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Listen Up - Antoine and Owena

A look at some of the emerging artists of the acoustic roots & folk circuit

This week we focus on Salisbury based duo Antoine and Owena.

Musical influences
Owena - I was brought up listening to my parents favourite artists such as Sandy Denny, Richard Thompson and Paul Simon. My brother first brought more model folk music into the house after visiting Scotland and returning with an album by Capercallie. This started us searching for other folk musicians and resulted in us going to see live acts at Salisbury Arts Centre. This introduced me to many favourites such as The Oysterband, The Levellers, Show of Hands and Four Men and a Dog.
You may have noticed the common theme of the fiddle in all these bands!
I first learnt to play the violin at school when offered free lessons at primary school. When I was 14, my parents brought me my own violin and the Thomas Hardy book of folk tunes. This was my first step into playing folk.
Antoine - I began playing the family electronic organ when I was 7 years old and then progressed onto the bass guitar when I was 14. I was in various bands of various genres before transferring to the world of folk music. After having played in rock, progressive, and indie groups, I went solo in 2012 and began exploring folk music. I first discovered folk songs through the TV series Sharpe and the work of John Tams, and from there discovered the likes of Kate Rusby, Pentangle, Fairport Convention, Show of Hands, Eliza Carthy and various others. I picked up the bouzouki and began writing and playing folk songs from these and many other artists, as well as traditional songs.

Describing our music
A blend of original and traditional material. The original songs draw subject influence from historic events and people, current events and politics, and personal life experiences. Musically, there is a blend of new and old, with Owena's traditional style of fiddle playing and Antoine's more modern styled guitar and bouzouki rhythms. The harmonies add an extra dimension and allow more breadth in the songs. We try and explore different styles and melodies for some traditional songs to make them our own.

Highlights so far
As winners of the Purbeck Valley Folk Festival Award, Purbeck Rising, we enjoyed playing several Folk Festival last summer such as Poole Quay, Bridport, Wimborne, Wessex, and of course returning to Purbeck.
Highlight gigs have been supporting excellent artists such as Eliza & Martin Carthy, Dave Pegg & Anthony John Clarke and Reg Meuross. It is always an honour to share a stage with the experts in the field!
We were asked by the BBC Wiltshire to contribute our vocals to a recording of Keep The Home Fires Burning for the WW1 Centenary in November this year. We were given the honour of singing the opening and closing lines.
We recorded our debut album in May at the famous Real World Studios in Box. This has been selling very well at gigs and festivals.

Plans for the future
Having recorded at Real World Studios for our first album, we plan to return in spring 2019 to record our next album. We are currently working on new songs for this venture and are really pleased with the tracks we have written so far including a song about today's struggles for young people trying to get on the housing ladder and a song about Antoine's roots up North, as well as our take on some traditional songs.
We are looking forward to playing at Wimborne and Bridport Folk Festival again this year and are currently accepting slots for other events such as playing support for The Crows at Wessex Acoustic Folk Club.
We plan to travel further a field next year and are in the midst of organising a tour of folk clubs during April.
We plan to release a video of Something out of Nothing alongside our new album so watch this space.

Website - http://www.antoineandowena.co.uk

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