glittertigger: (Folk tigger)
I spent yesterday at the Marlborough Jazz Festival, as I have a friend there who kindly let a whole horde of people stay. Jazz isn't my usual kind of music, but I like most things live so I thought it was worth a try. As it happens, there was a lot of blues and folk music as well as the jazz. The first performers I saw were While and Matthews, a folk duo who had pretty enough songs, but after a few minutes they all started to sound the same. We wandered off to see Esmond Selwyn, a reasonable jazz guitarist let down by poor backing and terrible acoustics.

We managed to find the delayed gig by Souler Rhythm. They are an interesting jazz/funk fusion band containing five different nationalities. They were sufficiently lively and entertaining that I just about forgave them for being so late for a gig that it had to be rescheduled and moved to a different venue. After that I stuck my head into the pub garden where Dave Swarbrick and his cronies were playing, so I can confirm that (contrary to The Telegraph's obituary a few years ago) he is still alive and playing the fiddle. We also saw Steve "Big Man" Clayton, a fine blues singer and piano player. I finished up by seeing The Red Stripe Band, who had enormous energy and got almost everyone on their feet and dancing. I didn't dance myself, as I was just too tired and went off to get some sleep.
glittertigger: (Default)
The Oxford band I have been going on about for months are one of the winners of the Glasto 2007 Emerging Talent Competition:

They are also playing at The Cellar on May 10th and the Zodiac on May 17th. Sadly I can't make it to either gig due to work :(
glittertigger: (Folk tigger)
The music spanned the whole range of standards at the Oxford Folk Festival. The headliners were consistently good and included the best live act I've seen all year (Salsa Celtica). The Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain headlined Friday evening and gave us entertaining covers of an amazingly wide range of songs, with a considerable dose of humour. Both they and the audience had a great time. Saturday afternoon was headlined by Spiers and Boden, who were on fine form and I always prefer them as a duo rather than in their big band (Bellowhead). Saturday night finished with Salsa Celtica, who had enormous energy and any one of whom could keep the audience dancing by themselves (they all proved it). They were lively, unpredictable and musically sophisticated and I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat not wanting to lose attention for a second. I thought they were better at the straight celtic stuff than the fusions and the jigs were fabulous (they have an awesome fiddler), but I guess that is a more crowded market and the celtic / latin fusion helps differentiate them. Sunday afternoon saw two folk legends combine, John Renbourn (the guitarist from Pentangle) and Robin Williamson, a great harpist and storyteller. Their instrumental work was incredibly delicate and free-flowing and the harp was re-tuned towards the end for a remarkable blues performance.

The younger support acts were at best only bearable and a few were so bad I was driven to walk out after five minutes or, when that would have caused too much disruption, stick my fingers in my ears and hope the horrid noise would become inaudible (this didn't work). Giving hour long slots to introspective teenagers wailing tedious ballads (all in the same key and time signature) in Gaelic / Norwegian / gibberish accompanied by clumsily played stringed instuments was probably an error. I've heard better in most pub sessions and I've no idea how some of these got booked.

Folk music

Feb. 27th, 2007 04:34 pm
glittertigger: (Folk tigger)
My musical discovery this weekend was the wonderful Danny George Wilson, a singer-songwriter in the folk/country tradition with subtle lyrics and great guitar technique. He was supporting The Epstein at the Holywell Music Room and much as I like them, I think he outclassed them. He has an album available on Amazon and I'm about to buy it (he sold all the copies he had with him on Saturday).

I have just arranged to be a steward at the Oxford Folk Festival at the end of March (a few hours work in exchange for a free pass for the weekend). Tickets aren't cheap and being a steward has been great fun when I've done it before at Sidmouth and Towersey. Thought I'd mention it in case any of you felt like doing the same and wanted to try and share shifts with me.


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January 2013

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