You could say that Sara Watkins’ solo work was a lifetime in the making. The singer-songwriter and fiddle player spent nearly two decades as one-third of Nickel Creek, the Grammy Award-winning acoustic trio. This week she is back promoting her second solo album. Plus: Anda Union, Amelia Curran.

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ANDA UNION

Norwich Arts Centre, February 4

Let it never be said that you can’t hear sounds from around the world in Norwich — even outer Mongolian! Anda Union, who play Norwich Arts Centre on Monday, describe themselves as music gatherers, digging deep into Mongol traditions and unearthing bygone music. As with all nomads the Mongols have an oral culture, passed on generation to generation in stories, music and songs, Anda Union sing their history. The main instrument, the morin huur or horse head fiddle, pays homage to their most revered animal, the horse. They combine different traditions and styles of Mongolian music and are determined to save their culture, re-engage young Mongols, and fight for their endangered sacred grasslands. Formed 11 years ago in 2000, the band have influenced a generation of young Mongolians in Inner Mongolia as traditional music flourishes in the capital. Band member Nars says: “Most of the members have been playing together since childhood. As adults, we studied professional vocals and instruments together. We are like a family.”

t Further listening: www.andaunion.com

SARA WATKINS TRIO

Norwich Arts Centre, February 7

You could say that Sara Watkins’ solo debut was a lifetime in the making. The 28-year-old singer-songwriter and fiddle player spent nearly two decades, all of her teenage and young adult life, as one-third of Nickel Creek, the Grammy Award-winning acoustic trio that used contemporary bluegrass as a starting point for its no-genre-barred sound.

With Nickel Creek on indefinite hiatus, she finally got to release her self-titled solo album, produced by former Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones. It featured an impressively wide range of backing players and old friends, including itinerant alt-country duo Gillian Welch and Dave Rawling and numerous fellow travellers from the bluegrass world.

Her solo material has an air of easy-going virtuosity, displaying her skill as a multi-instrumentalist, playing the guitar and ukulele as well as the fiddle.

Her second solo album, Sun Midnight Sun, released last year, featured vocals from Jackson Browne and Fiona Apple, and When It Pleases You, a song by Adele’s writing partner Dan Wilson.

It won critical praise for the artist’s willingness to go beyond the traditional bounds of folk and roots, pulling in everything from quirky indie pop to West Coast folk-rock to harmony-drenched Americana.

t Further listening: www.sarawatkins.com

AMELIA CURRAN

Bicycle Shop, February 7

The Bicycle Shop continues its recent run of welcoming Canadian artists. Singer-songwriter Amelia Curran started playing guitar and writing songs as a teenager and eventually dropped out of university in order to busk on the streets of her native town of St John’s in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Now based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, her music has been described as being a bit like Leonard Cohen being channelled in a dusty saloon by Patsy Cline. Soulful, heartfelt and in a folk-blues vein, it features skilled instrumentation, though the cornerstone remains Amelia’s fabulous voice.

She released her first album Barricade in 2000 and since then she has released four more including Trip Down Little Road, Lullaby for Barflies, Hunter Hunter and War Brides.

The later saw her nominated for Female Artist of the Year and Folk Album of the Year, and after gaining an international release, has outsold all her previous albums. She was also the subject of an award-winning documentary entitled Move On.

She is touring in support of her latest album Spectators, which sees the Juno-winning artist widen her folk influences to include brass, strings, piano, and rumbling percussion.

t Further listening: www.ameliacurran.com

SOUNDS IN THE CITY

FEBRUARY 1

Jhest (hip hop) — Open

The Cleaving Heavages (risqué rock) — Brickmakers

Keno Kings (blues/soul) — Blueberry

Untold (rock) — King Edward VII

The Dude Coopers (bluegrass) — Silver Road Cottage

The Cream Horns (blues/funk) — Walnut Tree Shades

Bassjam: feat. Killamonjambo (dance/ska/hip hop) — Hideout

The Harvs (roots) — Brewery Tap

A13 Allstars (Americana and blues) — The Otter Drayton

Norwich Folk Club: feat. Poacher — Christ Church Centre

Lee Vasey (blues/jazz) — Ber Street Gates

Steve Pye — Moles Rest

Acoustic Charity Gig — B2

FEBRUARY 2

Thurston Moore + Michael Chapman (indie) — Arts Centre

Pure Passion + Black Diamond (pop/rock) — Brickmakers

Mastema (metal) — B2

Don’t Spook The Horses + The Offshore Rivers (Neil Young tribute) — Olives

Thin Ice (rock/indie) — The Woolpack

Hot Cold Ground (blues) — The Wild Man

Wicked Faith (rock) — King Edward VII

Dub Pistols (ska/hip hop) — Hideout

The DP3 (rock/pop) — Blueberry

Thin Ice (rock/indie) — The Woolpack

Eclipse (reggae/hip hop) — Hog In Armour

Honeydripper (blues/soul) — Old Catton Maids Head

Wypeout (50s/60s) — Wensum Social Club

A13 Allstars (Americana/blues) — Micawbers Tavern

Clive & The Wanderers (rock‘n’roll) — Arkwrights

Klezmerized (roots) — The Champion

Doozoot — Angel Gardens

Tony Cann — Heath House

Graham Johns — Kier Hardie Hall

Alan Ley — The Windmill

FEBRUARY 3

Bexxy’s Blues Jam — King Edward VII

Dumfoundus (pop/acoustic/3pm) — Brewery Tap

Lena Black & The Uptown Playboys (blues) — Wensum Valley Hotel

Lee Vasey Big Band (12pm) — Brickmakers

Lee Vasey Solo (5pm) — Silver Road Cottage

FEBRUARY 4

Anda Union (world) — Arts Centre

It’s Not OK + 3 more (pop-punk) — Blueberry

Jazz Jam: feat. Rich Buddie — Walnut Tree Shades

Jazz Jam: feat. Brendan Young + Lee Vasey + Ian Hireson + Mark Jolley (jazz) — Silver Road Cottage

Brickie Session (open mic) — Brickmakers

FEBRUARY 5

Orange Goblin + Admiral Sir Cloudsley Shovell (metal) — Waterfront Studio

Norwich School Senior Jazz Orchestra (big band swing) — Oaklands Hotel

New World Service (rock/pop) — Brickmakers

Phab Club: feat. Roger Dowe — Vauxhall Centre

Traditional Folk Night — Beehive

Jam Night — Rumsey Wells

FEBRUARY 6

Patrick Wolf (acoustic) — Arts Centre

Rose Marie (country/Irish/Americana) — Maddermarket Theatre

Lovely Promo: feat. Café Warriors + Robyn Comfort + Matchbox Heroes (swing/jazz) — Walnut Tree Shades

Grapevine: feat. Jack Harris + Cara Winter + Crumbs For Comfort (indie/acoustic) — Bedfords

Pure Acoustic (open mic) — Brickmakers

Traditional Irish — Gatehouse

Open Mic — Garden House

FEBRUARY 7

Sara Watkins Trio (folk/singer-songwriter) — Arts Centre

Amelia Curran (singer-songwriter) — Bicycle Shop

Dave Thomas & His Blues Band (blues) — Maddermarket Theatre

Voices + more (hardcore) — B2

Epic Acoustic: feat. Addison’s Uncle + Jake Morrell + Jack Poot (folk/acoustic) — Epic

Lovely Promo: feat. James Pearce + Freya Roy + Stewart Harrington + Matt Watson (folk/acoustic) — Ten Bells

Ghostriders Western Club: feat. Stubby (country) — TA Centre

Ramon Goose (blues) — Walnut Tree Shades

Honey Bee (blues) — Rumsey Wells

Bad Amplitude (rock) — Brickmakers

Crusin’ For A Bluesin’ (blues) — Rose Tavern

Open Mic — Lounge

Open Mic — Coach & Horses

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