A chance to hear two rising stars of the Folk Scene.
Owen Spafford (Cosmo Sheldrake, Don’t Feed the Peacocks) and Louis Campbell (Sam Sweeney) met as teenagers, as part of the first cohort of the National Youth Folk Ensemble. Since forming their duo in 2018, they have been nominated for the BBC Young Folk Award and received play on BBC Radio 2,3 and RTE1. A shared musical ‘true north’ and lasting friendship enable the duo to make two instruments seemingly sound as one; creating subtle and emotive textures that re-calibrate the fiddle and guitar duo idiom.
Their critically acclaimed debut album, ‘You, Golden’ (04/11/22) was self-produced and recorded live in just two and a half days with engineer Joe Garcia (Idles, Blowzabella) with a make shift setup in a barn in Bampton, Oxfordshire. It features a mixture of traditional and self-penned material, though the line is intentionally blurred to unite the two – leaving listeners questioning which is which.
Owen has performed for the leaders of the commonwealth states, toured with Giffords Circus and has received a scholarship to study composition at the Royal Academy of Music. He is currently working on Cosmo Sheldrake’s next album. Owen is also an All-Britain Fiddle Champion in the Fleadh Cheoil na Breataine and BBC Young Composer Competition nominee. Equally at home in a traditional session as he is in a free improvisation workshop, Spafford’s understanding of the oral tradition and love for vernacular music from around the world enables an inventive and thoughtful fiddle style.
Louis has been lucky enough to perform with Martin Carthy and John Doyle and joined Sam Sweeney’s band at 19. At the Royal Northern College of Music, he studied under Martin Simpson, Stuart McCallum, Craig Ogden and Kris Drever and has been cited as ‘a talent to watch’ by the Sunday Times. Most commonly seen behind a large effects pedalboard, the duo provides space for Campbell to connect with his first love, the acoustic guitar. He has also released three solo EPs of alternative music.
The duo allows Owen and Louis to distill their love of traditional and experimental music into powerful, intricate and intimate music. Their debut album ‘You, Golden’ manages to orbit many different sound-worlds while staying within acoustic English folk music; seamlessly blending traditional tunes with their own material.
Improvisation, humour and musicality make each live performance unique.
“Rising stars of the folk scene” – Katie Derham, BBC Radio 3
“Beautiful, swirling, modern English folk music” – Mark Radcliffe, BBC Radio 2
“Gorgeous Music” – Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, RTE 1
“They display a mastery and vision that, for a debut, is truly remarkable.” – Folk Radio UK
“Virtuosic, vibrant and very, very progressive. A magnificent take on the trad. tune idiom. Don’t let their youth suggest these aren’t two very wise old hearted musicians at the start of a very long and glorious career” – Sam Lee
“Brave, brilliant, deeply musical and creative. Listen to this….” – Martin Simpson
Photo by Iona Lane