I didn’t catch up with this next tour until a couple of its January dates had gone by, but it’s still worth catching up with the rest of it:
“Yorkston/Thorne/Khan are an experimental group that includes James Yorkston (hailed as one of the most “influential singer/songwriters on the Scottish folk scene”), Suhail Yusuf Khan (award winning sarangi player and classical singer from New Delhi) and Jon Thorne (best known as jazz double bass player with electro outfit Lamb). The trio are currently touring to support their collaborative debut album ‘Everything Sacred’, which was released in mid-January 2016.
This is Scottish-Irish-Indian-English music in the raw – Yorkston’s familiar steel guitar strings pulled, pushed and bent into more unfamiliar acoustic drones, the bass dropping anchors through the floor. Rather than world music per se, this sounds more idiosyncratic, a temporary structure bivouacking by the side of the indie-folk, art music tradition, while its widening horizons extend back to the Sixties heyday of the Incredible String Band, and forward to this singular album’s satellite orbit over the folk music, Indian classical and indie music of today – all these musical ley lines threaded into a new kind of eclectic, domestic setting.
James: “Playing together as Yorkston/Thorne/Khan, we tackle a wide array of different sounds and songs. Alongside pieces of our own, there’s a fair chunk of improvisation, plus covers of Ivor Cutler’s Little Black Buzzer and Lal Waterson’s Song For Thirza. Jon’s jazz background definitely comes to the fore, as does Suhail’s devotional singing and outstanding sarangi playing. I just do my best to keep up…”
- The Bicycle Shop, 17 St Benedicts Street, Norwich, NR2 4PE, England, Tuesday 16th February 2016 – more information
- The Junction 2, Clifton Way, Cambridge CB1 7GX, England, Wednesday 17th February 2016 (with Laura Moody) – more information
- Eat your Own Ears @ Warwick Arts Centre (Studio), University of Warwick, Gibbet Hill Road, Coventry, CV4 7AL, England, Thursday 18th February 2016 (with Laura Moody) – more information
- Irregular Folk @ St Barnabas Church, 15 St Barnabas Street, Oxford, OX2 6BG, England, Friday 19th February 2016 (with Laura Moody) – more information
- Fruit, 62-63 Humber Street, Hull, HU1 1TU, England, Saturday 20th February 2016 (with Laura Moody) – more information
- Opus presents Gadabout @ Yellow Arch Studios, 30-26 Burton Road, Sheffield, S3 8BX, England, Sunday 21st February 2016 (with Laura Moody + Toby Hay/Jim Ghedi) – more information
- Belgrave Music Hall, 1A Cross Belgrave Street, Leeds, LS2 8JP, England, Tuesday 23rd February 2016 (with Laura Moody) – more information
- The Deaf Institute, 135 Grosvenor Street, Manchester, M1 7HE, England, Wednesday 24th February 2016 (with Laura Moody) – more information
- The Old Queen’s Head, 44 Essex Road, Islington, London, N1 8LN, England, Thursday 25th February 2016 (with Laura Moody) – more information
- Canton St John Music @ St John the Evangelist Church, St John’s Crescent, Canton, Cardiff, CF5 1NX, Wales, Saturday 27th February 2016 (with Laura Moody + Toby Hay/Jim Ghedi) – more information
- Komedia, 22-23 Westgate Street, Bath, BA1 1EP, England, Saturday 28th February 2016 (with Laura Moody) – more information
- Exeter Phoenix, Bradninch Place, Gandy Street, Exeter, EX4 3LS, England, Sunday 29th February 2016 (with Laura Moody) – more information
- JT Soar, 2 Aberdeen St, Nottingham, NG3 1JB, England, Thursday 11th February 2016 – more information
- White Peakhouse Gallery, Rutland Square, Buxton Road, Bakewell, DE45 1BT, England, Friday 12th February 2016 – more information
- Daylight Music @ Union Chapel, Compton Terrace, Islington, London, N1 2UN, England, Saturday 13th February 2016 (free/pay-what-you-like event with Paperface + Dearbhla Minogue + The Leaf Library) – more information
- House show, Leeds, England, Thursday 18th February 2016 – more information
- CARAD Rhayader Museum and Gallery, East Street, Rhayader, Powys, Wales, Friday 19th February 2016 – more information
- All Hallows Hall, 13 All Hallows Road, Easton, Bristol, BS5 0HH, England, Saturday 20th February 2016 – more information
- Opus presents Gadabout @ Yellow Arch Studios, 30-26 Burton Road, Sheffield, S3 8BX, England, Sunday 21st February 2016 (supporting Yorkston Thorne Khan + Laura Moody) – more information
- Canton St John Music @ St John the Evangelist Church, St John’s Crescent, Canton, Cardiff, CF5 1NX, Wales, Saturday 27th February 2016 (supporting Yorkston Thorne Khan + Laura Moody) – more information
- Regather Co-Op, 57-59 Club Garden Road, Sheffield, S11 8BU, England, Friday 4th March 2016 – more information
Playing support on all of the dates apart from Norwich (and joining in for a few songs in the headlining set) is singer-songwriter and cellist extraordinaire Laura Moody, whose songs sometimes touch on the same areas of kinetic fantasy as Kate Bush, Tori Amos or Joanna Newsom, sometimes dip into the cool small details of a Julia Holter or Anja Garbarek, and sometimes summon up the haunting folk-contralto reveries of Kathleen Ferrier. Just before the tour starts, Laura will be playing her own London solo show, as follows:
Laura: “I’ve seen so many amazing performers at Pizza Express Jazz over the years – Kurt Elling, Ian Shaw, Gwyneth Herbert (and just one jazz/rock gig that I went to in terrible error and possibly may have feigned illness at so I could leave) – so I’m both excited and honoured to have been invited by music journalist and broadcaster Tina Edwards to play my music on that stage. It’s my first truly central London gig for a little while and as well as playing a load of tunes I will also be having an onstage chat with Tina, so you can get to hear some hilarious anecdotes about how some of these songs came about. But most importantly you can listen to a woman hitting herself with her own cello bow while you eat an American Romana with extra mozzarella.”
* * * * * * * *
In addition, the Sheffield and Cardiff gigs on the Yorkston Thorne Khan tour (21st and 27th February respectively) features extra support by Toby Hay and Jim Ghedi, following their appearance at Daylight Music earlier in the month. These shows, and more, dovetail into a Hay and Ghedi tour over the whole of February and the beginning of March.
From Sheffield and Rhayader respectively, Jim and Toby are young (yet assured and accomplished) masters of both fingerstyle acoustic guitar and the resurgent, omnivorous stylings of folk baroque. Both are seasoned performers and collaborators. During years of travelling, Jim has appeared on bills or in ensembles with James Blackshaw, Richard Dawson, Dead Rat Orchestra, Cam Deas, C Joynes, Stephanie Hladowski, Alasdair Roberts, Alex Nelson’s Death Shanties, The Big Eyes Family Players and Trembling Bells. While less widely travelled than Jim, Toby is rapidly becoming a British folk festival veteran and has taken support slots to Ryley Walker, Songhoy Blues and Marika Hackman.
Playing as a duo, they collectively draw sonic and compositional inspiration from African music (particularly kora music), Bert Jansch, jazz, Indian ragas, ancient Welsh harp music, Eastern European folklore, the Beat writers and John Fahey’s American Primitivism. For more details on how some of this turns out, there’s a ‘Misfit City’ review of Toby’s first EP here, plus a couple of videos below.
One of the main follows up to that Daylight Music appearance is a west Yorkshire show alongside two other formidable local talents:
You’ve already read about Jim and Toby, so here’s the information on the other two performers:
“Dean McPhee is a West Yorkshire-based solo electric guitarist who plays a Fender Telecaster through a valve amp and effects pedals. Dean is a self-taught guitarist and has developed a unique style of playing over years of improvisation and experimentation. His influences include British folk, dub, Krautrock, post-rock, Moroccan trance and modal jazz. “The hallmark of McPhee’s style is a picked bassline and free-ranging variations on melodic ideas via a mesmerising progression of harmonics, cleanly picked notes, full chords and string-bending arabesques.” (‘The Wire’)
Saif Mode is the moniker of Ben Hunter. He improvises with modular synths to create dense sonic landscapes that are unique to each performance “marry(ing) meditative drones and techno improvisations, recalling the utopian dreams of the Atomic Age and the simple piety of the early church… equally at home on bills with improvised analogue electronica and raw black metal…” (Sheffield Anti Fascist Network).
The remaining dates of the Hay & Ghedi tour (including the Daylight Music appearance and their Yorkston Thorn Khan support slots) are below:
Toby and Jim will also be joining forces in Sheffield during late February for this theatre show:
“Come on a journey inside an old cabinet to discover what forgotten objects remain….Stories unravel to reveal a beautifully vulgar and woeful celebration of the macabre…. Told through live shadow puppetry and music, ‘The Death Curiosities’ is a beautiful and mesmerising story exploring the unquestionable trimmings of death. Live musical accompaniment by Jim Ghedi, Toby Hay and Josh Kelson.”
More gig news shortly, including William D. Drake in Italy and a look at various upcoming classical music events…