Did any readers hear the recent Radio 3 Celtic Connections programmes?
Amongst some great music there was an interesting discussion about how elements of classical works have been adapted/incorporated into folk tunes and songs over the years.
A friend of mine sings in the Crouch End Festival Chorus (stay with me, there’s a folk link coming up) and last year gave me tickets to its performance of Rachmaninov’s Vespers, to be sung in Russian.
That’s one of the many languages I don’t speak and knew nothing about the Vespers or the music.
Not having a particular interest in choral works I had no idea how moving and uplifting it can be to sit at close quarters to 120 people singing with such passion and talent, even when you haven’t a clue what’s being sung. So the link to folk music is: does the name performers go by influence whether you think you’ll like what they do? For example, The Wailin’ Jennys, in my view don’t wail at all.
They sing interesting, sometimes unexpected three-part harmonies that suit admirably their guitar and banjo arrangements.
Writing of banjos brings to mind We Banjo 3. This is an Irish quartet, which does, indeed, have three banjo players and also a fourth member who plays fiddle and guitar.
As the sister of a banjo player, I wasn’t sure even I would like listening to three banjos but I’m glad I did because their work is a real ear-opener.
The name of some folk clubs gives you a very clear steer as to the type of folk you will hear. For example, the unaccompanied song nights at the Oakes Barn in Bury St Edmunds provide a great opportunity for immersing yourself in some fine a capella singing.
Some clubs encourage and cater for musicians to join in with the tunes, rather than have a lot of singing.
Yet others have an eclectic mix to showcase the wide variety there is under the folk banner.
Whatever your ‘bag’, if you’ve not already discovered the performers mentioned above, check them out: you might be pleasantly surprized. PB
Big Girls Blooze are a blues – with a little bit of pop – band who are playing a charity event at Oakes Barn on Saturday in support of the charity ‘Group 86’.
Who are they? A committed group who take children who have multiple disabilities to Lourdes at Easter. Want to know more? Contact 01788 564646 or firstname.lastname@example.org. BK
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 27
Big Girls Blooze: Oakes Barn, Bury St Edmunds. 8pm. Free. Charity event. Big raffle. Real ale.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 29
CIRCLE DANCING: Hartest and Boxford Institute Hall. 7.30-9pm. £4 on door. email@example.com.
COLCHESTER FOLK CLUB: Colchester Arts Centre. 7.45pm. £11 on door. £10 cons. The James Brothers supported by Dragonfruit.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 2
Open night: Hunter Club, Bury. 8pm. Free. All welcome.
THURSDAY, MARCH 3
CIRCLE DANCING: Drinkstone Village Hall. 10am-11.30am. £5 on door.
WOLF FOLK CLUB: Wolfeton. 8pm. Free. Singaround. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
CIRCLE DANCING: United Reformed Church, Whiting Street, Bury. 2-3.30pm. Contribution fee £5. Contact Jen Larner 01284 705548 – email@example.com