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Monday, 15 August 2011

The Urban Folk Quartet's secret weapon

Slightly over a year ago I stood in an upstairs room of a crumbling old printworks in Dalston and watched a large number of people jump up and down in a tiny space to a band I'd never seen before. They were fabulous but I really thought the building might fall down.

The band was The Urban Folk Quartet.

Perhaps I'm biased. It was a heady first experience, then due to the magic of Facebook (I was contacted by the band when they saw I was coincidentally in Asturias at the same time as them) I also saw them in Spain, a few months later while I was on holiday. They played in the small hours of the morning with the moonlit Mediterranean behind them and that kind of thing can turn a girl's head.

They were my top musical pick at Cropredy this year by a long way. I also really liked Lau, Moore Moss and Rutter and The Travelling Band. But The UFQ's sense of performance was more finely honed than anything else I've seen for a very long time and the joy that blasted from the stage while they were occupying it was pandemic-ly infectious.

For they have a secret weapon.

Paloma Trigas's smile. She was subsequently referred to as Paloma Smiley Face in my neck of the field whenever the subject came up.

Joe Broughton, who is her partner as well as her fellow fiddler on stage, has a sense of humour that is dry almost to the point of sarcasm. "You know what the best thing about that smile is?" he asked. "It's already on her face when she wakes up at 6am in the morning. Try and imagine what that's like."

Here's a taste. They launched their second album on Friday.

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