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Tønder Festival Full Programme …

The final names have been added to this year’s Tønder Festival line-up. Among them are Beoga from Ireland, Darlingside from USA and Frigg from Finland. And Niels Hausgaard, of course. The final programme is ready, and so is the Tønder Festival app.

Booking is complete and this year’s Tønder Festival programme has exciting music for all tastes. Among the latest names are the Irish band Beoga, who have worked closely with Ed Sheeran, and the critically-acclaimed American band Darlingside.

Folk roots in top gear

We’ll see the return of British duo Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar, of Scottish group Fara and The Dustbowl Revival from USA. From Finland we have the power folk group Frigg, and from Ireland the stylish trio of newcomers Socks In The Frying Pan. Estonia sends folk music innovators Trad.Attack! (that’s how they want it written). Sunday afternoon offers something new: Gentlemen’s Circle, featuring an international dream team of songwriters and lastly, but by no means least, we present an annual ritual: the return of Niels Hausgaard and Signe Svendsen.

Folk Spot 2017

As in previous years, showcase concerts present a select series of Danish and Nordic musicians in a collaboration between Folk Spot Denmark and Tønder Festival. FolkBALTICA Ensemble, musicians from the folk music department at the Esbjerg Music Academy, the youth network ROD and pupils from the folk music seminar at Jyderup Folk High School will be giving concerts at Tønder Festival.

The Running Order and the App are Ready to Roll

The jigsaw puzzle is complete, we know who will be playing where and when. You can see the running order on the Tønder Festival website and via the Tønder Festival app. Download the Tønder Festival 2017 app, available for both IOS and Android. If you already have the 2016 app, all you have to do is update it to 2017.

The musicians:

Beoga (IRL) If you have heard Ed Sheeran’s Galway Girl, then you have heard Beoga. The Northern Irish group with flute player Brian Finnegan provide the Irish tones opening the Sheeran song that charmed the world in early 2017. The music is Minute 5 from Beoga’s album How to Tune a Fish (2011). The band also play on the Ed Sheeran song Nancy Mulligan. But long before Ed Sheeran fell for them, Beoga was one of the bands that helped launch the new wave of Irish traditional tunes and songs set in magnificent arrangements that won a new audience for Irish music. Beoga’s special sound derives from the two accordions, played by Damian McKee and Seán Óg Graham - who also plays guitar in the band -  piano from Liam Bradley, bodhran by Eamon Murray and Niamh Dunne, who sings and plays fiddle. Beoga have toured all over the world and released their seventh album Before We Change our Mind in 2016.

Darlingside (USA)

Gathered round a single microphone, the four members of Darlingside seem a closely-knit unit of fine vocal harmony. At last year’s Folk Alliance International in Kansas City, Darlingside won the title of Artist of the Year, and their album Birds Say was praised by, among others, Huffington Post, who called it “one of the great albums of 2015.” Darlingside is Don Mitchell, guitar, banjo and vocal, Auyon Mukharji, mandolin, violin and vocal, Harris Paseltiner, guitar, cello and vocal, and David Senft, bass, bass drum and vocal. They all live in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They play intelligently arranged indie folk and their lyrics are the humourous products of a shared stream of twisted consciousness.

The Dustbowl Revival (USA)

Last year, when The Dustbowl Revival first appeared at Tønder Festival, our audience learned that this was a serious party band. So they’re back this year. The Dustbowl Revival update bluegrass, swing, hot jazz, blues, soul and New Orleans funk: eight musicians on stage, fronted by singer Liz Beebe and guitarist and singer Zach Lupetin, welting out their undisguised love of American roots music on guitar, mandolin, ukulele, washboard, violin, trumpet and miscellaneous other instruments. The Dustbowl Revival found each other in Venice Beach by Los Angeles in 2007. They seized on the US string band and brass band traditions and quicky made a name for themselves. The Dustbowl Revival’s new studio album - their fifth - appears in June 2017. In 2013, LA Weekly crowned The Dustbowl Revival Best Live Band, and recent years have seen them winning front page raves and audience hearts in both USA and Europe.

Fara (SCO)

Fara is four young female Scottish musicians from Kirkwall in Orkney. They played at Tønder Festival in 2015, then released the album Cross The Lineand were nominated at BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2017. Fara members Jennifer Austin, Kristan Harvey, Jeana Leslie and Catriona Price have a fresh take on Scots folk music, particularly music from Orkney. They mix traditional Orkney tunes and their own compositions. The band’s musicians have known each other since early childhood and grew up with traditional music. They trained at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and The Royal Academy of Music. Fara began as The Chairettes, an occasional backing band for veterans The Chair. Very soon, however, the young musicians found their own feet and Fara was born. Subsequent career highlights include winning the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award and the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year.

Frigg (FIN)

A Frigg concert is a storm of acrobatic, turbocharged fiddle at supersonic speed. We saw it in 2011 when this Finnish power folk group had the Tønder Festival audience screaming with excitement. Now Frigg are back. The group builds around Antti Järvalä and his cousins Esko and Alina. The Järvalä clan are the royalty of Finnish folk music, and for several generations the family have been producing great folk musicians who have had indelible influence on Finnish folk music traditions. Frigg play true to the tradition, but their tunes are inspired by a multitude of different expressions. Since 2002 Frigg have released four studio albums and have been extremely active on the live stage, where the band’s real qualities are given free rein. Frigg have travelled the world and its members are to be heard in other constellations, such as JPP, Tsuumi Sound System and Baltic Crossing.

Trad. Attack! (EST)

Trad.Attack! are on a mission: they want to play in every country in the world. So far, they have 28 countries on their list, which leaves 168. Denmark was added in 2015, when they performed in Balders Square in Copenhagen as part of ROSA’s Copenhagen Jazz Festival programme. A couple of hundred people hopped and bopped to this revamped Estonian folk music, which melds samples of ethnic music recordings with pumping rhythms and fast tunes. Estonia has strong folk music traditions, both songs, tunes and dance, and there is moreover a powerful drive to experiment with the music. In the town of Viljandi, in particular, with the important Viljandi Folk Music Festival, the traditions live on. Trad.Attack! are the top Estonian folk band, and with several Estonian Music Awards on the mantlepiece, they enjoy star rating in their homeland.

Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar (UK)

Two young talents with rapidly-growing careers, Greg Russell, guitar and vocal, and Ciaran Algar, violin and vocal, have established themselves in the past few years as names to be noted on the British folk scene. Both grew up with folk music, and they inject freshness, energy and daring into the traditional mix. Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar met in 2011, formed a duo and soon had a recording contract. Their debut album The Queen’s Loverappeared in 2012, and in January 2013 they won a BBC Radio2 Young Folk Award. In November 2013, they put out The Call, which was very well received by the critics. BBC Radio2 awarded them another prize, The Horizon Award, for best newcomer in 2014. In 2016 Russel and Algar released The Silent Majority, and their engagement diary for 2017 is well-packed with concerts and festivals all over Britain. Tønder Festival’s audience can look forward to this second chance (they were here in 2015) to hear a stunning duo.

Socks in The Frying Pan (IRL)

Irish traditional music has found new international ambassadors in this young trio from County Clare. Socks in the Frying Pan master authentic vocal work and instrumental virtuosity, which has established them firmly on the international scene. In 2017 their long tour has taken them to Canada, USA, Germany, Switzerland, and Denmark, where Tønder Festival is their destination. The band has harvested fine reviews for their three recordings, the latest being Without A Paddle from 2016. They won the title New Band of The Year at The Irish Music Association in 2014 and have toured a lot in USA. Socks in the Frying Pan numbers Aodán Coyne, guitar and vocal, and brothers Shane Hayes, accordion, and Fiachra Hayes, violin and banjo. They have won their individual spurs, too: for example, Shane Hayes was named Best Accordion Player by The Irish Music Association in 2015.

Niels Hausgaard (DK)

He’ll be here again this year, don’t worry. Niels Hausgaard has been an indispensible part of Tønder Festival for decades. As usual, he brings his razor-sharp wit, his songs and his satire, ably supported by Signe Svendsen, vocal & guitar. Plus guests as yet unannounced. Niels Hausgaard’s annual tour of Danmark is a unique phenomenon. For the first four months of the year, he fills halls all over the country. This year his tour was entitled God is Great (and jealous and vindictive but great.) Audiences love Hausgaard, so be quick if you want a ticket to his shows at Tønder Festival. This entertainer’s need to publish is not so great. His most recent studio album was in 2006, and a live dvd was released in 2009. It is live, in front of his huge audience, that Niels Hausgaard feels most at home.

Signe Svendsen (DK)

This Danish singer and songwriter’s career is charging ahead, both in its solo version and supporting Niels Hausgaard on his massive tours. In 2016, Signe Svendsen released her third studio album, Rift, the subsequent tour taking in an appearance at Tønder Festival. The album’s songs prove that Signe Svendsen draws on her personal experience, but does not shy away from social criticism. Signe Svendsen comes from eastern Fyn, and graduated from the Academy for Rhythmic Music in 2003. In 2007 she began working with Niels Hausgaard, while cultivating her own songwriting talents. In 2010 she released her debut album Ny passager (New Passenger), in close collaboration with producer and guitarist Lars Skjærbæk. He also produced the next album Kun de faldne rejser sig igen (Only the Fallen Rise Again) from 2013, and the latest, Rift. This year Tønder Festival presents Signe Svendsen both solo with her own songs, and in the company of Niels Hausgaard.

Gentlemen’s Circle (USA, CAN, IRL)

Sunday afternoon offers a unique opportunity to see and hear a selection of top international songwriters on the same stage. You’ve heard of Women’s Circle: now here comes Gentlemen’s Circle. This is a series of male songwriters who take turns of stepping forward to present and perform, who play along on each others’ songs, and tell lots of good stories. From USA, Nick Panken of Spirit Family Reunion and A.J. Croce. From Canada we have Colter Wall and William Prince and from Ireland Aodán Coyne of Socks In The Frying Pan. To break the male line, the Danish singer and songwriter Dorthe Gerlach will introduce the musicians and coordinate the afternoon.

Folk Spot 2017: Floating Sofa Quartet (DK, S, SF), World On A String (DK), Spöket i Köket (S, DK), Mallebrok (DK), Det Yderste Hav (DK), Zenobia (DK), Andreas Tophøj & Rune Barslund (DK), Julie Alapnes (N)

Nordic traditions meet the wide world when Folk Spot Denmark 2017 presents eight Danish and Scandinavian folk bands. Folk Spot Denmark, besides giving concerts for the Tønder Festival audience, is also an international showcase for the music business abroad. Key professionals come to Tønder Festival from Norway, Germany, England and Canada to hear world-class Danish and Scandinavian music, as well as to see one the world’s best festivals for themselves. The Folk Spot concerts on Friday and Saturday provide an excellent opportunity to take the pulse of the current Danish and Nordic folk and roots scenes. The Norwegian contribution is part of an exchange deal between Folk Spot Denmark and the Norwegian showcase festival FolkeLarm. All eight bands and soloists will be playing showcase concerts at Tønder Festival 2017 as part of Folk Spot Denmark.

FolkBaltica Ensemble (DK, D)

FolkBaltica Ensemble consists of around 50 young musicians from Schleswig-Holstein in Germany and from south Danmark. The orchestra began as part of the annual folkBALTICA Festival, which takes place this year in late April. FolkBaltica Ensemble is the festival’s youth orchestra and it crosses borders both geographically and musically, spanning both traditional and contemporary folk music. Tønder Festival has long encouraged the growth of talent in the folk music world, and so it is natural that FolkBaltica Ensemble be invited back to appear here. Violinist Harald Haugaard, artistic director of folkBALTICA Festival, leads the ensemble, aided by his two capable colleagues Andreas Tophøj and Rasmus Zeeberg. At the past three Tønder Festivals, the FolkBaltica Ensemble has delighted audiences and this year will surely be no exception. FolkBaltica Ensemble will also play a concert for a huge assembly of schoolchildren from both sides of the Danish/German border.

FolkeKons (DK)

Folk music in Denmark is alive and well, not least thanks to the folk music school at the South Denmark Academy of Music and Drama in Esbjerg, better known as FolkeKons. The school has produced many talents through the years, fostered by the passion of the musicians and teachers involved. Tønder Festival’s audience can experience this for themselves when nine students from Folkekons take the stage in the Old Mill on the Friday. This will be a concert of traditional and contemporary music with roots in the Danish tradition and feelers out to all manner of other music. ”Folk music is a communal affair - that’s what distinguishes it from other styles. It is inclusive,” say the FolkeKons musicians.


ROD means root and is the name of a youth music organisation that has a huge influence on the development of folk music in Denmark. ROD has doubled its membership in recent years, indicating that there is a growing movement among young people involved in playing and enjoying folk music in Denmark. ROD embraces musicians at all levels, from those starting out to those who have mastered more than the basics. What unites them is their love of folk music, playing and listening together. As in previous years, ROD is at Tønder Festival 2017.

Jyderup Højskole (DK)Jyderup Folk High School (DK)

We present the result of an intensive, two-week folk music seminar at Jyderup Folk High School

arranged in conjunction with Skurup Folkhögskola in Sweden. Entitled  Scandinavian Roots, the seminar highlights songwriting, ensemble work and live performance. In charge are three of the leading lights on the Scandinavian music scene: Anders Wallin, Bebe Risenfors and Jens Ulvsand.

Musicians 2017:

Lucinda Williams (USA), Shovels & Rope (USA), Loudon Wainwright III (USA), Marc Cohn (USA), Daniel Norgren (S), Grant-Lee Phillips (USA), John Moreland (USA), Sam Outlaw (USA), Savage Rose (DK), Foy Vance (ENG), Allan Olsen (DK), Jacob Dinesen (DK), Jonah Blacksmith (DK), Parker Millsap (USA), Colter Wall (CAN), Lion Bear Fox (CAN), Ulaid (IRL), Anderson East (USA), A.J. Croce (USA), Altan (IRL), Sarah Jarosz (USA), Tami Neilson (CAN/NZ), Kentaur (DK), Ìmar (SCO, IRL), 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), Laura Mo (DK), Dorthe Gerlach (DK), Hans Theessink & Terry Evans (NL, USA), Karl Blau (USA), William Prince (CAN), Yola Carter (ENG), Leyla McCalla (USA), Mick Flannery (IRL), Spirit Family Reunion (USA), Young Seminole Hunters & King James & The Special Men (USA), Red Hot Chilli Pipers (SCO), Daoirí Farrell Trio (IRL), Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh with Seamus Begley and Donogh Hennessy (IRL), Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys (ENG), The Small Glories (CAN), Beoga (IRL), Darlingside (USA), The Dustbowl Revival (USA), Fara (SCO), Frigg (FI), Trad.Attack! (EST), Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar (UK), Socks in The Frying Pan (IRL), Niels Hausgaard (DK), Signe Svendsen (DK), Folk Spot 2017: Floating Sofa Quartet (DK, S, SF), World On A String (DK), Spöket i Köket (S, DK), Mallebrok (DK), Det Yderste Hav (DK), Zenobia (DK), Andreas Tophøj & Rune Barslund (DK), Julie Alapnes (N), folkBALTICA Ensemble (D, DK), FolkeKons (DK), ROD (DK), Jyderup Højskole (DK).

Tønder Festival 24th, 25th, 26th and 27th August 2017

Twitter: @tonderfestival


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