Monday, 26 November 2012

You don't know what you've got till it's gone....

This post is another courtesy of the lovely people of Cecil Sharp House in my role as a social sharer. Apparently, one of the reasons I was selected is because I am neither a journalist nor an expert on folk music but have inhabited my own little niche in cyberspace for a while and know one end of social media from another. They are interested in my reactions and those of the people that read my blog who might not have come across our folk music tradition before.

I make this point as a weak excuse for the fact that I actually hadn't heard of Will Pound or Dan Walsh and their special guests, Lee Sankey on harmonica and Cormac Byrne on bodhran until Saturday night but having been given the chance to experience new things by Cecil Sharp House I thought I would brave the damp autumn evening, go along and find out.

If I am completely honest, when I heard that Walsh and Pound were a harmonica and banjo duo I rather wondered if the music would be for me. My companion,Laura a veteran of the American folk scene also muttered darkly about the suffering of harmonicas in the jaws of Bob Dylan so we took our seats gingerly...

Despite the show taking place in one of the smaller rooms the crowd was somewhat thin when things got underway. The lighting (what there was of it) was somewhat idiosyncratic in that the musicians were entirely lit by a purple spotlight. I offer this by way of apologies to the musicians for the rather unearthly quality of the photographs but trust me, after a couple of hopeless blurs I threw caution to the wind, slapped the camera into manual and trawled my memory for the little I know about low light photography.

 I considered manipulating the colour with photoshop but honestly, they really were this purple! My apologies to guests Lee Sankey and Cormac Byrne for my one rather blurred impression of Lee and my total failure with Cormac but trust me - he looked fine!

 But enough of the jabbering. We have dealt with my anxieties about the instruments and photography - what about the music? I really don't know where to start with the music. The repertoire of traditional and modern songs and tunes with Irish, English, American, Middle Eastern influences, original songs inspired by train journeys, beer, road safety films and Jeremy Kyle just kept on spiralling away into places that I had no idea such instruments could go.

The apparently loosely put together set masterfully added layer upon layer of musical virtuosity until the room, now magically filled with spellbound listeners all leapt to their feet for the most spontaneous standing ovation I have ever seen.

I understand with some chagrin that this is the last time Walsh and Pound will play as a duo but I'm starting to get the hang of folk family trees and am sure that they and their wonderful friends will be popping up in all sorts of projects and incarnations.

 I can certainly guarantee one thing.

I'll be there.


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