We love discovering local music talent and one band who has definitely caught our eye over the last few months is The Urban Folk Quartet, or for those in the know UFQ. Their music might send you to outer space but we were so excited that they have their roots firmly in Bearwood.
We decided to find out how the band got together, their influences and about their forthcoming gig at MAC Birmingham on Friday 1st November when they will be debuting their new acoustic four-piece line-up. Folking folk-tastic!
Formed by Bearwoodian Joe Broughton (guitar, fiddle, mandolin) and Paloma Trigas (fiddle, vocals) and Tom Chapman (percussion, vocals) and Frank Moon (oud, guitar) in 2009, UFQ have since toured across Europe and released four lauded albums.
With Frank retiring from touring late last year, his shoes have been filled by clawhammer banjo player and vocalist Dan Walsh. Touted as one of the UK’s finest banjo players, Dan has previously released two solo albums and one with duo Walsh and Pound. He’s also guested with Seth Lakeman and The Levellers. The forthcoming show will mark his Birmingham debut with the band after warming up with a successful run of headline shows and festival appearances over the summer.
“Having a banjo has opened up loads of musical possibilities in the new material,” says Tom of the inclusion of fellow West Midlander Dan. “He relishes the opportunity to play the banjo in new and unusual ways and that’s a perfect fit with our ethos. He’s also known as a singer, so it’s also really nice to have someone come in and liven up the vocal numbers alongside picking up Frank's old guitar parts in the instrumentals, which we're more known for.”
UFQ combine Celtic folk music traditions with jazz and funk grooves, Middle-Eastern melodies, Afrobeat and North Indian rhythms, and more. As musicians, they have worked with acts as diverse as folk big band Bellowhead and soul singer Joss Stone, while Joe and Paloma are currently mentors for the BBC Young Folk Award 2015.
The quartet’s last appearance in Birmingham was a sell-out show at The Yardbird in spring 2013 – a performance recorded for 2013’s UFQ: Live II album.
The forthcoming MAC Birmingham theatre show will see the band perform two sets.
“We’ll be doing a mix of old favourites and new stuff we’ve been working on with Dan, as well as brand new versions of stuff from UFQ: Live II,” says Tom. “Although we play theatre venues regularly, this will also be the first time we’ve done a theatre show in the city.”
Following the show, the quartet will begin work on their fifth yet to be titled album, due for release mid-2015.
Tickets for the MAC Birmingham show on Saturday 1 November 2014 are £10 (£10) available from 0212 446 3232 or www.macbirmingham.co.uk