We are thrilled to announce that our 2017 LCM 'Innovation' award goes to The Company of Players'. The Company of Players is a great idea that Jess had about two years ago. Inspired by the likes of The Full English, The Elizabethan Sessions and Songs for the Voiceless, Jess set about creating her own folk 'supergroup' project made up of some of the best emerging folk artists on the UK scene. The group features the wonderful talents of Said The Maiden, Sam Kelly, Kelly Oliver, Lukas Drinkwater, Chris Cleverley, Kim Lowings, Minnie Birch and Daria Kulesh. The project was unusual as most similar UK Folk projects are directly commissioned or receive sponsorship from bodies like the Arts Council and EFDSS. The Company of Players was organised by Jess and partly funded through a Pledge Music crowdfunding campaign.
The aim of the group is to write, record and perform a body of brand new material based on the works of William Shakespeare, to commemorate him on the 400th anniversary of his death. The Company of Players spent a week together (April 2nd-9th, 2016) in a house in Belper, writing and rehearsing, creating new, exciting works and collaborations together, then recording it and taking it on the road.
A Pledge Music campaign has successfully completed to help the group raise funds for the first part of the project. The Company of Players is being sponsored by Looe Music Festival and the project was official launched at Bristol Folk Festival on April 30th, 2016. 2017 was an very exciting year for the project with their first UK mini tour. Their new debut album 'Shakespeare Songs' will be officially released on 26th January, 2018. Pre-orders are available now through this link https://companyofplayers.bandcamp.com/album/shakespeare-songs
We would like to personally thank all nominees on our final 'Innovation' shortlist, who do such valuable work in supporting and promoting the independent music in new and imaginative ways. They also create some wonderful new music projects. Often they are some of the hardworking pioneers, which make our part of the music world a better place.
Our Top 10 in 2017
- The Company Of Players
- Big Comfy Bookshop, Coventry
- The Sound Lounge, London
- Fox Findings promotion (Ange Hardy + Rob Swan)
- UK Nyckelharpa Project
- Commoners Choir
- The Transports project
- Shake The Chains poject
- 12 Months Of Madness project (Hattie Briggs)