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Eight New Names on Tønder Roster

More colours brighten the 2017 Tønder Festival palette. This year Tønder Festival will be presenting more exciting foreign artists, including Shovels & Rope from USA, Kaia Kater from Canada and Danni Nicholls from UK, all appearing in Denmark for the first time.

Shovels & Rope comprises Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent, who were booked to appear at Tønder Festival in 2015, when a pregnancy put a stop to their touring activity.
Now the critically-acclaimed americana duo are back in business and will take pride of place on the 2017 Tønder poster.

You heard it here first
The Tønder Festival audience are accustomed to being treated to top names from abroad, and here are a few that are well on their way upwards:
British Danni Nicholls, whose country style has Nashville written all over it; 23 year-old Canadian Kaia Kater, a world class banjo player and songwriter, and Canadian Tami Neilson,
who has been called the Amy Winehouse of country music; and a classic folk band: Irish Altan, who have played Tønder Festival five times before.
All of these musicians are giving their only concerts on Danish soil this coming summer at Tønder Festival.

Gems from Ulster and Denmark
Also keenly anticipated is Ulster songwriter Foy Vance, who has Ed Sheeran and Elton John as champions.
From Denmark we have two singers and songwriters from different corners of the musical landscape, to wit Laura Mo and Dorthe Gerlach.

Female songwriters on stage
The latter two will be taking part in a songwriter concert during Tønder Festival: Women’s Circle, joining Danni Nicholls, Tami Neilson, Kaia Kater and Sara Watkins.
Hosting this special songwriter session will be Søren Rebbe, radio and long-term Tønder Festival presenter. “This is an event I am really looking forward to: hosting six female soloists at one go.
It’s a dream job, introducing and presenting one beautiful woman singer after the other. This will be a musical occasion of rare carat. In short: a unique affair!” says Søren Rebbe.

The Musicians:

Shovels & Rope (USA)

“Outstanding Americana,” wrote The Guardian of Shovels & Rope’s latest album, Little Seeds, giving the duo five out of five stars. Shovels & Rope, the married couple Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent, employ simple means to create a big sound that stretches from punk blues to rooted folk to beautiful, low-key ballads. Their 2012 album O Be Joyful took Shovels & Rope out of the club circuit on to bigger American stages. Jack White had the duo open for him at a couple of shows in late 2012, and since then they have supported major US folk, country and rock acts such as The Avett Brothers, Willie Nelson and Drive-By Truckers. Shovels & Rope have also played prominent festivals like Coachella and Newport Folk Festival. In 2013, Shovels & Rope won an AMA Emerging Artist of the Year Award, and their hit Birmingham won Song of the Year. Today, Shovels & Rope are among the top names in US roots music. Tønder Festival takes great pleasure in presenting Shovels & Rope for the first time in Denmark.

Kaia Kater (CAN)
23-year old Kaia Kater from Québec is a musician we will definitely be hearing more about. Her banjo playing rests firmly in the tradition, her songwriting is superlative, and her singing voice is warm and melodious. Kaia Kater straddles various cultures. She grew up in Toronto, with an Afro-Caribbean father. Her musical inspiration is partly Canadian folk music, partly traditional Appalachian music. She studied at Davis & Elkins College in West Virginia, where she specialised in the culture and music of the Appalachians. Kaia Kater’s songwriting tackles the realities of the day: school shootings and Black Lives Matter are among her topics. Kaia Kater’s latest album is Nine Pin, from the spring of 2016. The Guardian’s review described the album as “a triangle between bluegrass, Nina Simone and Toni Morrison.” Rolling Stone put Kaia Kater on their 2016 list of “ten new country names you ought to know.”

Altan (IRL)
Altan was founded by the married couple Frank Kennedy and Mairéad Ni Mhaonaigh and grew through the 90s to a position among Ireland’s top traditional bands. Their musical source was the traditional fiddle music played in countless sessions in Donegal kitchens and pubs, mixed with obscure flute tunes collected by Frank Kennedy in the north. This combination, added to the fact that not many people were familiar with Donegal music, meant that Altan were a breath of fresh air on Ireland’s traditional music scene. In 1992 Frank Kennedy was diagnosed with cancer, but he continued to play, record and tour with the band until his death two years later. After Frank Kennedy’s death, Altan went on to release the album Blackwater on Virgin Records, the first time a traditional Irish band had been signed by a major record label. This is Altan’s sixth apparance at Tønder Festival, and to add to the festivity of the occasion, 2017 marks Altan’s 30th anniversary.

Danni Nicholls (UK)
British singer and songwriter Danni Nicholls has country, folk and American roots music in her bloodstream. She is a musician with two well-reviewed albums out, both recorded in Nashville with some of the best players in the capital of country. Danni Nicholls, from Bedford in England, fell passionately in love with American folk, country and rock’n'roll thanks to her granny’s record collection. Then she inherited a guitar, started playing, writing and composing, and at 16 Danni Nicholls was performing in pubs and clubs. Through a friend she contacted the top American producer and musician Chris Donohue (Emmylou Harris, Elvis Costello, Robert Plant et al.) She went to Nashville, and Chris Donohue produced her studio album A Little Redemption in 2013. One of the session musicans is dobro and lap steel legend Al Perkins (Dylan, Stones, Stephen Stills et al.) The album was well received. Its successor, Mockingbird Lane (2015), also recorded with Nashville musicians and produced by Donohue, won even more praise.

Tami Neilson (CAN)
Powerful singing and old-school country style mark Tami Neilson’s music. One critic called Tami Neilson “a red-hot honky tonker somewhere between Patsy Cline and Wanda Jackson, with a sophisticated dash of Peggy Lee.” Another reviewer wrote that Tami Neilson brings the same to country music as Amy Winehouse brought to R&B. This makes sense, because Tami Neilson takes country music’s central 50s core and drags it up to date. Tami Neilson is tried and tested. At an early age she performed with the Canadian family country group The Neilsons, who were very successful in the 90s in Canada. In 2007 she moved to New Zealand and began her solo career. Since then, things have grown: particularly the two latest releases, Dynamite! from 2014 and Don’t be Afraid from 2015, have won prizes and launched tours for Tami Neilson.

Foy Vance (UK)
The world has noticed Ulster songwriter Foy Vance, whose breakthrough album is his most recent, The Wild Swan. Foy Vance’s artistry has many influences, but American roots music is fundamental. Now 41, Foy Vance has been round the block as a touring musician, releasing his first album in 2007. His renown began to spread among musicians like Bonnie Raitt, Elton John and Ed Sheeran. Foy Vance’s second album Joy of Nothing (2013), whereon Bonnie Raitt and Ed Sheeran are among the guest performers, was praised by the music media. Ed Sheeran invited Foy Vance as support on tours and diverse tv shows. In the summer of 2016, Foy Vance opened for Elton John on part of his Wonderful Crazy Tour in Europe. Tønder Festival, once again, is first across the line: here comes an artist of high international class for the first time at a Danish Festival.

Dorthe Gerlach (DK)
Dorthe Gerlach is known as half of the duo Hush, but since 2014 she has been focusing on her solo career. In 2015 Dorthe Gerlach put out a solo album Natlys (Night Light), 11 songs in Danish. While Hush plays country pop in English, Dorthe Gerlach’s own songs in Danish are more of a personal statement. “A dark pop record from deep within the echo chamber” is how Dorthe Gerlach herself decribes the album. Besides this solo release and a long tour in 2015, Dorthe Gerlach has also been working with jazz bassist Chris Minh Doky. Now it’s Tønder Festival’s turn. Dorthe Gerlach will appear solo and with Hush, back on the live stage after a longish break. The other half of Hush is guitarist Michael Hartmann, who also produced Gerlach’s Natlys. Hush had a major hit with their debut album A Lifetime in 2004 which sold - with its successors - over 100,000 copies. Hush have five Danish Music Awards nominations to their name.

Laura Mo (DK)
An original Danish singer and songwriter who fills the stage with wild energy, thoughtful lyrics and a voice which one critic called “delicate, almost tender, but with deep overtones,” Laura Mo comes from the north of Jutland and has contributed to the Danish music scene since the mid noughties. She released her debut album Alkymi in 2007 and Motel in 2012. Both releases won stacks of fine reviews, two Danish Music Awards nominations and two Gaffa Prize nominations. Laura Mo has also made the album 1717, on which her famous Danish colleagues Povl Dissing, Allan Olsen and Rasmus Lyberth sing choruses. 2017 sees new music from Laura Mo, who has travelled the country delighting clubs and festivals with her music, either solo, armed with banjo, guitar and bass drum, or with her trio, who supply bass and guitar. Major Danish daily Politiken said in a review of Laura Mo’s music, “Here be honesty, rabble-rousing fairy-tales and twisted turns of phrase…and a huge talent - make no mistake.”

Women’s Circle (UK, CAN, USA, DK)
One of Tønder Festival’s many rare traditions is a collective singer-songwriter concert. In 2017, our audience can enjoy something unique: the Women’s Circle show, presenting female songwriters from home and abroad, a fascinating, one-off concoction of artists from Canada, USA, England and Denmark. From Canada we have banjo player and songwriter Kaia Kater and country singer Tami Neilson. From USA, Sara Watkins, from England, Danni Nicholls, and from Denmark, Dorthe Gerlach and Laura Mo.

The 2017 Musicians– so far:
Lucinda Williams (USA), Shovels & Rope (USA), Loudon Wainwright III (USA), Marc Cohn, (USA), Daniel Norgren (S), Grant-Lee Phillips (USA),
Sara Watkins (USA), Allan Olsen (DK), A.J. Croce (USA), Altan (IRL), Tami Neilson (CAN), Kentaur (DK) Ìmar (SCO, IRL), Savage Rose (DK), Hush (DK),
Afenginn & GLAS (DK, NO, FO, FI), Réalta (IRL), Nive Nielsen (GRL), Homesick Hank (DK), Dallahan (SCO/IRL), Romengo (HU), Talisk (SCO),
Danni Nicholls (UK), Kaia Kater (CAN), Foy Vance (UK), Laura Mo (DK), Dorthe Gerlach (DK).

See you in 2017!

Tønder Festival - 24th, 25th, 26th and 27th August 2017
Twitter: @tonderfestival

Permalink - Posted: January 10, 2017 at 4:45 pm