Biography

With her spine-tingling acapella renditions, mesmerizing interpretations of Yeats’s poetry and beautiful folk, jazz and bluesy compositions, Julie Abbé immediately captivates and deeply moves her audience. Infused with a rare sensitivity and emotional depth reminiscent of Sandy Denny, Julie's voice is full of feelings and simply spell-binding.  

Hailing from France, steeped in theatre and her native Poitou bal folk tradition, Julie moved to England in her twenties where she studied vocal jazz and immersed herself in English and Irish folk music. For the last 2 years she has been the singer for the opening ceremony of Glastonbury Festival where she performed in front of 65,000 people her composition “Medicine Tune” in 2022 and a stunning cover of “The Lost Words Blessing” in 2023.

Based in the UK for over 20 years, she loves interpreting folk songs from Ireland and the British Isles while still drawing from her French folk roots. Also well versed in jazz and blues she brings a fresh voice and unique arrangements to traditional songs.   

Her first album, Numberless Dreams (2020), received critical acclaim from sources such as Irish Music Magazine, Folk Radio UK, RnR magazine, and Northern Sky which gave it a 5-star review. Short-listed for the Album of the Year Awards by Blues and Roots Radio, it gained plenty of airplay, including on the Tom Robinson show (BBC Radio 6 Music) and Late Junction (BBC Radio 3). Recorded with Sid Goldsmith and Dominie Hooper and enriched with 3-part harmonies, warm cello, and concertina, the LP gathered beautifully-crafted arrangements of Irish traditional songs as well as sublime original renditions of Yeats poetry.

She is now back with her long-awaited second album “Out of the Ashes” (out on 5th April 2024), in which she unveils a new compelling blend of folk, swing and old-time blues, accompanied by some of the finest musicians on the jazz and world scene.

This new LP sees Julie branch off from the safe nest of arranging traditional songs to create a new, bolder, original sound reflecting the rich variety of her influences. Recorded in spring 2022 with James Grunwell (from the band “Me And My Friends”) as producer and guitarist, Ubuntu label-signee Sam Quintana on double bass, swing ambassador Ewan Bleach on reeds, and Shakespeare’s Globe player Paul Johnson on percussion and bamboo flute, “Out of the Ashes” is a collection of 12 original compositions oozing with the earthy, warm and deeply moving melodies that characterise her exciting sound.

This album takes the listener on a journey around a full cycle of love, celebrating the beauty of what once was, and honouring the different stages of the grieving and healing process that needed to happen for my heart to open again.

Julie will be performing her album live and in full at Bristol Folk House on 24th February 2024. For this performance, she will be accompanied by James Grunwell, Paul Johnson, Polly Meyrick, Alec Hewes, and John Clark. Get your ticket here

You can hear snippets from the new album and pre-order it now by clicking here

Praises for "Numberless Dreams" (2020)

Exquisite Craftsmanship… quietly devastating. Numberless Dreams is masterful in its delivery and intriguing in its opacity.” Folk Radio UK   

A skilful and sensitive composer and performer” RnR Magazine   

“Vocally superb, dramatic, innovative, a listening delight.” Irish Music Magazine

"This is folk gold. A deeply sensitive and talented artist... Beautiful, melodic, mesmerising interpretations of the great Irish bard." Folk and Tumble

" Julie Abbé brings to the folk table a new voice to celebrate." Northern Sky *****

In 2021, her single “Derrière Chez Nous” was hailed by Folk Radio UK as a “a stunningly beautiful and deeply romantic retake on a French folk classic”. 

Scroll down to listen to her previous folk and jazz projects.

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Previous Folk Projects

Melusina Trio (Bristol, 2014-2015)

A "bal folk" project, Melusina trio played lyrical and inventive folk music weaving cello, guitars and three-part harmonies. Their repertoire included beautifully arranged original and traditional songs, mazurkas, waltzes, scottisches, bourrées, etc. 
Julie Abbé: lead vocals, guitar  
Nick Rasle: guitar, backing vocals  
Amy Cox: cello, backing vocals

Duo Julie Abbé and Izzy Budd (Bristol, 2014)

Extracts from a house concert in Bristol, Feb 2018

Bohemia After Dark (2012-2013)

Anisogoma (2012-2013)