Harp and a Monkey mean business at World War One show at The Maltings

PUBLISHED: 10:08 24 November 2016 | UPDATED: 10:36 24 November 2016

Harp and a Monkey in The Great War Stories can be seen at Folk at The Maltings in St Albans

Harp and a Monkey in The Great War Stories can be seen at Folk at The Maltings in St Albans

Archant

Electro-folk storytellers will be focusing on a recently-published World War One book at a musical show in St Albans.

Folk at The Maltings presents Harp and a Monkey in The Great War: New Songs & Stories, plus New Roots finalists Rosie and Rowan, on Friday December 2 at 8pm.

Lancashire-based Harp and a Monkey will devote the second half of the concert to the band’s show The Great War: New Songs & Stories.

It is being held in association with the authors of the University of Hertfordshire Press published book St Albans: Life on the Home Front, 1914-1918, which was featured in the edition of the Welwyn Hatfield Times Magazine.

In the first half, Harp and a Monkey will perform some of their other songs, after an opening set from New Roots finalists Rosie and Rowan.

New Roots finalists Rosie and Rowan will be appearing at Folk at The Maltings in St AlbansNew Roots finalists Rosie and Rowan will be appearing at Folk at The Maltings in St Albans

Northern folk trio Harp and a Monkey is made up of Martin Purdy (vocals, glockenspiel, accordion, harmonica and keyboards), Simon Jones (harp, guitar and viola) and Andy Smith (banjo, melodica, guitar and programming).

Formed in 2008, their songs span a wide range of subjects, from cuckolded molecatchers and a lone English oak tree that grows at Gallipoli to care in the community and medieval pilgrims.

They are regulars on the northern folk festival circuit and have now established a reputation in the rest of the country.

Their debut album, released in late 2011, received excellent reviews as did their second album, All Life Is Here, released in April 2014, with fRoots magazine describing it as “undoubtedly one of the most vital and charismatic things happening in English folk music right now”.

The second half of the Friday’s concert will be based on the band’s third album, War Stories, as part of an ongoing project, part-sponsored by Arts Council England and The Western Front Association, to mark the centenary of the First World War.

The band’s singer, Martin Purdy, is a historian who has acted as a World War One researcher and advisor for the BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are? magazine for many years and is the co-author of the critically acclaimed WW1 books Doing Our Bit and The Gallipoli Oak.

The band has written new material and re-worked traditional songs which strive to challenge stereotypes of the conflict and has been performing these in unusual venues related to the war on British shores.

New Roots finalists Rosie and Rowan are about to launch their first CD.

Rosie Hodgson is a folk singer/songwriter from Midhurst, West Sussex, who grew up surrounded by traditional music and danced with Knockhundred Shuttles.

She is lead singer with Irish band Crossharbour but her own songs are heavily influenced by the English tradition.

Fiddler Rowan Piggott grew up in the foothills of the Burren on the west coast of Ireland surrounded by traditional music.

Despite studying classical music and jazz in London, he found it impossible to forsake his traditional heritage.

• Tickets for the concert cost £10, students £8, under-16s £6, on the door or in advance, by booking online at www.ticketsource.co.uk/ovo or by phone on 0333 666 3366 .

• For more information, visit http://www.stalbansfolkmusic.org.uk

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