Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The International Festival.

Majenta Dancer & her students.
July 13th, 2014

It was a genuine honour to play this event, the inaugural International Festival in Crewe, as it showcased some fine examples of dance, poetry and music with eclectic, international flavours. I was not sure how all this would go down so it was lovely to see the Crewe locals sitting down in the sun and taking this all in and enjoying. It was touching for me to see the Jacklin Frets Orchestra perform so beautifully with their assorted mandolins, guitars and other fretted instruments. This is a group I played in at times as a youngster, having been taught guitarfor a while by the wonderful Brian Jacklin himself. Anyone who ever met or was taught by Brian would never forget him, a wonderful, warm, big-hearted man and an amazing character with a tenacious love of music and teaching. Other notables that I managed to see and really enjoy were Magenta Dancer, her performances were mesmeric, spiritual and breathtaking. Wonderful stuff! The Jamaican via Liverpool poet, storyteller and consciousness-raiser Levi Tafari roused the crown, young and old, in fact he could hardly leave the stage due to a crowd of older children demanding his autograph before he left! 

Viva Flamenco! Several people have commented to me that a touch of Flamenco has seeped into my playing style, I think this can only have come from being surrounded by Spanish students, many from Andalusia for a few summers in a row, bringing with them lots of what sounds to me what I would call "Europop" but with some hints of traditional Spanish styles weaving through it. I hope I never forget a group of Spanish students performing Flamenco dancing in their traditional outfits, it was the first time I was really moved by watching dance in the same kind of"blown-away", transformative, spiritually-heightening way that music always does.

Something that was particularly wonderful was the music created by Amiruddin on Sarangi, Hanifji on Tabla and Adrian on Saxaphone (sorry, not sure of full names or links). As Adrian said in introducing the musicians, the Sarangi is "the sound of India", a fantastic fretted, stringed instrument played with a bow. Combined with the glooping percussive sounds of the tabla and with a jazz orientated saxophone giving making it a fusion of classical Indian sounds with more Jazzy Western (albeit in fact via Afro-Caribbean origins of course) fusion of styles. Amazing. 

I often feel like the outsider at events, brandishing my own style of sound-art, bending the rules of song-structure and playing styles, in a background of conventional Indie or rock but for once I felt like the middle-of-road guy with these eclectic offerings. I really hope this festival goes from strength to strength as it really has the makings of something special. 

Thanks to Hayley Strangelove for this photo of me.
Levi Tafari, a really chaming guy. He got the crowd going!
Incredible music from L-R Adrian, Hanifji and Amiruddin.

No comments: