Fri 24 March: Cunning Folk ‘Ritual Land, Uncommon Ground’ Album Launch

The Harrison WC1H 8JF. Nearest tube Kings Cross, 7 mins walk. £7.00 advance BUY NOW/ £8.00 door

With support from Laura Smyth & Ted Kemp.


Cunning Folk says of the new album: ‘This record is a journey through the land of Britain. I was inspired to find a new way of identifying with the land. Uncomfortable with thinking of myself as of one peculiar nationality I set out on a journey to ritual sites & churches in England & Scotland, walking & running on moors, valleys & woodlands. I had guides to inspire this trail; it’s not as if I’m the first one to do this. Bookshelves full of journeys, from Robert Macfarlane to Julian Cope to Alfred Watkins to Alan Garner to Nan Shepherd to Russell Hoban. Those who have been before on the land itself also guided me: evidence cut into chalk hills, trails & cairns, shacks, field patterns. The land has been worked above & below & this is part of our island story. As an amateur folklorist, I am familiar with practices of Cunning Folk who practiced in the countryside from Cornwall to Thurso & beyond. I identify with them.’

From Canterbury to Knowlton to Pendle to Kingussie the only borders are those we make.

Cunning Folk has previously performed as GentleFolk, whose 2015 album, “Into the Greenwood” was described as

“Charming & mesmeric” Guardian

“Engagingly idiosyncratic” Prog

“One of the most intelligently written & interesting albums of 2015” Liverpool Sound & Vision

“Genuinely & gently joyeous” Fatea Records

“Calls to mind the Incredible String Band” R2

“Perfectly epitomises folk music in principle & execution” Sonic Bandwagon


Since moving to London and winning Islington Folk Club’s Trad2Mad competition in late 2011, Laura Smyth has quickly established herself as an accomplished singer on the London folk music scene. She and multi-instrumentalist Ted Kemp perform songs and tunes from the English tradition, including many from Laura’s native Manchester and surrounding area, with arrangements featuring English Concertina, 5-string Banjo, Melodeon, Cello, and Guitar.

Laura and Ted interpret and deliver their music with a reverence for the English tradition, taking influence from both collected and revival performers while achieving a style that is very much their own.

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