Let’s go dancing

Brum dancing: Birmingham's The Old Dance School perform at Letwell Village Hall tomorrow night
Brum dancing: Birmingham's The Old Dance School perform at Letwell Village Hall tomorrow night
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FOR anyone who was on the verge of writing off folk music, think again.

For a new generation has been storming the stages of folk clubs for the last few years.

Latest to take on the job are The Old Dance School.

All graduates of the Birmingham Conservatoir of Music, they started out in 2006 as a gathering of friends in the garden of the old Betty Fox school of ballet in Birmingham, from where they take their name.

Each would bring along a tune or a song for the group to experiment with.

Four years, 40,000 miles, dozens of festivals later and the seven piece’s second album, Forecast, is out, delivering a startling take on contemporary folk that is both firmly-rooted and unashamedly forward-thinking.

It features blistering tunes and vivid songs with a virtuosity and vitality drawn from their classical and jazz backgrounds.

Debut album Based on a True Story was released in 2008 and was championed by Radio 2’s Bob Harris, confirming the outfit as one of the most exciting young bands to have emerged recently.

From international jazz festivals to European opera tours, film score commissions to classical recitals, green festivals to tattoo conventions, members of The Old Dance School have performed and recorded in places more seasoned musicians would worry about.

They are Helen Lancaster (violin), Tom Chapman (percussion), Samantha Norman (violin), Aaron Diaz (trumpet), Laura Carter (whistles, recorder and vocals), Adam Jarvis (bass) and local lad Robin Beatty on guitar and vocals.

He grew up in Hope Valley and as well as studying jazz he has maintained an active role in both traditional music and outdoor scenes. Described by National Geographic Magazine as The Nick Drake of The Mountain World, these two loves have gone hand in hand throughout his career. Robin appeared in a duo with writer Jim Perrin at The World Environment Concert at Camden Palace, has toured film festivals in the UK, USA and Canada, through his work composing and producing soundtracks for wild nature films and enjoyed a week’s solo residency at the Bannf Mountain Festival in Canada.

The Old Dance School are at Letwell Village Hall, tomorrow night. For tickets call 01909 731626.

EDALE’S Penny Pot café hosts a tales and tunes session tonight. Haunting tales of the Peak District will be told by National Trust storyteller Simon Atherton and live folk music will be performed by Sheffield’s the Three Musky Beards (aka Geoff Hunter and Ric Booth).

Tales and Tunes costs £10 per person including a bowl of stew. The Penny Pot Café is next to Edale station. Trains from Sheffield leave at 7.14pm and set off back at 11.02pm. Call 01344 670368 or email peakdistrict@nationaltrust.org.uk.

FAIRPORT Convention are back on the road with their 2011 Winter Tour, which visits Chesterfield’s Winding Wheel next Thursday.

Support is from talented South Yorkshire young duo Katriona Gilmore and Jamie Roberts. Find out more at www.fairportconvention.com

SARAH McQuaid is at Coal Aston Village Hall, Eckington Road, tomorrow. Tickets: 01246 410611.

SINGER songwriters Kate Howden and Paul Jones, who cut their teeth on the folk circuit, play guitar, mandolin, fiddle and banjo, are at Doncaster Little Theatre, East Laith Gate tonight. Tickets: 01302 340422.

AN evening of traditional English folk music, headlined by Little Johnny England, with support from Barnsley’s Dave Burland, takes place at Barnsley Civic tomorrow night for a Folk Against Facism concert.