Shammick Acoustic programme
Jul 27

Helen North:  This delightful Kent-based songmaker is gaining a growing reputation for her skilfully turned lyrics, strongly visual songs and beautiful, true voice.  Her ‘day job’ as a sailing instructor has informed much of her writing, and her debut CD ‘Shifting Sands’ has brought her songs to the attention of other artists such as Mick Ryan, renowned for his own songwriting – a real compliment in itself.  Helen was the winner of Towersey Festival’s open mic competition, opening more doors for her to perform at clubs and festivals nationwide.  Locally, some may remember her performances at Sea Ilfracombe a few years ago, much to the delight of many.  Her knowledge of musical forms is evident in the breadth of styles in her musical composition.  Singing both self-penned and traditional songs, her captivating performances have her audiences in gales of laughter one moment, and rapt attention the next.  This talented lady is well worth catching!

Aug 24

Nick Hennessey:  Have you ever heard anyone make the sound of a hand wiping the mist off a window – with no mist and no window?  Nick Hennessey can do that!  After years of trying, Shammick Acoustic has finally pinned down this acclaimed storyteller, playwright, singer, songwriter and musician to commit to a concert here.  His PhD in Cultural Geography led him to explore the relationship between landscape, communities and stories and tradition, devising and writing shows with the likes of Hugh Lupton and our recent guest artists, Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer.  For more than a score of years, Nick has performed in venues from rural village halls to the Southbank Centre and the Royal Albert Hall, and internationally in Europe, Canada and Japan.  With accompaniment on harp, concertina, whistle or drum, Nick is a singer and storyteller of considerable ability and has been described as captivating, powerful – and perfect!

Sep 7 OPEN NIGHT (NB:This is a week earlier than usual!) With featured perfromers Sivington. Tricia Moore & John Connor became the duo Silvington after getting together at the excellent Folk on the Moor club at Ivybridge, S. Devon. With a growing reputation for fine vocal harmonies and varied accompaniment, they present a repertoire of both traditional and modern songs, many of them self-penned.
Sep 28

Mike Wilson & Damien Barber:  These two are two of the UK’s finest exponents of traditional song, and much in demand outside of their usual musical combinations.  Mike Wilson is the youngest of the famed Wilson Family, the powerful Teeside singing sibllings who have raised many a rafter at festivals and folk clubs, not to mention the Royal Albert Hall and as part of Sting’s ‘The Last Ship’.  Mike’s musical heritage is emphatically that of the North East, rural and industrial, traditional and modern.  Damien was raised in Norfolk and was heavily influenced by earlier singers from that area, such as Walter Pardon and Peter Bellamy.  He is a stylish and distinctive singer, either unaccompanied or using guitar or concertina, and is probably best known these days for his roadshow ‘The Demon Barbers’, reaching out to new audiences through combining different styles of music and dance.  Mike and Damien have a rich shared repertoire of traditional songs plus the work of more modern writers like Bellamy, Ewan MacColl and Mike Waterson often sung in full-throated harmony.  An evening “chock full of nothing but great songs brilliantly sung” can be expected!

Oct 26

Bob & Gill Berry:  It’s hard to believe that it’s well over six years since Bob & Gill Berry last gave a concert at Shammick Acoustic – and it’s been far too long!  The duo have a long history within the folk movement, having run Chippenham Folk Festival for many years, sometimes to the detriment of their ability to take their own music around the country.  They’re now beginning to hand that job over to others, which means that many clubs and festivals will have the chance to hear more of them.  They also regularly run events at Sidmouth and Towersey Festivals.  They were honoured by the English Folk Dance and Song Society for their significant contributions to the development and continuity of traditional English folk music, song and dance.  But aside from all that, their strong voices with harmonies and some accompaniment on guitar, mandolin or bouzouki, are more than impressive!  Last year saw the release of their latest album, ‘Echoes of Alfred’ with songs from the Alfred Williams collection from Wiltshire and the surrounding counties.  Nothing fancy – just good, honest presentation of good, honest songs.  Can’t wait to welcome them back!

Nov 23

Rag Mama Rag:  Shammick Acoustic puts on a wide range of acoustic music, including blues when something worth booking comes along – and this duo is certainly that, so they’re back again!  Formed in 1991, Rag Mama Rag have built up a reputation as one of Europe’s finest country blues acts, making use of an interesting and interesting array of instruments from Dobro and ukulele to washboard and harmonica to accompany classic vocal renditions.  Touring non-stop, the duo of Ashley and Deborah Dow play at many major festivals throughout Europe and beyond, with their exceptionally full and hard-driving rhythmic sound which gets audiences’ feet tapping or even stomping!  Their repertoire is ‘20s and ‘30s blues based, but encompassing Mississippi Delta, East Coast ragtime, and white country tunes, as well as their own original compositions.  Presenting a huge range of material from slower melodies to fast-paced rocking blues, with superb finger-picking thrown in for good measure, this unassuming but multi-talented couple won’t leave anyone disappointed!

Dec 14 Afternoon workshop special. Narthen, who are the concert guests in the evening, will be running a carol-singing workshop during the afternoon, from 1:30pm to 5:00pm (including a 30 min, break with tea or coffee, etc.), investigating some of the lesser-known carols in the English tradition. You may have heard of the Sheffield carol tradition, or of West Gallery carols. Here's a rare opportunity to learn more and get involved in these wonderful old localised settings of carols - some of which will be familiar. You can download a booking form for the workshop (with or without the evening concert as well) by clicking HERE  
Dec 14 Narthen (Jim Causley, Barry Coope, Jo & Fi Fraser). Hark! HarkNarthen may be a name new to many – but not for long, I suspect.  They are a quartet of fine singers: Barry Coope from the famed but now defunct Coope, Boyes & Simpson, with Jo Freya of Blowzabella and Moirai, and Fi Fraser of PolkaWorks and Old Swan Band, plus Devon's very own Jim Causley who got together to concentrate on a winter shows, but then took it further so that they could perform throughout the year.  So the pedigree is there for all the members of the band, but their Christmas show is not just a bunch of folk with good voices belting out traditional carols.  It’s a welcoming hotch-potch of stories, poetry and jokes threaded through with carolling and wassailing, both a capella and accompanied by a proper bagful of instruments, blown, plucked, bowed and struck.  The show is rich in Variety tradition – there are various nods to Music Hall – and steeped in folk’s past and present. The way the show veers effortlessly between solemnity and silliness makes it a wonderful, and wonderfully warm, winter night out.
Dec 22 The 18th Midwinter Carols Night (@ The Castle):  This is the eighteenth annual Combe Martin Midwinter Carols Night. We have carols (both common and unusual), wassail songs, local midwinter songs. Hand-out books of the songs are provided - with or without music. With punch, sausage rolls and mine pies. Accompanied by a motley miscellany of instrument players (a 15-piece band at the last count!). Just bring your voice (and instrument if you play) for an enjoyable singing evening in the Castle function room - with a bar.