Folk Alliance International : A Canadian Adventure

Ey Up So here it is, a blog about the most mental, overwhelming and downright brilliant experience you could ever have…ok this might be a slight exaggeration cos owning a pet dragon would probably be slightly more mental, overwhelming and down right brilliant but none the less Folk Alliance is unlike anything I have ever experienced. Basically, it’s four days of extremely well organised chaos and delegates from all over the world turn up to share knowledge, experience, contacts and most of all the music that they love! Just to give you an idea of the scale there was something like over 2000 delegates there; mostly musicians but also promoters, agents, Radio DJ’s, Publicists, Festival organisers and more. It is unlike any expo/conference or gathering that we have here in the UK that’s for sure : ) The 25th Annual Folk Alliance International (FAI) took place at the Delta Chelsea Hotel in Toronto. Can we just take a moment to admire how cool their commemorative poster was:

Sgt Pepper for folkies!

Sgt Pepper for folkies!

I bought one and have had it framed to put up in my office 🙂 hehe I feel I haven’t really explained quite what FAI is yet, it just seems too mammoth to sum up in a few sentences…but none the less…here it goes. The core programming for this event is based around, panels, workshops and showcases.

  • Panels: A chance to learn; whether it’s about how best to present your music in international territories, how to handle your security at festivals, the relevance of Child Ballads in modern folk music or just sharing experiences of music in a social justice context…pretty much any question answered in an array of sessions for artists and others alike. 
  • Workshops: A chance to learn! Ukelele, or any other instrument for that matter (highly recommended FUN, particularly if your brain is all mushed up from jet lag and late night showcases 😀 
  • SHOWCASES: Imagine this – 3 floors + the conference suite of the biggest hotel in Canada, each room (that is usually a bedroom) has had the furniture taken out to make way for chairs, scatter cushions, PA’s, mini bars, buffet selections and bunting to put on gig after gig, artist after artist, all night til two in the morning. Each room showcasing up to 10 artists a day. As you walk down the corridors all you can hear is music pouring out of each and every doorway…first a singer songwriter with a bluesy feel, then a band modelled in the image of canned heat, then a trio singing French folk songs, then a harpist, then, then, then…

The showcases are the best and worst bit of FAI…

Best because of the wealth of amazing and varied music that you get to see…I saw so many really cracking artists that I may never had heard otherwise. Highlights included Les Hay Babies, Ashley Condon, David CeliaTeresa Doyle and October BrowneRose Cousins, the lists goes on and on.

Worst because you can’t help but miss loads of fantastic musicians who are showcasing next door, down the hall or in the room directly above you, but you can’t catch ’em all eh?

FAI is like a festival and a conference had a baby! It’s awesome! I played 6 showcases and sat on 1 panel whilst I was there but when I wasn’t playing I really made the most of being at this wonderful unique event; watched tonnes of music and took in every panel that I could. The only spare hours of my day were spent eating pancakes, going to the really tasty vegetarian buffet restaurant just next door and sleeping off my jet lag before my late evening showcases.

FAI taught me the power of day time power napping,  so you can stay up late watching great music – so thanks for that guys, I am truly grateful 😀 hehe

There was not only me but a massive great contingent of British artists showcasing, flying the flag for UK folk music, it was a very special thing to be a part of, there was: Jim Moray, Karine Polwart, Martyn Joseph, Georgia Ruth Williams (whom I had never heard before and she is flipping brilliant!), Sam Carter, Breabach, Rachel Sermanni, Sam Lee, Kilmarnock Edition and Joy Dunlop.

As I have never been to Canada before I also took the opportunity to go for a jaunt around Toronto, to take in some local culture and just so I could really say I’d been : ) My favourite part of Toronto was Kensington Market, some local Torontonians described it to me as being like The Laines in Brighton – but I think it was more like Glastonbury Festival, full of boho hippy’s in vintage gear buying organic fruit and chai tea…twas right up my street I can tell ya! And the whole place was covered in amazing street art

Street art in Kensington Market

Street art in Kensington Market

I also managed to find, not one, but two cheese shops…just in case you have never read one of my blogs before…I LOVE CHEESE!

 

And so that was it, 4 awesome days which were over in a flash! I met loads of really great people and I hope that it will not be my last time across the pond because I truly had a ball, FAI has such an amazing sense of community! In fact I am already plotting on how to get to their meeting in Kansas next year hehe…dya think if I click my ruby slippers together I’ll make it? :p

Lastly, thanks so much to the English Folk Dance and Song Society who took both me and the lovely Jim Moray out to FAI and exposed us to this amazing experience, it really was a wonderful thing to be a part of and a completely unforgettable experience that I have learnt soooooooooo much from : )

I think I have rambled enough…except to say I am now off on tour for two months 😀 you can check out my tour dates here

you take care

Luce xx

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Blog Monday: Fishy Friends and thoughts on the impending folk awards

Ey Up Blog Beans,

How are ye this fair morrow?

I am snuffly…thanks for asking 🙂 spent the whole of sunday laid up in bed, but feeling a lot more awake today, so hoping that was the worst of it.

So, to what has happened over the past week…just about everything really, or at least it feels that way 😀

As you may know if you are a regular reader of my little blog, my first single ever ever ever was released last sunday. Then on tuesday I was featured on Austarlia’s Radio National…listen to the show in the link below (gotta love a cheeky rhyme)

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/dailyplanet/lucy-ward-show/3790968

I also found out that across the week I have been played on Swedish, Portugese and Spanish radio programmes…tooo cool 🙂

On wednesday, I was finally able to announce that I have been invited on tour with the mighteous Fisherman’s Friends…super too cool! At first it was a right bundle of emotions, cos despite being epically awesome (Liverpool Philarmonic Hall for flip sake!!!), it would mean having to re-arrange two dates I had already booked in. I had no other choice but to take the being totally honest approach with the promoters, and very luckily and ludicrously graciously they both were immensely kind in helping me shift stuff around so that I could go on tour.

FYI guys: the affected gigs

  • Uxbridge Folk Club will now have the excellent Rory McLeod on the 23rd February. We are looking to rearrange my date but they are booked up for the forseeable future so I will have to keep you posted on that one. In the mean time please go and support this lovely club and the uber talented Rory 🙂
  • If any of you were thinking of coming to my gig at the Greenwich Theatre – that has also had to be arranged, it is now on 24th March 2012 (was on 26/2/12). Other than those two dates nothing else has had to change so thanks again to the promoters for being so accomadating and apologies for any convienience it may have caused to any of you guys.

Now then…those Fishy Friends…I’m with them for all their Feb tour dates

http://portisaacsfishermansfriends.com/lives-dates/

It sounds really daft, but I think what I am most looking forward is just seeing what these beautiful venues look like from the stage…There’s no way I would get to play them on my own so just really stoked about getting the opportunity to 🙂 I’m also looking forward to meeting  the fellas…by all your accounts so far (from you lot on facey b) they sound like lovely people 🙂

So then, these impending, very scary, folk awards!

I have spent the week having nightmares about being late on wednesday :s lol.

I have two dresses (every girl needs a back up plan) just in case I suddenly decide I look like a ill-dressed turtle in one! I guess one is kind of a Elizabeth Bennett meets Lady Gaga; and the other is Farah Fawcett meets a mirror ball!

I have been practising walking in my silly, but beautiful shoes…and I can tell you now, if they stay on all night it will be a major achievement 😛

My folks have brought new gear too and Rob has had his suit dry cleaned. I think they might all be a bit excited hehe 😀 I’m excited too when I stop being nervous for long enough. I don’t even know why I am nervous, I’m sure it’s going to be a lovely evening 🙂

So anyways, I’ll pop up some pictures of the evening, including what dress I went for after Wednesday has been and done it’s thing 🙂 Don’t forget you can listen live on Radio 2 and you can even watch it on the red button service from BBC. So if I make it onto the tv, make sure one of you films it cos it may never happen again :p

Wish me luck cos I am bricking it!

Have a lovely week

Luce xx

ps: sorry about the lack of pictures in this weeks post…don’t wanna give the game away about my dress 😉 so please accept yet another pic of me being daft to tide you over til I bombard you with a load of images after the folk awards 🙂

 

Urn-ing the title of drippiest human ever :p

BLOG MONDAY: Single is launched, and insight intro recording and Australia

Ey up!

How are you?

‘Lucy, it’s Monday, how do you think we are?’

errmmmmmm, ok, so maybe you’re not quite fully into the swing of things yet but I hope that whatever you are up to you are all gravy and life is treating you well 😀

Yesterday saw the official release of ‘For The Dead Men’!!!!

‘Sunday was an odd day to release a single luce, did you get your days muddled?’

No, apparently that’s just the way of the world when it comes to download releases 🙂 I must admit, that little nugget of info was news to me too!

So yes, it is here at last! The response has been pretty overwhelming if I am honest with you; and as cheesy at it sounds, I really feel like we are all in this together, I’m feeling a sense of unity right now.

Bono bit out the way :s

Guess who shared the video last night…Mr Mike Harding

 

 

With a comment of ‘I love this song – what a lass’

Cool beans! in fact, not just Mike Harding but loads of people on facey b in particluar have been sharing the video, posting it on your walls or on the walls of like-minded friends . Thanks to all of you, I am quite sure the success of the last 24 hrs has been down to you lot being well cool! 🙂

Haven’t downloaded it yet but think that you would quite like to?

No worries, You can get you mitts on it on itunes

http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/for-the-dead-men/id497199644?i=497199645&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

or amazon (in fact, you lot made For The Dead Men #5 in the folk singles chart on amazon and #2 in the folk album chart (although I dunno how it got into that category hehe)

So anyways…as it’s Blog Monday…I’m going to fill you in on recording for the dead men…both the single and the music video

Well, when it was decided that ‘For The Dead Men’ was going to be released as a single I was right over the moon. We hadn’t even really discussed a 2nd album at that point and were just focusing on making the most of the unexpected success of Adelphi, I sent Stu (Stu Hanna from Megson, who produced Adelphi) and the peeps at Navigator the  live recording of me playing it on ‘Sounds of Folk’ with a view to just letting them know I was writing. Within a few days it was decided that we should put it out as a single and start working towards a second album release on the label. (I’m writing for the album at the moemnt so may have some more light to shed on that one for ya in a few months time) 

Lyrics printed out ready to map out arrangement

So anyways, it got to recording week and everyone in the family…repeat…EVERYONE…caught the dreaded lurgy. There were technicolour yawns everywhere. I’m blaming some nameless youth at my niece’s eight birthday party…not that I usually make a habit of holding grudges against small children, but it was the last week I needed to be ill

Luckily despite being extremely busy working with other artists, gigging and doing all the things new parents have to do, Stu was alble to fit me in for a day and a half to try and lay down the single, a b-side and a back-up plan.

Is Lucy in the studio?! She must be! It's a tip!

Working with Stu is always great and I felt we managed to slip straight back into the work mode we had during recording  Adelphi. I think we make a good team. Stu by nature is pretty laid back and is always open to ideas…in my experience when you are both open to trying different things (although that can be really hard when it’s your own songs and arrangements) that actually you make something that is bigger than the sum of it’s parts. ‘CHEESY!’ I hear you shout! But it’s kind of true, so please excuse the distinct hint of chedder!

We laid everything down pretty quickly and then, once it’s there in principle, thats when you can start spending  time experimenting, singing harmonies, trying diffent instrumentation and effects. I guess when you always perform solo, recording is a rare opportunity to add in all the bits you could hear when you were writing, the rumbling percussion marching onwards, the voices multiplying as we ‘stand up….’ (although you lot usually provide that bit at the gigs 😀 cos you’re lovely). Ofcourse, all this adding stuff malarky is all about being careful not to overload it and make sure there is room to let the words do their thing…words are always my favourite bit of a song 🙂

The lovely Anna Esslemont also offered up some incredible haunting fiddle to go onto the track, so ya never know, that may just make it onto the album version 😉

And lastly, it wouldn’t be a blog of mine if it didn’t involve food! :p

Mmmmmm....my M&S 😀

 OOO Yeah, for those of you who fancy a physical copy, thats still not a prob, as per yesterdays blog (go there for fuller deets)

They are just £3 + £1 for postage and packaging (£2 postage and packaging if you need it sending overseas)

If you would like a copy, then please drop me an email

info@lucywardsings.com

and let me know your

  1. name
  2. address
  3. how many copies you would like
  4. and whether you would like to pay by paypal or cheque

I will email you back asap and we’ll take it from there :)

So then, back to Blog Mondayness – AUSTRALIA

Check this bad boy out…I’m being played on mother jeffin Australian Broadcast Corporation’s Radio…NATIONAL RADIO!!!!

http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/dailyplanet/lucy-ward-show/3790968

AHHHHHHH!!!!

So totally amazing, a whole show dedicated to my album!!! It’s just surreal, a whole show! I am just astounded that somehwere thousands of miles away from where I live or have ever played feel that their listeners across the whole  of AUSTRALIA would be interested in listening to me.

I’m flabbergasted

So with that, I’m out!

Luce xx