Celtic Footprint – February 2010

8/10

Venue: Chichester Festival Theatre

Date: Sunday 7th February 2010

The first act was called The Gentle Good, which sounds like a band, but was in fact a solo artiste, Gareth Bonello. A Welsh folk singer/songwriter, he was accompanied on this gig by harpist Harriet Earis. Between them they made light work of some songs (in Welsh) which all seemed to be about sad, depressing subjects, and some livelier tunes which were much more robust than I’m used to hearing from a harp. Harriet kept looking round at us with a broad grin on her face, like a mischievous elf looking for someone to play tricks on. She was probably just checking that we hadn’t all scarpered, because there was the usual wide gulf between us and the musicians, one of the drawbacks of the Festival theatre when it comes to bands. Their set had some lovely pieces, and the CDs are definitely on our list.

Second act was Galician piper Anxo Lorenzo. My God, what an amazing talent! He started at the back of the front stalls, playing on his bagpipes, and then walked down and onto the stage, to join his two mates playing on fiddle and guitar or mandolo (similar to a mandolin, but larger and flatter, with eight(?) strings). His set got us all fully warmed up, with some marvellous tunes played on both the bagpipes and other pipes, and his sense of humour came across really well too. No CD available, sadly.

Third act, after the first interval, was Daimh (pronounced dive). This group was an eclectic blend of Scottish, Canadian and Breton musicians, with songs being sung in Gaelic, and bagpipes again well to the fore.

Finally, for the last long set, Dervish took the stage, an Irish band specialising in music from the Sligo area (references to tunes from other areas of Ireland were somewhat derogatory). Their singer, Cathy Jordan, was dressed in green, and did most of the talking, introducing the songs and suchlike. She has a good voice, and the songs and tunes were fine. There was even some audience participation, strongly encouraged by Cathy.

At the very end, for the encore, everyone else joined them on the stage for a final song – don’t remember which one – and we went away thoroughly happy with our long evening of music.

© 2010 Sheila Evans at ilovetheatre.me

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