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Steady flow of folk talent

GIVEN the record-breaking amount of rain we have seen this year, it is entirely appropriate that a band whose name translates as “water” should wash up on the banks of the Tyne.

GIVEN the record-breaking amount of rain we have seen this year, it is entirely appropriate that a band whose name translates as “water” should wash up on the banks of the Tyne.

The vibrant threesome Uiscedwr (Ish-ka-door), should see a deluge of fans at the Buddle Arts Centre in Wallsend tomorrow night.

The trio comprise three virtuoso players in Anna Esslemont (fiddle/vocals), Cormac Byrne (percussion/bodhran) and Kevin Dempsey on guitar/vocals.

They made an immediate impression by winning the 2003 BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award. The trio’s debut album, Everywhere (Yucca Records), was also nominated for a folk award.

A barnstorming set at the 2005 Cambridge Folk Festival won them many more friends.

The trio’s second album, Circle (Yucca Records), which was not properly promoted because Anna was in poor health at the time, has been re-released.

Since the start of their tour, the praise for Uiscedwr has been unstinting. Find out for yourself at the Buddle tomorrow. Call (0191) 200 7026/7132.

SUNDAY sees the return to the Cluny of the Louisiana songwriter Mary Gauthier.

She only began writing songs with any serious intent in her 30s.

Prior to that, after a particularly troubled childhood, she studied philosophy then ran a restaurant, where the temptation to take a tipple was irresistible. On the opening night of her third such venture – Dixie Kitchen in Boston – in 1990, she was arrested and charged with drink-driving. A contrite Gauthier said of the incident that she was “humiliated, ashamed and guilty as hell”. She has been in sober abstinence ever since, and produced albums Dixie Kitchen, Drag Queens in Limousines and Filth & Fire before hitting the jackpot with the universally-lauded Mercy Now (Lost Highway) in 2005. Her new record, Between Daylight & Dark (Lost Highway), is released to coincide with her extensive UK tour. Call (0191) 230 4474.

NEXT Wednesday The Sage hosts an album launch for the Newcastle-based band Park Bench Social Club.

The trio – Ross Couper (fiddle), Will Lang (bodhran) and Aidan Curran (guitar/mandolin) – mix traditional folk, bluegrass, Gypsy jazz, bhangra and Celtic fiddle tunes. The lads have a special guest with them for the album’s premiere, the prolific Eliza Carthy. The album, Sit On This, ought to provide the ideal platform from which to preach their eclectic gospel.

Eliza and her Ratcatchers band appear at the Durham Gala theatre the following night.

NEWCASTLE’S intimate and historic Morden Tower provides the setting for the Vancouver singer Wyckham Porteous next Thursday.

Call (0191) 230 4474.

ALAN NICHOL

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