Folk Roots of Britain and Ireland

From our inception the aim of Real World Records was always to release albums by artists that we loved and deserved a larger audience, wherever they came from. We've been driven by our emotional connection to the music and not by any intellectual or ethnomusicological desire to be completist or all encompassing in our output.

That said, as we enter our 29th year, the consequence of having such a long history means that fascinating connections musically, stylistically or geographically can be drawn between artists or albums that we’ve been lucky enough to release. Over the course of the coming year, we thought it might be fun and interesting to investigate some of those connections a little further by revisiting some well known, and some not so well known, albums from the catalogue.

To kick things off, we’ll be focussing first on albums by Spiro (Repeater), Martyn Bennett (Grit), 9Bach (Anian) and The Gloaming (2) which we have gathered together under the title Folk Roots of Britain and Ireland. Four very different musical experiences by four artists bound together by the way they embrace and utilise their traditional folk roots only to reinvent or subvert them to create something totally new.

You also can receive a 25% discount when you buy any of the related titles in the Real World Store. Just use the discount code >> realworld25 << in the RW Store before 29 January 2018.

9Bach Anian CD / LP
The Gloaming The Gloaming CD / LP
The Gloaming 2 CD / LP
Martyn Bennett Grit CD / LP
Spiro Repeater LP

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  • Anian


    Released 28 April 2016

    ‘Anian’ is 9Bach's third album. Like 2014's ‘Tincian’ it begins in North Wales, but broadens out through Greek and Near Eastern influences into an emotional tour de force. Angry, sad, but most of all passionate at the state of the world, the album taps into a truly universal language.
  • Grit

    Martyn Bennett

    Released 12 October 2003

    Grit —the late Martyn Bennett’s most extraordinary work and his final project— is a deeply emotional collection of traditional singers showcased via an avalanche of sounds and beats, rooted in the past but glorying in modern dance culture.
  • The Gloaming 2

    The Gloaming

    Released 26 February 2016

    The Gloaming dwells at the musical crossroads, enhancing traditional Irish music’s rich, melancholic tones with modern hues of jazz, contemporary classical and experimental music as they redefine what Irish music can be. This, their second album, was recorded at Real World studios during an inspired week in December 2015.
  • Repeater


    Released 20 October 2016

    Repeater is an anthology of Spiro's music pressed onto vinyl for the first time, with tracks selected from all four of their Real World albums Pole Star (1997), Lightbox (2009) Kaleidophonica (2012) and Welcome Joy and Welcome Sorrow (2015). Repeater showcases the exquisite sound of these four brilliant musicians whose aim is to combine the multi-layered complexity of classical music with the melodic strength of traditional folk tunes and the simplicity and groove of modern loop-based music.

By Online Editor

Published on Fri, 12 January 18

Further reading

9Bach’s Lisa Jen Brown on the art of storytelling

If you have a story to tell, my default setting is to always tell it. 

Why Jane Harbour looks for a Happy Accident when composing with Spiro

Jane Harbour offers some insight into her process of composing music with the band Spiro