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Nick Hennessey's magical mix of spoken word, song and music
IT WAS 15 years ago while Nick Hennessey was studying for a PhD in Cultural Geography, exploring the relationship between landscape, communities and myth, that he was hooked by the magic of storytelling. Since, the bearded bard has been following his passion for the role of story in our modern lives, evolving an enthralling style of performance that switches between spoken word, song and music.
His gift as singer and taleteller took the Bowland Bridge master of myths to west Russia researching epic songs of the Finno-Ugric people, and to Finland where he won the 2000 World Championships in Kalevala epic-singing. The power and significance of this national epic continues to inspire him. In 2009 he presented a program for BBC Radio 4 on the relationship between Kalevala and the national identity of modern-day Finland. He returns to Finland twice a year performing Kalevala in English for Finnish audiences, and tutoring at the Sibelius Music Academy.
Nick’s Where the Bear Sleeps: Stories from the Frozen North is a collection of stories from the Finnish national epic, The Kalevala, where through spoken word, rhythm and song he evokes an ancient world of magic, unfolding against a mysterious and beautiful landscape of forest and tundra.
Nick takes the Bear Sleeps tour to Settle’s St John’s Methodist Church Hall on Friday, December 16 (7.30pm); the Kelsick Centre, Ambleside, on December 17 7.30pm); Lancaster’s Gregson Centre on December 18(7.30pm); The Institute, Kirkby Lonsdale on Tuesday, December 20 (6.30pm) and Shap Village Hall on Wednesday, December 21 (7pm).
Nick has three solo albums to his name and has performed in venues as diverse as village halls, London’s South Bank and the Albert Hall, folk clubs and storytelling and literature festivals throughout the UK. Globally, he has performed in Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Canada and more, including two national tours of Japan.
He has three solo albums to his name, the most recent A Rare Hunger, and his collaboration with the internationally-known storyteller Hugh Lupton led to the commissioning of The Liberty Tree (by the Festival at the Edge) a performance of Robin Hood stories alongside those of the English Radicals.
Hugh and Nick are currently working on a commission for 2014 with several musicians, including John Dipper from the English Acoustic Collective, to commemorate through story and music the centenary of the First World War.