A special service at Durham Cathedral

Eliza Carthy and Jim Moray.
Eliza Carthy and Jim Moray.
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A folk spectacular at Durham Cathedral is set to be one of the highlights of this year’s Durham Streets Festival. Katy Wheeler speaks to one of its stars.

Folk music is enjoying a resurgence in popularity in today’s charts, but singer-songwriter Eliza Carthy has been an ambassador for the genre for two decades.

She’s credited for bringing the sound to a whole new audience.

What better way to mark 21 years in the business than by having some of her best tracks enhanced by the acoustics at Durham Cathedral?

The Yorkshire-born songbird is performing at the historic site next week as part of Durham Streets Festival.

She’ll be joined on stage by Jim Moray, who’s been on a mission to cement folk music’s relevance in contemporary life for the past 10 years, as well as a talented band as part of a one-off tour, Wayward.

Eliza, whose twice been nominated for a prestigious Nationwide Mercury Music Prize, said: “I’m really looking forward to playing Durham Cathedral with a 13-piece band.

“I’ve played venues like this before, St Paul’s Cathedral and Beverley Minster, and they are always amazing. This is a big summer show for me.

“I’m celebrating 21 years, Jim’s celebrating 10, and we’ve pulled out all the stops in bringing together a massive band.”

The show – which includes a band featuring Sam Sweeney from Bellowhead and Barnaby Stradling from Kings of Calicutt and Blowzabella – coincides with the release of Eliza’s new album, Wayward Daughter, a collection of songs from her career to date.

Eliza, who is the winner of more than five BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, said: “Some of the songs I’ll be performing, I haven’t performed in 15 years. I’ve played with so many different bands over the years, that you tend to leave some tracks behind.

“I’ve had 22 albums out, so when it came to choosing tracks for this album, I picked my favourites and then gave the list to the editor of Folk Roots magazine (known as fRoots) who helped me to whittle them down.”

Speaking about why folk music is becoming popular with the masses again, Eliza said: “I think it’s all cyclical. I also think that in times of recession, people turn to folk music. People perceive it as home-grown.”

* Eliza Carthy and Jim Moray play Durham Cathedral on Wednesday, August, 21. Tickets are £20 from Tel. 03000 262626, www.ticketweb.co.uk or www.seetickets.com.

The cathedral doors open at 7.15pm. Jim Moray will perform at 8pm and Eliza Carthy takes to the stage at 9.15pm.

Streets will come alive with colour

Durham will burst into life again this August bank holiday weekend as part of Durham Streets Festival.

Each year, the festival sees the historic city’s cobbled streets come alive with a host of colourful performers from across the globe.

The fun starts at 11.30am on Saturday, August 24, in Millennium Place, and there will also be performances on Palace Green from 2pm, including the finale show at 4pm.

The next day, shows will start from 11.30am.

Highlights will include:

* AJ James – Whether he’s balancing on his hands, on a skateboard, on a roller-ball, on top of a tower, or somersaulting across the concrete, AJ’s athletic skills and witty banter will have you gasping and giggling.

* George Fuller – His mix of storytelling, slapstick and astounding slack-rope work promises to wow the crowds.

* The Mighty Gareth – Be warned, Gareth likes to involve the audience in his chainsaw juggling act, so you may find yourself part of the show.

* The Reid Show - With a show filled with comedy, juggling and acrobatic stunts, Reid will be out to impress the audiences at Streets during his only English show this year.

* Fanti Acrobats – Award-winning traditional African acrobats from Ghana, West Africa, Fanti’s high-energy show, astounding acrobatic skills and infectious beats are bound to win over the Durham audiences.

* For a full line-up visit www.durhamstreetsof.co.uk.