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Review: Cambridge Folk Festival 2016 – Sunday

Lisa Ward


As with previous years Sunday rolls around all too quickly. Thankfully there’s a stunning line up to balance the sadness that the festival is drawing to a close, with the likes of Sam Lee & Friends and Hot 8 Brass Band still to come. 

For me however Sunday is all about the female artists, starting with Lady Maisery. Sing for the Morning is testament their ability to fuse faultless musical harmonies and delivers themes of hope, whilst Order and Chaos switches the attention from their instruments to their vocal harmonies. For me it’s Digger’s Song and Minoorne Labajalg/Elin’s Trall that shows their depth and diversity and marks them as a band to watch.

Over on Stage 2 Della Mae deliver their Americana sounds to a full crowd. Although Boston Town is notably absent from the set list, the likes of Rude Awakening and Maybeline deliver enough pump to get the crowd engaged. With the bass heavy beats carrying through their set for me it’s their covers of Walkin’ in the Sun and Sixteen Tons which show their ability to bring e a new lease of life into older songs. Yet to focus solely on the cover tracks detracts from their capacity to pen catchy number, as displayed in the more sombre For the Sake of my Heart.

On Stage One it’s Mary Chapin Carpenter, who mixes newer songs from her most recent The Things That We Are Made Of and older classics, leaving me hanging on every word. So much so, even the technical issues in The Hard Way are easily forgiven. Something Tamed Something Wild delivers a heartfelt ode to the passing of time, whilst her solo delivery of Livingstone allows time to focus on the strength of her vocals. Whilst older fans are no doubt delighted with the inclusion of Passionate Kisses and I Take My Chances, for me the it’s the powerful rendition of Why Walk When You Can Fly that becomes one of the highlights of the weekend.

With Imelda May bringing the festival towards it’s conclusion, gone is the trademark blonde victory roll, and in it’s place comes an new edgier style, both in looks and sound. Opening with the rocky Tribal she works her way through a set mixing old classics such as Johnny Got a Boom Boom and tracks from her forthcoming release. What’s clear is whether new or old, Imelda knows how to fuse her rockabilly sounds throughout the set, ensuring the crowd are on their toes at all times. For me it’s Good To Be Alive which really sums up the set, and as I bid farewell to another Cambridge Folk Festival, I can only turn my thoughts to how they might plan on topping this year’s line up in 2017.

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