Australian folk duo Charm of Finches announce first UK tour to include Leicester

By Courtney Stevens

On tour: Mabel and Ivy Windred-Wornes (Pic credit: Laura May Grogan)

Australian sister folk duo, Charm of Finches, have announced their first ever UK tour for Spring 2022.

The tour is to promote their third album Wonderful Oblivion which is available in the UK from May 6 via Anti- Fragile Music.

The tour kicks off in Oxford on Saturday, April 23, stops at The Musician in Leicester on Tuesday, May 3, and travels around the UK before finishing in Whitstable on Sunday, May 8.

Mabel and Ivy Windred-Wornes, grew up in Melbourne, Australia, and started busking and singing at festivals from a young age.

They made their first EP in 2014 at ages 11 and 14, later releasing their debut album, Staring at the starry ceiling in 2016.

They have described their music as being about ‘love, grief and whispering trees, with tight sister harmonies, and many stringed instruments.’

Mabel and Ivy said: “This album covers a lot of different themes and is about looking into the future.

“Our last album was about grief and processing the death of one of our close friends, whereas this album is about coming out of that and is more hopeful.

“This album explores the innocence of childhood, dreams and new beginnings.”

The duo are already well known in their home country, having won the 2021 Music Victoria’s Best Folk Act and Youth Artist of the Year 2021 at the Australian Folk Music Awards.

They were also nominated for the 2021 Australian Music Prize.

The pair are looking forward to their first UK tour and to performing to live audiences again after the coronavirus lockdowns.

They said: “We’ve never been to the UK before, so it will be a wild adventure, we don’t know what to expect.

“We’re very excited.

“We wrote and recorded these songs within the space of six months during lockdown, so it’s great to be able to finally play these songs to an audience.”

The sisters knew from a young age that they wanted to do music and work together and have spoken about the inspiration behind their sound.

They said: “Music has always been a part of our lives and we have been singing folk songs together from about age six.

“We both picked up string instruments at age nine and started writing our own songs, and it kind of all snowballed from there.

“One of our early inspirations was First Aid Kit, they started out young and we thought well if they could do it, so can we.

“We also love Sufjan Stevens – who is probably our biggest musical hero.”

You can listen to their music here: Charm of Finches – YouTube

Tickets are available now from:  https://charmoffinchesband.com/shows

Dates of Charm of Finches UK tour

Student drama festival coming soon to Leicester

By Ben Stevens

Some of the UK’s best young drama students will descend on Leicester in April for a week-long festival celebrating the theatre industry.

The National Student Drama Festival (NSDF) will take place at the city’s Curve theatre from Saturday, April 9, to Friday 15.

The festival programme features dozens of different events including shows, workshops, discussions and other activities.

Workshops will be delivered by industry professionals and in previous years have been given by representatives from venues such as the National Theatre of Wales and the Young Vic.

Shows to be performed include ‘Attrition’ and ‘Great Mother’ which is set during the Nigerian Civil War.

Tickets for all events are free and more information can be found at https://www.nsdf.org.uk/

DMU and UoL bands clash in musical Varsity contest

By Lara Alsaid

Tuneful students battled it out in a music competition last night(TUE,MAR15) at 2Funky Music Cafe as part of the annual Varsity contest between De Montfort University(DMU) and University of Leicester(UOL).

The Shipping Forecast was the first band to play for DMU.

Varsity is a yearly tradition where during a week, DMU and UOL compete in different sports and activities.

The DMU Music Society competed against UOL by choosing three bands from its membership to perform in the competition. 

First year DMU student Alicia Santamaria, who is a member of DMU Music Society, said: ”It felt exciting, this was the first time I experienced this. I have heard the bands that perform for DMU, and they are really good. I even voted for one of them to represent us tonight.”

The bands performed both covers and original songs with different genres, the most popular one being rock.

It was a perfect night to bring two universities together through a common interest for music. 

All performing bands from DMU and UoL together on stage at the end of the night.

After impressive performances from both universities, DMU ended up bringing back the trophy for the Varsity music competition.

To view performances, visit: https://www.youtube.com/user/DMUMusicSociety

Sketchbook show to take over DMU after absence due to covid

By Zarina Ahmed

The annual Graphic Design students’ Sketchbook and Poster Show is back today (FRI,MARCH11) at Gateway House on the De Montfort University (DMU) campus.

The event will be made up of Graphic Design students showcasing the behind the scenes work of their course.

Lyndsey Webster, professional leader and senior lecturer of Graphic Design, said: “This show started seven years ago because we really wanted to encourage and support the process.

“All of the mistakes and challenges will be shown, and the journey is as relevant as the end product.

“Not only does this show our confidence in our students but it is an unique experience to show off their talents and hard work, too.”

Unlike the end of year event that shows off third year students’ degree projects, the Sketchbook and Poster Show is held every year to allow students to gain experience and insight into future careers as well as inviting other potential students to witness the work.

“The main thing about this, particularly, is how reassuring everything is,” said an associate professor for the course. “It feels as though it is all part of something bigger, something more inclusive for all of the students.”

The event this year takes place after having a virtual meeting last year following lockdown.

“It’s engaging for us, like a massive collaboration that lets us interact and lead together,” one of the students said.

“It becomes a new way to interact for all of us, especially after last year, where we couldn’t really see the first years’ work, and they couldn’t see ours.”

The event takes place today on Floor 2 at Gateway House from midday until 3pm.

Leicester’s New Work Festival returns to Curve this weekend

By Jayden Whitworth

RETRO: Teddy Hinde (left) and Barry O’Reilly pictured performing in ‘Is He Musical’. Photo credit: Ana Webb-Sanchez

Emerging actors, dancers, musicians and the cream of the Midlands’ creative artists will be converging on Leicester’s annual New Work Festival at the Curve Theatre this weekend. 

The festival begins on Thursday(MARCH10) with Carol Leeming’s The Dreadful Dance of Ms Iniquity and closes on Sunday with Dance Dhamaka returning after a two-year absence. 

More than 25 artists and arts organisations are set to showcase their talents over the course of the four-day festival.

The line-up will bring a variety of different performances, including plays, music, dance, and readings. 

The festival will bring the Notnow Collective’s Pepper and Honey (March 10) to the Curve alongside Nicole Acquah’s Sankofa (March 12) and Katie Arnstein’s highly acclaimed Sticky Door (March 12), among others.

‘Is He Musical?’ is a new musical comedy that is loosely inspired by real stories of LGBTQ+ people from 1930s London and is set to hit the Curve this Friday.

Jude Taylor, composer, lyricist, and writer of ‘Is He Musical?’, said: “We’ve had three exciting opportunities to present the show in different forms over the past month – digitally as a live-stream, in person in a full production and then in person again in London as a semi-staged concert. 

“It’s been great to bring this story to a range of audiences both locally and in London, and to highlight this often-neglected era of LGBTQ+ history. 

“Despite a few challenges (including Storm Eunice, of course), we’re really proud of what we’ve achieved, and the team have been fantastic to work with.”

With COVID restrictions in place for most of the last two years, Curve has been unable to present Leicester’s annual New Work Festival. 

Jude said: “It’s been fantastic to be back in front of live audiences once more.

“After the uncertainty, anxiety and many overwhelming challenges presented to us all in the last few years, there’s something wonderful about the magical way in which the experience of live theatre can unite us and bring so much joy to people.”

For ticket details visit: https://www.curveonline.co.uk