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Manchester Folk Festival 2023: Ríoghnach Connolly & Honeyfeet @ Band On The Wall

Part of Manchester Folk Festival 2023. Support from Ruth Lyon and Philippa Zawe R?OGHNACH CONNOLLY & HONEYFEET Still residing as BBC Radio 2 Folk Singer of the Year, R?oghnach Connolly?s taste for musical adventure is eclectic. Along with her companion players, Honeyfeet, they collectively drive a broad terrain of musical textures from esoteric protest songs to foot-tapping and floor-thumping dance rhythms. R?oghnach (pronounced ree-oh-nah) and the Honeyfeet ensemble are equally proficient in headlining festival stages as they are stripping back to sublime obscure jazz on theatre stages. Deadpan wit courses through Connolly?s veins. Known for her broad, smiling on stage banter, she often describes the delight of her multi-cultural voyage of discovery while pushing aside life?s banality in favour of mischievous energy and creative joy. Traditional and folk are fundamental in Connolly?s musical canon. Coming from a long line of singers on both sides of her family, she channels the music of her grandparents and can draw from a breadth of styles and folk traditions across the world. In her voice, you can hear equal parts Sean-n?s Caoineamh, west African griot ululation and American deep-south resonance. She performs in the more traditional form with Stuart McCallum as The Breath whilst corralling her more heavily layered and theatrical songs into her performances with Honeyfeet. Alongside R?oghnach, the Honeyfeet lineup is; Lorien Garth Edwards, bass; Ellis Davies, guitar; John Ellis, keyboards; Biff Roxby, brass; and Phil Howley, drums. An eclectic troupe based in Manchester, Honeyfeet?s heavy sound spans from the bountiful to the subtle, with everything from big-band swing to Alabama blues-tinged folk, all held together by the powerful vocals and flute from R?oghnach. From the start of lockdown, they used their time to write new material and explore multiple genres of music. Then, on the gradual journey back to live audiences, in May 2021, they re-opened Manchester?s Albert Hall taking the room by storm with a long-awaited return to the stage. For more than a decade, Honeyfeet have been ?on the road?. When lockdown rules didn?t interfere, the norm was headlining stages at Shambala, Beautiful Days and Moovin Festivals and wowing audiences at Glastonbury, Boomtown, Wilderness, Secret Garden Party and Kendal Calling. During the lockdown, the band invested their time recording a new album, stretching further than before into string arrangements, greater dynamics and implementing sparse introductions to R?oghnach?s vocal stream, where her poetic consciousness gives rise to honest, personal, heartfelt lyrics. The album, ?It?s Been A While, Buddy? was released in November 2022. Ruth Lyon: Newcastle?s Ruth Lyon found herself feeling like crap every time Vogue magazine dropped onto her front door mat, yet still she didn?t cancel her subscription. Even as the pages prodded at insecurities there was something strangely addictive about mindlessly flipping through it every month. The situation inspired the title of her second EP, ?Direct Debit To Vogue? (2022), produced by John Parish, who has notably worked with PJ Harvey, Aldous Harding and This Is The Kit. The songs explore self-doubt, insecurity, emotional masochism, the weight of arbitrary expectations. All of this is un-ravelled through offbeat, sophisticated chamber pop and anti-folk, commanded by Lyon?s soulful vocals and witty yet raw lyricism. Over the years, she?s established herself as a key and active member of the Newcastle music scene, including in her role on the board of directors at Sage Gateshead and as lead singer of cult folk-rockers Holy Moly & The Crackers. She has also advocated for the Disabled community in her work as an ambassador for Attitude Is Everything, a charity that aims to improve accessibility for Deaf and Disabled people in live music; Lyon herself has been a wheelchair user since the age of 21. The key themes that Lyon found were at the core of all these songs were power in fragility, and beauty in imperfection. This turns on its head all the societal assumptions represented by those Vogue magazines and opens up doors to a new kind of self-acceptance and power. ?I want it to be very inclusive, like anybody could listen to any of the songs and come up with their own story, or it would mirror their individual circumstances,? she says. ?I wanted to evoke the feeling of the kinda music that just punches you in the gut. Rather than ?oh, this is pretty, this is nice? ? I want to emotionally drag some stuff out of people.? She concludes Direct Debit to Vogue?s journey with four simple words: ?I?ve found my voice.? Over the last year Lyon has appeared at SXSW TX, Great Escape and Secret Garden Party, and had music featured on BBC R1 and R6 as well as featured on Spotify?s New Music Friday. She is currently recording her debut album, once again working with John Parish. Philippa Zawe: Philippa Zawe is a Yorkshire based singer-songwriter. She is of Ugandan heritage and her songwriting is inspired by the rich stories that are told around her and that lie within her. ?Philippa has a fantastically controlled vocal style which conveys an enormous amount of feeling and meaning in every single word.? (Ryan?s Gig Guide, 2018) Her songs are rooted in the genre of Folk with an infusion of Soul. Her inspirations vary from the likes of Terry Callier to Joan Armatrading, Nick Drake to Laura Marling. Her music has been described as ?audio self-care at its finest? (Two Story Melody, 2018). In September 2017 Philippa Zawe released her debut EP Road of Hope; a tale of loss, grief and hope found along the way. Shortly after that in May 2018 Zawe then released a full band EP titled Disadvantaged. 2020, a year of ups and downs, Philippa Zawe took us on an introspective journey full of hope and contradictions through her releases Dark Am I, Yet Lovely and Lay It All Down. ?The vocals are earnest and soulful, the guitars are gentle and romantic, the strings are lilting and hypnotic.? (Two Story Melody, 2018) She has performed across Birmingham (UK) whilst making a few appearances in Sheffield and London. In 2019, she made her first appearance at Moseley Folk Festival. In 2021 she performed at the 3rd Edition of Musika Na Kipaji in Goma DRC. In 2022 she graced the performance spaces of Hadisi Urban Festival and co-produced and performed in ?Les Narratrices? at Goma?s L?institut Francais. Would You Lean is the most recent single by Philippa Zawe from her upcoming EP ? Shudder Pt. I. ??Zawe?s expressive and eloquent vocals are backed up by a who?s who roster of Birmingham musicians for a result that wows the listener from the first note.? (Glide Magazine, 2022) Venue Access - The venue is fully wheelchair accessible. Assistance Dogs are welcome in the venue and bar. A bowl of water can be provided. We use a range of venues at Manchester Folk Festival and although all are accessible, in order to give the best possible experience, we need to let some venues know in advance if we have any audience members who are wheelchair users or require assistance. If you are a wheelchair user or require an essential companion ticket, please email to let us know before purchasing a ticket. Please note - this event is part of Manchester Folk Festival 2023. Festival wristbands are available to purchase, and gives you access to ALL Manchester Folk Festival shows across three days. For more information please visit

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