Live reviews

Tanz&FolkFest Rudolstadt 2010, Rudolstadt, Thuringia, Germany, 2-4 July 2010

[by Ken Hunt, London] In July 1991, the first year that Tanz&FolkFest Rudolstadt was staged, just like the 2010 ‘edition’, it took place under blue skies in baking temperatures. The 1991 bill served up plenty of scope for serendipitous discoveries of the new kind and reacquainting oneself with familiar acts. Bernhard Hanneken’s festival programming for the 2010 festival did something similar in spades – only to surfeit degrees (let’s not talk of lampreys) – with 27 stages scattered over the town.

22. 8. 2011 | read more...

Asha Bhosle & Shujaat Khan, Royal Festival Hall, London, 16 March 2011

[by Ken Hunt, London] By any standard, she is one of the greats of popular music. He is, in my opinion and that of many others’, the finest sitarist of his generation, with a work ethic and melodicism drilled into him through studying sitar with his father, the legendary – for once the word is deserved – Vilayat Khan and working as a Bollywood session musician.

15. 8. 2011 | read more...

The Great Folk Jukebox, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, 7 May 2011

[by Ken Hunt, London] The Great Folk Jukebox was billed as “A Tribute to Singing Englishmen with Marc Almond, Bishi, Green Gartside, Bella Hardy, Robyn Hitchcock, Lisa Knapp, Oysterband & June Tabor” (with, as the Oysters’ John Jones quipped, “the beast that is Bellowhead” – nine thereof – as house band). The ‘Singing Englishmen’ part was a doffing of the cap to a Festival of Britain concert held on 1 June 1951.

8. 8. 2011 | read more...

Piotr Wyleżoł Quintet with Adam Pierończyk & David Dorůžka, Purcell Room, London, 30 May 2010

[by Ken Hunt, London] Nigel Kennedy’s late May 2010 flourish, his Polish Weekend at the Southbank Centre, brought together an array of Polish jazz and musical talent that included Kennedy’s Orchestra of Life (playing Bach and Ellington), Robert Majewski, Anna Maria Jopek and Jarek —mietana. Tucked away in the early Sunday afternoon slot was the Piotr Wylezol Quintet. A relatively recent development, aside from the band’s pianist-leader, it comprised Krzysztof Dziedzic on kit drums and Adam Kowalewski on double-bass, their fellow countryman Adam Pieroeczyk on soprano and tenor saxes and the Czech composer David Dorůžka on electric guitar.

25. 7. 2011 | read more...

Marry Waterson and Oliver Knight, Royal Oak, Station Street, Lewes, Sussex, 5 May 2011

[by Ken Hunt, London] The Royal Oak is home to one of the finest folk clubs in the south of England. It epitomises so much about the English folk club set-up. It takes place on Thursdays while not far away the Elephant & Castle at White Hill in Lewes hosts the weekend Lewes Saturday Folk Club. The Royal Oak’s guests regularly include the cream of established of artists. Between March and May 2011 bills featured Tom Paley, Martin Carthy & Chris Parkinson, Jez Lowe and Tim Laycock as the main guests. Yet it is one of those clubs, like Sheila Miller’s Cellar Upstairs folk club in Camden in north London, like Sheila Miller’s Cellar Upstairs folk club in Camden in north London, that balances established and new acts so well. This night the honours fell to Marry Waterson and Oliver Knight.

16. 5. 2011 | read more...

An Evening of Political Song, Royal Festival Hall, Southbank, London, 17 June 2010

[by Ken Hunt, London] An Evening of Political Song, explained the Southbank literature, “drew upon a rich history of political song” before, sigh, spoiling things slightly by lamely billing this night in Richard Thompson’s Meltdown as “a night of songs in the key of revolution and protest”. Still, mustn’t grumble, ‘political song’, as dictionary definitions go, is about as precise as ‘folk song’ in its handy one-size-fits-all solution to issues that just won’t go away.

20. 12. 2010 | read more...

Ali Akbar Khan: Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, 7 April 2003

[by Ken Hunt, London] Ali Akbar Khan shuffled on stage with a walking stick, reasonable given he was one week away from 81. By night’s end, all memories of the frail character that had mounted the dais at the concert’s beginning had vanished. Swapan Chaudhuri, one of the most exceptional tabla players alive, provided the percussive accompaniment – a job a bit like catching eels with bare hands. He has an uncanny knack of being able to match and bat back this sarodist’s glorious spontaneity. Alam Khan was the second, junior sarodist but he coped brilliantly with his father’s senior waywardness.

21. 6. 2010 | read more...

Leonard Cohen, Mercedes-Benz World, Weybridge, England, 11 July 2009

[by Ken Hunt, London] Say you woke up one morning and the smell wasn’t coffee but the stench of something having gone off. What would you do? It happened to Leonard Cohen while he was on retreat at the Mount Baldy Zen Center in southern California’s San Gabriel Mountains. With a sheaf of law suits behind him, Cohen’s remedy was to hit the road, drumming up new interest by touring and giving audiences what they wanted. He picked himself up, brushed himself down and started all over again – sensibly chronicling the process with the revenue-injecting CD and DVD Live in London from the O2 venue in London in July 2008.

19. 7. 2009 | read more...

Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys: Barbican Hall, London, 27 May 2009

[by Phil Wilson, London] Dr. Ralph Stanley – as he’s proud to be called these days – isn’t someone you’d necessarily describe as ’82 years young’, but he’s still in great form. There was a precautionary chair on stage at the Barbican, but he only draped his jacket over it, and even for the band members’ solo numbers and the instrumentals he remained standing and merely stepped back to allow them the spotlight.

5. 6. 2009 | read more...

Brass Monkey: The Goose Is Out! DHFC, East Dulwich, London, 15 May 2009

[by Ken Hunt, London] Brass Monkey was a band that unfurled before my eyes. Or so it seemed. From their varied beginnings consolidating in the trio of Martin Carthy, Howard Evans and John Kirkpatrick that performed from January to December 1980 to the establishment of the powerhouse acoustic quintet, Brass Monkey proper, in January 1981 of Carthy, Evans and Kirkpatrick with Martin Brinsford and Roger Williams, their impact was never less than revelatory.

18. 5. 2009 | read more...

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