Two time BBC Folk Award winners Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar met in 2011. Soon after the joining of the pair, the duo were signed to Fellside Records and in July 2012 released their debut album, The Queen’s Lover. Numerous tours followed as the duo developed and honed their stage craft, becoming one of the most sought after young acts on the English Folk Scene. "The press coverage and folk club reports have been glowing and rightly so" (R2 Magazine).
In January 2013, the pair picked up the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk award. Following the award win, Russell and Algar toured the country in April and, after completing school and University Exams in May, began touring again at the beginning of June - a schedule which saw them play venues and festivals such as Cambridge Folk Festival and Fairport’s Cropredy Convention as well as appearing live on Mark Radcliffe’s BBC Radio 2 Folk Show.
After recording their second album in the November of 2013, again with Fellside, Russell and Algar received the Horizon Award for Best breakthrough act at the 2014 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. The second album, The Call, was then released in July receiving 5 Stars in fRoots, 4 Stars in both R2 Magazine and The Telegraph and a host of other brilliant reviews, Bright Young Folk describing it as an "outstanding show of maturity" with "enormous promise".
The duo come from musical households and both began to develop their musical skills long before joining forces. Algar, originally a member of TRI became All Ireland Champion, and All Britain Champion on numerous occasions before the age of 16 and Russell had begun a career as a solo musician supporting acts such as Karine Polwart and Lau, amongst others.
Greg is delighted to currently be playing guitar in Nancy Kerr's Sweet Visitor Band. Having won the prestigious BBC Radio 2 Folk Singer of the Year award in 2015, Nancy is one of the most highly thought of performers on the folk scene today. Whilst Nancy has long been considered as a fantastic interpreter of traditional songs, she is also increasingly seen as one of the British Folk scenes finest songwriters.
From the industrial revolution, universal suffrage and the slave trade through to CND, Rock against Racism and the Miners’ strike, songs are a common and integral factor in all the movements that have sought to instigate change.
Shake the Chains is an exciting new touring commission from celebrated UK contemporary folk singer songwriters that will explore the role songs have played in social change, resistance and protest.
At a time when making our political voice heard is as important as ever, Shake the Chains will include new material written exclusively for the project, as well as classic protest songs from around the world.
This exceptional band of musicians will play venues in Bristol, Sheffield, Suffolk, Derby and London from February 23 to 27 with a special guest at each performance.
Shake the Chains will also perform exclusively at Folk by the Oak in July 2017, with a live album scheduled for release in September 2017. Shake the Chains follows on from the critically acclaimed Sweet Liberties project that created new material in response to 800 years of the pursuit of democracy.
Shake the Chains is a commission from Folk by The Oak with support from Arts Council England, Help Musicians UK and Folk Alliance International.
For more information or to book tickets, click HERE. Follow the project on Twitter at @shakethechains1 and on Facebook @shakethechains.
The Transports tells the incredible tale of a family destroyed by poverty and crime, but resurrected by exile to the new colony of Australia. With fresh script and musical arrangement, this famous show re-emerges within a modern context of mass migration.
The stellar line-up for this exciting new production includes The Young’uns, Faustus, Nancy Kerr, Rachael McShane, Greg Russell and Matthew Crampton.
In 1977 Peter Bellamy released The Transports on record with The Watersons, Martin Carthy, Nic Jones, AL Lloyd, June Tabor, Cyril Tawney, Dave Swarbrick and others. Several times since, further generations of folk musicians have gathered to re-create the piece.
This new production features musical arrangements by Paul Sartin of Bellowhead and Faustus. Two-time BBC Folk Award winners The Young’uns bring their trademark live dynamism. Further musical excellence comes from Nancy Kerr, Bellowhead’s Rachael McShane, Faustus’ Benji Kirkpatrick and Saul Rose, and Greg Russell.
Storyteller Matthew Crampton has created fresh narration for the show, amplifying its central tale into a broader exploration of exile and migration.
Mass migration is a defining dilemma of today. There’s seldom been a more vital moment to bring back The Transports – not just a great music experience, but a sharp reminder of folk music’s power in portraying the way the world actually works.
Find out more about Peter Bellamy’s original show and subsequent productions HERE
The Tweed Project, is a newly formed folk quintet combining the musical talents of the 2013 and 2014 BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award winners. The Tweed project are; Greg Russell, Ciaran Algar, Mischa Macphearson, Ali Levack and Innes White. Playing a mixture of original, traditional and contemporary folk song and tunes, the Tweed Project have created an exciting sound combining the influences of the English duo Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar and Scottish, Mischa Macpherson Trio. The resulting sound is something new and vibrant, the result of collaboration between artists with such different musical backgrounds. The group are very excited to be taking the project on the road.
"The premier...at Southwell Folk Festival was incredibly moving, with the stellar cast hitting all the right buttons. It was even better when seen later at Warwick and Moira festivals" Ian Croft (R2 Magazine)
A Days Work, starring Mick Ryan, Paul Downes, Pete Morton, Matt Quinn, Heather Bradford, Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar is a Folk Opera written by Ryan himself.
On the eve of The Great War a group of lifelong friends gather to discuss the impending conflict. Farm labourers and performers in the village mummers’ play: will they leave their traditions behind them and answer the call? What awaits them as the fighting moves remorselessly towards the Battle of the Somme?
Acclaimed on the folk scene and beyond when first performed in 1995, 'A Day’s Work' is now re-written for The Great War Centenary with newly-composed songs and a cast of multi-talented and highly respected performers.