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One of the personal highlights for me in February was to catch the St Petersburg-based six-piece band Otava Yo on their first UK tour, who took audiences by surprise with their almost tongue-in-cheek performances. The band arrived in Sheffield midway through their eleven-date tour complete with a concessions table that included assorted CDs, DVDs, white vests and Russian hats. They also provided an evening of excellent music based around their own local traditions. A full review of that concert can be found in the live reviews section of the March edition.
Other shows we report on this month include Vieux Farka Toure, who appeared with his trio at the Howard Assembly Room at the beginning of February. Liam Wilkinson reviews the Ethiopian vibes master Malatu Astatke who was also at the Leeds venue. Gretchen Peters and her band played The Ballroom at Sheffield City Hall, whilst Ryley Walker and Danny Thompson collaborated in expected fashion at The Ropewalk in Barton upon Humber. Finally The Shee, who are celebrating their tenth anniversary year as a band, played a great set in Leeds, also at the Howard assembly Room. I also managed to have a catch-up chat with mandolin player Laura-Beth Salter, which can be heard on this month's Northern Sky Vaults (radio show, podcast, audio diary - your choice of term.)
This month we are thrilled to welcome Phil Carter to these pages. Phil, who has furnished Northern Sky with some fabulous photographs over the years has now picked up a biro to write some choice album reviews as well as contributing a new regular feature 'Old, New and Due' to the Vaults, which will further brighten up our Northern Sky. Liam continues to bring to the show his three choices, including his 'Ear Box' selection, which I continue to look forward to each month. The March show also features new releases by Birds of Chicago, Reg Meuross, Cathryn Craig and Brian Willoughby, Show of Hands and Gavin Sutherland. For this month's Vinyl Junkie selection we dust off Van Morrison's 1971 LP Tupelo Honey (Vinyl Junkie #239), whilst the Single Out feature this month features possibly the greatest pop record in history, The Kinks' Waterloo Sunset. A full playlist can be found in the Radio drop-down box along with this month's show.
New releases reviewed this month include CDs by Birds of Chicago, Show of Hands, Diana Jones, Reg Meuross, Gem Andrews, Jed Grimes, Gavin Sutherland, Cathryn Craig and Brian Willoughby and The Rails. Phil Carter has been listening to Breabach, Boreas, Dallahan and Hamish Napier. All the reviews can be found on our current front page.
Forthcoming events to look forward to include the Moonbeams March Weekend in Driffield, Sam Lee in Leeds and Rachel Ries in Sheffield (see Northern Sky Choice features), together with the initial announcements from the Cambridge Folk Festival.
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