These guiding lights dazzle us with their wit and humour

Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham
Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham
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Aly Bain & Phil Cunningham, University of Sheffield

Two guiding lights of the BBC Transatlantic Sessions, Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham, return to Sheffield on Wednesday after an absence of several years.

The Shetland fiddler and accordionist have been among the anchors of the TV programme that has brought together the cream of traditional musicians from both sides of the water.

They have eminent careers in their own right, but are especially renowned as a duo, combining their musical prowess with dashes of wit and humour on stage.

They are the latest folk performers to play the University of Sheffield’s Firth Hall off Western Bank.

Aly Bain has influenced a whole generation of Scottish folk musicians. He is co-musical director of the Transatlantic Sessions and has inspired audiences and players alike through his recordings, teaching and supremely fluid style.

Accordionist Phil Cunningham has worked as a broadcaster, composer and performer. In recent years he has produced albums for several of the younger generation of Scottish bands, who knew where to call when looking for an authentic grounding in the depths of the tradition. He is also a gifted raconteur. They were last seen south of the border on February’s annual Transatlantic Sessions Tour, but here it’s back to basics, playing as duo.

nOne of the first concerts by folk luminaries The Full English was at Firth Hall and a memorable occasion it turned out to be.

They are back in Sheffield on Sunday, May 3, this time at the Lyceum Theatre.

It’s another chance to see the band that won prizes for Best Group and Best Album at the 2014 BBC Folk Awards – Martin Simpson, Fay Hield, Seth Lakeman, Nancy Kerr, Sam Sweeney, Ben Nicholls and Rob Harbron. And that’s some line-up.