Luke Daniels is coming to town. Folk singer, electronic composer and Polyphon polymath, Daniels is a modern musician with a point to prove. What’s a Polyphon? Find out here. By Alan O’Hare.
“I get to put it on the posters.” Luke Daniels, fêted folk hero and BBC award-winning musician, is talking about the latter’s impact on his career and the lot of the modern musician. “Folk songs can be inspirational and comforting,” he continues. “They needn’t be the preserve of the exponents of authenticity.”
Folk is something to be fed and not feared. Progressive musicians will always find a way to inject that all-important ‘right now’ into age old traditions and South Oxfordshire-born, Glasgow-dwelling Daniels is among their number. “Intriguing songs of modern morality” is how The Guardian recently described what this cultured composer has to offer and they’re not wrong.
There’s a twist in this tale, however, and that is what else Daniels brings to the party. “As a folk musician and electronic music composer considering how to attract online and digital music communities to more traditional sources in a way that’s novel and accessible,” he says. “I came across a large nineteenth century music box called a Polyphon… ” Intrigued? You should be – especially as the Polyphon will be with our hero when he rocks up on Renshaw Street this week.
Tell us more about the Polyphon…
It works without velocity, plectra plucking steel teeth with equal pressure, and there’s something truly entropic about how this this machine works.
It grabbed you, then?
I’m fascinated by the idea that live performers and ‘quantized’ digital sound can be sequenced and synced to its one hundred and thirty five year-old continuous clockwork mechanism – which responds differently every time it’s played.
So, what can people coming to a Luke Daniels gig for the first time expect?
Folk songs, original songs and tunes with new music created with the Polyphon machine.
Tell us about the songs you’ll be singing?
Folk songs can include things like Nic Jones’ classic ‘Canadee-I-O’, alongside a Gerry Rafferty or Stevie Wonder cover…
… and the originals?
My own songs range from topics of gender equality to Donald Trump’s childhood.
You’ve toured with Jethro Tull and Cara Dillon. Any good stories to share with us?
Both are great performers.
Well, one is a joy to work with… the other was a challenge. I’ll let you decide which is which.
Maybe we’ll get it out of you at the gig!
I’ll need volume and silence.
81 Renshaw Street, Liverpool
Thursday, September 21st 2017, 7.30pm
Pic courtesy One Fell Swoop