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A MINI-FESTIVAL is heading for Swindon, opened by newcomer Emily Mae Winters, who is already making an impact on the contemporary folk scene.

Folk Afoot presented by KIPA takes place on Thursday, September 21 at the Swindon Arts Centre and has a line-up of folk stars headlined by Julie


Emily Mae says that she is looking forward to opening the Swindon show and learning from internationally known folk artists such as Julie Felix.

“I watch and learn and take note of their stage craft,” she said “The festival will be awesome.”

The singer, dubbed the siren of folk, has a mix of influences in her self-penned songs including traditional Irish, Americana and Transatlantic sounds.

She has been writing since she was 16 but it wasn’t until she put together her first EP, Foreign Waters, that she got recognition from BBC Radio 2, winning airplay from Clare Balding on the Good Morning Sunday show and Mark Radcliffe on the station’s folk show.

She teamed up with BBC Radio Folk Award winner Ben Walker to produce the EP, and enlisted his help again with her debut album Siren Serenade, out now.

Emily Mae called in friends and musicians she respected in the Transatlantic genre to perform on the album with her.

“I wanted to broaden the soundscape, so asked people I had been on tour with like Sam Kelly and The Lost Boys, Hannah Sanders and Ben Savage,” she said.

The singer/songwriter was invited to attend the Folk Alliance International in America representing the British section of folk music - the best of British.

“Delegates from around the world came to see us, agents and managers to discover people, but for me it was more about seeing the best of different countries,” she said.

Growing up in Ireland she admits to having a strong Celtic influence, but says it is the bare bones, she adds the imagery, the songs have the structure of a ballad but she performs them in a poetic way.

She also admits to being a poetry geek, taking poetry workshops for young adults.

“It is therapeutic, we do workshops writing poems about the seaside, describing how we see, touch and feel things. I went to a school that was all sporty so I wanted to give them options,” she said.

Making poetry cool is not the only way the folk singer passes on her love of words, she is also a teacher of English literature and has dabbled in acting.

“Drama school was a happy time of my life, training in cool aspects of performances and I love Shakespeare,” she said.

Emily Mae toured as Ophelia in Hamlet performing Fringe Theatre shows.

She says her mum introduced her to the folk legends of the 1960s and 70s but her father was a classical music buff, and played the piano.

“They always came to my gigs, although at first they had no choice as they were my roadies,” she said.

Emily Mae Winters joins a line up that includes: Julie Felix, Saskia Griffiths-Moore, Cathryn Craig & Brian Willoughby, Noel Cowley, Two Coats Colder and Merry Hell at the Wyvern Theatre from 7pm.

Tickets are £22 from 01793 524481 or visit