About Georgie Beardmore

I’m Georgie, a Creative Writing masters student at the University of Sheffield. As might be expected from someone who studies creative writing, I love writing (I write a lot -seriously, a lot), and write a variety of fiction and non-fiction things for various online and printed publications. As well as fiction, I most enjoy writing about music, the arts and student living, but I've also written things about living abroad, travel and local projects and events, as well as waffling about whatever takes my fancy on my blog. I am also heavily involved in student radio; I've been part of Forge Radio (the University of Sheffield's student radio station) for nearly four years now, helping run the station over the last two first as Secretary and then as Assistant Station Manager. Every week I present my own weekly specialist folk music show 'What The Folk?' (the show is as pun-filled as its name would suggest), on which I aim to promote new and exciting folk musicians from across the UK, and this year I've also been a part of organising some gigs as part of 'Forge Presents...', Forge Radio's series of live music events. I'm incredibly passionate about both music and the arts, and so am really excited to be part of the Born In Britain campaign and the opportunity to showcase the wealth of talent both Sheffield and the UK has to offer.

Fallingham Fair

I’m back on the folk train again this week people, but I assure you, it is for good reason. Formed in Birmingham back in 2010, Fallingham Fair are a folk-pop trio whose uplifting style and delicious range of vocal harmonies have seen them top my personal iTunes chart for a good few weeks now. After listening to them, I guarantee they’ll be having the same effect on you too.

Fallingham Fair was born out of a series of collaborative live shows between its three members, Fred Claridge (Vocals, Guitar), Aoife McCauley (Vocals) and Tim Gilvin (Vocals, Keyboard). Since then the trio have steadily been building a name for themselves on the indie-folk scene, playing a diverse range of festivals (including New Roots Folk Festival and Camden Rock) and releasing their debut self-titled album in 2011. In March of this year, the group released their second album Songbook to a flurry if praise which, when coupled with their increased airplay from the likes of Channel 4 and 6Music’s Lauren Laverne, surely means that this as yet unsigned band are inches away for  being snapped up.

For me, it is Fallingham Fair’s ability to invite the listener into their songs that makes them such a winning combination. There is a friendliness intertwined in the beautiful chords and soaring harmonies, a sort of soothing and seemingly effortless warmth that is simultaneously enticing and exciting.

For more information about Fallingham Fair, find them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. You can also visit their bandcamp, where you’ll find download links for all their albums and individual songs.

Ellie Ragdale

Ellie Ragdale is a stop motion animator based in Sheffield. As well as creating her beautiful and intricate films, Ellie is also on a mission to bring the creation of animated film to the masses, running workshops for children and planning film screenings designed to bring the Sheffield creative community together. Find out all about her and her work below.

Ellie has been making animations since her final year studying Drama and Screen at the University of Manchester, when she managed to persuade her tutor to let her take a new second year module in animation. She had always been interested in animated film, having loved shows like Pingu and Camberwick as a child, but says it was the inspirational teaching of Barry Purves, the module leader and acclaimed stop motion animator, that made her realise just how passionate she was about it. Ellie threw herself into the course with enthusiasm, making her first film, Tim the Tiny Horse, a project focussing on adapting fantasy texts for screen and based on the stories of comedian Harry Hill.

Ellie says that the reason stop motion animation appealed to her so greatly is because it allows her to combine her two loves, namely making things and making films. Her films encompass a variety of styles and techniques (such as puppet animation, pixilation and papercraft) and she cites her influences as not only children’s stop motion television programmes, but also the “non-polished, handmade aesthetic” of director Michel Gondry.

After graduation, Ellie found work experience with a variety of different filmmakers, companies and festivals, including working with Broken Pixel animator Ashley Dean on two music videos (Gazpacho’s Black Lily and Fossil Collective’s Let It Go, which won best music video at the 2012 Aesthetica Film Festival). She continued to create her own films and in the summer of 2012, through what she describes as ‘almost coincidence’, began to make films with musician and friend Andrew Anderson. The pair’s skills complimented each other perfectly, with Andrew’s original compositions providing the ideal score for Ellie’s animations. Their first film, You Let Me Down Again, was a music video for Andrew’s band Proto Idiot, and has since been shown at the London Short Film Festival. Since then, they have worked on several films together, including The Animal Arkhive, for which they received funding though IdeasTap and permission to use sound effects from the British Libraries sound archive.

Ellie’s says that her plans for the future are to continue working with Andrew under their company ‘Peck Films’. Their aim is to secure commissions to make animated shorts for companies, as well as to continue to make their own films. Recently, Ellie has also begun to teach animation as part of the Kids Art Academy afterschool club sessions around Sheffield. Through Sheffield-based community arts charity Art in the Park and somewhereto_ (a nation-wide Olympic legacy scheme that focuses on connecting young people aged 16-25 with free space to do the things they love) Ellie secured funding through O2’s ‘Think Big’ grant, meaning that she was able the run a series of animation workshops in more disadvantaged areas of the city and, as a continuation of this, last month had her application bid for O2’s ‘Think Bigger’ fund accepted. As a result, this Autumn she plans to stage an immersive cinema screening event for children. Ellie says that she wants it to be a community event, showcasing the work of local children created in a series of workshops leading up to the event, and involving other young creative people like herself “to combine a variety of skills and talents and make this event something really special and unique”

For more information about Ellie’s work, visit her Vimeo page or follow her on Twitter.

Early Cartographers

Early Cartographers are a multi-instrumental acoustic outfit currently purveying their own upbeat folk(ish)-pop melodies across Sheffield. Encompassing a diverse range of musical influences and styles, not to mention beautiful harmonies and a huge array of different instruments, Early Cartographers  are quite the musical-melting pot. With a seemingly ever-evolving line-up, it might be a fair to assess them as less of a band and more of a musical collective, a description which seems to fit a group who confess they prefer playing “in parks, allotments, on rooftops and the back rooms of small cafés”, although they are happy to play more conventional venues too. This collective ethos coupled with the sharing of the song-writing load, the vocals and, indeed, the instruments, means that this group come across as something rather wonderful, carving a unique niche for themselves in a time when it is becoming increasingly difficult for bands to stand out.

The music itself is quite glorious, moving effortlessly as it does between soft and ethereal to powerful and resounding, all the while laid over with perfectly balanced harmonies. Poetic lyrics are intertwined with a rich musical canvas of acoustic guitars, strings, percussion and brass, giving each track a multi-layered quality that builds and soars into something quite captivating.

If you’re after something unusual, simultaneously uplifting and haunting, poetic and with the ability to enchant, then you’ve come to the right place. For more tracks, news and live dates, head over to the Early Cartographers website or check out their Facebook page. Ooh, and don’t forget to download their EP ‘The Wolf Chorus’ via their bandcamp.

Renegade Brass Band

Do you like funk? Do you like jazz? Do you like hip-hop? If you answered yes to any of these questions, well get ready, because your mind is about to be well and truly blown.

Formed in Sheffield back in 2009, and comprising of eight horns, two percussionists, a scratch DJ and a live MC, the Renegade Brass Band are quite simply a tour-de-force of funk and soul. With a incredible live reputation preceding them, and a whole host of hi-profile festivals and support slots under their belts, it is safe to say that this twelve-piece are currently creating some sizeable waves in the industry. Named by the Sheffield’s premier dubstep and hip-hop night the Tuesday Club as one of their top live acts, and having recently played the Craig Charles Funk & Soul Show live in Manchester, it cannot be long before they explode completely.

Keep your eyes peeled for new material coming shortly, as well a whole host of live shows. For more information (and of course more tracks), check out the Renegade Brass Band website and Facebook page.

Sour Cherry

Sour Cherry are a small independent jewellery company based in Sheffield who specialise in fun and quirky designs that are jam-packed with character. The adorable, affordable accessories are all designed and handmade by owner Kayleigh Walker and, because they are either produced from scratch or adapted from recycled items, are all guaranteed to be distinctive and unique.

Kayleigh works with a range of materials, including laser-cut plastic, shrink plastic, glass beads and ceramics, and the diversity of her designs is simply astonishing: just scrolling down the necklace section of the websites, you’ll be able to spot foxes, teacups, bananas, Pacman, gameboys, Russian dolls, cameras, keys, sewing machines, owls, James Bond, Liquorice Allsorts, glasses, elephants, Wayne’s World and bourbon biscuits. And that’s not even all of them, I’ve just run out of breath.

In the unlikely event you can’t find the design you want, you can even commission your own – contact Sour Cherry with the idea for your design and they’ll try and create it for you. Bloomin’ marvellous.

Bright, bold and bags of fun, and at prices not to put a dent in your wallet, Sour Cherry’s designs are hand-crafted delights. If you don’t have one, your wardrobe is lacking. Sort it out, why don’t you?

To check out the full range of Sour Cherry designs, or to commission your own, visit the website. Alternatively, follow them on Facebook or Pinterest.

HarleyLikesMusic

I’m willing to bet that HarleyLikesMusic is like no other musician you will have heard before. An electronic music producer based in Sheffield, Harley is currently gaining rapid recognition for the things he can do with a Nintendo DS. Using a piece of software called Korg DS-10+, Harley is able to create astonishing sounds, manipulating the software to produce a unique type of electro that sits somewhere between chiptune and drum and bass.

Harley started making music by playing around with Ableton, but switched to DS permanently after a couple of successful live shows. Since then he’s played all kinds of gigs, from house parties and raves, to shows in pubs and clubs with other bands and acoustic acts.

I’m not going to pretend I understand the immense technicalities of what Harley does; an attempt at an explanation by me would only be an embarrassment for all involved. Instead I’ll point you towards an interview with Harley in Toast magazine, where he discusses the emergence of an online DS-10 community, and the HarleyLikesMusic Facebook page, which includes a more in-depth account of the technical stuff from someone who actually knows what they are talking about. That being said, I do recognise a good gig when I see one, and having seen Harley perform live a couple of months back, I do feel qualified to say that what he does is ABSOLUTELY BLOODY INCREDIBLE. And I’ve used capital letters there, so you know I mean it.

To listen to more of what Harley does, and to keep your eye out for live shows, visit his website. You can also check him out on Youtube, where you can also watch his DS screen as he works, and you can follow him on Twitter @HarleyLikeMusic. Otherwise, check him out on Soundcloud for loads more awesome tracks.

The Natterjacks

The Natterjacks are an indie folk duo hailing from Chesterfield in Derbyshire. Playing together since 2010, Freddie Bingham and Mark Evans create a rip-roaring, foot-stomping brand of folk that’s accessible, enjoyable and downright excellent.

On first listening, you’d be forgiven for thinking there were more than two people making up this band. Both multi-instrumentalists, Bingham and Evans use mandolin, kick-drum and banjo alongside their two acoustic guitars to create a multi-layered musical track that beautifully compliments the rich vocals. Their sound has distinctly nu-folk feel, with the pair taking their influences from the likes of Fleet Foxes, Laura Marling and Mumford & Sons, and the overall sense of dynamic vivacity that underscores every song makes them a worthy listen, both recorded and live.

The Natterjacks have already built up a dedicated local following, pulling in new fans daily through their storming live shows and the regular release of new tracks via their Soundcloud page. Some of these tracks are free to download, and all of them are – astonishingly, considering the level of quality – recorded in either Mark’s room or Freddie’s shed.

With a session for BBC Introducing’s ‘The Beat’ already under their belt, and both an EP and a new video in the pipeline, the Natterjacks are surely ones to watch – I personally hope we’ll be hearing a lot more from them in the future.

For more information about the Natterjacks, check out their website. You can also like them on Facebook, or follow them on twitter: @thenatterjacks

Gee & Tea

I love Gee & Tea for three reasons:

1) They’ve got a pun in their name.

2) That pun involves tea, which is not only my favourite drink, but my favourite thing in the world full stop.

3) They make truly awesome jewellery and crafts.

And though I could go on for days about the excellent properties of tea, it’s the third reason that I’d like to explain to you in a little more detail.

Gee & Tea is the craft collaboration of Gemma Bolton, Kathryn Broughton, Sarah Hunt & Aimi Liversidge. Based in Sheffield, these four ladies between them specialise in creating all kinds of wonderful things, including necklaces and other accessories, greeting cards, mittens, homewares, bags of all shapes and sizes and even gorgeous 50s-style lace knickers. Everything is unique and beautifully handcrafted, and all the products have a distinctive daintiness about them, incorporating beautiful fabrics and innovative designs. The range is expanding all the time too – for instance, budding photographers out there should know that there is camera bag in vintage colours being developed for you as I type.

If you live in Sheffield, you can find Gee & Tea at the Nichols Building craft and vintage centre, or out and about at craft fairs across the city. If you don’t live in Sheffield, pop over to their website and have a look at a selection of their lovely things on there. Wherever you are, you can follow them on Twitter @geeandtea or on Instagram too for your fix of handmade goodness.

– Georgie

Tom Scott

I’ve gone and got myself a new favourite acoustic musician again – I know, I know, it keeps happening, doesn’t it? I promise you, though, it’s always completely justifiable, and this time especially.

Tom Scott is a singer song-writer hailing from Yorkshire and based in Sheffield.  Currently unsigned, he is already building a name for himself on the Sheffield live and acoustic circuit, gigging at numerous venues across the city and making his music free to download via his Soundcloud (on the proviso that you share it round, of course). He has also recently made his way into the final sixteen acts for Kerrang Radio’s Unsigned Lounge competition, and given that there were over two hundred applications, this is no little achievement.

Though Tom describes himself as “an acoustic musician still finding his feet”, the delicate chords that match perfectly with poetic lyrics and a soft, lilting vocal, means he stands with the likes of James Vincent McMorrow and Benjamin Francis Leftwich in his ability to leave the listener mellow, thoughtful and not a little goosepimply. With the positive recognition he is receiving, a growing fan-base and an undeniable talent, Tom is certainly and deservedly set for great things.

For more information about Tom’s music or where you can catch him live, check out his Facebook page, or follow him on Twitter @tomscottmusicuk.

The Three Belles

These three lovely ladies are making new music in the old-fashioned way. Based in Woking, Surrey, and inspired by the Andrews Sisters and 1940s vintage, Betty (blonde), Dorothy (brunette) and Gail (redhead) are a vocal trio that celebrate the age of sophistication and swing.

Having formed as part of an assignment for their Creative and Performing Arts course at Portsmouth University, the Three Belles decided to take their show on the road after graduation, and have since travelled the length and breadth of the UK as professional singers and performers. Their sweet harmonies and toe-tapping style capture the essence of an era perfectly, and Betty, Dorothy and Gail have gotten young and old alike out of their seats and swingin’ all the way from Cornwall to Cumbria.

As well as performing, the Three Belles also plan and produce their own 1940s-inspired productions and events, most recently choreographing the sell-out swing experience “In The Mood” at Portsmouth and St Ives Guildhalls.

If you’d like to find out more about the Three Belles, visit their website or check them out on Facebook. Come on, join the party!

– Georgie

Lucy Ward

Lucy Ward is a folk singer, guitarist and concertina player from Derby. She writes and plays a mixture of traditional songs and her own compositions and, at 22, is already a well-established favourite of the British folk scene.

Though a multi-instrumentalist, Lucy considers her voice to be her primary tool when performing; her vocal is strong and clear with an endearing regional lilt, and she sings with an eloquence that is utterly enchanting to listen to. Her talents have not gone unrecognised either; a finalist at the Young Folk Awards in 2009, she was further nominated in two categories at the 2012 BBC Radio 2 folk awards, going on to win the Horizon Award as best newcomer.

Her debut album, ‘Adelphi Has To Fly’, was received with much positivity on its release in 2011, with the Guardian’s Robin Denslow praising her self-written track ‘Bricks & Love’ and Mike Harding commending her as one of the best things he’s heard in years. Having supported the likes of Seth Lakeman, Oysterband and Nancy Kerr & James Fagan, Lucy has succeeded in establishing herself as a successful headliner in her own right, drawing crowds from all around by her captivating voice and expressive performances.

If you’d like to know more about Lucy Ward and her gorgeous music, visit her website.

– Georgie

Captives On The Carousel

Captives On The Carousel are my latest (and most favourite) Sheffield discovery. I had been hearing the name drifting around for a while, but I finally managed to catch them live a couple of weeks ago at a charity gig where they were playing alongside fellow Sheffield bands Young Peculiar and Screaming Maldini. For me, as a committed fan of folk music (and especially folk that errs on the side of ethereal), it was pretty much love at first listen.

Singer and guitarist Sarah and cellist Ben have been playing as a pair since 2008, when Ben started joining Sarah at her solo shows. In 2009, they decided to make things official and Captives On The Carousel was born. Together they sing haunting folk originals, in which delicate strings and dark-edged prosaic lyrics soothe you into a dreamlike and otherworldly existence.

Since the middle of 2011, the duo have been, as their website puts it, ‘taking things more seriously’, and with the help of friends succeeded in putting out a self-released debut EP. This was followed by another, ‘The Garden’, in 2012. They’ve been busy working the folk festival circuit in the summertime, as well as securing stage-time at Tramlines, Peace in the Park and Off The Tracks, and have recently spent some time touring to promote their latest EP release.

If you’d like to find out more about the wonderful folkiness of Captives On The Carousel, visit their website or their Facebook page. There’s also plenty of gorgeous tracks to listen to on their Soundcloud profile – go check them out, you won’t be disappointed.

– Georgie