The Sound Cafe
The 2023 Tønder Festival Add Eight More Bands And Soloists From Denmark And Abroad
By Stevie Connor.
The 2023 Tønder Festival music programme is nearing completion. Tønder Festival have announced eight more bands and soloists from Denmark and abroad, among them Jim Lauderdale, Altan, Dustbowl Revival, Tejon Street Corner Thieves and Twang, as well as seven Folk Spot Denmark candidates.
Tønder Festival is presenting one of the major songwriters on the American country scene, Jim Lauderdale, who has been performing since the 1970s, and whose songs have been recorded by a long list of well-known singers.
Announced is the return of the American band Dustbowl Revival, with two previous Tønder Festival appearances to their credit. Another American band are coming to the Tønder Festival for the first time: the trash bluesgrass band Tejon Street Corner Thieves.
Traditional Irish folk music will have distinguished representation, in the two veteran groups Altan and Kíla. From England Roo Panes, an up-and-coming songwriter on the British folk scene.
A newish group and a soloist from Denmark, the trio Twang, who twist the tail of the American folk music tradition, and the songwriter Kristian Bach, who won the 2022 folk music award Årets Helge (The Annual Helge, in memory of the late Helge Arildsø, a personality on the Danish folk scene, who died young in 2014.)
Seven names from the burgeoning grassroots of Danish and Nordic folk music will perform at this year's Tønder Festival in Folk Spot Denmark, a co-operative showcase feature of the festival for many years now.
Jim Lauderdale (USA)
Jim Lauderdale is the epitome of 'the songwriter's songwriter.' Now 66 years of age, he has made 34 albums, won several Grammy awards and the Americana Music Association’s Wagonmaster Award. He has been part of the American country scene since the late 1970s and has worked with the likes of Ralph Stanley, Robert Hunter, Loretta Lynn, George Jones, Emmylou Harris, Elvis Costello, Buddy Miller and Lucinda Williams, as well as writing songs for many other singers. His style is country, with touches of bluegrass, blues and americana. After college in North Carolina, he played bluegrass and folk, gravitating to Nashville and then to New York. He made his first solo album, Planet of Love, in 1991. Jim Lauderdale's latest album, Game Changer (2022), is released on his own label, Sky Crunch Records. Writing songs is his life. "It's a constant challenge to make better and better records and to write better and better songs. I feel as though I am still developing as an artist," Jim Lauderdale has said. His only Danish festival in 2023.
Dustbowl Revival (USA)
This is the third time this potent American band is appearing at Tønder Festival. Dustbowl Revival modernize bluegrass, swing, hot jazz, blues, soul and New Orleans funk.
Fronted by male guitarist and singer Zach Lupetin and female singer Lashon Halley, who replaced Liz Beebe a few years ago, Dustbowl Revival roll their love of American roots music out over their audiences to the sound of guitar, mandolin, ukulele, washboard, violin, trumpet and assorted other instruments. Dustbowl Revival hail from Venice Beach in Los Angeles and starting in 2007 they seized on American string band and brass band traditions and quickly attracted attention. In 2013, the LA Weekly paper crowned the band Best Live Band. Dustbowl Revival’s most recent studio album is Is It You, Is It Me from 2020. American Songwriter magazine wrote this of the release: "... an album that combines a welter of musical styles, exhibits outstanding musicianship, and best of all has brilliant songs." Their only Danish festival in 2023.
Altan, one of the biggest bands in traditional Irish music, have, since their start back in 1987, appeared at Tønder Festival six times. The most recent was in 2017, when they included us in their 30th anniversary tour. Altan was founded by Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh and her late husband, Frankie Kennedy, and created a stir from the word go on the folk music scene in Donegal. Ní Mhaonaigh is a native Erse speaker, and she has sung many's the traditional song. Besides herself, singing and playing fiddle, today's Altan has Ciarán Curran on bouzouki, Martin Tourish on accordion and guitarists Dáithí Sproule and Mark Kelly. Altan have toured the world and have performed before President Clinton at the White House. The group have also worked with Dolly Parton, Jerry Douglas and Mary Chapin Carpenter, among many others. In 2018 they released their latest album, The Gap of Dreams, a musical journey back to Donegal. Their only Danish festival in 2023.
Since the late 1980s, Kíla have been revolutionizing Irish folk traditions. The band call what they play Irish world music, and although the point of departure is traditional Irish music, many types of music from all over the world can be heard in the mix. Kíla have performed in 35 lands globally and have appeared at major festivals such as Glastonbury, Montreux Jazz Festival and Rainforest World Music Festival in Borneo. Kíla has also created music for film and tv series. In 2010, they played on the soundtrack for the animation film The Secret of the Kells, which was nominated for an Oscar, and in 2015 they were behind some of the music on another Oscar-nominated animation film, Song of the Sea. Kíla are: bodhrán player Rónán Ó Snodaigh (who has played with Dead Can Dance); Dee Armstrong, fiddle; Colm Ó Snodaigh, flutes; Rossa Ó Snodaigh, percussion; James Mahon, uillean pipes; Brian Handan, bass; Seanán Brennan, guitar, and Dave Hingerty, drums. In the spring of 2023, Kíla released the singles Cara Liom and Raise the Road, with Kíla playing alongside the eight piece Paul Frost Brass Band. Their only Danish festival in 2023. www.kila.ie
Tejon Street Corner Thieves (USA)
You're in for lashings of wild energy when Tejon Street Corner Thieves hit the stage. The band come from Colorado Springs and formed in 2013. They played on the street and in small venues to begin with, but it didn't take long for a wider audience, and the media, to catch on. They know their onions, and the band's original blend of americana, folk, bluegrass and blues with a generous seasoning of outlaw attitude and trash grass have spurred Tejon Street Corner Thieves ever onwards. In 2015 they won a local prize, Best of the Springs, and more awards in following years, among them the Colorado Springs Independent newspaper's prize as Best Original Band in 2018. Tejon Street Corner Thieves drew plentiful media coverage when, during the corona pandemic, they drove around in an old school bus and played concerts at a safe distance from the audiences. Their latest album is Thick As Thieves from 2022. They tour intensely, supporting, in 2022, among others, the Canadian band The Dead South, who are also at Tønder Festival this year. Their only Danish festival in 2023.
Roo Panes (ENG)
Very few folk singers have appeared in the international fashion magazine Vogue. But Roo Panes has. This 34 year-old songwriter from Dorset in England has modelled for Burberry. Here he found an outlet for his songs via Burberry Acoustic, the fashion house's special channel for promising British songwriters. Roo Panes has been putting out songs since 2014, when his debut album Little Giant was released. It was followed by a number of EPs and albums, the latest being The Summer Isles from March 2023. Roo Panes plays 12-string guitar and has been described as a classic singer-songwriter, reminiscent of Donovan. His inspirations are Bob Dylan and Nick Drake, and he was born into an artistic family: his grandmother was a classical pianist and his mother theatre trained. His only Danish festival in 2023.
The Danish folk roots scene is constantly spawning new musicians with a firm basis in the old music but with the bottle and talent to try something new. The Twang trio formed in 2014 and have worked their way steadily onward with their original, lively take on American folk music. Armed with acoustic guitar, double bass, violin, banjo and three voices, Twang seize the traditions and add all manner of styles. The attentive listener will be entertained with elements of jazz, hip-hop and many other surprises. The band dare to serve up a deeply melancholic song from grandma's day, only to follow it with a modern hit wrapped in humour and satire. There is room for both laughter and tears as Twang shift from their own compositions to folk classics. On stage, Twang will dazzle their audiences with rapid instrument changes: the bass player suddenly turns guitarist, the banjo player grabs the bass. Twang have won plaudits for their three-part harmonies, that lift their performance to another level, while staying loyal to the American traditions. Twang comprises Thyge Van Dassen, violin, song; Spencer Gross, guitar, double bass and song, and Peter Banks, banjo, double bass and song.
Kristian Bach (DK)
In 2022, the 39 year-old Danish songwriter Kristian Bach won the Årets Helge award, a prize in memory of the late Helge Arildson, a personality on the Danish folk scene who died prematurely in 2014. Through the years, appreciation for Kristian Bach's Danish songs has been growing. His most recent album is Shunuata (January 2023). In May 2019, he released the satirical single Brev fra fronten (Letter from the Front, which was played on Radio Denmark's Programme 5 for 15 weeks. Back in 2017, a song on his debut album Første Trin (First Steps), Mod til at gøre det bedre (Courage to Improve) became very popular. In 2016, Kristian Bach won the Free School Teachers' Association competition for an official song with his composition Allerbedst sammen (Best Together). Kristian Bach's songs and music have roots in folk and country and also draw on the Danish song tradition. His songs are sensitive, honest and personal, and touch on psychological, spiritual, ethical and socio-political topics. He trained as a music teacher at the Free Teacher College in Ollerup, specialising in choral work, improvisation and songwriting. Kristian Bach hails from South Funen and lives in Copenhagen.
Folk Spot Denmark 2023 (DK)
Since 2012, Folk Spot Denmark has introduced Danish and Nordic folk and roots bands with the ambition of reaching a wider audience both at home and abroad. SPOT Festival and Tønder Festival are the organizers behind this initiative. This year, seven Scandinavian folk roots bands have been selected by the professional jury to take part in Folk Spot Denmark 2023: Azur Azur, Danish Fiddle Quartet, Folkens, HØST, OPTUR, Solsort and Sylfide. One more group will be included, this time from Norway. Folk Spot Denmark presents all the showcase concerts on Friday 25 and Saturday 26 August at this year's Tønder Festival. The Folk Spot concerts are an audience magnet, for it is here you can hear some of the newest music from the Scandinavian folk roots scene. At the same time, these concerts provide a showcase directed at the invited international guests, media and music business professionals, with the potential to give the musicians access to international networks.
Tønder Festival 2023 – the story so far:
Graham Nash (USA), Sarah Jarosz (USA), Caleb Klauder & Reeb Willms Country Band with special guest vocalist Lukas Graham (USA, DK), David Ramirez (USA), Aoife O’Donovan (USA), Jim Lauderdale (USA), Joachim Cooder (USA), Nickel Creek (USA), Liam Ó Maonlaí (IRL), Michael McGoldrick, John McCusker & John Doyle (ENG/SCO/IRL), Allan Olsen (DK), Sierra Ferrell (USA), The Dead South (CAN), The Unthanks (ENG), David Ritschard (SE), Ariel Posen (CAN), Sorten Muld (DK), Frankie Gavin & De Dannan (IRL), Emily Scott Robinson, Alisa Amador & Violet Bell (USA), Lawrence Maxwell (CAN), Jeremy Dutcher (CAN), Buffalo Nichols (USA), Israel Nash (USA), The Local Honeys (USA), Adyn Townes (CAN), Ross Ainslie, Ali Hutton & Owen Sinclair (SCO), The Mary Wallopers (IRL), Lisa O’Neill (IRL), Dustbowl Revival (USA), Altan (IRL), Kíla (IRL), Roo Panes (ENG), Tejon Street Corner Thieves (USA), Leftover Salmon (USA), Aysanabee (CAN), Niteworks (SCO), Shane Smith & The Saints (USA), Hackensaw Boys (USA), Mec Lir (SCO), Gnoss (SCO), Margo Cilker (USA), Joshua Ray Walker (USA), Kelsey Waldon (USA), Willie Stratton (CAN), Mallemuk (DK), Det Yderste Hav (DK), The Tarantino Twist Show (DK), Bjonko (DK), AySay (DK), William Torp (DK), Baby Did A Bad Thing (DK), FolkBALTICA Ensemblet (DK, D), Twang (DK), Kristian Bach (DK), Folk Spot Denmark (DK).
Tønder Festival 24th, 25th, 26th and 27th August 2023