|Music, music, music!
||[Aug. 23rd, 2014|10:18 pm]
If folk concerts come in threes, that makes them good things, doesn't it? This post mainly as an aide mémoire for me, for when I'm trying to remember who I have heard, and where.
Starting with two early evening concerts at Elvet Methodist church, part of Folkworks' Durham Gathering (on the back of the summer schools).
As Chris Pentney said, introducing Thursday's concert, all music is about Moving Air, but they had used the phrase nonetheless to label a session of wind and vocal music from Ian Lowthian, Lester Simpson, Sylvain Barou, Saul Rose, Nathan Armstrong, John Somerville. It was all very agreeable, and the sad truth is that it would take more chasing around the internet than I have time for at the moment to remind me which of them was which. Except Sylvain Barou, the Breton flautist, who was interesting because he played at quite improbable speed, and with a phrasing that made even familiar tunes almost unrecognisable, as if he were playing in a foreign accent. Also because he told an accordion joke, which in that company was brave of him.
Friday was party night, a 25 Years and counting celebration of Folkworks, with Alistair Anderson (of course!), Bella Hardy, Ian Stephenson, Sam Pirt, Sarah Hayes, Kat Davidson, Dave Gray and Grace Smith - people who have studied or tutored or both in turn at Folkworks summer school. We arrived early and found seats just behind the rows reserved for the Junior Summer School, with Eliza Carthy in the middle of the children, her blue pony tail two rows ahead of us. I was interested to hear Bella Hardy, and enjoyed her songs, but not as much as I enjoyed Kat Davidson and Dave Gray, both of whom I have heard at different stages of their Folk Degree course.
After the show we went for a pie and a pint at the Court, then called in at Old Shire Hall for an arts event involving short films: you wandered from room to room and caught the film at whatever point in the loop it had reached. There were art films, so there was nothing like narrative to make this a problem. I rather liked Amelia Crouch's Tractor Parade (does what it says on the tin). I walked into Lucia Schweigert's Living with Sin on a magnificent image, a human figure in bright blood-red dwarfed by grey stone steps (the lower section of the illustration on the page) and liked the film it came from less and less as it proceeded. The show was free, and an opportunity to get inside Old Shire Hall which has been shut up for too long, so any enjoyment of the artworks on show was an unlooked for bonus.
Wednesday was BoyBear's birthday, so that's the day we chose for our annual visit to the Bears during their Whitby Folk Week holiday. We spent the afternoon walking round the town, exploring beyond the crowded centre, and checking out where we might have dinner. We decided on the White Horse and Griffin (I recommend the kedgeree scotch egg). We tried to get into the Coliseum, where the Furrow Collective were topping the bill, but it was obvious there would be no room for people without season tickets, so we rushed up the hill to the Rifle Club.
We arrived partway into a set by the Dovetail Trio: they were full of bounce and enthusiasm, and I enjoyed what I heard. Next up was Mike Tickell, of whom a little goes a long way with me: it's reached the stage where I am irrationally irritated by everything he does, so it's only fair to report that BoyBear felt he gave sound entertainment (while I sat and muttered "aren't you going to introduce your guitarist, then?"). The high point of my evening was Paul Downes; I can't find his lovely version of Cyril Tawney's Oggy Man, but this is fun:
None of us took to singer-songwriter Stan Graham, though he was clearly popular with the audience as a whole: "facile," said BoyBear. I though Rosewood were OK, the Bears (who know far more about music than I do) thought they weren't. They produced the evening's most unexpected choice of song, Kirsty McColl's In These Shoes?, but I don't think they got away with it. Finally, at eleven o'clock, we reached the top of the bill with Sara Grey and Kieron Means. By now the audience was thinning out, and I don't think it was any reflection on the performers - who were terrific - just exhaustion. Certainly, all I wanted to do was go home to bed (home for these purposes being the attic of the Beaches guest house, with a fine view of the abbey.