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Issue 90 - Prodigal sons

Whisky Magazine Issue 90
September 2010


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Prodigal sons

For the past few years London's Nu-Folk scene has been quietly bristling away in the basements of a few nondescript pubs and cafes. But now, a close-knit group of young creative musicians and writers have taken the charts by storm, bringing the lilting sound of fiddles, banjos and double basses to the masses. On the eve of their biggest UK tour, Neil J. Ridleygot to catch up with Ted Dwane from Mumford & Sons to discuss their meteoric rise to fame around the world, fortunately finding time to sink a few decent drams in the process

In a world where musical fads shift in and out of favour as quickly as the week's latest gossip surrounding Lindsay Lohan, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the term ‘Nu Folk' was perhaps a cunning media-manufactured oxymoron to gain an opportunistic new band a few extra column inches. English folk songs have been the bedrock of our civilisation for centuries and inspire images of campfires, wistful storytelling and gentle, beautifully constructed melodies, played on a variety of acoustic instruments and led by ethereal, harmonious voices. But dig a little deeper and a number of younger musicians have been revisiting a traditional folk sound and giving it a contemporary makeover. Londoners Mumford & Sons have been around on the fringes of the capital's Nu Folk scene since late 2007, playing alongside the likes of songstress Laura Marling, Noah and The Whale and Johnny Flynn and The Sussex Wit. From starting their own club nights, (with performances often spilling out into the street outside) to gigging solidly across the UK, the band have built up a formidable following, helping to send their debut album Sigh No More into the UK top 5 and No.1 in several other countries around the globe. And their continuing ascent to world domination shows no signs of stopping, with a performance at this year's Glastonbury widely regarded to be the highlight of the festival and last month, a highly deserved Mercury Music Prize nomination. High praise for a sound so rooted in tradition th...

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