top of page
  • Writer's pictureFolklore: In Session

Frankie Archer @ The Folklore Rooms - 09/11/23

Fresh off her stunning appearance on the iconic Later… with Jools Holland, Frankie Archer treated the sold-out audience of The Folklore Rooms to a mesmerising night of unique, electronic trad-folk.

No two shows are ever the same at The Folklore Rooms - a testament to the venue’s commitment to the discovery of new artists. It’s truly brilliant getting to witness winning introductions of musical journeys that are destined for longevity, as is the case with Northumbrian talent Frankie Archer.

Supported by Folklore favourite ALY, the night is one shared amongst friendly faces in the delightfully laid-back atmosphere of this intimate venue. With laughter, ALY confesses that she still hasn’t mastered those between-the-song anecdotes, she nevertheless charms the crowd with her accomplished songwriting, beautiful vocals and infectious smile.

The room, almost at capacity from the off, miraculously expands to accommodate the packed crowd. With a dimming of lights, the gentle sound of a breaking storm sends a gentle hush across the crowd as they're drawn into the close harmony that begins a rendition of Close the Coalhouse Door. A Capella, Archer’s voice pierces the room, bringing a new loneliness to the folk song when sung as a solo.

Humbly thanking the audience for coming down to her first show in Brighton, as well as Aly, seated in the front row for the beautiful set, Archer begins to unveil the modern inflections of her music that make her so unique, as she introduces her next song, over an intoxicating trap beat. A moment of reflection hangs in the air after each song before applause, and Archer continues telling the rich histories and stories that underpin each tune.

Revealing her musicianship, Over the Border is an exceptional track that sees Archer singing in close harmony with pre-recorded backing vocals, whilst simultaneously playing a fiddle motif. In the following song, Archer samples the crowd’s hum, and I couldn’t have been the only one with goosebumps as the layered sounds begin to mimic that of a mineshaft, descending slowly into the earth.

The atmosphere Archer crafts cast shadows of days gone by, with much of the first half of the set made up of these bubbling, intense lullaby-like folk songs that are haunting in their minimal but lamenting composition. The second half, Archer dedicates to the track list of her new EP, Never So Red, and she continues to unveil her unique approach to folk music that brings a palpable tension to the set.

It must also be said that Archer is an artist who knows the power of her voice, bringing to light some problematic cultural issues some of folks’ traditional lyrics have, as heard in EP opener Oxford City. Condemning the perception of woman and girls as ‘prizes to be won,’ Archer makes subtle changes to songs that reveal the eminent need for equality still, as well as inspire folk music’s shouldering of said equality.

Assured in her passion for folk, Archer is unafraid to stray from the same, worn, trodden English paths she sings so sweetly about, with dynamic reinventions of these traditional songs. Perhaps the most undeniable expression of this was the brilliant finale, O the Bonny Fisherlad, with catchy fiddle motifs and a thumping beat, that made you want to swing out your arms and spin.

In the magical tapestry of sound she weaves, Frankie Archer not only refreshes the timeless melodies of folk but also leaves behind her own distinct mark, embracing the ever-changing spirit of music and its power to challenge the norm.

Words by Etienne Ferenc

Photos: @lalionnephotography


Folklore Sessions returns on the 21st November at The Folklore Rooms for the monthly showcase.

Doors: 19h30 Free Entry

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page