What comes to mind when you think of folk music? When the days become shorter and the nights longer, there is something in those uniting vocals, the earthy strings, and the raw callings that make you feel as though you aren’t alone. There is no singular definition of folk music, but the thing that unites these folky artists to listen to is that they are able to make you feel at home.
Sleep Walking Animals – LIVE | Sofar London
Who better to serenade us into fall than indie folk band Sleep Walking Animals? Growing up together in Manchester, UK, the band have grounded their sound in choral harmonies and delicate folklore. They distill a strong sense of brotherhood that invites you into a moment where you belong. It’s a family affair.
Finnegan Tui | Sofar Shorts
From growing up on a bus and traveling between festivals with his family to composing innovative orchestral works for esteemed British galleries, New Zealand-born artist and producer Finnegan Tui knows what it means to be alive. He looks to nature and humanity for inspiration and uncovers the complex relationship between the two within his raw melodies. He travels to the roots of what’s important and tells the tales of deep folk through today’s modern lens.
Seryn – Mausoleum | Sofar Dallas – Fort Worth
Next up on folk artists to listen to this season? Something about Seryn screams folk. It’s singing in unison with so much meaning; it’s singing for all of humanity – for you. As an American indie-folk band founded in Denton, Texas, and based out of Nashville, Tennessee, the group liken themselves to an array of artists, such as of The Lumineers and Peter Gabriel. They evoke warmth in their words that conjure up the essence of community.
Sophie Lukacs – Yafa | Sofar Montreal
Based in Montréal, Canada, with roots in Budapest, Hungary, Sophie Lukacs is a special one to include in this sofar list. The originality in folk often comes from keeping traditions alive that could otherwise be forgotten. It’s a unique undertaking and one that Sophei Lukacs has committed her whole life to. Learning from the kora legend Toumani Diabaté, Lukacs has now become one of the only women in the world to play the Mandigue instrument. Combining the sound of the kora and Hungarian Jewish folk music, the artist has created her own style rooted in folk tradition.
Tara Pasveer – Miat Ni Kab | Sofar The Hague
Tara Pasveer might not describe herself as a ‘folk artist’ but in the same vein as Bjork, the singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist combines soundscapes with voice and electronics to create experimental pop that feels akin to folk. Her sound attaches itself to our surroundings. It’s folk in 2023— an experimental oral expression of life as we know it.
Rarefolk – Sideralia | Sofar Seville
Lastly for folky artists to listen to this season? Through our Sofar searches, we stumbled across Rarefolk, an ensemble of folk music with groove rock undertones that will get you out of those fatal fall moods. The band is tight in sound which leaves a sense of pure freedom for the listener. It’s an instrumental journey that ignites a fire for life (and for dancing). If they don’t get yer toes tapping on a gloomy night, we don’t know what will.
Ready to discover more folky artists to listen to? Browse shows near you.
Words by Maeve Hannigan
Photo credit: Finnegan Tui performs Sofar London, photo by Petra Gent