Folk at the Pleasance (3 stars)

This article is from 2012

Folk at the Pleasance

An enjoyable variety of folk music in a relaxed and intimate setting

This folk session is led by a tentative, yet somehow regal Sophie Ramsay, who in her flowing red dress and tumbling brown hair resembles a folky Kate Bush. After a soft introduction the Scottish songstress performs two songs, the first a melancholic, heartfelt beauty; the second a tragic, traditional number in Gaelic. The latter is accompanied by a seriously talented Mexican guitarist, who will later perform with his rather more upbeat band. Ramsay’s voice may not be everybody’s cup of tea – it’s no Adele belter, that’s for sure – but it seems inherently suited to folk music, with its wispy, breathy tones and wistful, melancholic character.

After her songs, which, had she gone on, would have had the entire tent in tears, Ramsay cheerfully introduces her guest band and performs a few numbers with them. Her lovely, fragile tones and stage presence are a nice contrast to those of the robustly spirited, accordion-playing front-woman, Gwendolin Chatfield, who despite a sore throat had a voice of sheer joy, energy and resonance only rarely encountered. Chatfield’s trio, composed of herself, a very talented uke player/songstress and the supremely gifted guitarist make for a band that is musically impressive as well as humourous, and as they goes on to perform on their own songs, you feel like the dome’s roof might blast off any minute from their rousing original renditions of ‘Red Hat’ and ‘Thousand Miles’.

Folk at the Pleasance has an air of unplanned-ness to it, which is charming, but the order of acts could perhaps have been altered so that there was a build up to the band, whose material is starkly different to Sophie’s own. Despite this the variety, and quality of the music is great,

The Green at Pleasance Courtyard, 226 0000, until Sun 27 Aug (not 23-25), £8(£6).

Folk at the Pleasance

  • 3 stars

Critically acclaimed Scottish songstress Sophie Ramsay hosts a show of contemporary and traditional folk music featuring eclectic, brilliant guest musicians. These will include subtle and sparkling east London troubadour Robin Grey, supremely talented singer/songwriter/accordionist Gwendolen Chatfield and leading Scottish…