Alma brings together award winning fiddlers John Dipper (English Acoustic Collective) and Emily Askew (Askew Sisters) with guitarist and tambura player Adrian Lever (Arhai).

Inspired by fiddle traditions from England and across the world, at the heart of Alma's music is the joyful sound of fiddles playing in harmony.

Each member of Alma brings their own individual style and influences to the band. This includes John's work with Chris Wood in the English Acoustic Collective and groundbreaking string quartet Methera, Emily's extensive experience in early music (playing with The Dufay Collective, Shakespeare's Globe and at Glyndebourne), and Adrian's knowledge of Eastern European music developed through his highly acclaimed work with Arhai and Horses Brawl.

Alma's unique approach to the gems of each tradition result in beautiful and exciting new arrangements, that tantalise and excite the audience.

Emily Askew Emily Askew

Emily Askew is a versatile musician playing fiddle, recorders, vielle, bagpipes and shawm. She has performed professionally on the folk scene for 14 years with bands such as Askew Sisters, Alma, A3 Ceilidh Band, The Elizabethan Session and The Emily Askew Band.

Emily studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and graduated with a first class honours BMus. A keen chamber musician, Emily has also performed with a range of ensembles. including The Artisans, Joglaresa and The Dufay Collective. Emily also plays for opera and theatre with shows at Glyndebourne, Apollo West End and Shakespeare's Globe Theatre.
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John Dipper John Dipper

John's unique playing style and his compositions convey a deep understanding and passion for the indigenous culture of England. Two of the albums that he played on and recorded recently were in The Times top 10 Folk/Roots albums of the year for 2017.

John has recorded on several films including the Hobbit, as well appearing in the TV series Poldark. He also performs with the groundbreaking string quartet Methera, Patterson Dipper, The Emily Askew Band, Dipper Malkin and Purcell's Polyphonic Party.

An experienced workshop leader and teacher, John has taught at venues and events including the Australian National Festival, Sidmouth Festival, Ashokan, Goldsmiths University and regularly teaches on the Folk Music degree course at Newcastle University and the World Irish Music MA Course at Limerick University.
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Adrian Lever Adrian Lever

Currently split between the UK and Serbia, Adrian Lever was guitarist with award winning folk and early music experimentalists Horses Brawl for 8 years, co-writing and releasing three albums and touring all over the UK at festivals and arts centres and performing live on BBC Radio 3.

His obsession with eastern wonky rhythms led him to study tambura in Bulgaria with leading player Vladimir Vladimirov. This in turn led to meeting and collaborating with UK-based Serbian singer and composer Jovana Backovic (ArHai) - and to collaborations with Macedonian singer Tanja Tzarovska. Performance highlights including The Barbican Concert Hall and RichMix.
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ALBUM: Varieties

Alma Varieties CD

Emily Askew - fiddle | John Dipper - fiddle | Adrian Lever - guitar

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  Is it folk? Is it early music? Who cares when it's as ethereal and seductive as this. Emily Askew, a multitalented star of the Elizabethan Session project, focuses on the fiddle here, weaving arabesques alongside John Dipper, as the guitarist Adrian Lever supplies a velvet backdrop. Their repertoire continually springs surprises, opening with a hornpipe before incorporating more astringent themes from Scandinavia, Poland and North Africa. The playing is spry, intelligent and joyous too."
Clive Davis - The Sunday Times

  When three fine musicians come together under the banner, Alma, be assured that the end result will be worthy of note. Alma is made up of Emily Askew, John Dipper and Adrian Lever. Each and every one of them brings great understanding, skill and empathy to the music and no wonder, considering their respective backgrounds. All the tracks have been gleaned from a myriad of sources, from the tried and tested John Playford's English Dancing Master, of 1651, to tunes form Sweden, Tunisia and even Iraq. Despite the eclectic and diverse nature of the source material, such is the skill of the performers that the music has a unifying homogeneous theme and style throughout."
Living Tradition Magazine

  Fiddlers Emily Askew and John Dipper, in tandem with guitarist Adrian Lever, explore a cornucopia of music from European and Asian fiddle traditions. Dexterity and virtuosity are balanced by elegance of phrasing in a keen recording of joyous presence."
fROOTS Magazine

  The recipe sounds simple, bring together three highly accomplished musicians and let the magic happen, unfortunately such groupings can result in a somewhat fragmented sound as each individual vies for position. This is emphatically not the case with Alma, the coming together of fiddlers John Dipper and Emily Askew with guitarist and tambura player Adrian Lever.

Their debut album Varieties could not have a more apposite name for Alma take their inspiration from fiddle traditions in England, Tunisia, Iraq, Sweden and Poland then add their own edge to create the most harmonious array of varieties.

The album positively sweeps and soars as the instruments interlace and entwine to take the listener on an incredible aural journey through its rich diversity... hornpipe, bouree, polska, mazurka, jig and a morris tune.

Inspired arrangements of traditional expression reside in perfect harmony with original composition ... 'Clark's Hornpipe' and 'Bourees' sit happily alongside 'A-Mollpolskan/ Happy Outcome' and 'Bishop of Chester's Jig/ Winterbourne'.

Softly reflective themes engage in agreement with frenzied enjoyment, gentle illustration sits together with precise enunciation... and Varieties delivers exactly as promised.
FolkWords Magazine

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"ethereal and seductive...their repertoire continually springs surprises. The playing is spry, intelligent and joyous too"
The Sunday Times

5th October
Music at Duffield

1st November
Islington Folk Club

King & Queen, 1 Foley St, W1W 6D
8.00pm (doors open 7.30pm)

3rd November
Leighton buzzard


+44 (0)7986 572254

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