'mix Middle East music with the English folk tradition and it really really works'
Hearing Catherine Earnshaw sing at Sharp's Folk Club, Cecil Sharp House, London NW1 in early 2017, only her second public performance, oud player Keith Clouston aka storywheel invited her to perform with him. They have been regular collaborators since - see Gigs - and as 'Catherine Earnshaw & storywheel' they have recently completed their first recordings: listen to Audio.
Early in 2018, Catherine and Keith performed live at the Invisible Folk Club . Then, in June, after performing at the Nest Collective's Unamplifire 2018, they played a live session on the Nest Collective Radio Hour : listen to 'The Welcome Sailor ' at 11' 30" and 'I am stretched on your grave' at 34' 01" .
Most recently, their version of the traditional song 'Pretty Saro' was played on the EFDSS Classic Folk show in November,. Their arrangement was directly inspired by a version on the album 'Folk Roots, New Routes', (1964), a collaboration between Shirley Collins and the late Davey Graham, legendary guitarist and occasional oud player (see From DADGAD to Baghdad). This album, fusing folk, blues, jazz and Middle Eastern music, inspired many folk musicians who came after them in the 1960s British Folk Revival.
storywheel was originally formed in 2013 by oud (Arab lute) players and singer-songwriters Patricia de Mayo and Keith Clouston. Both had trained in Middle Eastern oud styles but a shared interest in the traditional music of Britain and Ireland led them to explore the possibilities of combining these diverse musical cultures along with their own original songs.
storywheel's debut EP, I crossed the sea - produced by Mercury Music Prize nominee Gerry Diver - was released on iTunes in September 2015 and received extensive airplay on folk radio while garnering some great reviews:-
'I really like that... it's got a great feel to it'
Mike Harding, Mike Harding Folk Show
'unusual fusion of the English song tradition and Middle-Eastern rhythms'
Shelley Rainey, Bright Young Folk
'storywheel succeeds in blending diverse influences into a cohesive sound full of character'
Mike Nacey, Unicorn Magazine
'storywheel mix Middle East music with the English folk tradition and it really really works'
Rick Stuart, Roots And Fusion, Pure FM
Online folk magazine FATEA included a storywheel EP track, an arrangement of traditional folksong The Welcome Sailor, on its 2015-16 Winter Showcase Session featuring 'acts that we've really enjoyed and think that more people should get the chance to hear.'
Up to the end of 2016, storywheel had played well received sets at the 2015 Leigh Folk Festival, The Goose Is Out, Artree, The Glad and New Roots at the Winemakers as well as headline sets at Loughton & Redbourn Folk Clubs. Patricia then left to pursue a solo path (completing her album Artichokes & Cauliflowers in 2017) with Keith retaining the name storywheel.