Tuesday, 10 February 2015

The Acoustic Folk Highway

Audience watching Hayley Harland

Hello everyone!

On Sunday night, Agata and I headed along to a monthly event at The Harrison called ”The Acoustic Folk Highway”. A great musician we met at a previous open mic night was performing so we thought we’d check it out and show her some support – and boy were we in for a treat!

The pub, located near King’s Cross, has this super cute basement below the main area which was decorated beautifully by Yi Xin Yan (check out her page here), with bunting, fairy lights and just enough seating to make it cozy yet practical. It was a well-organised, intimate show with five acts performing roughly six songs each. The Acoustic Folk Highway is run by musician Danny Leigh and aims to showcase unique talent from around the globe, “while highlighting how cultural and ethnic identity influences the individuals song-writing, sound and style.”

DISCLAIMER: All photo credit goes to Yi Xin Yan.
I didn’t actually plan to blog about this event but I found myself blown away and started taking notes while watching these talented people perform, so here we are. This is also my excuse for not providing my own photos - apologies!

Danny Leigh

Performing first was the organiser himself, Danny Leigh.
Danny’s music is very tranquil – it transported me to a place where I was chilling out in the sun, listening to his skillful guitar and calm voice. His lyrics captivated the audience from the moment he opened his mouth and a special mention must go out to his talent when it comes to guitar. I thought he used it creatively and overall, I really enjoyed listening to what he had to offer.

You can find Danny on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, SoundCloud and Bandcamp.

Arran George

Next up was music student Arran George.
Arran is studying songwriting at the Institute of Contemporary Music here in London and this shined through his performance. Arran’s music is quite passionate, speckled with personality and a touch of bad-ass-ness (definitely a word). A standout song for me was called “Sylvia”, which harboured emotion in every aspect of the performance.

You can find Arran on Facebook, Twitter and SoundCloud.

Simone Alexander

With two tough acts to follow, Simone Alexander took to the stage.
Her awesome pastel-y orange hair gave away her unique spark before she could even play the first chord. Simone’s voice is beautifully natural and raw. Angelic tones came through her head voice, while she has a fierce edge to her voice when singing lower. A personal favourite of mine was her song about her not wanting to lose her soul in retail. The other one that stuck with me was “New Natives”, about her hometown in Australia. It mentioned the boys hanging out of their car windows yelling profanities, and how this is the new mating call - love it!

Find Simone on Facebook, her own website, Twitter and SoundCloud.

Hayley Harland

Towards the end of the evening, the lovely Hayley Harland graced the stage.
As I mentioned earlier, we met Hayley at an open mic night at 12 Bar Club (R.I.P) on Denmark Street late last year. She has a super unique and quirky sound, playing mainly her ukulele – although this time also doing a song on the guitar too.
She did a great sing-a-long thing with the crowd which (let’s be honest) hardly ever works successfully, but hers totally did! It was really cool.
She has a chirpy, upbeat groove, contrasting with her lyrics, which mostly take on more serious topics. The song that made the biggest impact on me though was a charming wee number about a conversation with the moon.
Truly talented, I think Hayley will go far!

Find her on Facebook, her own website and Twitter.

The Nightjar

Annnd last but not least, The Nightjar!
I don’t even know where to begin here. I heard them briefly in the sound check and I was absolutely blown away. The stunning quartet combines a strong lead, flawless harmonies and the unmistakable charm of a double bass. Their music had a strong nautical theme throughout their set, which was really interesting as their sound reminded me, funnily enough, of the ocean. The way it flowed and sort of 'bobbed' up and down. That probably makes no sense, but it's a thing, promise. I could have listened to them for at least another few hours so I will definitely be attending more of their gigs in the future!

You can find The Nightjar on Facebook, their website, Twitter and Bandcamp.


All in all, as I'm sure you can tell, it was a fantastic, talent-filled evening with a diverse range of performers. Keep up to date on the event page on Facebook here. Thanks again to Yi Xin Yan for letting me use her photos for this post.

I was reading about this really cool-sounding exhibition of sculptures of mutilated faces so I may just be making my way there to bring you this weeks Art Freak Friday.. See you soon!

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