“East London bloke with banjo takes
on all-comers and comes out alive”
– Boff Whalley (Chumbawamba)

Russ Chandler

“East London bloke with banjo takes on all-comers and comes out alive”
– Boff Whalley (Chumbawamba)

Russ Chandler is a forceful singer and banjo player who sings songs he feels have something to say to the world we live in.

He plays traditional, political and modern songs.

He is a fine banjo player and as well as giving concerts can teach and give presentations on the history and culture of the instrument.

His first album Last Night In Babylon was described by fRoots magazine as “Masterly”

He is well known around the folk scenes of East London and Essex.

Contents

About Russ

I discovered the folk scene in 2003. In those days I played guitar, only taking up the banjo a couple of years later.

I loved the songs and not being a songwriter started arranging songs in order to bring them to a new audience. I play all sorts of things from modern contemporary songwriters to very old traditional songs.

I’m particularly interested in the Music Hall; discovering and arranging the old songs so they can connect with a modern audience.

I also play Classic finger-style banjo, and won the George A Keeler Memorial Trophy for finger-style banjo playing in 2012.

In addition to my solo work I am a member of Steve White & the Protest Family – east London’s favourite semi-acoustic singalong political folk punk group!

I am also promoter and one of the driving forces behind the Walthamstow Folk Club.

Videos

Paris
Paris
Paris is a song by Clive Palmer, best known for his work in the Incredible String Band. This version is very close to the banjo...
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Life in the East End of London
Life in the East End of London
I found this song on a 78. It's an old one, pre first world war I think. It was in bad condition and very hard...
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We Are Waltham Forest
We Are Waltham Forest
This performance was part of a campaign to protest cuts to the National Health Service in 2013. The song was written by Steve White from...
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I’ve Never Wronged An Onion
I’ve Never Wronged An Onion
I found this incredibly silly song in a book of comic songs on a stall at the Redbridge Green Fair. It made me laugh out...
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Which Side Are You On?
Which Side Are You On?
This is the Protest Family's version of Florence Reece's archetypal protest song "Which Side Are You On?" with Steve's changes bringing it bang up to...
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No Master
No Master
I live in Walthamstow in East London. Our most famous son is nineteenth century artist and radical William Morris. This is my arrangement of his...
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Briggs Corn Shucking Jig & Joel Sweeny’s Jig
Briggs Corn Shucking Jig & Joel Sweeny’s Jig
I love my gourd banjo, even though I don't play it as much as I'd like. My instrument was made by Flatfoot Johnny who works...
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Dandelions
Dandelions
Dandelions is a powerful protest song about the treatment and resistance of ordinary soldiers during the first world war. It was written by my friend...
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About this site

This page is a collection of my recordings and videos, plus a place for me to share some of the other bits and pieces I have come up with.

There is sheet music I have found, essays and other ephemera that may be of interest to someone.

Later I will be adding some interviews too.

I would love to make this site a portal for the sort of material that interests me so if you have any ideas for articles or would like to contribute please let me know – you can contact me here.

Thanks to Theo Michael, Guy Smallman and others for the photographs.

Latest Posts

The Banjo’s Journey
The Banjo’s Journey
The Traditions Festival was a special event of workshops, dance, music and talks based on cultural ritual and its effects on our sense of self....
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Chris Sands – Classic Ragtime Banjo
Chris Sands – Classic Ragtime Banjo
Wednesday October 22nd 2014 ~ Cecil Sharp House, London   The evening of October 22nd 2014 saw a really extraordinary concert of music at Cecil...
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Our Song Will Go On – The Peekskill Story
Our Song Will Go On – The Peekskill Story
Taken from a Topic 78 (No. TRC28 - Topic was at that point part of the Workers Music Association) featuring Paul Robeson, Howard Fast Pete...
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Cosmotheka presents The Two Leslies
Cosmotheka presents The Two Leslies
Cosmotheka predates my time on the folk scene, although I have seen Dave Sealey on lots of occasions, and we ran the rebooted version of the...
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A Smoking Concert No. 2 – Jack Hylton & his Orchestra ft. Gus Elen & Leslie Sarony
A Smoking Concert No. 2 – Jack Hylton & his Orchestra ft. Gus Elen & Leslie Sarony
I was delighted when I came across this gem. In Leslie Sarony and Gus Elen we have two of my favourite music hall artists on...
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When I Get My Bolshevik Blood Up
When I Get My Bolshevik Blood Up
I came across the title of this song in Michael Kilgarriff's book "Sing us some of the old songs, A guide to popular song 1860...
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Rufus John – The Internationale
Rufus John – The Internationale
Rufus John sings The Internationale on a record released by the Lansbury's Labour Weekly newspaper, founded by Labour MP George Lansbury and which ran from...
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Billy Bennett – Napoleon
Billy Bennett – Napoleon
Billy Bennett is much loved on the folk scene because many of his surreal monologues stand up as floor spots today. This is a lesser...
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