Hedera

Image by Elly Lucas

Hedera is a new Bristol-based quintet of instrumentalists brought together by a desire to lean into the slower and more delicate side of European folk traditions.

Cuculi Presents: Hedera / Lucy & Hazel @ The Greenbank, 2 Dec

Their growing repertoire draws on French, English, Eastern European and Scandinavian music, with playful and inventive arrangements that reflect the diverse array of experience brought by members of the band: violinists Maisie Brett and Lulu Ruby Rose, clarinettist Isis Wolf-Light, Bethany M. Roberts on double bass, and Tamsin Elliott on accordion and harp. Intrigued by the combination of strings and reeds that seems to lend itself to effortless arranging, they have also now begun to create original music together. Their debut release ‘Waterwheel’ was composed by Tamsin Elliott and filmed by Elly Lucas in a dramatic Perthshire arboretum; it premiered on Folk Radio on 24 October 2022.

The project began life as a group of friends playing folk tunes around winter bonfires every full moon, grateful to have a collective musical outlet while their regular projects (Solana, Opa Rosa, Hands of the Heron) were unable to perform due to the pandemic. They discovered a shared love of listening deeply, playing slowly, and finding new ways to support each other musically. Over time, the ensemble has evolved into something more structured, but still retains the intimacy and gentle conviviality of its beginnings. Their debut performance took place at Fire in the Mountain festival in June 2022, and the woman-led ‘Moon Jams’ have continued and expanded, becoming a rich resource for learning and teaching tunes across a number of traditions.