28 June 2009

June Club Night

It was great to see a few new faces in the circle as we sat down to get things rolling for the evening. Alan started things off with Minnie the Moocher, complete with "hi-de-hi"s from the crowd of course. Ted as always entertained us with some masterful finger-picking, on this occasion a Scott Joplin number called Meditation Rag. Even though only two of the Voice Male vocal quartet were there, they still got up and sang Wild Mountain Thyme and John Barleycorn.

Soon it was time for the Newport Community Choir to get up and do a bracket. They sang an old 'shape-note' hymn called Canaan's Land, a quodlibet (four songs all sung at once...strange and wonderful), a song from the Balkans called Dimna Juda Mamo and a beautiful Israeli chant called Aliyah. The choir always welcomes new members, have a look at the Activities page on the website for more details.

Moira showed the fiddle flag with a couple of American tunes, forming an impromptu orchestra clustered around a single music-stand. Not bad considering most of them had never seen the music before! The Newport Bush Orchestra kept the fiddling going with a few old favourite dance tunes that saw just about everyone joining in. Dave kept the old-time bush theme going with a dramatic recitation of Banjo Paterson's Mulga Bill's Bicycle.

There seemed to be a bit of a soulful, meditative theme to the songs, with Leonard Cohen's Dance Me to the End Of Love from Leonie and Christine, and Sisters of Mercy from Rick, followed up a little later with Neil Young's Comes a Time from John and Helpless from another band put together on the spot by Rob, Robyn, Karen and a few others. Robyn and Karen started off shyly in the corner but by the end of the night were leading us all in new tunes - great to see!

Bruce really got things humming with Clinch Mountain Backstep and Rob followed up with The Battle of New Orleans, a song from the war between the US and Great Britain that was fought between 1812 and 1815.
Many more songs were learned and shared, more than I could possible remember, before we wound up as usual with The Parting Glass at about eleven, with a few parting plugs also for the Folk Festival next weekend. See you there!

08 June 2009

Newport Bush Orchestra Takes to the High Seas!

The Newport Bush Orchestra gets around quite a bit these days. Not content with a weekly gathering in Newport, a few bush dances and the occasional festival, the NBO has now officially launched itself from land to water. The Polly Woodside was having a celebration of nautical life and so called the NBO to provide the vibe and the music. With a week's notice Captain Greg and his crew learned 'Sailors' Hornpipe', 'Drunken Sailor' and a set of hearty seafaring songs, got their sailors's garb from the closet (or opshop) and off they went. The 2 hours of music they played provided the perfect backdrop for all the visitors to this historic sailing vessell. A bit of ocean swell didn't deter the crew whose sealegs enabled them to take up a commanding position on old Polly. A great day was had by all - and the fame of the Newport Bush Orchestra keeps spreading further and further afield. The Colonial Dance at the Festival is coming up - Saturday July 4, 7.30 at the Substation - will be a piece of cake after this rollicking performace. (Thanks Leonie for the top shot!)

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