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Ely Folk Club

Ely Folk Club takes place in The Old Dispensary, 13 St Mary's Street, Ely, Cambs, CB7 4ER. There is no bar, but you are welcome to bring your own drinks or buy drinks from the pub across the road and bring them with you.

Events at Ely Folk Club start at 8.00pm unless otherwise stated.

Concerts take place most months, usually on Wednesday evenings. We also hold occasional extra events.

Tickets may be booked in advance by telephoning 01353 740999 or 01353 664706.

Wednesday, 14th February 2018

Mike Wilson and Damien Barber

Damien and Mike Photograph

Two of the finest exponents of Traditional Song in the United Kingdom; it is difficult to accept that these relatively young men, have a combined 40+ years experience of performing at folk venues. Raised in Norfolk and heavily influenced by such earlier Norfolk singers as Walter Pardon and Peter Bellamy, Damien is a stylish and distinctive singer, either unaccompanied or using guitar or concertina. Though he has lived for a long time in West Yorkshire he retains a strong East Anglian identity. Mike Wilson is the youngest member of the Wilson Family, the powerful Teesside singing siblings who have raised the rafters at many a festival or folk club event. His musical heritage is emphatically that of the North East – rural and industrial folk song both traditional and modern. Damien and Mike have a rich shared repertoire of traditional songs plus the work of modern folk writers such as Bellamy, Ewan MacColl and Mike Waterson.


Greg McDonald photograph

Glymjack is an English folk trio whose Phil Beer-produced debut album Light the Evening Fire features contributions from Phil and his Show of Hands band-mates Steve Knightley and Miranda Sykes, Sam Kelly and the Lost Boys drummer Evan Carson, and Luke Tuscherer percussionist Tom Peters. Glymjack's live acoustic trio line up of Greg McDonald (guitar), Gemma Gayner (fiddle) and Dickon Collinson (bass) delivers Greg's acclaimed original songs, traditional English folk tunes and three part harmonies with passion and flair. A glymjack was a Victorian street child who led strangers through the streets of London with a lantern or torch (literally 'glym'). In the threesome's other guises, Greg's songs have been called 'genius' (Rolling Stone), 'captivating' (Q magazine), and 'enough to remind you why you got into music in the first place' (Tom Robinson, BBC 6music), while Gemma's virtuosic skill has seen her celebrated as a 'powerhouse instrumentalist' (fRoots), 'haunting' (Bright Young Folk) and 'a force to be reckoned with' (Maverick) and Dickon’s 'soaring' (Fresh on the Net) counter-tenor has winged his indie rock band Careless Sons all the way to Wembley Arena. Following their debut at the 2017 Cambridge Folk Festival, the trio tours the UK in January-April 2018 in support of the Light the Evening Fire album.

Wednesday, 14th March 2018

Jess and Richard Arrowsmith

Jess and Richard Photograph

Jess and Richard Arrowsmith are singers and musicians (fiddle and melodeon) and well established in the traditional English music scene. They bring you powerful vocals, subtle accompaniments, lively tunes and a broad range of material that will have you laughing, weeping, tapping your feet and joining in the choruses. Jess's self-penned songs have been performed and recorded by a range of other artists and are entering the tradition in their own right. Jess and Richard's latest project in conjunction with James Fagan and Nancy Kerr as the Melrose Quartet earned them a nomination for 'Best Group' at the 2014 BBC Folk Awards. Other projects past and present include Hekety, Glorystrokes, Crucible and Pecsaetan.

Will Finn and Rosie Calvert

Will and Rosie photograph

Will Finn and Rosie Calvert are a dynamic up-and-coming duo from the heart of Newcastle. Playing traditional music with a contemporary flare, their shows are a veritable smörgåsbord of folk fusion, utilising piano, steel pan, and close-knit harmony singing to tremendous effect. Will and Rosie have been touring the country to bring their own unique brand of music to folk clubs and festivals all around the UK, and their debut album 'Beneath This Place' was released in September 2017.

Wednesday, 18th April 2018

John Ward Trio

John Ward Trio Photograph

The John Ward Trio brings together John, Lynne Ward and Les Woodley, whose powerful three-part harmonies blend to give a rich life to John's songs and to the traditional repertoire. Accompanied by guitar, double bass, mandolin, harmonica, whistles and bodhran, and with the familiar, relaxed banter, stories and humour that John has become known for, the Trio delights folk club and festival audiences around the country. John is an East Anglian boy and, when the occasion demands, the Trio love to specialise in John’s East Coast heritage songs and traditional music of the land and the sea.

Yve Mary B

Yve Mary B photograph

A songwriter of Norfolk origin. Yve Mary B has been immersed in music from the get go. Her unique intuitive sway through her back porch music family and training through music education including Music Theatre, Vocal Technology and Performance Arts Studies and life experience to date have seen a diverse breadth to her music which allows her to stand out aloud as one heck of a spirited creative woman... Love of rootsy music is ingrained into the riffs of her country folksy southern gospel blues melodic instrumentation. She has played far and wide from Bluebird café Nashville to Royal Festival Hall London Taverham Hall supporting The Shires with her band members Morganway and Sam Coe and The Long Shadows. Yve hosts a musicians Sound It Out night at The Murderers Arms in Norwich. Yvette coaches wellbeing through collective music play, and is beginning her live events curator journey.

Wednesday, 16th May 2018

Rosie Hood

Rosie Hood Photograph

Rosie Hood is a young folk singer from Wiltshire, known for her strong, pure voice and engaging solo performance. A BBC Performing Arts Fellow in 2015 and a 2016 Horizon Award nominee at the Radio 2 Folk Awards, Rosie has become more than purely a traditional singer. Having started learning folk songs at an early age from her family, Rosie has a keen interest in the history of traditional songs, particularly those of her native Wiltshire, where she has spent time researching in the local archives and developing a broad repertoire of local songs. Rosie's Fellowship year with the English Folk Dance and Song Society proved a pivotal point in her career giving her time and space to develop as an artist. The year saw Rosie develop her song-writing with mentor Emily Portman, hone her instrumental skills and even resulted in a transatlantic collaboration with New York based singer and guitarist Jefferson Hamer.


Rosewood photograph

Rosewood, who came together in 2014 to sing songs and play tunes, are three friends who also play for French dances in Bof! and for English ceilidhs in The Hosepipe Band. The trio comprises Simon Haines on free-reed instruments, Phil Lyons on strings and Val Woollard on wind. Their unique selling points are the range of instruments they play and their varied repertoire – everything from Marco Uccellini (1610–1680) to Kirsty McColl (1959–2000). They recently brought out their first recording: Rife & Strife & Mirth & Fun.

Wednesday, 13th June 2018

Nancy Kerr

Nancy Kerr Photograph

Known for over 25 years as a skilled interpreter of traditional music and more recently as a composer of startlingly original new folk songs, Nancy Kerr has become one of the most sought-after ensemble musicians on today's British folk and scene. 2015's BBC Folk Singer of the Year, she has been seen with award winners Kerr and Fagan, The Full English, Martin Simpson and Andy Cutting, in 2017's re-imagining of Peter Bellamy's The Transports, and as part of cutting-edge commissions The Elizabethan Session, Sweet Liberties and Shake the Chains.

Now for something different. Nancy Kerr solo. In this new, intimate setting, Nancy revisits her celebrated deft touch on the violin and viola as well as her distinctive use of fingerpicking acoustic guitar, allowing space for new and ancient songs and tunes, and the stories behind them, to breathe and be heard anew. This is music to challenge and inspire, confront and sympathise. This is a chance to experience the intimate drama of solo folk performance: Nancy Kerr's music in its truest and most conversational form yet.

Daniel Nestlerode with Paul Ballantyne

Daniel Nestlerode photograph

Born in Pennsylvania, seasoned in California, Daniel is now based in Cambridgeshire and has built a reputation for excellent vocal ability and history soaked original songs. Daniel sings and plays a variety of modern and traditional American folk music, principally on mandolin and octave mandolin. He has been known on occasion to pick up a guitar too. But with guitarist Paul Ballantyne on hand, it isn't often necessary. Daniel has released two CDs, More Than a Little Guitar from 2013 and last year's Almost Home. Both have achieved some critical acclaim and been played on radio programmes from Cornwall to California and Scotland to Holland. The release of an original Christmas song called 'A Bit of Magic' capped off an eventful 2017.

Wednesday, 18th July 2018

Duncan McFarlane and Anne Brivonese

Duncan and Anne Photograph

Duncan is a highly regarded singer-guitarist who splits his sets equally between traditional fare and his own songs which are written, most definitely, in the trad idiom. Rated by Mike Harding as a 'fine showman', his intrinsic seriousness of intent and approach is laced with a healthy irreverence and humour that The Living Tradition calls 'hugely entertaining'. As a solo performer he has graced main stages at Sidmouth's Ham Marquee, Beverley and Costa Del Folk, Spain. One typical review reads 'One of the many stand-out gems, a real treat, was the witty and charismatic Duncan McFarlane. This talented guitarist and vocalist has a lively stage presence and whether regaling us with a story, singing a traditional song, or one of his own cleverly written songs, Duncan is a true delight'. With his band he has played main stages at festivals such as Shrewsbury and Sidmouth (twice at both) and many other festivals over some fifteen years or more – including Ely! He has also run guitar workshops at several festivals and performed 'live sessions' on many BBC Radio folk shows. Accompanying him on fiddle and harmony vocal duties will be band member Anne Brivonese. Together they've made several albums over the years, including 'All Rogues and Villains' which gained a five-star review from R2 magazine. Duncan last played Ely (solo) in 2006 – but it's worth noting that his first ever folk club appearance, whilst still a schoolboy, was for Ely Folk Club in the Old Fire Engine House! Last word from Mike Harding then: 'He writes some great stuff that guy and I love his lively versions of traditional folk songs; absolutely great; really powerful playing and singing.'

Kaszak and Afifi

Martin and Fara photograph

Martin Kaszak and Faradena Afifi are a new duo performing a rich variety of acoustic music and original material from Folk to Country Blues and more modern songs. Martin is known for his warm vocals and finger-picking guitar and Faradena is a talented singer and musician providing beautiful close harmonies and playing viola and cello. Their first official performance was supporting John Renbourn and Wizz Jones in 2015 and Martin and Fara's performance attracted much praise and attention from these Folk/Blues legends.

Wednesday, 19th Sept 2018


Piva Photograph

Eric Moulder formed the group just over a decade ago with the aim of bringing a fresh and energetic approach to the popular dance and ballad repertoire of the late renaissance period. The members of Piva have wide and diverse musical backgrounds and between them they have experience in playing renaissance, jazz, classical, baroque, folk and roots music. They bring all of these diverse musical influences together and fuse them with their knowledge of renaissance music and instruments. The result is a cohesive approach and attitude towards the renaissance repertoire: Piva’s aim is to be faithful to the music of the period whilst adding their own innovative arrangements and interpretations. All members of the group are multi-instrumentalists - playing up to 40 different instruments at a gig! Not only do Piva play the instruments - they also make them! Three members of Piva are professional instrument makers.

Support act to be confirmed

Wednesday, 17th Oct 2018

The Dovetail Trio

Dovetail Photograph

Presenting England's traditional songs with a bold and fresh approach, The Dovetail Trio explores familiar narratives with infectious energy and a passion for musical heritage. This collaboration effortlessly combines the distinctive voices and acclaimed instrumental talents of BBC Radio 2 Folk Award nominee Jamie Roberts, BBC Performing Arts Award winner Rosie Hood, and Newcastle Folk Degree alumnus Matt Quinn. Barnsley's Jamie Roberts is renowned for his narrative singing and driving guitar rhythms. In 2007 he joined folk quartet Kerfuffle with Hannah James and Sam Sweeney, and in both 2013 and 2016 was a BBC Radio 2 Folk Award nominee with duo Gilmore and Roberts. Rosie Hood's pure voice and engaging performances are garnering widespread acclaim. With a keen eye on the history of the songs she sings, particularly those of her native Wiltshire, she has performed at a number of the country's leading festivals and folk clubs, and opened for the Cecil Sharp Project. Rosie is, for 2015, a BBC Performing Arts Fellow with EFDSS. Multi-instrumentalist Matt Quinn has been playing the melodeon, mandolin and fiddle, and singing his way around the English folk scene for the last seven years in various bands including Dogan and the Boombox Karavan, The Mighty Quinns and the Eliza Carthy Ceilidh Band.

Support act to be confirmed

Wednesday, 14th Nov 2018

Jimmy Aldridge and Sid Goldsmith

Jimmy and Sid Photograph

Jimmy Aldridge and Sid Goldsmith are one of the finest duos to have emerged onto the British folk and acoustic scene in recent years. Their combination of outstanding vocal work, sensitive instrumentation, and a powerful social conscience has brought them widespread critical acclaim. The songs themselves are always given centre stage but they are brought to life with stunning musical arrangements and vocals. There is an integrity that shines through their performances and a common thread of political struggle, resistance, and justice. Their critically acclaimed second album 'Night Hours' was released in December 2016 on Fellside Recordings. Described as 'exhilaratingly diverse and full of impeccably crafted songs', it has cemented the duo’s reputation as two of the most exciting musicians and social commentators on the scene. In September 2018 Jimmy Aldridge and Sid Goldsmith will release their third album with a major UK tour. The album will be a further development of the duo's songwriting and the contemporary sound that attracted such critical acclaim on their second release, Night Hours.

Support act to be confirmed

Wednesday, 19th December 2018

Lucy Ward

Lucy Ward Photograph

Lucy Ward is an award winning singer-songwriter from Derby. She plays guitar, ukulele and concertina but considers her voice to be her first instrument. After getting her first guitar at the age of 14, Lucy ventured into acoustic clubs, it was there that she first heard the traditional music that she now loves. Captured by the lyrics and stories of traditional song Lucy delved further into the world of folk music, visiting clubs and sessions up and down the country before getting booked to play gigs in her own right. In 2009 Lucy reached the final of the BBC Young Folk Award and she hasn’t looked back since!

Andy Wall, Ruth Bramley and Ann Biggs

Andy Wall, Ann and Ruth photograph

Andy Wall, Ruth Bramley and Ann Biggs will, between them, open the evening's music. Ruth has been running the club since 1993, joined by Andy in 1999. Ruth and Ann first sung together over twenty five years ago. Under the name Big Apple Pie they performed in many local schools, at children's parties and for 'grown-up' events too including a number of folk clubs and festivals. Although they don't do many gigs these days, they both still thoroughly enjoy singing together. Andy is a much more frequent performer, playing at many festivals, clubs and other events. In 2009 he finally released a much anticipated CD. As an added bonus for the evening, there will be something in the way of seasonal entertainment...oh, and mince pies, of course.