‘So stunning live’ says Tom Robinson (BBC Radio 6 Music), Faustus are known for captivating audiences with their sheer room-shaking power, vocal precision and instrumental mastery. Put simply, this band has complete command on stage and in the studio.
Their live act is recognised worldwide as well as in the UK and Europe; early 2020 saw the band performing at venues in Australia and New Zealand.
Playing music for our times, Faustus take traditional English music, rip it up, put it together again and move it on. A vigorous rhythmic impetus and rock/prog rock influence propels the sound into the here and now and a range of instruments deployed in unconventional ways gives a unique texture, depth and variety to the band’s sound.
Driving rhythms on bouzouki and guitar are reinforced by the melodeon, fiddle, oboe and cor anglais, creating arrangements that are intriguing and subtle, boisterous or punchy. ‘Faustus somehow manage to make folk sound traditional and cutting edge at the same time. It’s a good trick to pull off and a thrilling show for the spectator.’ (English Dance and Song)
Setting the band apart are the distinctive individual voices of Kirkpatrick, Sartin and Rose.
Their close harmonies are faultless and well-crafted and all three members trade lead vocals to great effect. Not content to cover the same ground twice, song after song surprises and entertains.
‘We do work hard on crafting arrangements to make them musically interesting, and also stitching together texts to make music that is not just ephemeral, but has some sort of lasting quality.’
Death and Other Animals (2016) was awarded the German Critics Award (Schallplatenkritik Bestenliste), Germany’s equivalent of the Mercury Music Prize, for outstanding new releases in terms of their value, quality of interpretation and creativity.
Faustus also received a nomination for the Malzhaus Plauen Award, 2018. Germany’s only European Folk Music Award is voted on annually by a panel of judges and live audience.
With their feet planted squarely in ‘the tradition’, the trio are seasoned ambassadors for English music. So much so that in 2016 they spent the year in residency at Halsway Manor, National Centre for the Folk Arts, plus they have each scooped special recognition awards from the English Folk Dance and Song Society.
BENJI KIRKPATRICK: Vocals, bouzoukis, guitars, mandolin and banjo
Bellowhead, Seth Lakeman Band, Steeleye Span
Benji Kirkpatrick is well known as the rhythmic driver of Bellowhead, with his ‘memorably aggressive’ (MOJO) style. Bellowhead made a huge impact on the UK folk and roots scene until they disbanded in 2016. Currently part of folk rock super group Steeleye Span, Benji previously spent three years in the Seth Lakeman Band having featured on Seth’s successful releases ‘Kitty Jay’ and ‘Freedom Fields’. Benji has also worked with numerous other artists including Oysterband, John Jones, Maddy Prior Thea Gilmore and Joan as Police Woman. He has also released four solo albums and in 2019 released his first album with new Alternative Roots trio, Benji Kirkpatrick & The Excess.
PAUL SARTIN: Vocals, fiddle, oboe and cor anglais
Bellowhead, Belshazzar’s Feast, Jon Boden & The Remnant Kings
Paul Sartin is an oboist, singer, traditional violinist, competent pianist and swanee whistle virtuoso. Paul is a prolific and highly-regarded performer, composer, arranger and teacher. He is a founding member of the award- and nomination-winning ensembles – Belshazzar’s Feast and the late Bellowhead, and also appears in Made in the Great War and with Jon Boden and The Remnant Kings. He is Musical Director of the Andover Museum Loft Singers. During 2017 and 2018 he appeared in, as well as directing the music for a new production of Peter Bellamy’s ballad opera The Transports (Guardian *****).
SAUL ROSE: Vocals and medodeon
Waterson:Carthy, Whapweasel, Eliza Carthy & The Wayward Band
Saul Rose is a renowned English folk melodeon player and singer. A long-time member of Waterson:Carthy, winning two BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards with ‘Broken Ground’ and forming a duo with Eliza Carthy. Double album ‘Red Rice’ was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize in 1998. Saul played on numerous albums, including Jackie Oates’ ‘Hyperboreans’, Norma Waterson and Eliza Carthy’s album ‘The Gift’ and soundtracks for the films ‘Morris – A Life With Bells On’ and ‘Far From The Madding Crowd’. Nominated for the Musician of The Year award in the 2010 BBC Folk Awards, during 2011 he took the part of Songman in West End play War Horse. Now part of band Whapweasel and duos with James Delarre and with Maclaine Colsten, Saul was also a founder member of Eliza Carthy & The Wayward Band.
‘So stunning live.’
Tom Robinson, BBC Radio 6 Music
‘One of Britain’s outstanding folk bands.’
**** The Guardian
‘The concept? To rescue contemporary folk from the curse of feyness…Bloke-folk!… Fans of Led Zep III should take a thoughtful interest.’
**** Independent on Sunday
‘In a genre where tradition is ever debated, Faustus present an energized and exciting take on traditional folk music. They leave New Zealand the talk of the folk community, with calls for their return already begun.’
Auckland Folk Festival Jan 2020
‘With three of the best musicians currently on the folk circuit, this EP [Cotton Lords 2019] comes highly recommended.’
‘With exquisite instrumentation and haunting harmonies to the fore, this is the quality we have come to expect from Faustus.’ [Cotton Lords EP 2019]
‘Faustus somehow manage to make folk sound traditional and cutting edge at the same time. It’s a good trick to pull off and a thrilling show for the spectator.’
English Dance and Song