(England ) 

Oysterband: one English band that combines two great musical traditions, folk and punk. The Oysters have a longstanding reputation for combining the principles and understanding of British folk tradition with the fire, energy and politics of, say, the Clash. They started out as the Oyster Celidh Band in 1978 when a handful of mates jammed and practiced in a squat near the university in Canterbury. Fast forward to ‘86 when they shortened their name and released a handful of influential records on the Cooking Vinyl label (Billy Bragg was a label mate). They mish-mashed folk styles with punk and Celtic tinged rock – equal parts crunching guitars, melodeon (squeeze box), fiddle, bass, drums and the odd Northumbrian bagpipe solo; music for dancing, drinking, thinking, and protesting in the streets against Maggie Thatcher. The Oysters also have an ear for eclectic covers, and are equally likely to launch into Billy Bragg, Bruce Cockburn or New Order. Oysterband members have come and gone, but the core four are still at it, still intense, still rocking. Thirteen studio albums, five BBC Folk Awards and 30 years later, they’re still touring festivals, concerts, bars, rallies and jails – bring it on!

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