Shake The Chains – Songs of Social Change, Resistance and Protest
Monday 27th February 2017
St John at Bethnal Green Church
Doors 7:00pm, Live Music 7:30pm

Shake the Chains –  a touring commission of new and classic protest songs, February 2017 

Featuring Nancy Kerr, Findlay Napier, Hannah Martin, Greg Russell & Tim Yates


Peggy Seeger | Steve Knightley | Martin Simpson | Boff Whalley

”Shake your chains to earth like dew

Which in sleep had fallen on you

Ye are many – they are few”

The Masque of Anarchy, Percy Bysshe Shelley

From the industrial revolution, universal suffrage and the slave trade through to CND, Rock against Racism and the Miners’ strike, songs are a common and integral factor in all the movements that have sought to instigate change.

Shake the Chains is an exciting new touring commission from celebrated UK contemporary folk singer songwriters that will explore the role songs have played in social change, resistance and protest. At a time when making our political voice heard is as important as ever, Shake the Chains will include new material written exclusively for the project, as well as classic protest songs from around the world.

This exceptional band of musicians will play venues in Bristol, Sheffield, Suffolk, Derby and London from February 23 to 27 with a special guest at each performance.

Shake the Chains will also perform exclusively at Folk by the Oak in July 2017, with a live album scheduled for release in September 2017.  Shake the Chains follows on from the critically acclaimed Sweet Liberties project that created new material in response to 800 years of the pursuit of democracy.

Shake the Chains is a commission from Folk by The Oak with support from Arts Council England, Help Musicians UK and Folk Alliance International.

For more information or to book tickets, go to Follow the project on Twitter at @shakethechains1 and on Facebook @shakethechains.

About the artists

Nancy Kerr is one of the most in-demand singer songwriters in English folk. She has won six BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, including Singer of the Year (2015), Best Duo as part of Nancy Kerr & James Fagan (2000, 2003 & 2011), and Best Album & Best Group as part of The Full English Band (2014). An exceptionally gifted musician, singer, and generous collaborator, the last three years have seen her create a strong body of new songs across a range of subjects following her involvement in The Elizabethan Session and Sweet Liberties.

Findlay Napier made his name touring and recording with multi-award winning traditional Scottish folk band Back of the Moon. In 2015 he collaborated with Boo Hewerdine on a project called VIP: Very Interesting Persons. The project, which spawned an album, EP and book, received rave reviews and was #2 Folk Album of the Year 2015 in The Telegraph. His body of work shows songs that connect with the subject matter in unique ways, and that explore the stories and lives of the people involved in each narrative.

Hannah Martin, half of a BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winning duo with Phillip Henry, is a skilled and versatile musician with a contemporary outlook and style of folk and roots music. Her inspiring songwriting charts a range of historical and modern social issues.

Politics graduate Greg Russell performs as a duo with Ciaran Algar, but also as a solo artist and with Nancy Kerr’s Sweet Visitor Band and The Tweed Project. The winner of two BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2013 & 2014, and nominated in 2015, he is one of the finest and most versatile young artists in English folk music. A dissertation on the role of protest song was the spark for the project that has become Shake the Chains.

Tim Yates is a member of Blackbeard’s Tea Party and Nancy Kerr’s Sweet Visitor Band and in demand as one of the best ‘side-men’ in the UK folk scene for his versatility as a musician. He is an exceptionally gifted arranger and collaborator, and highly regarded as a writer.