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At the heart of English folk

English Folk Expo

The English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) is a founding partner of the English Folk Expo (EFEx), the most important showcase event to sell English folk music to a national and international delegation of buyers.

English Folk Expo is a Sector Support Organisation within Arts Council England's National Porfolio. In addition it is supported by EFDSS and So It Is. The event is based at HOME, Manchester and runs alongside the public Manchester Folk Festival.

EFEx 2019 will place on 17 to 20 October in central Manchester. Delegates from the UK and abroad will see a host of established and up-and-coming professional, export-ready artists, performing at Manchester Folk Festival as well as at private showcases and receptions exclusive to English Folk Expo.

EFDSS has chosen three artists to showcase at the English Folk Expo 2019:

Friday morning reception at The Comedy Store, Friday 18 October

Thom Ashworth

An acoustic bass guitar may not seem like an obvious choice as an accompaniment instrument, but folk-singing bassist Thom Ashworth shows that this distinctive instrumental voice can find a home in folk music, and that four strings are more than enough to delve into the canon of British folk music. Equal parts interpreter of traditional song and insightful political songwriter, he has been compared in the press to Martin Carthy, Chris Wood, and Billy Bragg. This selection of luminaries doesn't tell the whole story though – from the sparse lament of The City and The Tower to his muscular arrangement of High Germany, Thom's inventive musicality and powerful tenor voice shine through.

Photo credit: Jaime Ashworth 

Nicola Beazley

Nicola Beazley is a traditional fiddle player from the North of England and a recipient of the EFDSS Creative Seed Bursary 2018. Alongside her PhD ethnomusicology research at the University of Sheffield, she is also an internationally sought-after artist, performing with the likes of Rosie Hood, and as a member of the acclaimed transatlantic duo Alex Cumming and Nicola Beazley. ‘Echoes’ is Nicola’s debut solo EP as part of her solo venture, which has toured to great success since its release in early 2019. Featuring an extended line up, Nicola’s music is an expression of English instrumental ‘folk’ in a forward-thinking performance, joining the dots between northern folk and brass band traditions, through her explorative approach to folk and traditional music.

Photo credit: James Fagan

Damien & The Omen

In this new project, Damien Barber leads a four-piece on vocals, concertina and guitar, accompanied by three acclaimed musicians from his stage shows: Ben Griffith on guitar, vocals and percussion, Matt Aplin on piano and Hugh MacDermott on double bass. It’s the perfect platform for Barber to return to more intimate, stripped-back performances inspired heavily by the traditional singers he grew up with in Norfolk, such as Peter Bellamy and Walter Pardon. Having peeled away the frenzy of his rollicking dance shows, Damien’s distinctive and powerful voice takes the floor and transports the audience to the rural East Anglian landscapes of his youth and beyond, delving into the history and stories that live on through traditional folk songs. 2020 heralds the release of their debut album.

Previous EFDSS showcase artists include:


Alden, Patterson and Dashwood

Bryony Griffith


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