Fashionable folk

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The Independent Culture
Over Easter the predominant performances at the Barbican will not be Shakespeare and the classics but more vernacular music as the place is taken over by Evolving Tradition, a four-day celebration of the traditional music of Britain and Ireland. The Grand NATIONALe will be a concert by Altan and the Kathryn Tickell Trio (Tickell, left) in the Barbican Hall on Easter Monday, but more significant are the free events in the foyer. There you can see squeezebox virtuoso John Kirkpatrick, to whom that ambiguous adjective "veteran" must now be applied since his son Benji is on the same bill. Joining him are Bohinta, featuring Aine and Martin Furey, offspring of the mighty Finbar. Something is afoot in the folk world: the second generation is taking over. Eliza Carthy and Nancy Kerr are a successful fiddle duo, Eliza the daughter of Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson and Nancy, Sandra Kerr's girl. There's more to this than unimaginative children following in their parents' clogsteps. During the afternoon on Easter Monday Catriona MacDonald is playing. She is a great, young Shetland fiddler, but she trained as an opera singer. The same afternoon the Lakeman Brothers perform. Sean, the eldest, is doing a degree in jazz. These are musicians of astonishing technical ability who could play any kind of music. Something, though, is attracting them to the traditional idiom. There is, of course, the music itself: real tunes really played on real instruments, but there is something more. Folk music is (shock horror probe, prime minister intervenes) becoming hip. Best get there this weekend before it's too late. The Lakeman Bros are already joking about looking like Take That. Soon it will go to their heads, they'll all get plugged in and head for Wembley.

Evolving Tradition, The Barbican, 14-17 Apr (0171-638 8891)

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