Harp And A Monkey
United Kingdom
Influences: West European , East European
Genres: electro-folk-storytelling, folk, indie folk,
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March 2022 #29 - Top 40 for West European Influence The Gallipoli Oak by Harp and a Monkey (video)
February 2022 #5 - Top 40 for West European Influence The Gallipoli Oak by Harp and a Monkey (video)
January 2022 #13 - Top 40 for West European Influence The Gallipoli Oak by Harp and a Monkey (video)
Photo by: Harp And A Monkey
About: Harp and a Monkey live
Photo by: Harp And A Monkey
About: Harp and a Monkey (debut album) Sleeve Artwork
Photo by: Harp And A Monkey
About: All Life Is Here (album cover)
Photo by: Harp And A Monkey
About: Harp and a Monkey live
Harp and a Monkey:

SONGS about cuckolded molecatchers, a lone English oak tree that grows at Gallipoli, care in the community and medieval pilgrims... we can only be talking about the folk experimentalists Harp and a Monkey.

The harp 'n' banjo driven electro-folk-storytelling of Martin Purdy (vocals, glockenspiel, accordion, harmonica and keyboards), Simon Jones (harp, guitar, viola) and Andy Smith (banjo, melodica, guitar and programming) is imbued with a deep northern English sensibility that shines through in their beautifully crafted and sometimes spooky vignettes of life, love and remembrance.

The outfit, who have been friends for more than 15 years, channel the ghosts of summers spent in municipal parks and winters walking on the moors. Ask them about their influences and they are as likely to cite Ordnance Survey maps and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as they are Bert Jansch, Bjork or Bellowhead.

Formed in 2008, Harp and a Monkey have been building up a loyal following via the old fashioned practice of relentless gigging and critically acclaimed album reviews. Regulars on the festival circuit, they expanded their live outreach in 2014 after being added to the roster of the Doddnaze music agency, as well as garnering the support of the Gig Cartel in the north of England (which has provided supports with many established acts) and the festival promoters Play Happy Promotions.

The band are particularly proud of the fact that they have gained a strong reputation for building an excellent rapport with their live audiences and the fact that they have never played anywhere and not been invited back.

Now on the roster of the respected national radio/ media PR agency of Will McCarthy, the trio’s melodic and hauntological storytelling, which is always underpinned by a firm commitment to classic songsmithery, has caught the attention and support of the likes of Steve Lamacq, Mark Radcliffe and Mike Harding on BBC Radio 2, Lopa Kothari and Nick Luscombe on BBC Radio 3, Folk Radio UK and many more international, national and regional broadcasters.

The band’s self-titled debut album received critical acclaim on its release in late 2011 and they collected excellent reviews for their contribution to the 2012 ‘Weirdlore’ compilation which highlighted Britain's most promising practitioners of alternative folk. Their second album, All Life Is Here, was released in April 2014 and again received outstanding reviews, with the likes of fRoots magazine describing them as “one of the most vital and charismatic things happening in English folk music right now”.

Harp and a Monkey have a new show to mark the centenary of the First World War, and also plan to release an album in 2015 of new material (featuring guest appearances from folk luminaries) linked to these performances. Fronted by a bona-fide WW1 expert who has written three books on the subject and is a regular contributor to BBC radio documentaries and publications, Harp and a Monkey are in a unique position to provide truly original and stimulating shows to mark the centenary of the conflict. They can also offer unique packages to promoters involving workshops, and split shows incorporating both the WW1 material and their standard material.