Downend Folk Club July Preview

July 01 2016

HERE'S a little secret: Downend Folk Club was ALMOST called Downend & Frenchay Folk, Blues and Acoustic Club. Quite a mouthful, which was only one (there were a few!) of the reasons that the organisers settled on the simpler title.


Sunjay in Concert
Friday July 15, Frenchay Village Hall, 7.30pm.

HERE'S a little secret: Downend Folk Club was ALMOST called Downend & Frenchay Folk, Blues and Acoustic Club. Quite a mouthful, which was only one (there were a few!) of the reasons that the organisers settled on the simpler title.
But folk and blues have always been comfortable bedfellows, and July’s headline guest proves that this great local live music venue are committed to bringing you the best up-and-coming performers from the very edges of the ‘folk’ genre.
You could be forgiven for thinking, at first listen, that Sunjay is older than his 22 years.
 With a relaxed and confident manner, vocal style and mastery of his instrument he walks onto stage and addresses the audience as though he is sitting down to play music with a group of close friends; a completely natural approach for a young man who picked up the guitar when he was just four-years-old and hasn’t put it down since.
Sunjay’s style has that natural drift between folk and blues and both camps have recognised his obvious flair. There have been a clutch of award nominations, including winning the Wath Festival Young Performers Award. He also made the final selection for the BBC’s Young Folk Award in 2012, had three nominations at the Exposure Music Awards 2014 and was also recognised by the 2014 British Blues Awards.
Drawing from a rich, musical and cultural background, it is hardly surprising that Sunjay has quickly become recognised as one of the UK’s rising stars. His performances have been described as “mature and confident”, while his guitar playing has been hailed as “superb, brilliant, experienced, intricate and faultless”. Sunjay clocked over a hundred tour dates in 2013 supporting the likes of Steeleye Span, Martin Simpson, Passenger, and Terry Reid. With three albums already to his name, (‘Seems So Real’ in 2011, ‘One Night Only’ in 2013 and 'Sunjay' in 2014) Sunjay has just recorded his fourth release, ‘Black & Blues’ and his gig at Downend Folk Club is part of the official album release tour.
Downend Folk Club’s Steve Johnson said: “We’ve always tried to put on a range of music, and we’ve featured blues-type acts in the past. Gren Bartley was an early guest, and Chris Cleverley last summer showed that our audience have an appetite for the bluesier end of folk. Sunjay is one of the forefront acts that straddles the narrow divide between folk and blues. It promises to be a great gig!”
Support on the evening will come from Lara Conley. Lara's career has been a mix of solo and collaborative work as well as being a featured vocalist on the works of other bands including Audible, The Summertides and Slow Falling Sun.
Unifying all these works are the central threads of equality, tradition, stories, songs and protests. Lara wrote an album in support of the global gender equality movement 'Thursday's In Black' and was recently involved in running a workshop tent at Thirteen Moons Festival with Seventh Wave Music.
After her solo album 'Apple Tree', Lara formed the collaborative folk world fusion duo 'The Alchemist's Wardrobe' who are currently touring the UK; Lara’s appearance at Downend Folk Club is a rare chance to see her perform solo.
The event takes place at Downend Folk Club’s regular home of Frenchay Village Hall on Friday July 15. Doors open at 7.30pm, with the music starting at around 8pm. There will be a full bar, serving locally-brewed Great Western Brewing Co. real ale, Severn Cider, wine and a full range of soft drinks, tea and coffee. You are encouraged to bring your own glass/mug/tankard/bucket(!) as part of the club’s drive to be environmentally sustainable. There will also be the classic folk club raffle! For more info, please visit the Downend Folk Club website,, or find them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google+ and any other social media platform that you happen to frequent!
Tickets for the event are priced at £11 each, but if you buy before Friday July 8, you can get them for the  early-bird price of £9 each. Tickets are available from Melanie’s Kitchen in Downend or online from Members tickets are £8 each (before Friday July 8) and are available from the Members Area of the website or direct from the folk club’s chairman Ant Miles. Email for more information.