Heading up our the Friday night programme are poet and writer Justin Hopper and psych folk musician Sharron Kraus, both previous Leigh Folk Festival performers, with a rare collaborative show linking up with the release of their album ‘Chanctonbury Rings’ on the Ghost Box label. Based on live performances of Hopper’s 2017 book The Old Weird Albion, it’s a poetical, autobiographical and psycho-geographical account of his experiences at the titular earthwork on the West Sussex Downs. The album is a blend of folk, electronic music, poetry, prose and environmental sound. Kraus’s electro-acoustic soundscapes and songs interweave with Hopper’s rich, intimate narration. Musically it moves effortlessly from the traditional to the avant-garde, and also includes Belbury Poly contributing music and production throughout and bookending the work with a memorable theme tune. Justin Hopper is an American writer based in the UK. His work explores the intersection of landscape, memory and myth through non-fiction and poetry. Since 2012 he has also curated exhibitions of contemporary landscape art on these themes. His poetry and music recordings have been commissioned for projects and festivals in the US and UK since 2009, including a previous collaboration with Jim Jupp of Belbury Poly called Ley Lines which also featured Shirley Collins. Sharron Kraus is a singer of folk songs, a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist whose work offers a dark and subversive take on traditional music. In addition to eight solo albums, Kraus has recorded an album of traditional songs with Meg Baird and Helena Espvall (Espers, Beautify Junkyards) and written an album of songs recorded with a selection of traditional folk singers including Jon Boden, Fay Hield and Ian Giles. She’s also recorded and performed with Ex Reverie’s Gillian Chadwick as Rusalnaia, with Tara Burke (Fursaxa) as Tau Emerald and with free-folk collective United Bible Studies (also appearing at this year’s festival).
Friday, Music, Spoken word