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Boss Morris dance in the Squash Court at FolkEast wearing their pink outfits.

FolkEast X Tradfolk Squash Court Sessions, 2023

This year’s Squash Court Sessions kicked off yesterday, as the Tradfolk team filmed six performers fresh from their gigs on the big stages. We’re shooting the vids in a disused Victorian squash court at Glemham Hall, the site of FolkEast. This year we’ve got dances from Boss Morris, songs from Filkin’s Ensemble, tunes from Sam Sweeney and so many more. Keep checking back through the weekend (and beyond) to see what we’ve been up to.

The videos are directed by the very wonderful Jon Nice, assisted by Kai Wilks with help from Grace Burgoyne. If you’re enjoying what you’re seeing, send us your comments and feedback, and give us a follow, via our Youtube channel.

Oh, and if you’re actually at FolkEast, make sure you pop along and join us at the Tradfolk Takeover, all afternoon and evening at the Stage on the Far Side of the Woods, where we’ll have performances from Patakas, Sam Baxter, Frankie Archer, Cynefin, Jennifer Reid, Angeline Morrison and Nick Hart.

In this article you’ll find…

Boss Morris, Filberts

Boss Morris performs ‘Filberts’ an original piece by Rob Harbron in honour of their hazel sticks used in the Morris dance. The piece was choreographed in collaboration of the Boss Morris dancers and Laurel Swift. 

Filkin’s Ensemble | Wind and Rain [Roud 8]

Filkins Ensemble performs the traditional folk song Wind and Rain [Roud 8]. Wind and Rain was actually the first song the first members of the group played as a collaboration over lockdown, which they now frequently play with the final lineup of Filkins Ensemble. 

Jackie Oates, Poor Smuggler’s Boy

Jackie Oates performs the traditional song ‘Poor Smugglers Boy’ [Roud 618] after learning it from Barry Lister, but it is also in the New Penguin Book of English Folk Songs.

Sam Sweeney and Louis Campbell | Shape #1

Sam Sweeney and Louis Campbell perform their original song Shape #1 (D) from their recently released EP Shapes. Shape #1 (D) is the first track on their EP which they felt was ‘just a beautiful tune’ fitting for their appearance at Folk East 2023.

Michelle Holloway | Mary Ashford’s Tragedy [Roud V9975]

Michelle, the lead singer with Bonfire Radicals, performs an adapted version of the traditional folk song, ‘Mary Ashford’s Tragedy’ [Roud V9975], based on a true story from the 19th century of two murders of two women, which took place on the same day and in the same location a hundred years apart.

Miranda Rutter & Rob Harbron | Blackbird Schottische

Miranda Rutter and Rob Harbron perform their original composition, ‘Black Bird Schottische’, as their contribution to the FolkEast 2023 Squash Court Sessions. The tune is heavily inspired by a blackbird recording Miranda collected from her garden. Her upcoming album, due to be released in 2024, will feature 12 different species of birds and contain their original recordings (intertwined with her and Harbron’s musical accompaniment).

The Young’uns | Rap Her to Bank [Roud 1786]

The Young’uns perform a traditional Durham pit song ‘Rap Her To Bank’ [Roud 1786], as part of the FolkEast 2023 Squash Court Sessions. This traditional pit song was one of the first songs they arranged together.

Burd Ellen | The Lovers

Burd Ellen performs ‘The Lovers’, a Scottish translation of a Danish traditional song from their album A Tarot of the Greenwood, inspired by tarot cards. ‘The Lovers’ was performed as part of the FolkEast 2023 squash court sessions.

Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne | Nan of St Catherine

Cohen performs the traditional folk song ‘Nan of St Catherine’ as his contribution to the Folk East 2023 squash court sessions. Cohen performs ‘Nan of St Katherine’ as a way to showcase its uplifting and life-affirming message after the war.

Tamsin Elliott, Tarek Elazhary, Rowan Elliott | Mundesse

Tamsin, Tarek and Rowan perform Egyptian folk song ‘Telaet Ya Mahla Norha’ (composed by Sayed Darwish) with ‘Mundesse’ (Playford, 1651), reflecting both Egyptian and English culture.

Angeline Morrison | The Black’s Lamentation [V37640]

‘The Black’s Lamentation’ or ‘The Bedlam Black’s Lament’ [V37640] is performed here by Angeline Morrison. It is a broadside ballad originally popular between 1730 and the 1760s. Angeline chose to sing it because, “it’s an ancient English song with a black lead character, and his inner life and feelings are very clearly drawn.”

Frankie Archer | I Wish, I Wish

‘I Wish, I Wish’ [Roud 495] comes from the ‘Died for Love’ family of songs. Frankie arrived in the Squash Court with a freshly-minted choir of festival goers in tow. The second take was only the third time they’d sung this song together (and in the space of 15 mins, too) – an example of thinking outside the box; something Frankie Archer has quickly become known for.

Sam Baxter | Did You See My Man

Sam tells us, “I learnt ‘Did You See My Man’ [Roud 2105] from the singing of Elizabeth Cronin, a traditional singer from Cork. She had a large repertoire of mouth-music or lilting songs, of which this is one, which were often used when people would sing for dancing when no instruments were available (sometimes because they’d been banned by the church). The tune is quite well known in Ireland, more commonly known as ‘O’Sulivan’s March’.”

Nick Hart & Tom Moore | The Raggle Taggle Gypsy

Taken from their forthcoming album, The Colour of Amber (Slow Worm Records, November 2023), Nick Hart and Tom Moore perform ‘The Raggle Taggle Gypsy’ [Roud 1]. Nick once again demonstrates his multi-instrumentalism, this time playing the viola de gamba as though he was born doing it. Keep an eye and an ear open for more news of the duo’s debut release.

Katherine Priddy & John Smith | Talk to Me of Mendocino

Katherine Priddy returns to the FolkEast Squash Court for a second go on the glorious acoustics. This time she has guitar maestro, John Smith, performing alongside her. The pair played their 2022 single, a cover of the Kate and Anna McGarrigle song, ‘Talk to Me of Mendocino’, before jumping on the Sunset Stage and doing it again for a delighted audience.

Patakas | American Stranger & Princess Waltz

Will and Joe Sartin have a habit of playing ‘American Stranger’ [Roud 1081] and leaving people weeping in their wake. Festival crowds across the UK have yet to fully regain their composure after the duo brought their own brand of Sartin magic to Sidmouth, Broadstairs, FolkEast and several more. A traditional song they learned from their illustrious father, they’ve paired it here with one of dad’s own compositions, ‘Princess Waltz’.