Raynor Winn and The Gigspanner Big Band: Saltlines

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The Salt Path is Raynor Winn’s Sunday Times best-selling memoir of walking the South West Coast Path in its entirety, under the weight of personal tragedy and misfortune. It has won global praise for its 'against all odds' uplifting message, and its frank exploration of the reality of homelessness.

The Salt Path is one couple's story, but such a well-trodden path must hold many more stories of loss, love and the natural world. Perhaps these stories could be found in the form of traditional songs and tunes that have been left behind and saved for us due to the diligence of song collectors such as Cecil Sharp and Sabine Baring-Gould.

This seed of an idea has developed into an exciting collaboration between Raynor Winn and The Gigspanner Big Band, a collective of some of the most high-profile names on the British folk scene.

Together, Raynor and The Gigspanner Big Band will celebrate, in traditional songs and newly written words, this “630 uninterrupted miles of coastline, crossing wild headlands with the calls of oystercatchers, and the smell of salt laden air ever present.”

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"Last year I met an amazing group of musicians. Individually they have remarkable musical histories, but they’ve come together to form The Gigspanner Big Band. They had a suggestion, an idea of a collaboration. Their wonderful reimagining of traditional songs and tunes collected from the south west coast path, alongside some new words from me. So I did what you do when faced with a big decision - I thought about it for 5 minutes, then said yes, absolutely yes. How could I turn down the chance to work with names that light up the folk music world?"

Raynor Winn

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"Sublime; what an evening. We were taken on a journey through sound and words which wove a kind of magic around the auditorium. Crashing waves and quiet ripples, you could almost smell the sea"

Audience member

The Gigspanner Big Band are a unique force in British folk music...

Their high-energy, virtuosic performances appeal equally to traditionalists and to those looking for something more experimental, and they have garnered praise from publications as varied as Roots, The Telegraph and The Wire, where they were described as "melodically folk-rooted yet open and innovative beyond the constraints of genre".

Beginning life as a trio formed by legendary Steeleye Span fiddle player Peter Knight, the line-up has been expanded, with acclaimed multi-instrumental duo Edgelarks (Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin - BBC Folk Awards 'Best Duo') and Bellowhead co-founder and melodeon player extraordinaire, John Spiers, joining the fray.

Characterised by riotous inventiveness, technically gifted individual playing and subtle collaborative interaction, this coming together of several of the biggest names on the folk-roots scene, combines a deep knowledge of roots traditions with a ceaselessly boundary pushing approach.

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"One of the most exceptional music evenings of my life. I was profoundly touched. The words and music flowed beautifully around the raw elemental environment. I can’t find the words to explain how life affirming it was"

Audience member