While her Croydon school friends were absorbed in the homegrown grime and hip-hop of their local neighbourhood, Sabiyha was raiding her Guyanese father’s diverse record collection to discover delta blues. She is now ready to fledge with a voice that is warm and rich like Bessie Smith or Janis Joplin, while her melodies carry the sweet country lilt of Tammy Wynette. Watch her perform the track Mother Knows Best exclusively for M.
Earlier this year Ásgeir Trausti left his home in rural Iceland to travel to London, bringing with him only an award-winning debut album sung in his native tongue. Within days he’d landed a recording session at the legendary Toe Rag Studios and a support slot on ex-Czars frontman John Grant’s UK tour. He's now preparing for the English language release of his debut record, which carries imprints of James Blake, Bon Ivor and acclaimed Icelandic folktronica savant Kippi Kaninus.
Emerging singer songwriter Ryan Keen has had the kind of year that most upcoming acts could only dream of. In the last 12 months he has been the special guest on Newton Faulkner's tour, collaborated with Wretch 32 and supported Plan B at the iTunes festival – becoming the only unsigned act to appear on the month-long bill. We caught up with him before his headline slot at London Folkfest to watch him perform his track Old Scars.
The music of Scottish-born Samantha Whates has as much in common with the leftfield melodies of Scandinavian musicians Olaf Arnalds and Sindri Már Sigfússon as it does the urban folk songs of her London peers. She seamlessly marries tradition with innovation, bringing a timeless quality to her sparse acoustic music. Watch her perform Granny's House at Regent's Park on a sunny afternoon.
Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker are the green shoots growing from the very top of the English folk family tree. They sit comfortably on the shoulders of giants, grasping the basic tenet that folk music is not born from the studio but is passed down organically through the generations. Though influenced by the likes of Richard and Linda Thompson, Shirley Collins and Bert Jansch, their new album reveals the ambition of two musicians eager to cut their own path.
Sonic explorer Roshi Nasehi sounds like she’s landed in London from outer space. Her unlikely palette of sounds and ideas audibly rip up the rulebooks, while her off-kilter tastes and classical training bring unsettling novelty to the electronic template. As well as penning her own material, Roshi reinterprets the Iranian folk music of her childhood which, when combined with expansive electronics, dislodges the traditional notions of Iran to transport you to a Persia of the future.