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Feast Of Fiddles comes of age this year after 18 years of bow action … and that's a whole year older than the special guest on their spring tour of the UK.
Taunton’s Kitty Macfarlane - aged just 17 - will take to the stage of Exeter’s Corn Exchange on Friday, April 22 for her biggest concert to date when she guests with the fabulous fiddling sextet and their inventive backline.
Feast Of Fiddles in action
The celebrated 11-piece collective combines the talents of some of Britain’s top fiddlers in a flourish of fingerwork – Fairport Convention’s Chris Leslie, Steeleye Span’s brilliant bowman Peter Knight, Bully Wee Band’s Ian Cutler and ex-Battlefield Band man Brian McNeill joining forces with Garry Blakeley (Band of Two) and Tom Leary (John B Spencer Trio/Albion Morris).
The sizzling “backing band” is led by band founder Hugh Crabtree on accordion and iconic folk-rock drummer Dave Mattacks, who has played with Fairport, Steeleye and Richard Thompson as well as the likes of Paul McCartney, Elton John and Chris Rea.
Also in the engine room are John Underwood and Martin Vincent on acoustic and electric guitars and Dave Harding on bass.
Kitty, who lives in Milverton, is an acoustic singer songwriter and has been playing her songs in local folk clubs for some time, as well as being featured on BBC Radio 4's Excess Baggage travel show. Presented by Sandy Toksvig, the show selected Kitty’s observational song Bus Stop, which tells of her journey home from Taunton on the 25B bus!
Kitty was subsequently asked to perform at the Cambridge Folk Festival while a leading London record label have invited her to their studios for a recording session this Easter.
Currently, Kitty is interweaving her budding music career with her A-level studies at Wellington School, where she is head girl.
The uplifting annual musical extravaganza that is the Feast of Fiddles tour began as a humble one-off for Oxfordshire’s Nettlebed Folk Club and has grown into a full-blooded two-and-a-half-hour show.
The feats of the fiddlers know no bounds and audiences should be prepared for anything – from trad numbers to Deep Purple; Fairport standards to The Shadows and theme music from James Bond to the Magnificent Seven!
The 14-night 2011 Feast of Fiddles tour will open with two nights at Nettlebed Folk Club on April 11 and 12 and continues until April 24, including one standing gig at Manchester’s Band on the Wall.
Show Of Hands’ busy multi-instrumentalist Phil Beer will be unable to take part in the whole tour but will appear at both Nettlebed gigs to join in on the 18th birthday celebrations, back where it all started!
Phil also features on Feast Of Fiddles’ latest CD, Walk Before You Fly, which the band will be showcasing on tour – their first all-in-studio album for 16 years! Mixed in with the well-known tunes are originals by Crabtree, Leary, Blakeley and McNeill.
Tickets for the 7.30pm Exeter gig, price £15, are available in person from The Corn Exchange in George Street; by calling the box office on (01392) 665938 or online via this link