HARP AND A MONKEY
Listen to Katy's Twinkly Band and Harp and a Monkey (Home for Tea) from the forthcoming album (Folk Police Recordings 2011):
At Middlewich Folk Festival:
Memorably described as Elbow for seafarers and ramblers, the harp 'n' banjo driven electronica of Harp and a Monkey is imbued with a Deep Lancashire sensibility that shines through in their beautifully crafted and sometimes spooky vignettes of Northern life, love and remembrance. The trio of Martin Purdy, Andy Smith and Simon Jones channel the ghosts of summers spent in municipal parks and winters walking on the moors. Ask them about their influences, and they will cite Ordnance Survey maps, The Commonwealth War Grave Commission, Delia Derbyshire, bee keepers, Ralph Vaughan Williams, the M62 motorway, Oliver Postgate, the BBC, the night bus home, Alan Turing, The Pennines, Elizabeth Gaskell, freshly brewed tea, Hylda Baker and A. A. Milne. They add, “We love everything from Beethoven to Bert Jansch and Boards of Canada.”
Harp and a Monkey were formed in late 2008 and have been building up a strong following around the north of England via the old fashioned practice of relentless gigging. Leftfield yet highly accessible, their hauntological folk-electronica is underpinned by a firm commitment to classic songsmithery.
The trio have been friends for more than 15 years and have their own studio above a greasy spoon in north Manchester, where the beats are fuelled by bacon butties. However, while perfectly comfortable in the studio, it is their live work that provides them with greatest satisfaction. Whether headlining at the Holmfirth Folk Festival or playing unplugged to a handful of guests at a house gig, this is the setting where Harp and a Monkey come into their own - and there's nowhere they have played where they haven't been invited back.
We say: Harp and a Monkey are the bastard sons of the Oldham Tinkers locked in the BBC Radiophonic Workshop with only the British Film Institute back catalogue and a handful of scratchy folk LPs from the early seventies for company. They say: “The two stipulations we made when we started Harp and a Monkey was that we wanted to gig a lot and for it to sound ‘British'. We are happy at how close we have come to that remit on both counts.”
Harp and a Monkey are Martin Purdy (vocals/ glockenspiel/ electronica/ accordion)Andy Smith (banjo/ guitar/ melodica/ electronica)Simon Jones (harp/ guitar/ strings/ electronica)
The album is now available at the Folk Police web store here.
Visit the Harp and a Monkey Myspace page for a list of upcoming gigs. If you live in the North of England there's every chance they'll be playing in your town soon or staging a guerilla raid on your local folk festival.