Essentials Gigs : Faustus : Cotton Lords Welsh Dates

'Stunning live' - Tom Robinson (BBC Radio 6 Music)

In an age of social atomisation, the narrative of the nineteenth century Lancashire Cotton Famine stands in stark relief. From 1861 to 1865 there was a depression in the mills of North West England because of the economic impact of the American Civil War.

Destitution, dislocation and riots followed; but even at the height of hardship a meeting of cotton workers at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester voted to support the Union in its fight against slavery - against their own short term interests.

The period has been explored by the University of Exeter, in a project to archive, preserve, and rehabilitate the poetry of the time.

Folk band Faustus had access to the first tranche of poems, and released an EP, Cotton Lords, earlier in the year, turning four of the pieces (and one as yet unreleased work) into songs.

The EP brings history alive. The original poems, often rich in dialect, always expressive, have been transformed into profoundly affecting music that communicate despair and collective political morality.

Faustus, an award-winning trio who have been periodically recording and touring to acclaim since 1998 ("One of Britain’s outstanding folk bands." - The Guardian) are taking the songs to stages throughout the UK and Europe in October, including four Welsh and border dates.

The European dates reflect a genuine demand, with the band having a particular affinity with Germany - their 2016 album Death and Other Animals won the German equivalent of the Mercury Music Prize.

With plangent, precise instruments and pin point harmonies Benji Kirkpatrick (Seth Lakeman Band, Bellowhead, Steeleye Span), Saul Rose (Waterson-Carthy, Whapweasel) and Paul Sartin (Bellowhead, Belshazzar's Feast) have brought the times of the Cotton Lords to life by making modern folk music with a message and a heart.

Tour Dates

  • Tue 22 October : Pontardawe Arts Centre [Nr Swansea] 7.30pm / Tickets
  • Wed 23 October : Theatr Mwldan [Cardigan] 7.30pm / Tickets
  • Thu 24 October : Wyeside Arts Centre [Builth Wells] 8.00pm / Tickets
  • Fri 25 October : The Three Tuns Inn [Bishop’s Castle] Venue