Happy new year! We wish you and your families a prosperous 2017. Last year seemed to arrive and disappear in a blink of an eye and we realised that we are now into our fifth year as a folk band!
The new year brings an opportunity for us to reflect and re-focus and we have formed a plan at Kadia HQ that will see us expand even further in 2017 than we ever have. We believe it’s now time for the next step despite how difficult it may be, because we believe “if you don’t make it happen for yourself, then it won’t!”
Let’s have a quick recap of last year. It was the year in which not only #legokadia were born, but also #knittedkadia. Our thanks to the Johnsons and Cuffs for creating them for us. It was a notable year for playing gigs and festivals outside the south west for the first time, including Cambridge Folk Festival! We’ve also had some pretty awesome support slots for some high profile names too. And East of Alexandria was nominated for a Best Debut Album award! Here’s a round up of the highlights.
• East of Alexandria was nominated for the Fatea Debut Album of 2015 award. We were up against Radio 2 Folk Award nominees Stick in the Wheel and Radio 2 Folk Award winner Sam Kelly with his band The Changing Room. Tough competition but fantastic to be nominated alongside such well respected acts! The album continues to be well received with reviews still coming in during the year.
• #legokadia born!
• We released a video for Mary & The Silvery Tide, featuring Lee’s sister Hayley as the lovely but tragic Mary.
• Notable gigs included the first of several concerts at Leeson House and indeed their own home for the Johnson family, who have become great supporters and friends of the band this year, a support slot for the legendary Geordie fiddler Tom McConville at Wessex Acoustic and a visit to Bath to play one of the last ever Up in the Gallery concerts.
• #knittedkadia were born, along with a knitted photographer Jo, and later in the year knitted Ange Hardy and her celebrity cat Maizy, and Neil Fatea.
• East of Alexandria has its first birthday! How that year flew. Lots of Lord Nelson themed antics in the spring, with Chris taking a brief holiday in Wales and discovering not only a museum of memorabilia but also a monument to the great naval hero, along with inspiration for some new songs. We also played a house concert alongside a life sized Lord Nelson and a Kadia quiz (shamefully we actually got some of those questions wrong!)
• Lee joins Ninebarrow for the recording of their second album and plays at the album launch at Poole Lighthouse. We also performed a live session to mark the culmination of the recording project we had been sessioning on for Will Adams and the release of the Nautical Graffiti album.
• We played two double headliners London and Bournemouth Folk Club with The Portraits and supported the awesome Gilmore & Roberts (again).
• Other gigs included a headline slot at Folk in Fernham with the White Horse Whisperers, a long standing booking for Folk Lights in Romsey, Holme Folk and Broadstone folk night. We played Milford Folk Club and a Coda workshop with the Folk Orc and return to both again in Spring 2017.
• Lots of festivals this summer, with a fair few new ones thrown into the mix. The highlight has to be Cambridge Folk Festival where we got to play not only the Club Tent but also on Main Stage 2 with the Brian McNeil Session, alongside some awesome musicians, including La Vent du Nord, Sam Kelly & the Lost Boys and Wildwood Kin. We supported Jackie Oates at Folk on the Quay, drank rum with Said the Maiden after we both played Wessex Folk Festival, we played Bradninch, Priddy and Cornwall Folk Festivals for the first time and we were invited back to play Purbeck Valley Folk Festival, Codefest and Henfest again.
• We appeared on Cambridge TV, chatting about Kadia at Cambridge Folk Festival and playing some songs.
• We joined Shaun Buswell’s pop-up orchestra at Shelley Theatre for a really fun evening of random musical adventures.
• We supported Jess Vincent at the stunning Unicorn Theatre, possibly the oldest venue we’ve ever played.
• We met Show of Hands at their Abbotsbury Family Festival.
• While Chris was off sunning himself at a friend’s wedding in Bali Lee and David join the White Horse Whisperers to form the Unicorn Cobblers at Matufest at the Unicorn Theatre.
• We continued to spread our wings playing Dorking Folk Club and our first Welsh (mini) tour, taking in Newport Folk Club & the Cwtch Café in Pembroke Dock.
• We suffered an unfortunate camper van break-in and had lots of kit stolen 🙁
• The festival season drew to a close with return slots at Swanage Folk Festival and Waterfest, and our first time at Stogumber Festival.
• We headed to the West Midlands for the first time to play Tamworth Folk Club and a gig and live session at the Big Comfy Bookshop in Coventry – winner of Laurel Canyon’s venue of the year award and well deserved as it’s a fantastic venue and firmly on the folk circuit with a string of excellent acts booking in through the year.
• We returned to Reading to play Readifolk, and play more support slots for high profile artists – Jim Moray at Bournemouth Folk Club, Chris Leslie at Wessex Acoustic and Gilmore & Roberts (again!) at ACESpace. Locally we played the Drax Arms folk night and a fundraiser for St Thomas Church Lymington to help raise money for a new roof.
• Beast of Bodmin Moor featured in book of short stories.
• As autumn gave way to winter we turned our focus to recording a new EP of traditional songs. We invite you all to come and share the release of the EP – we are very excited about it and looking forward to updating our published music. The release party will be held at St Andrews church, Kinson (BH10 7LN, 01202 570010, http://standrewskinson.org/). It is the very first concert that we have organised ourselves and we are encouraging everyone to book their tickets in advance. Tickets will be £10 in advance and £12 on the door. Ticket link: http://www.wegottickets.com/event/383938.
We’d like to thank all of the folk club and festival organisers, promoters, brides & grooms, and house concert hosts who have booked us over the last year, and all the radio hosts who have played our music. To everyone who has bought our CDs, tickets to see us play, watched our videos on YouTube, liked and shared our social media posts, and generally spread the good word about us – it is all much appreciated. We have a task ahead of us to improve on what we did in 2016 and we believe we can do that and hope you will all join us on the journey!