Folk Nations is an exciting concept that highlights folk culture from the UK and India. The project brings together musicians, artists, and the wider creative community to share ideas and explore new work. An idea that began in 2012, Folk Nations has now worked with over 60 artists from England, Scotland, Wales, and India in showcase performances, artist residencies, networking opportunities, and outreach workshops. It continues to grow and embrace new and contemporary music with a folk core. 

This troupe is an outcome of Folk Nations, a programme by British Council that highlights folk culture across the UK and India through music. The three-city India tour will witness performances by renowned musicians Patsy Reid (Scotland), Hannah James (England), Georgia Ruth (Wales), Saurav Moni (India), Suhail Yusuf Khan (India) and James Mackintosh (Scotland). It represents a delicate weaving of UK and Indian folk that speaks immediately to the cultural heritage of these regions as well as its place in the contemporary music industry. 

Date & Time City
15 October 18.30-19.30 New Delhi
17 October 19.00-20.00 Kolkata
19 October 18.00-19.00 Shillong

About the talented musicians of the troupe

Patsy Reid

From Perthshire in Scotland, fiddler and cellist, Patsy Reid specialises in performing and teaching Scottish traditional music. She remains the youngest ever winner of the prestigious Glenfiddich Fiddle Championship and was a founding member of Scottish folk band Breabach, seeing them three-times nominated for Best Folk Band at the Scots Trad Music Awards and nominated for Best Band in the Radio 2 Folk Awards 2011. 

Patsy graduated from Strathclyde University in 2004 with a 1st class Honours Degree in Applied Music. Continuing her studies at the Royal Northern College of Music, she gained a Post Graduate Certificate of Education with Specialist String Teaching and a Post Graduate Diploma in Classical Violin Performance. 

Patsy currently performs with her trio, VAMM, Kathryn Tickell and Mhairi Hall, whilst allowing time for collaborations such as the Cecil Sharp Project and Zakir Hussain’s Pulse of the World, in which Patsy was featured as part of BT River of Music at the London 2012 Olympics.

Hannah James

Hannah James is a singer, accordionist and champion clog dancer who has been performing on the English folk scene from just 11 years of age. She has worked with many acclaimed bands and projects including her vocal trio 'Lady Maisery', '3 For Joy' - an ongoing project which includes legendary Singer Maddy Prior, and her long-standing partnership with Sam Sweeney which has seen them nominated for 'Duo Of The Year' at the BBC Folk Awards 2013.

As a dancer she was involved in the creation of cross-genre dance project, 'Time Gentlemen Please', has recently taught members of the Royal Shakespeare Company and runs her own series of classes and workshops by popular demand. In 2012 she directed a cross-cultural dance project at the Shrewsbury folk festival which was considered a huge success and which she has been asked to direct again in 2014. 

Hannah has always found musical inspiration from playing with and learning from lots of different musicians from different backgrounds and cultures. This approach has seen Hannah attend many 'Ethno' music camps where she met the multi-cultural band, 'Ethno in Transit' with whom she toured in 2011. She also spent time studying at the Sibelius academy in Helsinki.

Georgia Ruth

Born and raised in the coastal town of Aberystwyth, West Wales, songwriter and harpist Georgia Ruth has established herself in Wales - and beyond - as a new and unique bilingual voice. Her unusual fingerpicking style and haunting voice have drawn favourable comparisons with the melancholy folk sirens of the late 60s.

She has performed at Glastonbury, Green Man Festival and several other festivals; her version of Appalachian folksong ‘Old Blue’, was chosen as ‘MPFree of the Day’ on the 6 Music Morning Show. BBC Radio Wales’ Adam Walton described her as “one of the most prodigious talents ever to grace my airwaves”. 

In August 2012, following a successful return to Green Man Festival, Georgia travelled back to Bryn Derwen with her band to record her debut album, again under the watchful ears of David Wrench. Recorded in just 6 days, Week of Pines, demonstrates a clear development in sound: moving through the rousing motorik drive of the title track, to darker Eno-like string arrangements, to the stark beauty of Welsh sea shanties accompanied by wheezing reed organ. Little known fact: she’ll be appearing on the Guillemots’ forthcoming album. Georgia also presents a weekly music show on BBC Radio Cymru.

Saurav Moni

Saurav Moni sings traditional folk songs from Bengal. He hails from a village in the rural hinterland of West Bengal that borders on Bangladesh and inhabits a part of the Sundarbans, specifically the delta of Hingalganj. It is rare, if not impossible, to find among the deracinated urban mix passed off as folk music someone as profoundly connected to the soil as Saurav. He travels among the boatmen, peasants and wandering minstrels of the two Bengals – West Bengal and Bangladesh - picking up songs, and manages to retain the purity of timbre, tune and diction even as he performs for audiences widely varying in taste and location. 

Saurav’s straddles the genres of Sari, Jari, Murshidi, Marafti, Bhawaiya and Baul among others although Bhatiali  is his primary genre of work. Bhatiali comes from the word Bhata that means ebb or downstream in Bangla. Boatmen sing these traditional boatsongs while going down the streams of the river. Saurav’s expertise lies in telling the tales of the meandering river as it goes from upstream to downstream and along with the river the tales involving the endless journey of a man on a boat that serves as a typical metaphor of his life. This project in itself is not entirely new but there are two major things that contribute to Saurav’s singularity as a singer-narrator-storyteller. Firstly, his voice internalises the innate vibrations of the river giving his rendition a particularly haunting quality that is only found - and that too rarely - in a people who are often forced to travel on the river for earning their livelihoods. But more importantly, as the river changes its own course, he maps the ever-changing rhythm, form and visuality of the river and its environment on to his musical journey that leaves indelible impressions even on uninformed listeners.   

Suhail Yusuf Khan

Suhail started studying the sarangi from his uncle and grandfather under the traditional guru-shishya parampara at 7. Suhail performed for the first time with his gurus at the age of 11 and has continued performing since.

Suhail is also a composer and loves to experiment with the sarangi. He has created jingles and background scores for documentaries, TV and radio commercials. Suhail is also the singer\songwriter\sarangi player for Advaita, one of India’s best known fusion acts. He plays regularly for experimental and world projects like Jazz Aar Philharmonic (Switzerland), James Yorkston, Suhail Yusuf Khan Duo (Scotland), Sabri Ensemble (England), and Hum Ensemble (India).

Suhail has been heavily involved with Folk Nations, beginning with his participation in the February 2013 residency. Following that, he performed as part of the Patsy Reid and Suhail Yusuf Khan Collective in Chennai and Mumbai, as a duo with English banjo player and fellow Kolkata collaborator Dan Walsh in a multi-city UK tour, at Celtic Connections in January 2014 as part of the Folk Nations showcase, and alongside Georgia Ruth on her recent India tour performance in Mumbai. 

James Mackintosh

Hailing from the Scottish Highlands, James is widely recognised today as one of the most innovative drummers to have graced the scene in many a long year. A former member of Scottish band Swamptrash, he honed his skills in the ever-livelier melting-pot of Edinburgh's session scene, before applying them to building and splicing the deliriously danceable grooves underpinning Shooglenifty's sound.

Those same skills have also been much in demand elsewhere, James having performed and recorded with Capercaillie, Mouth Music, Sola, James Grant, and Michael McGoldrick (among many others).

James joins the group from the Folk Nations Residency in Kolkata to lend a much needed percussive backbone to the compositions.

*For these concerts the British Council is pleased to partner with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and the Government of Meghalaya, Department of Arts and Culture.