Brittany Haas * Eliza Carthy * Jon Boden * Nancy Kerr

Sam Sweeney * Hassan Erraji * Emma Sweeney * Rowan Rheingans

Jock Tyldesley * Miranda Rutter * Bryony Griffith

Paul Davenport * Josie Wexler * Nick Woodward * Rob Harbron


Brittany Haas

California-born Brittany Haas is widely regarded as one of the most influential fiddlers of her generation. She grew up honing her craft in fiddle camps nationwide, and came to her unique sound through the old-time fiddling of Bruce Molsky and the innovative stylings of Darol Anger. A prodigious youth, she began touring with Darol’s Republic of Strings at the age of 14.  She simultaneously studied baboons in the evolutionary biology department of Princeton University and joined seminal chamber-grass band Crooked Still. She has toured with them since, and also performed with Yonder Mountain String Band, Tony Trischka, Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas (her cellist sister), Abigail Washburn, and The Waybacks.

Eliza Carthy

Twice-nominated for a prestigious Nationwide Mercury Music Prize with 1998’s ‘Red Rice’ and 2003’s ‘Anglicana’ Eliza is also the winner of more than five BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. Touring on and off since the age of fourteen, she has appeared at a huge number of live events from Robin Hood’s Bay Village Hall to the Albert Hall. Yorkshire-born Eliza grew up immersed in the world of traditional English music. She has lived a life based on the philosophy that it is a genre worthy of and equal to any other. She is on the Folk Advisory Committee at the Sage Gateshead with North-East-based folk/educational organisation Folkworks and involved with the English Folk Dance and Song Society which recently made her Vice-President.

Jon Boden

Jon Boden has become a stand out performer of his generation of traditional folk artists, but one whose repertoire extends far beyond the boundaries of the genre. Most notably he is the lead singer and one of the principal arrangers for the multi-award winning Bellowhead, one of the most exciting live acts in all of music. In addition within the folk scene, he has played in a duo with fellow Bellowhead member John Spiers for over a decade. Recently he has also performed with his own band ‘The Remnant Kings’, performing both traditional folk music and Jon’s own work featured on his 2009 solo album ‘Songs From the Floodplain’ – a bleak view of a post-apocalyptic world.

Nancy Kerr

Fiddler, singer, songwriter and violist Nancy Kerr is co-winner (with James Fagan) of the BBC Folk Award for Best Duo 2011, and Best Album in the Spiral Earth Awards 2012 (for Twice Reflected Sun). She has played since the age of 5, has been a music workshop leader for over 20 years and is a core tutor on the BMus in Folk and Traditional music at Newcastle University, UK. In 2012 her trailblazing version of “Dance to Your Daddy” was chosen by Gareth Malone to be his Radio 4 Inheritance Track. Also a qualified music therapist, she specialises in intricate and percussive fiddle techniques with which to catch the ear and sensitively underpin traditional and self-written songs.

Sam Sweeney

Sam was born in Nottingham in 1989, and first picked up a fiddle in 1996. In recent years Sam has become one of the most sought after instrumentalists on the English folk scene. On leaving school in 2007, he joined eleven piece folk big band Bellowhead and has recorded three acclaimed albums with them. He also plays with Hannah James, Fay Hield & The Hurricane Party and Jon Boden & The Remnant Kings. In 2013, Sam was nominated as Best Musician in the BBC Folk Awards.

Hassan Erraji

Hassan Erraji is a Moroccan Master Musician – a singer songwriter, multi instrumentalist, arranger and composer, entertainer and story teller, he has also gained an international reputation for his highly sought after master classes run at many of the top musical institutes around the world including The South Bank Educational Centre and The National Youth Orchestra. Born in the village of Tazart, south of Marrakech, Hassan was introduced to the traditional music of the Atlas mountains from an early age by experiencing the many forms of the Berber music repertoire including Ahwash, Arasal, Tirroyssa and Anedham: styles practiced and transmitted by ear from master to disciple. It was as a young boy that he made his first instrument from a tin can and a piece of wood with bicycle brake cables for strings, and losing his sight at the age of six only made his passion for the universe of sounds deeper.

Emma Sweeney

Emma was introduced to Irish music aged seven, taking tin whistle classes under Sligo’s Marian Eagan. At ten years of age she progressed onto the fiddle, taught by Colin Farrell and later, Andy Dinan. Her potential flourished further under the mentorship of Mike McGoldrick, who encouraged and tutored her in whistle and fiddle. A finalist at the prestigious BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award in 2003, Emma’s devotion to music has taken her across Europe and beyond. At the age of eighteen, she travelled to Kolkata, India, where she founded a project teaching the tin whistle to 300 street children and orphans from the city’s slums.

Rowan Rheingans

Growing up in the peak district, Rowan played English and Scottish folk music from a young age until an interest in Scandinavian tunes led her to study for a year at Bollnas Folkhogskola in Halsingland, Sweden in 2008. Rowan’s interest in Swedish music and dance remains as strong as ever and features in many of her musical projects alongside an extensive repertoire of English, Scottish and Old-time American fiddle music.

Jock Tyldesley

Jock is perhaps best known for his fiddling in Cajun bands such as The Flatville Aces and the Bearcats, as well as more off-the-wall antics with The New Rope String Band and The Chipolatas. He is much in demand as a private and workshop tutor and has also taught for several years at Folkworks Summer School and The Burwell Bash as well as being a visiting tutor at Blazin’ in Beauly, The London Fiddle School and the Folk Degree course at Newcastle University, plus many international festival workshops. For many years he has nurtured a passion for Southern Appalachian old time fiddling

Miranda Rutter

Miranda took up the fiddle at 5 but soon had her ambitions set on playing the viola. She was a member of Pro Corda, a youth string quartet course, during her early teens but on meeting folk music in her late teens, became enchanted. A member of string quartet Methera, she has performed with the English Acoustic Collective and Morris Offspring in ‘On English Ground’ and with Chris Wood in his ‘Listening to the River’. She has taught on Newcastle University’s Folk Music degree course, at the English Acoustic Collective’s Strings Summer School, Folkworks’ Fiddles on Fire Festival and led a youth music project in Somerset.

Bryony Griffith

English fiddle player and singer Bryony Griffith has been been described as having “the vocal power of a young Norma Waterson, the poise and attitude of the late Sandy Denny, and the stage presence of Janis Joplin” (Allan Wilkinson, Northern Sky). Her fiddle playing has been credited as being ‘deliciously rustic’ (Colin Irwin). She has performed with melodeon player and dancer Will Hampson for almost 20 years and has been a key member of the award-winning Demon Barbers for the last ten years. Bryony was also a member of the much-missed a cappella group The Witches of Elswick.

Paul Davenport

Paul learned to play the fiddle in that most traditional of ways – necessity; due to lack of musician for his morris team. He spent his early playing years in the non-folkie pubs of Doncaster supporting unlikely musicians, singers and even drag acts! In the early 1970s he met and played regularly with Rose Murphy a celebrated Galway fiddler. This experience left him with an idiosyncratic playing technique and an interest in traditional fiddlers and their stylistic approach to the instrument. Paul gained his M.Mus. in Ethnomusicology at Sheffield University where his thesis discussed the Blind Fiddlers of Sheffield and their repertoire. He has edited and published a number of books of traditional tunes from manuscript collections.

Rob Harbron

Rob has emerged as one of the leading lights in the ongoing renaissance of English music. A consummate musician and performer who is widely considered to be the finest concertina player of his generation, he is a member of the English Acoustic Collective, works with fiddler Emma Reid, and plays in a trio with Nancy Kerr and James Fagan. Rob was also a founder member of the now-defunct Dr Faustus and has worked with numerous other artists as a musician and producer.

Nick Woodward

Nick Woodward studied at the Violin Making School in Newark on Trent and has been working with violins and their players for 35 years. He set up the Bristol Violin Shop in 1986. At the age of 47 he actually started to learn how to play the thing, and quickly developed a great deal more sympathy for his customers and their problems than he had had before. He will be around on Sunday, please ask him questions, and he will also be giving a talk based around instrument set-ups…bridges, soundposts and fingerboards.

Josie Wexler

Josie has played fiddle music from every tradition she can find for about 30 years, and also teaches fiddle. She plays with the Klezmer band Mini Moosika, and with a pan-European band and English ceilidh band that both still, sadly, lack names. She likes to improvise and play in a ludicrously emotional style as it temporarily takes her mind off death, Tories, etc.