29 November 2014

Club Night

Greg O'Leary reviews our final Club Night for the year...

Talk about a feel good session!

Sadly I can't cover all the performers but every single one enhanced the already warm and positive atmosphere. Since H and I are unlikely to attend many from now on, I am going to focus on the highlights for us. Apologies to those folks who I fail to mention.
1)           Rob Richmond did two things, both beautiful. He made maximum use of his moderate technical skills and massive innate talent to produce beautiful music. It was a joy to hear a tune I taught him get such a sensitive treatment. His Ashokan Farewell sounded even better. A beautiful rendition.
2             ) Jackie Kerin, after five minutes of totally un-necessary, self-deprecatory preamble, sang a wonderfully poignant Woodie Guthry song that saluted our now extinct dear friend Rob Durbridge. It would surely find him in the musical aether. Jackie always  sings with passion and in tune, plays her instrument well and thinks about her songs deeply. Tears don't come to my eyes for nothing. Thank you Jackie.
3)           Jason Ashwell. Jason  would be the first to agree he is not a born performer. He like so many has a deep fear of being made to look foolish in public, musically speaking that is. Neither he  or  I have any real idea of why he puts  himself through such strain, but I for  one am glad he does. His  performance of Body and Soul will stay with me permanently. So complete and expressive, so well played and at such an emotional cost. Wonderful stuff Jason.
4)           The Tall Boys and Suanna Harvey played Celtic a la Martin Hayes and boy did it sound good! The essence of a good band is complementarity and for me the three of them illustrated that perfectly. Each voice, clear in its own right, supported an  strengthened the others. A treat  to be there to hear them.
5)           Tassie Bill      Gordon Prest has left our shores and Tassie Bill has lost  his musical mate. They epitomized everything I love about this  club. Their love of music  is deep and they applied themselves to performance assiduously. They select   material that emphatically moves them and it shows. I loved all of their somewhat  amateurish performances because of the immense heart they exhibit . They would probably prefer to be  really hot players . That ain't goin' to happen anytime soon. What they are  is interesting and emotionally generous. Bill picked a cracker of a song to sing about the Valhalla cricketers. I have heard none better in the Aussie vernacular. Thanks Bill.
6)           The  crazy poet. He is an enigmatic tour de force, fantastic in his own gestalt. He treats us like his audience of thousands in the Colosseum. Prancing and primping like some 17th century French courtier he delivers the goods every time. A self-penned poem or song , monologue or just plain harangue he has a way with words, tunes and a presence that is amazing. Last night was a half finished  poem that evoked Shakespeare at his best . I loved it even though I had no idea what it was about. He also is a shameless name-dropper!
7, Dave Davies performance of Eureka was a poignant and fitting epitaph to Rob Durbridge. Dave performed with the gravitas needed to bring it to life and team-mate Margaret  quietly nudged him along. the right track.  I can't remember my middle name so how he can get through such a long and not often performed piece is beyond me totally. Rob would have loved it.
8) Helen and Sarah
Helen does not put herself forward EVER. Last night she  took the bull between the horns and she and Sarah nailed a Mazas study totally. I had heard it a hundred  times as she practiced it but not like this! The two of them sounded awesome.  I  know her journey well and so I can say how pleased and proud she did this.....way out of her comfort zone, it heralds a new stage in Helen's music . She is already a way better Irish fiddler than me. What next.

Sara made my night by leaving her comfort zone and also nailing it. She is one of Australia's great violinists and can sight-read flyshit at 20 paces. last night she at my jocular, bullying instigation she took a solo over a jazz standard without any preparation, no sheet music and at a moment's notice and it sounded fantastic. An impromptu improvised almost cadenza-like effort that simply thrilled me ! Wow!

9)  I hate choirs ! Actually I hate the concept of me being in a choir ! I actually love the idea  other people raising up their joyful inspired voices in a kaleidescope of harmony and good-will in a feelgood team enterprise. I just can't do it myself. I am more self-conscious in a group like that than any other situation outside group sex with men. So I was surprised when last night both Hel and I joined in the group singing. It says a lot for the Paisley and Plaid team.

10) Bruce Williams picked two tunes to do, that got everyone going. That was generous and good-spirited of him. He could have chosen to do one of his many pieces , all of which are at the top end of musicality and skill. That would be reasonable as there is always a time and a place for excellence. but he chose to use his skills to assist others in joining in. I found that to be a highlight for me.

11) The Uke Dolls
I just love them . I cant remember all their names: Allison, Carol, Moira, Ruby ,Rose Anna....I dunno, but for sheer spirit, enthusiasm , and entertainment value and the wonderful corny songs they sing they cannot be beat. Moira I confess is my fav.  To pick up bass uke at 75+ and make fist of it is awe-inspiring.

12)  Others. I have run out of steam. Love potion No 9 , Rickola, Alan's Joe Hill. Marks  Newport song  I just cant remember.

One more was Mike Stewart.

Mike has had a confronting week  or so, just returning from Bangladesh where things are tough for so many and coping with Rob's death with whom he was close. The round circle folk night is his healing circle. He might lead the night but the joy he gets from watching others fulfill themselves is real and almost tangible (or is it palpable?) . Anyway he honored his friend with a really well written and profoundly well done song and while there are many, the committee and many others who sustain this activity, it really is down to him that a lot of this happens and is sustained over the long term. It is good to be his friend and moving 100 miles won't change that.
Greg O'Leary

18 November 2014

Newport Community Choir and La La Ville Live@Newport

What do you get when you put together Newport Community Choir and La La Ville? If you like anagrams, the answer might be "Manic lip-crew love to thrill you, man" or "Lyrical men croon at volume with lip." (Thanks to Mark Fawcett for those.) On Sunday afternoon, what we got was an afternoon of great choir music. The two choirs joined forces for a few songs, then each performed some its own repertoire, and then recombined for a big finish with the audience singing too!

09 November 2014

Vale Rob Durbridge

Today we received the sad news that our dear friend Rob Durbridge passed away this morning. He was in hospital and had been ill for some time.

Rob was a long-standing club member and was often seen (and heard!) at club gatherings until he and his wife Wendy made the 'tree-change' move to Landsborough a few years ago. Even after the move, Rob made the trip down for several Festivals and other club events.

Many club members will remember Rob's ringing banjo and his gentle, emotional singing. Two songs particularly will always remind us of Rob; The Changi Banjo by Lee Kernaghan, and Rather Have Your Love by Shane Howard. Those were his 'signature tunes', and if he didn't sing at least one of them at an event, someone would be sure to ask him!

Rob will also be remembered as the leader of  'Songs of Love and Resistance' at several Festivals - a delightful open jam session that attracted seasoned performers and newbies alike. The event was a tribute to Rob's friendly and inclusive style, and the high regard in which he was held by all.

Rest in peace Rob, we miss you. We will remember you as we knew you - with music.

02 November 2014

NBO Triumph At Maldon!

It is late Sunday night and I am back at home after an exhausting couple of days playing with the NBO at Maldon Folk Festival.
Our brief was to make the main street come alive with music and that was exactly what we did. It rained and shone and froze us and cooked us but the weather didn't stop the NBO from exhibiting one of its best performances Ever. We were rusty from the winter layoff but the old magic came to the fore and we attracted audiences of 40 and 50 as we rattled out local melodies by the dozen. All up we played for about 8 hours over 2 days and many gluttons went and joined other buskers just for the craic as the Irish say.
The tunes workshop went well and we have left a permanent positive impression  on the punters who rolled up to participate. They will never forget Harry McQueens Jig!
Present at various times in our group were: Kathryn , Mark Allen, Adrian Clark, Wendy Love, Greg OL, Neil Jolly, Maryanne Charles, Dennis Charles, Bruce Williams, Kerry Duke appeared twice, Annete, Alan Davies, Trevor, Alasdair, Rhonwyn.
Again and again we prove it is the spirit that shines out of our musicmaking. This festival I could not think of anyone else I would rather be playing with (except maybe Animal from the Muppets).
Well done everyone!
Greg O'Leary

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