Described by The Guardian as ‘the finest instrumental duo on the traditional scene’, the multi award-winning duo of John Spiers and Jon Boden rocketed onto the scene in 2001.
In 2011, after 10 years of successful touring, they headlined their own star-studded show at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire celebrating their 10th anniversary.
Using their early success as a duo, they founded the ground-breaking folk big band Bellowhead, which dominated their time for the next few years and in 2014 Spiers & Boden made the difficult choice to rest the duo. It was a tough decision. Spiers & Boden had earned a place in the hearts of the folk audience that few could rival and the disbelief at the dissolution of the duo was only matched when in 2016 Bellowhead itself took a final bow.
Since then Jon Boden has carved out a career as both a solo performer and with his own band, Jon Boden & The Remnant Kings, while continuing to work on his creative trilogy of albums exploring a post-apocalyptic world and his work writing music for theatre. John Spiers went on to form successful performance collaborations with Peter Knight (Steeleye Span, Feast Of Fiddles) and separately Jackie Oates, and is a member of the recently formed Gigspanner Big Band.
In late 2019 the idea of reforming Spiers & Boden began to be discussed, quickly followed by plans for new touring in 2021. A couple of unexpected duo videos in spring 2020 trailed the full public announcement in summer 2020 that Spiers & Boden are back!
Janice Burns & Jon Doran
Janice Burns & Jon Doran are an Anglo-Scottish duo who formed in 2017, after discovering a shared love of traditional music. They find their songs in archives that span the depths of our history; songs that, regardless of age, tell vivid stories about the nature of life, from the ethereal landscapes of ancient ballads to the urban rhythms of work songs. Their compelling storytelling comes alive through tight vocal harmonies and sensitive interplay between mandolin and bouzouki, with arrangements that balance intricacy with energy. Their dynamic performances are a celebration of their own musical and geographic backgrounds, embracing the differences that connect them.
The duo met whilst studying folk and traditional music at Newcastle University, spending one year at the University of South-East Norway together. These experiences allowed them to hone their craft whilst expanding their audiences further beyond the UK. After three years of working together and performing in notable venues such as Sage Gateshead and Folklub Newcastle, they decided to record their debut EP. It was released in September 2020 to overwhelmingly positive feedback.
Each year in partnership with English Folk Expo we work with an international territory to highlight new talent and ensure Manchester Folk Festival continues to celebrate a global talent. This year we welcome artists from Hungary.
With the idea of transforming traditional, authentic and unison Hungarian folk songs into modern, polyphonic compositions Dalinda is unique on the stage of Hungarian folk acapella. The core of their arrangements is always traditional folk music – the root where they came from their most stable and permanent characteristic. They spice up authentic folk melodies with harmonies and modern sounds, inspired by contemporary surroundings, but always strive for preserving the pure and authentic strength of the original folk music.
Their repertoire is selected with particular attention to show elements and genres of vocal traditions which are seldom heard on stages. The folk songs they use as the main source of their pieces are learned from archive recordings or directly from peasant singers and musicians – masters with whom the group got to meet and collect from them personally. This personal connection makes Dalinda even more committed to the authentic interpretation.
This event is part of Manchester Folk Festival – an urban folk festival. It takes place from 21-23 October 2021, in and around HOME and the city centre. Over the autumn weekend, they present an exhilarating range of events, with the spotlight on contemporary and traditional English folk music.