Owen Spafford & Louis Campbell (ENG)

Sun 6th October 2024

Doors 6pm, show 7pm. All-seated, first come first served.

We discovered Owen when he came and met Laura Cortese at one of our shows aged about 12. Then he and his band Don’t Feed The Peacocks played Saltaire Festival. We rediscovered him playing a stunning set with his duo partner, Louis Campbell at the English Folk Expo in Manchester and knew we had to get the pair of them here.

Owen Spafford & Louis Campbell

Owen Spafford and Louis Campbell met as teenagers, as part of the first cohort of the National Youth Folk Ensemble. Since forming their duo in 2018, they have: supported Martin Hayes (at EartH and Band on the Wall) and Mammal Hands (at the Barbican); been nominated for the BBC Young Folk Award; released their critically acclaimed debut album, ‘You, Golden’ with five-star reviews and had national airplay on BBC Radio 2,3 and 4 alongside RTE1 in Ireland and BBC Scotland. Their EP ‘102 Metres East’ was released on Peter Gabriel’s Real World X in March 2024.

As their music has developed, the duo has drifted away from the expectations of an English folk fiddle and guitar duo, with dynamic range, atmosphere and intimacy becoming more present in their own compositions, re-examining what it means to be ‘authentic' as two male, middle-class English folk musicians.

Owen has performed for the leaders of the commonwealth states, toured with Giffords Circus and has received a scholarship to study composition at the Royal Academy of Music. His installation ‘Welcome Here, Kind Stranger’ has been performed at the Rainy Days festival in Luxembourg alongside Sam Amidon, Brighde Chaimbeul and Annabelle Blott. Owen is also an All-Britain Fiddle Champion in the Fleadh Cheoil na Breataine and BBC Young Composer Competition nominee. Alongside the duo, his band ‘The Weaving’ with Méabh Begley and Cáit Ní Riain explores his deep love for traditional Irish music.

Louis joined Sam Sweeney’s band at 19, going on to record the albums ‘Unearth Repeat’ and ‘Escape That’ and performing at venues including the Royal Albert Hall. He also performs with Mercury-nominated singer Sam Lee and works frequently with guitar virtuoso Martin Simpson, with whom he performed at the Bert Jansch 80th Birthday Concert at the Royal Festival Hall and recorded on the album ‘Skydancers’. He has been cited as ‘a talent to watch’ by the Sunday Times and was a featured artist in Guitarist magazines fretbuzz column.

The duo allows Owen and Louis to distil their love of traditional and experimental music into powerful, intricate and intimate music. Their music manages to orbit many different sound-worlds from traditional English dance tune to chamber music and post-rock with influences ranging from field recordings to The Gloaming, Bill Frisell, Ravel and Godspeed You! Black Emperor.