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White Horse Whisperers

 

White Horse Whisperers are a contemporary folk trio from Faringdon, Oxfordshire. The band formed in mid-2013 and comprises James Driscoll (bass guitar, percussion, mandola, vocals), Lisa Avenell (fiddle, whistles/recorder, vocals) and Simon Jury (guitar, mandolin, lead vocals). In 2015, the band found themselves playing established venues such as the Cornerstone Arts Centre, Didcot and supporting renowned folk artists, Megson.

 

SF: From the information on your website there seems to be an interesting story of how you all got together. Tell us about it?

WHW2

White Horse Whisperers

WHW: It was a bit random! Lisa had been to a ceilidh and spent the whole evening itching to pick up the caller’s fiddle. The next day she ‘had a thought’ (which roughly translates as ‘I’m going to do something really impulsive ...’), then put an ad on a local community website asking if anyone fancied starting a folk band. James was first to reply, quickly followed by Simon. We met a couple of weeks later in a local pub – total strangers to one another, but hit it off straight away! The rest, as they say, is history.

SF: How do you choose your material and what influences the music you play?

WHW: In the early days it was all very democratic – everyone would pick a song each and we’d go from there. But as we’ve got to know one another it’s become a far more collaborative process – while we’ve all got pretty diverse musical backgrounds (James was previously in a Ska band, Lisa was classically trained and Simon tends towards the singer/songwriter genre), we actually have quite similar tastes! James introduced us to Show of Hands early on and we all are now massive fans. We love the whole ‘contemporary folk’ scene and are constantly being influenced by pretty much everyone in it! Our own material has its roots in traditional folk; we like to tell a good story, and inspiration comes from anything and everywhere – the places we grew up, where we live now, myths and legends, the weather, even ‘Game of Thrones’!

SF: If you could choose one person to join you on stage for a few songs who would it be?

WHW: Can we have two people? We’ve already mentioned Show of Hands ... we do a pretty rip-roaring cover of Galway Farmer so the ultimate dream would be to hook up with them for a rendition of that!

SF: I have to ask, what is it with James and Simon and the flat caps?

WHW: Ha Ha!! You noticed!? Not sure really – it started early on and has now become a kind of ‘band uniform’. The donning of the caps signals ‘time to play’! (The guys have tried getting Lisa to wear one too, but she’s not having any of it ...)

SF: You produced an EP entitled A Million Miles in November 2014. What can we expect from the trio in the next year?

WHW: Where to start? We’ve got a really exciting set of dates lined up this year – in February we went back at the Cornerstone (a favourite venue, they’ve been so supportive of us), then in March we supported The Willows at the Unicorn Theatre in Abingdon and a few days later we had the second instalment of our fledgling series ‘Folk in Fernham’ with Dorset trio Kadia. We’re playing Folk Weekend Oxford for the first time in April (super excited about being involved – the line-up this year is just incredible!) Later in the year we are heading out to some great folk clubs and in November we support Megson (for the second time!) We’re making plans to get back in the studio, probably around autumn – whilst we are immensely proud of our EP, we’ve developed so much since that early recording and are keen to produce something that’s more representative of where we are now. We’re really excited by our new material, and there’s more in the pipeline, so we can’t wait to share!

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Twitter: @whitehorsewhisp

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