15 February 2017
The Old ‘Uns
The Old ‘Uns are a group of six friends, musicians and singers, with a total age of more than 400 years, who have been on the folk circuit in the West Midlands and various other places for more than a collective 200 years! Yes, that is hard to believe, but when you see who they are it’s not so surprising.
Their name comes about as the exact opposite of the Young ‘Uns as the Old ‘Uns are just that, old. Well, let’s say they are all of, or past, retirement age.
The group got together in 2014 and consists of John and Elaine Meechan, Phil Benson, Dave Parr, Malc Gurnham and Gill Gilsenan. Their repertoire covers a wide genre of music from traditional and contemporary folk songs through to pop performed in a folky way.
They have performed in clubs and at Bedworth Folk Festival.
Malc is an excellent singer, plays quite a variety of instruments (most of them with strings!) and is a highly regarded solo performer. He also can be found running singarounds and acting as an MC at many festivals throughout the country.
As well as performing, Malc promotes many folk events, including the jewel in the crown, Bedworth Folk Festival.
Gill started singing at The Corner House Folk Club in the 70s (run at the time by Malc) with her partner, and later to be husband, Bryan Sunderland. After Bryan’s death in the 90s, she formed a musical and personal partnership with Ace guitarist Dave Bennett.
She now performs with Malc Gurnham as Malc and Gill, and is involved with Bedworth Folk Festival.
David has been playing guitar for more years than he cares to remember. He was a full-time professional for 14 years or so. Now, after a brief interruption when he taught in special needs, primary and then secondary schools in Warwickshire, he’s back doing the ‘real’ job.
Renowned for his style and expertise, David is also well known for his comedic songs.
John has been on the folk scene for 40-odd years. Hailing from Yorkshire, many of his songs are rooted there.
His passion for folk songs has resulted in a wide-ranging repertoire, always particularly well-presented.
Elaine, keyboard and accordion player in many an ensemble, has that rare talent that true musicians possess; the ability to empathise with those she performs with. She is an important part of a number of folk-related bands in the area.
Phil has been involved in folk since the 60s, albeit with a 20-year break from active involvement. In the early 70s, he was part of an electric folk group, Alderley Edge, with Malc Gurnham and David Parr, performing all over the Midlands area.
He also got together with David Parr in a more traditional folk trio with John Meechan, Coolin.
When Nuneaton Arts Centre was being set up, Phil got involved, so it was no surprise that Coolin were the hosts of the folk club that opened there.
Floor Singers booked to perform on the night …
Pete performs regularly, and with acclaim, at numerous folk clubs in the Midlands. Songs from the 60s and 70s are his forte, but he wanders into other areas, too, with great success.
Dave is definitely Bedworth’s candidate for ‘The oldest Singer in Town’. A former miner (as well as other trades) Dave is a traditional guy with a repertoire of traditional songs many of which tell the story of miners and their families. He has also written a few songs about his own time down the local pit and has now introduced several monologues into his repertoire which invariably get audiences laughing.
Frontman of Greenman Rising, and main organiser of the Ragged Bear Festival, Steve is a vocalist and bodhran player respected for his ability to put across an old tune with a new slant.
Andrew, amongst other things, plays melodeon and whistle in a way that stops you in your tracks and insists you listen. A member of Greenman Rising, his sound can be heard all over the country, and is always in demand.
Tangent is a four-piece “folksy” band made up of two separate duos that happened to meet while attending a casual musical evening in Donisthorpe. Father and daughter, Graham Kettle and Sarah Howells, regularly entertained with their harmonious renditions of folk songs old and new while instrumentalists Dominic Parkhouse and Martin O’Connor always impressed with their unique interpretations of a wide range of melodies. A suggestion that the two duos should perform together soon became a reality with Tangent officially born in the later part of 2016.
… and there is still just one floor-spot available!
Just email Phil and ask.
phil @ atherstonefolkclub.org.uk