Cambridge Folk Festival

The old 'uns are the best, they reckon, and this vintage Cambridge had grey-haired quality in abundance.

The old 'uns are the best, they reckon, and this vintage Cambridge had grey-haired quality in abundance.

Blue Murder – Norma Waterson, Martin Carthy and, well, the rest of the family firm – gave us silky smooth close harmony at its purest.

The Oysterband – no big egos, just reinvented traditional folk and the booming voice of front man John Jones – provided classic Celtic rock while the Dubliners showed what fun-loving craftsmen they remain as they celebrate 40 wild roving years together.

But Cambridge also moves on.

Hence, a boisterous – if disjointed – set by pop anarchists Chumbawumba and an energetic and eclectic show from ex-Clash frontman Joe Strummer.

Of the newer generation, Quebec 60s La Volee D'Castors – the Flying Beavers to the rest of us – stole the festival for me. They have barely a word of English between them, but punched out a brand of driving folk rock, coupled with a mission to have fun.

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By contrast, Eric Bibb – either with his band or solo – is Mr Cool; and a shining example of modern American blues at its finest.

Outstanding, too, were the Alison Brown Quartet. Ms Brown, once an investment banker, now a Grammy award winner, plays banjo with a touch and a passion that brings blue grass to life.

t The 38th Cambridge Folk Festival took place at Cherry Hinton Hall.

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