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Ian Freedman Introduces Us To Five Artists

You Should Get To Know

We asked Ian Freedman from The Readifolk Radio Show, broadcast weekly on Blues & Roots Radio, to suggest five artists we should be listening to.


Based in England, the Readifolk members present a lively mixture of music from local, national and international artists, interviews recorded at gigs and festivals and live music from studio guests. They include tracks from artists who have performed at Readifolk, and each show features a preview of the coming Sunday's Readifolk session.

The show is presented jointly by Ian Freedman and one of a team of presenters from Readifolk. Ian is a regular MC at Readifolk and also a member of local band Rye Wolf.  That's Ian, 3rd from the left in the picture above.



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Anna Renae is a pop/folk singer-songwriter, weaving musical stories inspired by life’s complexities. Having roots in Lancashire and Northumberland, Anna graduated from the University of Liverpool in 2017 with a First Class BA (Hons) degree in Popular Music.

Her debut album ‘Skin’ was released on 20th March 2020 which features songs written between the ages of 13-21, telling stories that encapsulate many aspects of Anna’s teenage and early adult life. The album has received wonderful reviews and has attained radio play around the world,




Inge comes from Fair Isle - the gorgeous, wild rock which lies between Orkney and Shetland which lie off the coast at the very north of Scotland.  


Inge make music for herself and for other people.  She produces shows and records.  She sings and plays several instruments. Her main instrument is the piano keyed accordion but she finds herself increasingly drawn to the creation and recording of new sounds and the possibilities and parameters of sound manipulation.  Much of Inge's work is inspired by our environment and her place in it. 


Inge loves collaborations, multi discipline and overseas work.


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Jenny's music is rich with imagery and her songs are bound together by common threads of folklore, nature and the connection people have with the wild. 


Sturgeon’s songcraft is at the centre of her engaging and honest performance, with accompaniment on guitar, harmonium and dulcimer she has been described as “a wonderful singer who can change the atmosphere in the room with her affecting delivery” (Boo Hewerdine).


In 2020 she won Best Acoustic at the Scottish Alternative Music Awards. In 2018 she was nominated as Composer Of The Year in the Scots Trad Music Awards.



Jon Wilks is a former journalist, previously the editor of Time Out Abu Dhabi and Time Out Tokyo, as well as an occasional contributor to The Guardian, Dazed & Confused, The Japan Times and several other publications. These days (when he’s not helping to create some of the UK’s best non-alcoholic drinks) he writes about folk music and performs it (when people let him).

His live shows are an amusing mix of folk song performance and conversation, throwing in tidbits of weird and wonderful information about the original singers and collectors that he has come across during his writing research.

To date, Jon has released three solo albums, as well as three albums and two EPs with The Grizzly Folk, and an album and EP with Japan-based indie band, Cut Flowers (in a former life). 


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With a voice often likened to Carole King and Regina Spektor, a classical piano training, and influences ranging from Björk to Chopin, Me for Queen – the creative alias of Mary Erskine – is rapidly winning acclaim for her beguiling ‘soul-folk’ song craft, blending traditional folk story-telling with a contemporary edge.


Growing up feral in rural Fife/Scotland in a big old house near the sea, years of classical training together with a Blues guitarist for a father make for an interesting mix of Soul and Folk.

Her much-anticipated debut solo album, “Loose End” was released via Seahorse Music in September 2018. Teaming up with Jim Wallis at Bella Union Studios, the record sees her explore a more varied sonic landscape, moving away from her piano-led sound into richly orchestrated arrangements.


We asked Ian to suggest five artists, but, he couldn't resist giving us a bonus one we should be listening to...



Fred Smith writes songs. Some of them are sad. Some of them are funny. Some of them are sad and funny. Some of them are quite serious. They have melodies and stories you can remember - that stay with you and keep you company during the day and at night when you are sitting in a chair. Fred’s songs reflect the world he has seen in what, so far, has been a messy and interesting life. He was the subject of an Australian Story documentary feature about his experiences in Afghanistan and Bougainville. His book, The Dust of Uruzgan, was published by Allen and Unwin.


An easy raconteur with a deep catalogue of great songs, Fred and band never repeat a song from set to set at a festival. His solo albums and collaborative recordings with Liz Frencham and The Spooky Men's Chorale are on many people’s ‘best ever’ lists.  His songs capture the human complexities of the countries he has worked in - Afghanistan, Papua New Guinea, the USA, and lately Australia – with poetry that is wry, tender and comprehending.


More artists from around the world you should get to know

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