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Three Cane Whale




About Three Cane Whale

PhotoDebut Album

Three Cane Whale

is a multi-instrumental trio, playing acoustic miniatures which draw influence from folk and minimalist music.

 Alex Vann (mandolin, bowed psaltery, music box, tenor banjo, zither) is mandolinist with the hugely innovative and influential band Spiro. Pete Judge (trumpet, harmonium, lyre, glockenspiels, dulcitone, rotary-valve tenor horn) plays trumpet for the equally highly-regarded Get The Blessing (BBC Jazz Award-winners) and for the duo Eyebrow. Paul Bradley (acoustic guitar, miniature harp, whistle) is the maverick genius behind legendary Bristol band Organelles, and is currently touring as one-man live soundtrack for the Fleur Darkin Dance Company. Alex and Pete have also worked together previously as musician-performers with Kneehigh, the acclaimed Cornish theatre company.

Three Cane Whale's eponymous debut album was recorded live (by Spiro's Jon Hunt) in an eleven hour shift in an eighteenth-century Bristol church last summer. Distant snippets of birdsong occasionally spill into the mix, which also celebrates the eccentric creakings and clickings of the trio's unusual instrumentation. The music encompasses both a cinematic sweep and an intimate delicacy.  

The album was recently chosen by Cerys Matthews as one of her Top 5 Modern Folk Albums. 


'Perfect. A glorious adventure into new folk'  (Cerys Matthews, BBC 6Radio / Sunday Telegraph)

'Ever-inventive' (Fiona Talkington, BBC Radio 3's Late Junction)

'Elegant and atmospheric. An impressively original debut. Four stars' (Robin Denselow, The Guardian)

'An air of enchanted impressionism. Album Of The Week' (Tim Cumming, The Independent)

'A hazy shimmer. Four stars' (David Honigmann, Financial Times)

'Unusual and enchanting. Waves of delightfully understated melody and rhythm. A distinctive pleasure. Four stars' (The Irish Times)

'Measured, elegant, boundary-denying...Three Cane Whale's unsentimental yet kind precision will lighten your load. Four stars' (Mojo)

'Think of the way light refracts through a raindrop. Intricate, atmospheric and simply beautiful. Four stars" (R2)

'They bestride not just centuries of instrumentation but genres. Mesmerising' (Q)

'Snapshots of music that sound like they’ve been drawn from nature. A warming cinematic landscape, a magical journey. Rewarding listening indeed' (Songlines)

'Captivating, singular and intricate' (Uncut)

'Unutterably lovely compositions altogether too delicate for concrete description. A team of watchmakers, each crafting their own bejewelled cog, and intricately splicing together a glorious whole'  (Venue)

‘This trio hoe their own row, and do so very successfully, creating singular, contemplative and seductive moods and atmospheres. Wonderful’ (fRoots)

'Without doubt the kind of album that will grow with further listening and a good bottle of something alcoholic. Pleasing and unexpected' (Jonny Trunk, Record Collector)

'The kind of album that, once the secret is revealed, the listener will want to share, to compel their friends to listen, to explore. This album can be full of mirth or solemn, it can be as fresh and open as a deep blanket of snow, or as full of texture, colour and chaos as a pile of autumn leaves the moment the wind hits. Five stars' (Folk Radio)

'Superbly executed, melodically uplifting. An album of understated quality. I was reminded of the very best of the Incredible String Band' (PennyBlackMusic)

'An aesthetic that speaks to a wealth of musical traditions and triggers a broad range of emotions. Each piece finds its own tone, tweaking the presiding atmosphere in a multitude of interesting ways. Four stars' (The Skinny)

'A mesmerising collage of jazz, alt-folk and acoustic lo-fi rumblings that plays out like the soundtrack to a particularly obscure French arthouse film. A beautiful, fragile and utterly absorbing collection of music that is one of those rare beasts, an album that needs to be played through from start to finish. 8 out of 10' (The Digital Fix)

'Simply beautiful' (AAA Music)

'Hard to categorise but peculiarly affecting: through your headphones, the world seems a delicate, pastoral & slightly surreal place' (Word)

'There's nothing like the sound of a great group of musicians coming together under a new and fresh banner. Wonderfully alive and organic' (The Liminal)

'Bristol's experi-folk trio build works of minimal instrumental beauty to eccentric, uplifting and spellbinding effect' (Time Out)

'A quiet gentle beauty. Mesmerising" (Bristol Evening Post)

'A fantastic record deserving of all kinds of exposure' (The Local)

'Unique, hypnotic and genuinely lovely' (Strange Things Are Happening)

'Enchanting. A piece of gold leaf, ready to gild the nearest ears it comes in contact with' (Sloucher)

'Vraiment très beau, très mélodieux, très poétique. 8.2/10' (Des Chips et du Rosé)

'An instrumental masterpiece. Spellbinding, inventive and uniquely uplifting' (Rhythm and Booze

'A pristine purity of vision. Very lovely' (Listomania)

'Minimalism, simplicity and lucidity. Three Cane Whale tick all my boxes for instrumental music' (LiveMusicFM)

'Beautifully resonant acoustics, jittery rhythms and intimate arrangements. You can almost hear the history behind the old instruments seeping through the speakers in the atmospheric tones that they generate' (Vanguard Online

'Les musiciens parviennent sans aucune difficulté à nous plonger dans une atmosphère très plaisante, entre folk et musiques médiévales. Une heureuse surprise rafraîchissante que cet opus d'un trio à découvrir absolument!' (Paris On The Move)

' It’s a great credit to a band when, on your first listen, you come to your senses fifteen minutes later when the playlist has finished and find that you’ve unintentionally listened to it all the way through. Eccentric and gifted instrumental folk music that you could just lie in the grass and listen to for hours.' (Thank Folk For That)



email: threecanewhale@gmail.com

Friday January 25th 2013 - double-bill with SPIRO, St George's, Bristol

- "A cinematic and breathtakingly beautiful double-bill pairs two ‘folk-meets-minimalism’ instrumental bands at the forefront of the new wave of inspirational English acoustic music." See http://www.stgeorgesbristol.co.uk/events/spiro-three-cane-whale/. Tickets £12. 

Thursday March 7th 2013 - Dame Cicely Saunders Concert Series, St Christopher's Hospice, Sydenham

- 7.30-9.30pm.

Full details at http://www.stchristophers.org.uk/fundraising/event/2013/concert-series-three-cane-whale

Friday March 8th 2013 - Folk Union promotion, Kings Place, London

- 8.00pm, tickets £9.50 (online savers). Our exclusive London album launch gig!

Full details at http://www.kingsplace.co.uk/whats-on-book-tickets/music/three-cane-whale#.UKJ-c47ZkUU

Saturday March 9th 2013 - Artsreach, Dorset, details tbc

Saturday April 13th 2013 - Salisbury Arts Centre, details tbc

Saturday July 13th 2013 - Priddy Church, Priddy Folk Festival, details tbc

Saturday July 20th 2013 - Larmer Tree Festival, details tbc

Saturday August 24th 2013 - Folk East Festival, Suffolk, details tbc


We've just finished the epic process of recording our new album: 22 tracks, recorded live (by Rob Harbron) in 20 different locations in Dorset, Bristol, Somerset, South Wales, and London. It's been an extraordinary journey - we've hunkered down with a bewildering array of instruments, and a small gaggle of mic stands, in chapels, churches, kitchens, forests, docklands, an allotment shed, and even above a waterfall. The resulting album will be out early in the New Year - watch this space for further details - and we'll be launching it nationally at Kings Place in London on March 8th (see Forthcoming Gigs). See our Facebook page for sneak preview photos

Some great gigs recently (especially Partrishow Church, Priddy Folk Festival, Bristol Green Week, Cambridge Folk Festival, Wilderness Festival, and Cecil Sharp House), and lots of dates now coming in for 2013

BAFTA-winning animator Emma Lazenby commissioned a new track from us for her beautiful 3-minute film "The History Of An Orange" which was shown on Channel 4 in July. You can still see it here: http://randomacts.channel4.com/

Bristol's 2012 Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival commissioned another new track from us for their festival trailer. You can find it here: http://www.encounters-festival.org.uk/

If you're not already following us on Facebook, then do join us at http://www.facebook.com/threecanewhale

And you can follow us on Twitter at @3canewhale

And if you're not already on our e-mailing-list, drop us a line at threecanewhale@btinternet.com and we'll add you on

Partrishow Church, South Wales


Saturday June 2nd, 2012, 4pm - Partrishow / Patricio Church, South Wales (grid reference OS2788922434)

Thanks to all who came to this exquisite little church hidden away in the Welsh Black Mountains, five miles north of Abergavenny. The church was completely full, with people joining us from local farms, from our hometown of Bristol, and even from London. Special thanks to Rob in nearby Gelliwelltog Farm. We hope to make this an annual event.

Live footage of 3CW

3CW live at Redland Church, where the album was recorded, in May 2011. Video footage courtesy of The Wraiths. 


album available from threecanewhale.com