Bio

“Having you play at our festival added hugely to the ambiance and atmosphere.. truly awesome!” Stoke Bruerne Canal Festival

“With his impressive and colourful arsenal of ‘squeezeboxes’, a great range of material, from wild cajun tunes to solemn and powerful anti-war songs in the best English tradition, and even an odd Morris tune! Involved in many bands and projects, Phil sure has stories to tell…” Daria Kulesh, Radio Dacorum

“..wonderful performance of The Songman’s repertoire .. for the acclaimed show “Warhorse”.  Phil played exquisitely pianissimo introductions and sang in a very moving way” Acorn Folk Club

imageFrom a respected music, dance and theatrical family on the Isle of Wight, Phil Underwood has been playing traditional music for over forty years. He is a leading exponent of the Cajun and Zydeco accordion and folk music on the melodeon and anglo concertina. One of the few Creole style accordion and fiddle players this side of the Atlantic Phil has appeared with many legendary figures in the Louisiana roots music world.   He was selected nationally in 2012, along with only eleven other folk singers, to the National Theatre War Horse SongMan School from which he graduated with distinction and was personally invited by celebrated folk singer and actor John Tams to audition for the part of SongMan. Phil is now making a name as a folk singer writing great songs and tunes, spiced up with influences from the Louisiana swamps. Living on the Grand Union canal he can often be seen playing at canal festivals. His exciting new 2017 show Canals of Old England features music, poetry and stories from the English canals.

His career in entertainment includes

  • Robson Green’s Tales of The Coast (ITV)
  • prominent speciality part in BBC Eastenders,
  • major gig playing with Bill Bailey at Wembley Arena
  • appearances on BBC Breakfast TV, Radio 4, BBC World Service and Songs of Praise
  • graduation with distinction from the National Theatre’s War Horse Songman School
  • invited by War Horse production to audition for Songman part
  • session musician on several roots albums
  • International awards for accordion playing and CDs
  • currently musician with the Fishwives Choir, playing on their charity video and single and EP
  • Currently leader of acclaimed band The Creole Brothers
  • Musician with Kara Folk Band
  • Playwright – Roses and Castles stageplay

Instruments

Diatonic button accordions, Melodeons, anglo concertina, fiddle, viola, guitar, whistle, bodhran, zydeco scrubboard, triangle.

Genres

British Folk/Roots, Louisiana Cajun, Creole, Zydeco, French, Appalachian, French Cafe, Blues, French Canadian, Reggae, Singer/Songwriter, Irish, Breton.

Awards

  • Recipient of the third place gold cup in the 2012 Squeezebox Shootout contest for Cajun accordion players in Jennings, Louisiana
  • Nominee second place in the 2000 Cajun French Music Association Prix Dehors de Nous awards
  • Winner of Cajunweb Award Best Zydeco CD in Europe, 2005

Highlights

  • Wembley Arena with Bill Bailey
  • The National Theatre War Horse Songman School
  • Saulieu Cajun and Zydeco Festival, France
  • BBC Breakfast TV with the Fishwives Choir
  • Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival
  • Belladrum Festival with Grammy Nominee Lisa Haley and the Zydekats
  • Glastonbury Festival with Joli Blon Cajun Band
  • 100 Club, London fronting CJ Chenier’s Red Hot Louisiana Band
  • Great British Beer Festival, Olympia, London
  • Rendezvous des Cajuns TV Show, Eunice, Louisiana
  • The National Theatre, London
  • Rhythmtree World Music Festival, Isle of Wight
  • File Gumbo Cajun Club
  • Gloucester Cajun and Zydeco Festival
  • The Stables, Wavendon with Dan Raza and the Shrouds
  • Louisiana Mardi Gras
  • Pontchartrain Festival, France
  • Americana Festival, Belgium
  • Ealing Blues Club

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