Thursday 26th March 2015 -
“Tremendous, joyous, remarkable… the cream of their genre” ~ Rolling Stone
Hello, we’re Oysterband. We make a kind of modern, folk-based British music, acoustic at heart but not always quiet. We’ve been doing this for a long time, and we’re pretty good at it by now.
At first purely a dance band (The Oyster Ceilidh Band), Oysterband soon started experimenting with radical arrangements of traditional songs and with home recording, determined that traditional music should not be just a branch of the heritage industry.
Musicians came and went, the name shortened, and 1986 they released their first album Step Outside. During the late 80s Oysterband toured across the globe, including Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, and North America. They have played alongside the likes of Michelle Shocked and Billy Bragg, toured for the British Council in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Morocco. These travels had a powerful impact on their attitudes to both the world and to song writing.
In 1990 they recorded Freedom And Rain with the great English folk diva June Tabor. Although essentially a trad and covers collection, the songs were shrewdly chosen, and the album was very well received, particularly in the US where Rolling Stone commented “imagine if Aerosmith and Madonna announced they were to tour together…!!”
Meanwhile in the UK the ground was shifting. As Oysterband expanded from their folk background, others were expanding from rock into folk, and the convergence became a new scene including The Pogues, The Levellers, The Waterboys, and Celtas Cortos. The high-point from this period was probably Holy Bandits (1993); the first song When I’m Up I Can’t Get Down was later a substantial hit for Great Big Sea in North America.
In the early to mid noughties, Oysterband recorded collaborations with Eliza Carthy, The Handsome Family, and others, as well as establishing the hugely popular festival The Big Session.
More recently the band have found remarkable success from their reunion album with June Tabor, Ragged Kingdom, released in 2011. 21 years after Freedom And Rain may seem perverse, but it was well worth the wait. Ragged Kingdom earned no less than 3 BBC Folk Awards (Best Trad Track, Best Album, and Best Group).
Currently working on songs for a new album, and after such a long a career, Oysterband can’t help feel that the most fruitful time might be right now. Make sure you don’t miss this incredible return to form.
We're serving delicious food before this event from 6pm! Mains cost £7, desserts £3, or the two-course meal for £9.50. Advance booking necessary, to do so simply email firstname.lastname@example.org. Click on the icon to see what's on the menu.
Main: Moussaka with Greek salad / Spicy leek and white bean casserole with Greek salad (v)
Dessert: Apple crumble and custard