‘There is simply no way that two men in faded denim jeans should be this entertaining!’– Downend Folk Club
Those attending Paul & Paul’s annual May and Christmas sell-out tours are treated to a mix of seasonal songs and tunes, plus classical music, pop, music-hall and traditional folk. All topped off with audience participation and lashings of wry humour. Paul Sartin (vocals, oboe, violin and swanee whistle) and Paul Hutchinson (accordion) together entertain audiences across the UK, Australia and beyond with their eclectic and eccentric mix of tunes, songs and chat that sends audiences home with a smile.
Having met in the mid nineties, Paul and Paul formed a duo and began working for ceilidhs and social dances. Their other early recordings were song and tune sets and they toured America and Belgium, mostly playing for social dances. Working with caller Andrew Shaw on a project exploring the work of the 18th century composer Nathaniel Kynaston, they went on to release Mr Kynaston’s Famous Dance volume 1 (2000) and volume 2 (2002). Another album drawn from the social dance repertoire, John Playford’s Secret Ball, followed in 2001.
Belshazzar’s Feast have released nine critically acclaimed albums across their long career. Their first winter-themed album, Frost Bites (2009), earned them a nomination for Best Duo at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. In celebration of twenty years of working together, 2014 saw the release of The Whiting’s On The Wall; ‘One of the most intimate and entertaining live albums I’ve heard.’ – Songlines
Regularly appearing on regional and national radio stations and folk shows, recent appearances include broadcasts on Radio Canberra (pictured below), BBC Radio 2 with Chris Evans and with Claire Balding, and on BBC Radio 3 In Tune. The duo also work together with charity organisations, and in hospitals and care homes. They were the support band for Bellowhead’s tour of the UK in 2009.
As they put together a new album and a scrapbook-style book, the duo are reflecting on their 25 years plus of performing together, and looking ahead to being able to go the road to share the new material with fans. Album and book are due out in 2021.
‘Amidst the jesting and hilarity, they sit as fine an example of traditional English folk music as you’re likely to hear.’ – Mike Ainscoe, Bright Young Folk
‘Paul Hutchinson and Paul Sartin play like no-one else you’ve ever heard. Their music is breathtaking and wickedly inventive and the between-tunes interchange as intelligent and hilarious as the music. But don’t let me give you the impression they’re a lightweight comedy act: they finish the set with a haunting piece of oboe and accordion magic which has the audience spellbound.’ – BBC Radio 2 Mike Harding
‘Their intricately arranged instrumentals are a roomful of strangers introducing themselves at a party and getting along fine. You don’t know what’s coming up next and you enjoy the danger…lords of misrule.’ – Living Tradition
As a singer, oboist, violinist, composer and arranger, Paul Sartin performs and records extensively with Belshazzar’s Feast, the trio Faustus, Jon Boden & The Remnant Kings, and with multi-award-winning big band Bellowhead.
Paul is consultant and Director of the Andover Museum Loft Singers and the author of Community Choirs Collection – Folk published by Faber Music. He was a Choral Scholar at Magdalen College, Oxford, then subsequently a Lay Clerk at Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, and preferred Bass Deputy in Winchester Cathedral Choir.
A BASCA-nominated composer, Paul’s commissions include works for the RSC, Choir of Somerville College, Oxford, Streetwise Opera, Aldeburgh Music, and the BBC Radio 4 series, Playing the Skyline.
During 2017 and 2018 he appeared in, and directed the music for a new production of Peter Bellamy’s ballad opera, The Transports (Guardian 5*), and composed the music for a number of Shakespeare productions including Cymbeline, King of Britain in 2019 with The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.
Paul continues to work in education and has gained an MMus with distinction from the University of Newcastle. He is a recipient of a 75th Anniversary Award from the English Folk Dance and Song Society.
Paul studied piano and church organ before taking up the accordion because the local Morris side needed a musician. Cecil Sharp House, Halsway Manor and Benslow Music, various Summer Schools (Dartington, Folkworks, Marlborough) and festivals including The Australia National have all employed Paul as a tutor because of his unique style.
Paul’s love of performing and composing fusion music began with Hoover the Dog and surfaced more recently in the duo Pagoda Project with jazz clarinettist Karen Wimhurst. Their debut album Clarion received 5* reviews from Songlines and fRoots.
His latest album, Petrichor, features musician friends from around the world similarly affected by lockdowns. Väsen (Sweden), Naragonia (Belgium), Karen Axelrod and Shira Kammen (USA), Allye Sinclair (Australia), Seona Pritchard, Karen Wimhurst and Sheepstealers (UK) all performed on Petrichor.
Paul has more than a passing interest in English dance music. Following the publication of his book of 18th century dance tunes by Faber Music in 2019, he composed and recorded variations of these tunes with The Maniacs. Reviews of this album likened the sound to both Jethro Tull and Penguin Café Orchestra.