With Cambridge almost upon us it would see to fall to magazine hacks to reach into their acquired knowledge and make recommendations of acts to recommend you spend your time with across Cambridge's four mainstages. In part 1 we covered the Brian McNeill Session and acts that are appearing at the Club Tent and the Den, part 2 sees us casting the beady eye at the two mainstages.
Let's start off with The Sisters Of Elva Hill. Cambridge has had folk opera before but this is the first time ballet has graced Stage 1. Care of Lucy Ward's The Henwives Tales production company, this ballet, choreographed by Deborah Norris, is based on the "Kate Krackernut" fairy tale and really allows for Lucy's narrative songwriting to be interpreted through the medium of dance. An added bonus is that Lucy also gets a solo slot in the Club Tent, my recommendation, do both, Lucy is one of the most creative artists on the circus and knows how to create a fantastic narrative and feel as one with her audience.
I managed to miss AK Patterson last year when she performed at Cambridge and have been kicking myself since. I was lucky enough to see her perform as Alex Patterson both with her sister and the Lemon sisters and solo before she went off to do an engineering degree in Brighton. Following that degree and some world exploring, as well as exploring her inner space, Alex has teamed up with Alfie Weedon and Nat Reading to form a truly innovative trio that is off the beaten track, but justifiably on a mainstage.
Roo Panes is a product of modern media with over 120 million Spotify plays and another 6 million plays on YouTube off the back of his debut album "Little Giant" and for those same reasons, may not be a name that some of the Cambridge crowd will be familiar and for precisely those reasons should check out. Roo Panes hails from the Dorset market town of Wimborne and reaches out across the world. There will be a lot more of this type of artist, particularly if the likes of Spotify start paying the creative talent a greater percentage of the share.
Multi-award winning Talisk, should be on everyone's must see list. Quite simply their instrumentation is nothing short of phenomenal. There is a real connection between their music and the emotions. There are times when words are not good enough, there are times when nothing needs to be said, Talisk are a band that can play to bother set of circumstances and more. Mohsen Amini, Hayley Keenan and Graeme Armstrong make up Talisk and they are more than capable of communicating in the big arenas, as well as the intimate venues and at Cambridge, they get to do both.
From Bamako to Birmingham featuring Amadou & Mariam and the blind boys of Alabama, highlights the fact that blindness has never been a hinderance to great music and great singing. Drawing on blues and world music, these are the sort of collaborations that Cambridge has rightly become famous for staging. Whilst you can see many of the performers appearing on all of the stages at Cambridge again, projects like Bamako to Birmingham are as rare has hens teeth. This should be one of those, I was there moments.