FEATUTRE HEADING: blah blah balh


Feature Intro:After having won the Musician of the Year award at this year’s Folk Awards and playing with almost everyone from Jon Boden and Eliza Carthy to Hannah Ja


Feature Interviewer SF: Question

Feature Interviwee BH: answer



Sam Sweeney















White Horse Whisperers

Ewan McLennan


... many folk musicians I know are still passionate about social justice and the role of music ...



Ewan McLennan

SF: How did you get started in a career in folk music?

EMcL: I’d listened to folk music and been surrounded by quite a bit of singing as a child. I started to really throw myself into it in my late teens, first just as an avid listener and then, bit by bit, as a singer too. I moved down to England in my early twenties and started to play around the local music nights and folk clubs and that’s when I got the bug for performing. I jumped into the whole thing as a career as soon as I had enough gigs to quit my day job and play music for a living; and it seems to have kept going since.

SF: You have worked with Martin Simpson and Dick Gaughan; how has this influenced your playing and songwriting?

EMcL: Yes, these two have been big influences on my music. Before I met them and got a chance to perform with them they were already big influences of mine, and their musical styles and passion for the music they played were an inspiration to me. Getting the chance to get to know them, play alongside them and get their advice has been invaluable.

SF: At a recent gig, you mentioned your collaboration with some Spanish musicians. Tell us more about this?

EMcL: Starting several years back now I’ve done a bunch of gigs in commemoration of the Spanish Civil War and the International Brigaders from Britain who in 1936 travelled to Spain to join the fight against fascism. These took me to Spain, where I had the privilege of performing alongside some Spanish musicians and performing to audiences that included some of those who had fought in the Spanish Civil War on the Republican side. They were very moving and, for me, memorable concerts. Later this year it’s the eightieth anniversary of the start of the Spanish Civil War and so there are many more commemorative events going on, some of which I’ll be playing. I’ve also written a song about one of the International Brigaders from Britain and their journey to Spain and I’ll be putting it out on the Internet sometime in July.

SF: You are known for your songs on social justice and political issues. Do you think the protest song has gone out of folk music in recent years or are we perhaps seeing a revival?

EMcL: No, I don’t think it has gone out of folk music – many folk musicians I know are still passionate about social justice and the role of music in that. I’d say it is not a central part of the folk scene in the way it was in the 60s/70s folk revival, but I get the feeling that that may be beginning to change. I’ve always thought that folk music is, and should be, the telling of the experiences of ‘ordinary’ folk in song; and that, of course, includes politics (however you define it) as well as love and work and drinking and the rest of it.

SF: What does the future hold for you – more touring/festivals? And is there a new album in the pipeline?

EMcL: I’ve had a month or so off the road that is just coming to an end. I’ve used that time to add the finishing touches to a project that I’ve been working on since the beginning of this year that is a collaboration between me and the writer/journalist George Monbiot. He approached me with the idea at the end of last year and since then he has been sending me over narrative sketches, around a certain theme, and I have been turning them into songs. We are releasing an album of these songs, which I will record in June, and then doing a series of shows this autumn and beyond that will feature both of us – me singing the songs and him talking about the background to the songs and the theme in general. More will be revealed very soon ...


Ewan McLennan


Shire Folk Album of 2018

Moore, Moss Rutter