Tonight I went with The Mister and my parents up to Castle Cornet for one of their KPMG sponsored Castle Nights.
For four evenings in July/August the castle opens up for free and has musical acts performing. People are welcome to bring picnics and wine and just join in the atmosphere. Tonight we saw GU10, the The Houghton Weavers and ImaginJack who are pictured here. They are a duo who sing opera. He has a spectacular moustache and they were very entertaining.
A lovely evening out, and there is one more next week. Hurray!
Last day at Sark Folk Festival and the morning greeted us with torrential rain. We had to get our tent packed up and into the container and then we were free to wander off to the site. There were definitely fewer people there today as people started to get their boats back to Guernsey.
We managed to catch the final act of the festival Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman and they were fantastic. Poor Kathryn had a hacking cough but her voice was still incredible and I was hugely entertained by their five year old daughters who sat on the edge of the stage whilst their parents performed. What was especially sweet was seeing them sing along with the songs. A brilliant way to end the festival.
So, at the end of the weekend what do I think? Sark Folk Festival is truly unique, limited to it’s size in terms of geography as much as anything I doubt whether it will attract any massive acts, but it is such a charming venue for a boutique festival. I will definitely go back, although next year might be in a B&B as I am not sure I can face camping over there with a 6 month old baby!
Guernsey has such a brilliant line-up of local folk bands and there is a really health folk scene.
The band pictured are called The Barley Dogs and The Mister and I have seen them play a number of times. The double bass player is well known for climbing onto his bass whilst he is playing it. There are great fun and generally get the crowd up and jigging. We saw a few great bands today including The John Wesley Stone and yesterday we saw The Space Pirates of Rocquaine. It’s fabulous to see local bands doing so well.
We finished off our night by watching the amazing Show of Hands who as ever were incredible. Funny and charming they played to a packed tent and everyone seemed to love it. Multiple instruments added to the entertainment and I think they were my highlight of the festival!
Sorry this is late people. I really wanted to post a photo of the gig that we went to last night but we got back so late that the only thing I was fit for was heading to bed!
Last night we went to see Hat Fitz and Cara Robinson. They are a couple who play an unusual blend of blues and traditional folk. I think he is from Australia and she is Irish. They played at Sark Folk Festival last year and apparently were a massive hit, kind of obvious by the fact that the gig was a sell out!
I didn’t really know what to expect but was completely gobsmacked by her ability to play the tin whistle/flute/piccolo and the drums at the same time and then switch to singing without missing a beat. She also plays a rather impressive washboard! His guitar and banjo playing is pretty impressive too. Anyway, well worth going to see if you get the chance.
Unfortunately I didn’t manage to get a decent photo of them but this will take you to a YouTube video. The picture is of their support act The Barley Dogs who are a local folk band that we really enjoy.
Since I moved back to Guernsey I have been back singing with Bel Canto – I have blogged about it somewhere before. In February every year the Guernsey Eisteddfod takes place and the choir tends to enter. This year we are entering the folk song class and here is a section of one of the musical pieces we are doing. I can’t show you the whole piece of music as it might be secret! Needless to say, the song we are doing is complicated with lots of hand claps and thigh slaps. I am so knackered today that I am not sure I am going to be able to follow it tonight!
This is a particularly attractive photo of me… circa about 1986/1987 (I think). I am posing with my clarinet wearing my Guernsey Music Centre tie. The fringe is dire don’t you think?
I was reminded of this picture (which my Dad kindly showed during his speech at my wedding!) when I was watching the TV programme on Channel 4 called Orchestra United. Basically a conductor is taking young people who play instruments, but who have no opportunity to play in an orchestra, and turning them into a concert orchestra. I loved watching it… loved seeing how the kids were passionate about their music, and also how much they started to learn through playing with each other. I love that they recognised that whilst some of the kids weren’t musically brilliant, they had potential.
Growing up in Guernsey we were extremely fortunate to have access to the most fantastic music service. Admittedly we worked really hard, from about 10am-3pm every Saturday, but I played in a Youth Orchestra, Concert Wind Band, Clarinet Choir and sang in the Guernsey Girls Choir and Guernsey Youth Choir. We had music and singing lessons, and aural and theory lessons were also included in the package. It was hard work and took up a lot of time, but when your best friends also play instruments and are in the same orchestras than it doesn’t seem to matter so much. It was fun, we had inspiring teachers and we worked hard but I wouldn’t have changed it for the world.
Music made such a difference, both to my social life but also to my confidence. Since moving to Leeds I have been on a 10-week choral singing course and have loved it. I am still contemplating whether I will have the time to commit to a choir at the moment, but I have realised how much I love being in a choir. Music has always mattered to me, but there is something particularly special about working hard at something with your friends and achieving something great. I am looking forward to seeing whether Orchestra United manage it.
I am absolutely loving this song. I think Adele’s voice is amazing and the lyrics are awesome. What would you expect from Bob Dylan though?
Last night The Mister and I went to The Stables in Milton Keynes to see Jonatha Brooke who is possibly one of my all tine favourite singers.
The venue was fab but it was less than half-full. I have to admit I was really surprised by this as every other gig of hers I have been to has been packed out. Anyway she is an amazing performer, and it was just her this time without a band. She has a fab voice and she seems to meander from sounding quite folky to really bluesy. She did some of her old songs and she also sang a load of songs from her new album The Works. During the gig she explained that all the lyrics for this album were raided from the archives left by Woody Guthrie. I bought the album at the gig and whilst some of the songs I loved straight away, the rest of them are really growing on me, especially one called ”All You Gotta Do is Touch Me”
Anyway, here is a clip of an old song of hers called Because I Told You So:. Enjoy