Sarah Jones is the Programme Manager for the new National Youth Folk Ensemble, which brings together talented young folk musicians aged 14 to 18 from across England.
The project is run by the EFDSS, with funding from Arts Council England.
The ensemble has its first two public performances in 2017 - supporting Leveret in Bury on February 17 and performing at Cecil Sharp House, the London home of EFDSS, on April 12.
We asked Sarah about her role, current projects and her playlist. This is what she came back with…
Working with the National Youth Folk Ensemble and the EFDSS I get exposed to all sorts of fantastic music. At the ensemble's first residential course at Halsway Manor in October, we had a daily ‘Listening Club' where the young musicians and tutors brought a track to talk about and play to the group. It was great to hear the wide range of influences and genres in their musical lives and I was introduced to three artists I'd never heard before: Finnish band Värttinä, Swedish nyckelharpa player Johan Hedin, and the Hackney Colliery Band.
The National Youth Folk Ensemble music leaders are excellent educators and established performers on the folk scene, who can pass on real professional experience to the young musicians. They include Sam Sweeney (artistic director 2016-17), Rob Harbron and Andy Cutting, who play together as Leveret; Rowan Rheingans, who wrote the stunning song Mackerel; guitarist and singer Jenn Butterworth, who is part of Songs of Separation; Dave Gray, who plays melodeon with Världens Band; and Becky Price, accordionist in Boldwood.
Working at EFDSS, I get to see lots of artists perform at Cecil Sharp House, which has included two of my favourite songwriters Nancy Kerr and Emily Portman. A special week was listening to Rosie Hood and Jefferson Hamer arranging songs together down the corridor while I was at my desk! One of my chosen tracks is Willie of Winsbury from Jefferson's Child Ballads album with Anais Mitchell. In 2017 I'm looking forward to hearing Scottish fiddle band Rant, harp and kora duo Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita, and, of course, the National Youth Folk Ensemble's first full-length concert on 12 April.
Listen to her playlist below and check out all the content from our recent folk music week.
Rant - Jan’s Return
The Rheingans Sisters - Mackerel
Johan Hedin - Staden
Emily Portman – Seed Stich
Leveret - Upon a Summer's Day/Abbots Bromley Horn Dance
Hackney Colliery Band - Dead Dialogue
Nancy Kerr - Written on My Skin
Boldwood - Clark's Hornpipe
Världens Band – Thillana
Songs of Separation - S Muladach Mi 'S Mi Air M'aineoil (Sad Am I and in a Strange Place)
Anais Mitchell and Jefferson Hamer - Willie of Winsbury
Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita – Ceffylau