Levellers duo to perform at Richmondshire Cricket Club

Dan Donnelly and Jon Sevink perform with The Levellers. Photo: Tilly Antoine.

The Levellers come to Richmond in the run-up to the festive period – or at least a third of them do.

Two members of the six-piece band – fiddler Jon Sevink and guitarist/vocalist Dan Donnelly – are heading to Richmondshire Cricket Club for an eagerly awaited gig on Friday, December 9 and there is even a local connection with one of the pair.

Multi-talented Dan Donnelly hails from Belfast but has re-located to Stockton-on-Tees for the past two decades having met his wife Kathryn at a gig.

“Jeez, it was a long time ago and I was playing as a support for violinist Seth Lakeman on his tour when I chatted to a lady who was doing the door at a club in Stockton,” said Dan.

“She is now my wife and we have two kids aged 11 and seven. And it all started at a gig, so, you know, anything can happen.”

Two years ago Dan became a member of the group, which headlined Glastonbury in 1990s and has sold millions of records around the world.

Various albums have become favourites with their army of fans – Letters from the Underground, A Weapon called the Word and Zeitgeist (which went to No1 in the UK charts) – but a special place is reserved for Levelling the Land, a long player which stayed in the charts for several years.

“It is the songs which are so strong,” said Dan.

“People tell me I look like I’m having a great time on stage and the truth is, I am. How can you not with the strength of those songs? It’s impossible not to jump up and dance.”

Dan grew up in Northern Ireland in a music-rich environment and so it came as little surprise when he chose that path too. “My grandfather played fiddle in a folk band and I had music literally everywhere.

My family were all very much into it. I suppose my biggest early influences were The Beatles and Neil Young. I remember the first time I heard Neil Young and thinking, ah, now, that is what music can do.”

Dan played in several bands before hooking up with The Levellers, who he knew very well. “Jon and I were pals and have now been playing live together as a duet for about ten years.

“It’s crazy how time flies, but in all honesty, we both love it. As for playing with the rest of the band, it is an absolute, dream come true.

“The music is uplifting and the rest of the band are the best people you could wish to meet. I’m not just saying that, they really are.”

Richmondshire music fans are in for a treat as the legendary songs – One Way of Life, Beautiful Day, The Riverflow, Battle of the Beanfield, Cholera Well – will be given an airing by Jon and Dan.

“For me it is special to be so near to home,” said Dan.

“I know the people around here and I know what a great time they can have listening to these songs….and dancing.”

Dan hopes live music returns in spades now that the Covid lockdown days appear to be over. “I just think going live to see a show is the best thing in the world. As performers we love it and as a crowd you can create so many memories. Who can ever forget their first gig? Or their best gig? Or their worst? Everyone as a story to tell. And I was lucky enough to meet my wife at one!”

Tickets for The Levellers, with Jon Sevink and Dan Donnelly on Friday, December 9 at Richmondshire Cricket Club are priced £15 from www.wegottickets.com or through Niall Hickman on 07738 493033.

Doors open at 6.30pm and support is from Tyneside teenager Katie Grace.