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Tutor Biographies

We are proud to have some of the best folk players in the world teach at our Summer Schools. Find out more about our 2018 tutors below.

More tutors will be announced shortly!


Ruth Ball (Director)

Bryony Griffith
Bryony is a highly accomplished fiddle player and distinctive singer with a broad repertoire of traditional English dance tunes and songs and a passion for delving through the tune and song manuscripts of her native Yorkshire. Her skills and enthusiasm encompass solo performance, duo work with her husband, Will Hampson and extensive experience of playing for folk dancing, including her role in the BBC Folk Award-winning Demon Barbers.
With over 20 years’ experience researching folk material and devising innovative ways of presenting it for use in performance and education work with children, young people and adults, Bryony’s down-to-earth and relaxed style of teaching and performing is much in demand. She was recently appointed as one of the vocal tutors on the new Folk Music degree course at Leeds College of Music.

Sam Kelly
Sam Kelly is a BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winning Bristol-based singer, song-writer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist. As a young child Sam spent many a night enraptured, listening to his Irish grandfather tell folk tales, sing folk songs, and play folk tunes on his melodeon. Having caught the bug, Sam has dedicated his life to rediscovering and renewing the sounds of his gaelic heritage, and creating exciting new music that transcends the boundaries of traditional and popular music.

Rachel Newton
Singer and harpist Rachel Newton specialises in interpreting traditional folk songs in both English and Scottish Gaelic as well as writing and performing her own instrumental pieces. Rachel performs solo, with her trio featuring Lauren MacColl on fiddle and Mattie Foulds on percussion and with a full band when they’re joined by Michael Owers on trombone and Sarah Hayes on keys. A skilled collaborator, Rachel is a founder member of the successful UK folk bands The Shee and The Furrow Collective. She also plays fiddle and viola and works across a range of performance platforms including theatre and storytelling.


Ian Stephenson (Director)

Amy Thatcher (Piano, Accordion and Clog Dancing)
Amy Thatcher is an accordionist and clog dancer based in the North East of England. Amy is a key member of several well known folk acts in the UK including Kathryn Tickell and The Side, The Shee, and the electronic folk super-group, The Monster Ceilidh Band. Her musical upbringing owes a lot to Stockport’s famous “Fosbrook’s Folk Education Trust” with whom she trained from the age of eight on accordion, fiddle, piano and clog dancing. During this time Amy was taught by, and recorded with, accordion virtuoso Murray Grainger. From 18 onwards she continued her musical education in Newcastle on the prestigious Folk and Traditional Music degree course.

Andy May (Northumbrian Pipes and Northumbrian Band)
Andy started to learn the pipes in the late eighties, having been introduced to the instrument by his dad. I learned to play from Roland Lofthouse and Adrian Schofield, and from studying the recordings of Billy Pigg and Tom Clough. Through the 90s he entered many piping competitions and studied music at the University of York with the pipes as his chosen instrument. Andy tours with Jez Lowe and the Bad Pennies, UK/Finnish/Danish ensemble Baltic Crossing, and the Andy May Trio.

Jim Moray (Song and Band with Song)
For 15 years Jim Moray has been at the forefront of a new movement in English traditional music. His debut album Sweet England changed the sound of folk song and won a brace of awards for its innovative melding of orchestration and electronica. His sixth album Upcetera heralds a new chapter for the producer and has received the best reviews of his career, including five stars from Mojo, fRoots and R2 magazines.

Tim Edey
Tim Edey (BBC Radio Two’s Musician of the year 2012 (BBC R2 FOLK AWARDS) multi-instrumentalist and singer, has toured the world and recorded with most of the major names in Celtic/Contemporary roots music including; The Chieftains, Christy Moore, Sharon Shannon, Natalie MacMaster, Altan and Capercaillie.
“Tim Edey is brilliant – in every which way. As a guitarist he has few peers. As a box player he’s a magician. As a character he’s off the scale.” fRoots

Lena Jonsson (Fiddle and Scandinavian Band)

Alexandra Wade (Concertina and Northumbrian Band)

Shammi Pithia (Wind Instruments and Tunes of the World Band)
Having charted at no.1 in the iTunes World Music chart with two albums, Shammi Pithia is building a solid name for himself as a creative composer and producer. Along with his band, Shammi has been performing around the world for the past 6 years with appearances at Glastonbury Festival, Wembely Stadium and sold-out solo shows at London’s Southbank Centre. In addition to studio work, Shammi is a keen collaborator, writing and performing music for dance in the kathak, ballet and contemporary fields, film and large ensembles.

Catriona Macdonald (Intermediate/Advanced Fiddle & Performance Ensemble)


Ian Lowthian (Director and Piano Accordion)

Sarah Matthews (Fiddle and Band with Dance)
Sarah has been playing the fiddle since she was 11 years old, developing an interest in Derbyshire, English, French and Swedish dance tunes and English song. She has a love of playing for dancing, developing rich harmony lines and composing her own songs and dance tunes. Over the years, she has played with Nancy Kerr, Lucy Ward, Doug Eunson, David Gibb, Elly Lucas, Cupola, Cupola:Ward, DanceCupola, Peeping Tom, Gill Redmond, The Rattlers, Moirai, Jo May, Cross o’th Hands, storyteller Maria Whatton, and OPUS Music as a Musician in Healthcare. A long-standing tutor of the violin and fiddle, she loves sharing musical ideas and engaging students with an infectious enthusiasm, sharing techniques and is passionate about harmony and playing chords. She has enjoyed teaching at folk festivals across the UK and in Ontario, Canada.

Adam Sutherland (Fiddle and Beginner’s Band)
From Errogie, Loch Ness, Adam is one of Scotland’s most exciting fiddle players, composers and teachers in the thriving Scottish Trad music scene.
Outfits that Adam has been a part of include The Treacherous Orchestra, Session A9, Peatbog Faeries, Babelfish and Croft no. Five. He has also played with a host of other well known acts including Salsa Celtica and Manran.

Alistair Anderson (English Concertina and Advanced Band)
As a touring soloist, with no less than 37 tours of the USA, 5 trips to Australia and countless European tours to his credit, Alistair Anderson is internationally acknowledged as the master of the English Concertina and a fine exponent of the Northumbrian Pipes. He delights audiences with the lyrical slow airs and lively dance tunes of Northumberland and with his own compositions, which have grown out of his love of traditional music.

Jo Freya (Mixed Instrument and Band with Dance)
Jo comes from a groundbreaking background in folk and acoustic music. You will have seen her performing live as part of Blowzabella, Moirai, The Old Swan Band, Coope/Boyes/Simpson/Freya/Fraser/Boyes (Michael Morpurgo shows), Token Women, Scarp, and previously as a duo with Pete Morton and in recorded collaborations with Lal Waterson.

Hamish Napier (Flute and Whistle and Band with Song)
Hamish grew up in Grantown-on-Spey in the Scottish Highlands. He moved to Glasgow to immerse myself in its famously vibrant music scene, and to Astronomy & Physics. He then went on to study music and was awarded a scholarship to study at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, USA. He teaches composition, music theory and wooden flute at Glasgow’s Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and at music schools and festivals worldwide. He has toured in Europe and North America with award-winning Scottish folk quartet Back of the Moon. He currently plays in a dare-devil duo called Nae Plans with fiddler Adam Sutherland, involving completely unplanned, off-the-cuff performances.

Laura-Beth Salter (Mandolin and Americana Band)
Laura-Beth is a well kent face on the Glasgow Folk and Roots scene, a founding member of renowned folk band The Shee and was nominated for the MG Alba Composer of the year award in 2013 after the success of her Celtic Connections commission and debut album Breathe. She is also an active tutor of mandolin and youth projects all over the UK. Although heavily rooted in American traditional music, Laura-Beth works on a range of projects within the Scottish traditional music scene, most recently her duo with Jenn Butterworth, The Kinnaris Quintet and a new cross-over project alongside Ali Hutton (Old Blind Dogs) and Andrea Gobbi (Laki Mera).

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. Her 2016 album Instar examined the relationship between folk song and the environment and led to collaborations with contemporary nature writers Rob Cowen (Common Ground) and Helen Macdonald (H is for Hawk) as part of her curation at Kings Place, London. 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.

Jo Freya

Tom Lawrenson

Greg Russell (Fretted Strings and Intermediate Band)
Greg Russell has established himself as one of the most significant players on the UK folk scene. Playing guitar, bouzouki and singing, in 2013 he won the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award and in 2014 won the Horizon Award from the same source, both alongside Ciaran Algar. Since 2016, Greg has also been involved in two critically acclaimed projects; The Transports (5 stars The Guardian) and Shake the Chains (4 stars The Guardian). The latter, a project put together by Greg which included Peggy Seeger, Martin Simpson and many more. Furthermore, Greg has played guitars and bouzouki in Nancy Kerr’s Sweet Visitor Band since 2015.

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