pia. Roberta has graced us with her presence on several occasions and in several guises. After dazzling us previously with her work with The Banana Sessions and The Bevvy Sisters, Roberta tonight gave us a solo performance which got the night started with a bang. Roberta’s voice is simply amazing. She has real power but, where some singers blessed with such pipes, would get carried away, Roberta knows enough to sing within herself, respecting the songs and creating a performance of real poise and class. Accompanying herself with effortless and simple guitar picking the overall effect is just lovely. Her encore of Aretha’s ‘Baby I Love You’ was just sublime.
Kirsty Almeida comes from here, there and everywhere, it would seem, and her influences are no less diverse. Combining elements of jazz, folk and blues (I know, I hate labels too but you try making sounds into words!) it’s obvious from the first note that this is what Kirsty ‘does’. Equally at home with her own material as with, say, Joni Mitchell, she owns the stage and nails her performances, charming the whole room in the process. And talk about engagement! There’s nothing a LN crowd appreciates more than a nice bit of chat to bond audience and performer together and, boy, does Kirsty love an inter-song chinwag. From the story of discovering her parlour guitar to anecdotes about baby brain (“where’s the capo? – there’s the capo! – who put that there!”) and her moving reminiscence of her time as a child spent visiting elderly Rosyth ‘landmark’, Josie Brown, Kirsty’s chat kept us just as enchanted as her singing.
Of course, you can’t be a great singer with average backing and Kirsty brings the noise in the shape of smooth jazz fountain John Ellis on keys, ‘Mr Upright’ Matt Owens on upright bass and Pete Churchman on guitar and drums (simultaneously, folks!). A tidy little band and no mistakin’. And smashing chaps to boot. And we mustn’t forget the moral support and ‘vibes’ provided by Baby Ray! What a champ!
Special thanks also to The Doorstep Bakery who turned out with some hot little Cajun Swirls to raise the temperature further.
… Here we come again on a Saturday night, oh with your fussin’ and a fightin’ won’t you get me to the rhyme, I wanna move, playin’ in a Travellin’ Band, yeah! Well, I’m flyin’ ‘cross the land, tryin’ to get a hand, playin’ in a Travellin’ Band….
Yes indeed folks and folkettes, The Travelling Band of lore visited us for LN38, and what a wicked whirlwind of sonic sorcery and bouncing balladry they served up. ANTHEMS! No one does anthems like our Mancunian brethren and Letham’s newest chums sit right up on the rock n roll pantheon with the greatest of their civic cousins. Treating us to tracks from new album, The Big Defreeze, scattered amongst older numbers, they started us up slowly with some damned fine harmonies and soulful, subdued guitar work from co-frontmen Jo Dudderidge and Adam Gorman before they were joined by the rest of the gang for a first set that lit the touch-paper nicely for what was to follow.
So, a mighty toe-tapper of a first half but would they be capable of ramping up the stomp-factor for the denouement? Oh my stars! We needn’t have worried on that score. Rip-snorting rhythms from Spennie (bass) and Nick Vaal (drums) pushed along Jo and Adam’s voices and guitar/key work with a tasty urgency that got the Letham faithful whirling around like grinning idiots, with Steve ‘Guitar’ Mullen spinning his web of sound over the whole thing like a bearded guitar wizard. ‘Hands Up’ from The Big Defreeze was a sing-a-long highlight and ‘Passing Ships’ a spine-tingling delight. May they travel far and prosper further still.
Check out The Travelling Bands schedule and music here >>
Support was provided by 19 year old Dundee vocal sensation, Syann. Syann is starting to make waves having been getting radio play by the likes of Lauren Laverne and Jarvis Cocker and her single, Far Beyond The Sun, was a Q Magazine website Track of the Day in August. With simple acoustic guitar picking, a faultless voice and, it would seem, bags of material, it wouldn’t be a surprise if we start hearing more and more of this rising star. She really does sing beautifully. Check her out live if you get the chance.
For our next offering at Letham Nights we bring you WinterSongs from the outrageously talented Kirsty Almeida and her band, The Troubadors, together with special guest and Letham Nights favourite, Roberta Pia of the Banana Sessions. The days will be short and the cold will be seeping into your bones but this show will bring you HAPPINESS and SUNSHINE! So get yer skates on and book! Have we ever let you down?
With WinterSongs, Kirsty Almeida will draw you into her enchanting, uplifting and, at times, devilishly dark world. Classic songwriting mixes with murder lullabies, broken blues-folk beauty, New Orleans soul, voodoo-tinged-pop and a healthy dose of Tim Burton-style brooding. Kirsty has attracted the attention of BBC Television who featured her as a BBC Introducing artist and have broadcast an excellent ten-minute documentary on how she is creating new and exciting paths in the music industry as an independent artist. We love your style Kirsty. You will fit right in here in Letham!
“An artist who has to be seen live to be appreciated…it’s on stage, with her band in full bawdy flow that she flourishes.” Caroline Sullivan, The Guardian
Banana support will be provided by the wonderful Roberta Pia – frontwoman and co-founder of The Banana Sessions – a Brixton-based soul singer, songwriter and DJ who hails from Edinburgh. A youth worker by day, she spends her time outside of her job making music of all shapes and sizes, managing events, frequenting festival fields and singing at the top of her lungs in the shower. With a honeyed voice that will tug on the blackest of heart-strings, Roberta usually sings love songs and writes about back in the day when jukeboxes weren’t rubbish. Roberta’s previous visits to Letham with The Banana Sessions and the Bevvy Sisters are now part of Letham Nights legend and we can’t wait to have her back!
It has been a wonderful summer for all of us at Letham Nights and we hope it has been for you too. As we move into the tail of the season and the weather takes on a chill and feels a bit damper, we wanted to remind you of a little bit of SHEER JOY that we have in store for you come October. By then the nights will be well drawn-in but open the doors of Letham Village Hall on Saturday 11th October and you will step into the light and warmth of yet another wonderful night of superlative music because once again we have booked a truly exceptional act: Manchester’s finest folkrock superhumans, The Travelling Band.
The band have received widespread critical acclaim from the UK music press including Marc Riley who featured them as ‘Album of the Week’ on 6 Music with their “shimmering blend of cosmiccountrypop” (his words!) as well as winning the Glastonbury new talent award in 2008. As I write this blog, their new album ‘The Big Defreeze’ is about to be released and I am streaming it live from a feature in the August edition of Q Magazine. It is an ear-caressing, uplifting work of genius! And now they are coming to the village – Woohoo!!
We think 2014 could well be the year that sees The Travelling Band really cement their place as the true champions of blissful cosmicpop. They really are great on record and according to fellow organisers Roy and Claire, who went to see them in Manchester, they are outstanding onstage too. If you haven’t got down with The Travelling Band yet, now is the time and in our wonderful Letham Nights setting. Do it! – before they disappear onto much larger stages.
We are also delighted to announce that this event will be the official 10th Anniversary Party of our fantastic community outdoor nursery, The Secret Garden. The grown-ups in the Secret Garden Community have decided to get the babysitters in, put on their dancing shoes and their glad-rags and head on down to the hall for a full-on celebration of their fantastic achievement. That means tickets are going to be at a premium, so get in early!
We are excited to announce that rising Dundee star, Syann has agreed to open the show. Syann is one of a number of acts to emerge from the Creative Scotland supported Youth Music Initiative at the Gardyne Theatre. As well as being championed by Jim Gellatly on XFM Radio, Syann has recently been featured on Radio 2 on the Dermot O’Leary show and her new single ‘Far Beyond the Sun’ was recently selected as Q Magazine’s Track of the Day.
SCORCHIO! What a blazing hot mixture of melodies, harmonies, skins, strings and other things. Anyone who was anyone in Letham society knew better than to miss out on a ticket to Letham Nights Number 37 and, sure enough, it was a glamorous and rowdy bunch of hedonistic hardy perennials who scootled down to the hall for the rootsome riot that AMWWF and Seven Sons provided. And it wasn’t just the music that was cooking. Our old chums, Song Scones and The Doorstep Bakery were in the back dishing out some right toothsome fare. Rosemary & olive scones? Who’d a thunk it, ladies and gentleman?
Our support on this warm and wild Saturday evening were none other than Seven Sons. Ruth Alexander and Clayr Borthwick have played for us before of course as a duo but they were back tonight replete with backing band. To say Ruth and Clayr harmonise would be understatement akin to saying Isaac Newton was decent with his sums. You could search long, hard, high and low and still not find two voices so perfectly tuned to one another. And a not too shabby bunch of accompanists they were packing, too, utilising guitar, 5-string banjo and double bass to drive things along with a will. And don’t forget the ukes! The song selection was nigh on perfect with an ethereal selection of gospel, blues and mountain music with Elisabeth Cotton’s Freight Train and Canaan’s Land being particular highlights.
And then it was the turn of Dundee’s finest, Anderson, McGinty, Webster and Fisher (minus the recently departed Ward and with Tom Barbour ably stepping into the breach). These boys are no strangers to our creaking stage either, this being the third time they have graced our humble boards and, as such, the anticipation was immense. Could they live with the expectations of our sold-out wee hall. Oh boy, could they ever! From the opening strains of Dave Webster’s Little Brown Boy there was no doubt that the five headed trad funk rock n roll behemoth was about to rise up and breath aural fire on all who witnessed their majesty. The four part harmonies and effortless musicianship is just a part of their charm. The practised song-writing is another. What really excites about this band, though, is the dynamics. The changes of pace from Gavin McGinty’s cheeky Scottish flavoured numbers to Stevie Anderson’s telecaster-fuelled stomps and Webster himself who can turn on a dime from quiet, soulful introspection to colossal feats of wailing angst and emotion which set your hair on end. And not forgetting that powerhouse of beats, brass and balladeering that is Billy Fisher. Sinatra on drums, anyone? And who can resist a sing-a-long encore? Not many of us, on this evidence. A triumph of triumphs for one of Letham Nights’ favourites. May their rise continue to be astronomic.
Check out AMWWF at: www.facebook.com/amwwf
And catch up with Seven Sons here: www.facebook.com/sevensonsmusic
Folks, they came, and folks they saw, and what they saw was folk, by Gaw!
What a splendiferous evening of vocal virtuosity and acoustic accoutrement! The Hall was packed, packed, packed, I say and what an entertainment we all had at the hands of Breabach and Elisabeth Flett.
Elisabeth began playing the piano and violin aged four and just kept on going. Her CV includes such varied collaborators as Dundee Symphony Orchestra, St Andrew’s Baroque Ensemble, Fife Youth Jazz Orchestra and folk group Three’s a Crowd. With a pedigree like that we might have expected a certain poise and technique and Elisabeth certainly showed us a good time mixing up flute and violin with a voice full of power and clarity. Elisabeth’s playing is an absolute, foot tapping delight, but it was her a cappella numbers which really made the hairs prickle especially on more traditional numbers when the Letham Nights faithful took up an understated harmony that was as beautifully haunting as it was unexpected. Who knew we had a ready-made choir? Jings!
You wait all day for a multi-instrumentalist and then a whole bunch come along at once. We haven’t had many (if any) more accomplished bands in our humble hall so expectations were, understandably, sky high for Breabach. But this is an outfit geared to satisfying the appetites of the most voracious audiences. Voted ‘Best Group’ at the most recent Scots Trad Music Awards, Breabach have also received nominations in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and as ‘European Folk Group of the Year’ in the German Folk Awards. Combining highland bagpipes (Calum MacCrimmon & James Duncan Mackenzie), fiddle (Megan Henderson), guitar (Ewan Robertson), double bass (James Lindsay), flute (Calum & James again), bouzouki (Calum… again), step dance (Megan & Calum again) and voices, Breabach poured forth their billowing torrent of Gaelic and Scots songs & tunes turning sadness to gladness and boo hoo hoos into dancing shoes. Able to turn on a sixpence from spine tingling laments to boot-stomping feel-goodery, Breabach gave us all a musical talking to we’ll not forget for a long long time.
Please note that this show is now sold out. Only those who have received a
confirmation to go ahead with payment should do so. Anyone else who would
like to go on the waiting list should email firstname.lastname@example.org
First up, making their 3rd appearance and by popular demand, the truly magnificent Anderson, McGinty, Webster & Fisher. The band, slimmed down, following the departure of the wonderful Robbie Ward to pastures new, are going full steam ahead and plans for the release of their second album are well under way. The album recorded at The Chapel Studios in Lincolnshire, will contain the fruits of a rich period of creativity in the studio and on stage over the past year honing and perfecting new material.
A taster for what is to come was released as an EP of 5 gems, one from the pen of each band member. The EP epitomises the range of styles and genres embraced by the band and reveals the virtuosity of these talented young musicians. If you have not heard it yet, you can download it here.
The last time the band played Letham Nights, tickets sold out in under a fortnight so don’t hang around!
Take a sneak peek at this taster clip of the new album here:
The Travelling Band
Saturday 11th October
Next up, after what we hope will be a long, hot and restful summer, we are excited to invite our first act from Manchester to Letham Nights, The Travelling Band.
The Travelling Band formed during a recording project in 2006 in New York City. The band made their first studio album ‘Under The Pavement’ here which was later released in 2008 to receive critical acclaim from the UK media. The album featured as BBC Radio 6 Music ‘Album Of The Day’, BBC Radio 2‘s ‘Single Of The Week and had a featured song in the Ian Dury biopic ‘Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll‘.
Although the tracking for Under the Pavement was completed in October 2007, the album didn’t appear for another 12 months and was finally issued on their own Sideways Saloon imprint—also the moniker of their Manchester-based, monthly club night. A couple of hand-crafted, cloth-packaged EPs helped to create a local buzz in the run up to the album’s release, while acclaim came from further afield when the band won the Glastonbury Festival 2008 New Talent award.
Kirsty Almeida with special guest Roberta Pia
Saturday 13th December
Finally, to wrap up 2014 in style we present our special Christmas Cracker, from London, Kirsty Almeida and the Troubadors.
Kirsty Almeida is a Gibraltarian Singer-Songwriter & visual artist also based in Manchester. Award-winning artist, Kirsty has been signed to major label, Decca, Universal, swept up the Take Five Composers award and now has her own label All Made Up Records. Her music, like her art is influenced by her many travels beginning with her childhood and her travels still lead her now. Venezuela, Indiana, The Philippians, Gibraltar, Morocco, Brunei are just some of the places that have coloured her upbringing, creativity and voice and this is evident in her art and music. The stage has enabled her to perform for audiences at most festivals around the UK, various travels abroad and special performances for the G8 in Moscow, the London Commonwealth for HM The Queen, The London Jazz Festival and the Nick Drake Tribute Way To Blue.
Take a listen to this clip of her rollicking ‘If You Can’t Make Me Happy’ and if it doesn’t make you happy then you can have your money back!
And of course, Roberta Pia is well known to the Letham Nights crowd both as one-time Bevvy Sister and maestra extraordinaria of the Banana Sessions. We are thrilled that she has agreed to play a solo set for us in support of Kirsty. What a way to end the year!
A tantalising prospect awaits us for Letham Nights on Saturday 17th May when our great friends the mighty Breabach take to the stage. Over the past few years they have amassed a string of impressive national awards and accolades. Just crowned Best Live Act at the 2013 Trad Awards & nominated for Band of the Year at the 2014 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and the BBC Scots Trad Awards, the band have recently released their 3rd album Urlar. They have also just returned from touring NZ & Oz as part of the Boomerang Project – a collaborative venture that saw them play Sydney Opera House and will culminate in a major performance in Glasgow for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
One of the most celebrated and successful Scottish folk bands of recent times, Breabach command the stage with flare, charisma and a sound that is as expansive as it is distinct. Powered by double bagpipes, flute and fiddle, this uncompromising force is further fueled by the tight groove of double bass, guitar and step-dancing from the amazing Megan Henderson.
The band have supported Letham Nights since its inception in 2008 and singer Ewan Robertson was one of the first acts to take to the stage in our fledgling venue. He brought in a capacity crowd and gave us the confidence to keep going. Can’t wait to have him back!
Take a listen to this mouth-watering clip then tell us you don’t want to come!
And here’s what the press say….
“Breabach once again displayed all the artfulness, ambition and imagination that set them so decisively apart from the pack.” Scotsman
“How catalyzing Scottish traditions with contemporary creative imagination should be done” Scotsman
“Breabach are the most compelling and exciting big stage traditional Scottish band around; the line-up changes haven’t altered the dynamics at all with the twin pipes, step dancing, beautiful ballads and effortless charm all still in place.” – Neil Pearson, Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Supporting on the night will be an amazing young artist from Auchtermuchty, Elisabeth Flett, whose fiddle playing at the age of only 17 demonstrates a virtuosity way beyond her years. Elisabeth is a highly talented multi-instrumentalist and was an impressive entrant last year to our U18 competition for new local talent. She will provide an exciting opening set of mesmerising and intricate tunes.