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Soundpost is a Sheffield based artist led organisation that coordinates a range of participatory events, exploring folk traditions through practical workshops, performances, debate and discussion. 

Soundpost was born in 2011 by folk artists Fay Hield, Sam Sweeney, Andy Bell and Jon Boden to bring music, song and dance into people's lives through participation and performance. Soundpost has evolved over the years to become a flourishing Folk Arts organisation, running popular intensive weekends away, day-long workshops and study days, schools projects and our weekly Folk Factory. At the heart of all our events remains a commitment to develop practical skills with thinking attached whilst firmly recognising the value of entertainment.

Fay Hield

Fay Hield is a folk singer and an academic at the University of Sheffield, teaching ethnomusicology and music management. Her research includes looking at the English folk scene to discover how it builds a sense of community, how artists play with traditional materials and how audiences receive them.  This work inspired the formation of Soundpost – a safe space to introduce people to the weird and wonderful folk scene and a place for singers and musicians to explore and develop how we do what we do.  Alongside the research, Fay tours and records with various projects, including The Full English and her own band, The Hurricane Party.

Andy Bell

Andy has been producing records for over 15 years, he graduated from Leeds College of Music in 2003 where he was also a full time studio technician. After spending several years recording various Classical and Jazz albums, Andy became the house engineer at Leeders Farm, working with artists such as KT Tunstall and Seasick Steve.

Today he works with the likes of Bellowhead, Jon Boden, Martin Simpson, Martin Carthy, Maddy Prior and Seth Lakeman to mention just a few. Many of Andy’s records enjoy national TV, newspaper and radio coverage including regular plays on BBC Radio 2, 3 and 6Music, they have gone on to achieve awards from Songlines, fRoots and BBC Radio 2. Andy has also been nominated for best producer in the Resolution Awards and has, proudly, been nominated twice as best engineer in Yorkshire, he's not yet won that coverted award!

In 2013 Andy produced The Full English, an album that went on to win album of the year at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. Following this he established the new record label, Hudson Records, whose first release with The Furrow Collective went on to achieve best group at the awards.

Frances Watt

Frances Watt is a project manager with experience of working with a range of folk development agencies, folk festivals, local government arts development teams, as well as freelance work. She worked for Yorkshire Dales Workshops, then for Mrs Casey Music on Sidmouth, Towersey and Folk in the Fall festivals, Association of Festival Organisers and the Folk Arts Network. She worked at Sage Gateshead for Sing Up! the national primary school singing campaign, and with English Folk Dance and Song Society as the Learning Manager for The Full English project working with schools, communities, museums, and venues. Frances is also the General Manager of Folk Dance Remixed, the coordinator of dementia friendly films in Derbyshire, an arts development officer, musician and singing leader. 

Helen Bell

Helen Bell is the newest member of the Soundpost team. Having studied Viola at Birmingham Conservatoire, she developed a passion for folk music and has performed with The Fair Rain for the last 10 years and worked as a freelance musician on the classical and folk music scene. She recently recorded on Martin Simpson’s latest album and is proud to be playing with Jon Boden and The Remnant Kings, The Froe, M G Boulter and Surge Orchestra. Alongside performing, Helen has been an Upper Strings Teacher for Sandwell Music Service where she has enjoyed developing the chamber music programme and directing the Intermediate String Orchestra. Helen is excited to discover her new role with Soundpost and get involved in its many inspiring projects.

Nicola Beazley

Nicola Beazley is a Sheffield based folk musician known for her work as one part of the award-winning English duo with Alex Cumming. Nicola is a regular performer at folk clubs, ceilidh events and festivals across the country, and in America and Canada. The duo saw the release of their much-anticipated debut album ‘Across the Water’ in late 2016, which was met with great review. Nicola also performs as part of the Rosie Hood band, notable performing for her debut album launch, including a live session on the BBC Radio 2 Folk Show. Nicola is the founder of the Folk Factory, leading the children and adult groups in Dungworth and now the new group at Carfield. 

Associate Artists

Sam Sweeney

Voted Musician Of The Year at the BBC Folk Awards 2015, Sam has one of the most impressive CVs in folk music, and he is still in his twenties. Known for his fiddle playing, Sam is also a highly respected multi-instrumentalist, most notably with multi award winning cultural sensation Bellowhead. As part of Leveret, Sam is one of the key players in the current resurgence of English instrumental music and, in 2016, toured his own critically acclaimed show Made In The Great War. He is also director the National Youth Folk Ensemble.

Jon Boden

Jon Boden began his performing career in 2000 in his duo with John Spiers. Since then he has worked primarily in traditional English music, most recognisably as lead singer of Bellowhead. As a songwriter he has produced three albums including two for an intended trilogy of post-oil concept albums. Jon has worked as a music educator in various guises, teaching singing for Stagecoach when he was starting out and, more recently, teaching the Sheffield carols in schools and running a small community choir.

Nancy Kerr

English violinist, singer and songwriter Nancy Kerr is one of the most celebrated folk musicians of her generation, and has to date won 6 Folk Awards from BBC Radio 2: 2015 FOLK SINGER OF THE YEAR • HORIZON AWARD 2000 • BEST DUO 2003 and again in 2011 with partner James Fagan • BEST GROUP 2014 with The Full English • BEST ALBUM 2014 with The Full English. Nominated BEST TRADITIONAL SONG 2003 for Dance to Your Daddy and BEST ORIGINAL SONG 2011 for Queen of Waters and 2017 for Fragile Water. Winner Best Album (Spiral earth 2011) for Twice Reflected Sun. She was the recipient of the 2015 Alistair Hullett Award for Songs of Social Justice. Nancy’s 2016 album Instar examined the relationship between folk song and the environment. She has composed for commissions The Radio Ballads (BBC Radio 2), The Elizabethan Session, Sweet Liberties (Parliament) and Shake The Chains, and performs with Melrose Quartet, Martin Simpson and Andy Cutting and as part of Peter Bellamy’s folk opera The Transports. She is senior lecturer in folk at Leeds College of Music and teaches on the BMus in folk and traditional music at Newcastle University.

Bryony Griffith

Bryony is a highly accomplished fiddler and distinctive singer with a broad repertoire of traditional English dance tunes and songs. Bryony’s skills and enthusiasm encompass solo performance, duo and band work, and extensive experience of playing for folk dancing. 

With over 20 years' experience researching folk material and devising innovative ways of presenting it for use in performance and education work, Bryony’s down-to-earth and relaxed style of teaching and performing is much in demand by festival and project organisers all over the UK.

Jess Arrowsmith

Singer and fiddler Jess Arrowsmith performs with Melrose Quartet, Hekety, as a duo with husband Richard and trio with Ian Robb, and with Pecsaetan Morris. She draws on many years experience of teaching individuals, workshops and evening classes, both vocally (back to basics vocal technique, confidence building, harmony etc) and traditional music and dance (ceilidh, morris, playing for dance etc) working with all age groups.