Preview: Bellowhead, North Devon Folk Festival, Ilfracombe

North Devon fields its first eleven

The big, brassy 11-piece English folk band Bellowhead play more than 20 instruments between them and six of them sing. Their new album, Matachin, which is to be released at the end of September, is bursting with traditional songs, including "Roll Her Down the Bay", "I Drew My Ship Across the Harbour" and "Whiskey Is the Life of Man".

These musicians, who fuse folk, rock, ska, jazz, soul and world music with English music hall and cabaret, released their debut album, Burlesque, in 2006. They had already won a BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Best Live Act in 2005; now they are the band-in-residence at London's Southbank Centre. This summer, too, they played at Glastonbury, the Big Chill and at the first ever Prom to be dedicated to folk.

Jon Boden, who sings and plays fiddle, formed the band in 2004 with John Spiers, who plays melodeon. The duo have performed together as Spiers & Boden since 2000, and their fifth album as a pair, Vagabond, came out last year. In between, they find time to play as part of Eliza Carthy's band The Ratcatchers, and performed on her Mercury Prize-nominated album Anglicana. As if that wasn't enough, Boden also released his own solo album of contemporary indie folk rock songs, Painted Lady, in 2006, with another one on the way.

"As a duo we make a very big noise anyway because we use a stompbox," says Boden. "There is a glass ceiling for duos; you don't tend to get put on last thing at a festival. People want a big band at the end of the night so we thought if we were going to do anything bigger, we might as well do it really big. There was a good history of brass in English folk music. The main band who really experimented with it in the Eighties was Brass Monkey, but nobody had had a look at it for a while. We thought it would be a good opportunity to blend brass with a bit of disco, which can be heard in songs such as our disco track, 'Fire Marengo', on the first album."

B ellowhead play the North Devon Folk Festival on 7 September as part of their autumn tour (see www.bellowhead.co.uk for dates)

Arts and Entertainment

game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers

Arts and Entertainment
The original Star Wars trio of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill

George Osborne confirms Star Wars 8 will film at Pinewood Studios in time for 4 May

film

Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’

North London meets The Exorcist in eerie suburban drama

TV

Arts and Entertainment

Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington plays MI5 agent Will Holloway in Spooks: The Greater Good

'You can't count on anyone making it out alive'film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living