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Sam Amidon & Rachel Sermanni: The Merlin Theatre

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On Saturday 16 November at the Merlin Theatre, Opus & Now Then will present two of the finest folk, alt and country artists, on a rare billing together. It's going to be one special show.

Sam Amidon

Sam Amidon is an American guitarist, banjo player and fiddler who grew up in a folk music family in New England. His next recording, due for release in November by Nonesuch Records, is the Fatal Flower Garden EP (A Tribute to Harry Smith), a four-track single. Amidon first publicly performed the songs on this EP for a concert commissioned by Ancienne Belgique in Brussels, as part of its large-scale Anthology tribute.

Amidon says: "Fatal Flower Garden is my tribute to the elusive spirit of Harry Smith and to his wondrous Anthology of American Folk Music. Harry Smith believed in the secret connections and mysteries that existed in culture, whether it was the feeling of Thelonious Monk's rhythmic phrasing; the patterns in string games and Ukrainian egg painting designs; the wild fiddle tunes; or the epic folk ballads. He understood American Folk Music to be a wildly heterogeneous category that included multiple cultural, racial and linguistic elements."

He continues, "I love listening through the Anthology for its window into 1920s musical practices in all their varied glory, but also for the silent consciousness of Harry Smith behind the whole thing. You can picture him listening to the recordings, expounding his theories about the connections between them, and digging all of it."

"His highly personal approach opens a window on the American past and lets us feel it like nothing else around." NPR All Things Considered

Rachel Sermanni

After the release of two studio albums, a live album, a raft of precious EPs, a near decade of tour, followed by a year of learning what it is to be a mother, Rachel Sermanni is returning with a new record.

Her third studio album, So It Turns was recorded in Berlin three years ago, and inspired by her time studying & volunteering at a buddhist monastery. 'So It Turns' was released in August this year.

Rachel Sermanni is a dynamic singer and songwriter whose performance and lyrics draw from a deep well of mystic lore, dreams, nature and the simple-complex experience of being human. A contemporary folk musician, influenced by a wealth of genres including jazz, rock, old-time and traditional.

"Lush, evocative songwriting... The album juxtaposes tender songs of love and longing with darker, desperate songwriting that rages against political chaos, the refugee crisis and the looming climate emergency." The Scots Magazine

"An album to savour, from an artist whose nuanced, often challenging work reflects these tortured times... 4/5" The Skinny

This show will take place on Saturday 16 November at the Merlin Theatre. Tickets available here.

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