Feast Of Fiddles – April 2013

Experience: 10/10

Venue: Clair Hall, Haywards Heath

Date: Thursday 4th April 2013

This was fantastic! The fiddle line-up consisted of Peter Knight, Garry Blakely, Ian Cutler, Brian McNeill, Phil Beer, Tom Leary and Chris Leslie. The rest of the band were the usual suspects – a great combo.

They started off with some tunes, then more tunes – sorry, they didn’t give us the names and I’m not that familiar with their repertoire – and then Hugh actually said hello to us. He mentioned the new CD Rise Above It (we’d already spotted it, and bought our copy) and after Lochanside to Maribor*, Garry did his solo spot: Sons Of The Soil*, with Peter, High and Brian doing the backing vocals. Garry then introduced Tom Leary, who arrived with Chris Leslie, and the trio then did three tunes, with Chris playing a woodwind instrument which had a lovely haunting sound. There was a minor problem with feedback, soon sorted, and they began again. One of the tunes was called Tartan Slippers.

Tom introduced Phil Beer who did a Cornish set, including Blow The Man Down and Falmouth Packet. He explained that some of these songs were fake traditional ones; a vicar in the 1930s felt that Cornwall didn’t have enough folk songs, so adapted some existing ones from other places. They’re still good fun, so never mind. Phil introduced Ian Cutler, who gave us the lovely Irish air followed by Showdown*. Everyone came back on for Rise Above It*, the title song of the new CD (did they mention that already?) and the Magnificent Several medley. Interval.

The second half started with Thunderbows Are Go!*, followed by a Finnish tune, something Waltz(?). A Morris tune was paired with Battle Of The Somme, then they did Bring The Lassie Hame*, one of Brian’s songs. This was followed by Brian’s solo – Neil Gow’s Lament On The Death Of His Second Wife plus two waltzes – which were brilliant, and Chris Leslie then did Minor Swing*, a jazzy number from wartime Paris, also excellent. The whole band then did Canadian Driftwood, a song with many verses sung by Phil Beer, which allowed each fiddler to play his own accompaniment in turn. Peter’s solo was a song I haven’t heard before, presumably called This Day Is Mine (no guarantee on that one) which he accompanied with some beautiful violin playing – what a talent. We were delighted to find the group rounding off the set with Geronimo’s Cadillac – one of our favourite sing-alongs in the car – and the encores were some tunes followed by Local Hero. Another great evening, and a good first visit to Clair Hall – we’ll be back.

*in case you haven’t guessed, the asterisks mark the songs on the new CD

© 2013 Sheila Evans at ilovetheatre.me

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