Friday 26 October 2007

Fest Noz à Ditchling

Sun 14 Oct


Mike James and Yves LeBlanc paid us their more or less annual visit - and gave us 3 hours of non-stop melodeon, clarinet and voices (not forgetting Mike's right-foot drum-beat), playing a wide range of popular Breton dances.

We've added this Andro, the Rond de Loudéac, and Madeleine onto the Dansez Français group on YouTube.

Thursday 25 October 2007

Run over by the truth

Royal Oak, Lewes
Wed 24 Oct

Adrian Mitchell - 40 years on! To Whom it may Concern is just as telling, just as shocking, as it was then. We're still being told the same old "lies about Vietnam".

A superb set, new as well as old, superbly delivered on the Shadow Poet Laureate's 75th birthday. Many thanks to Lewes Live Literature festival for giving us the chance to hear him again. And for enticing us there in the first place by having Mandy Murray as support, along with Marina Evans - a finely judged Irish opening half.

NB: when the video ends, you get a strip of thumbnails for other related videos - try ¿Qué es la poesía?

What is poetry?
Look at those naked words, dancing together.
Everyone's very embarrassed!
Only one thing to do about it
- off with your clothes and join in the dance!
Naked words and people dancing together?
There's going to be trouble!
Here come the poetry police.
Keep dancing!
Keep dancing!
Keep dancing.

Chattri Memorial

Downs near Patcham
Sun 21 Oct

A memorial service for the Indian soldiers who were wounded fighting for the Empire in the First World War, and were brought to Brighton for treatment. Those that died were cremated at a spot up on the Downs, a couple of miles out from
Patcham. A Memorial was later placed on the hillside, visible from many parts of Brighton, and affording a broad view across the Downs. See the Chattri web-site for details.

This was a very simple, informal and touching occasion, on a fine, sunny Autumn afternoon. I even got to sing along with Hare Krishna for the first time in my life.

Monday 15 October 2007

Dérobée de Guingamp

Saint Chartier
Sat 15 Jul

Just got this up on Video Micalet (YouTube). See also the Dansez Français group on YouTube. Lots more to come.

Thursday 11 October 2007

This world go crazy

Fri 5 Oct
Brixton Academy

Manu Chao live at last! Non-stop, high speed, high volume thrash, a 2-hour assault on the senses, especially the ears. The front 3 - Manu himself, the bass and the lead - are very physical musicians, always on the move, each very different in physique and stage presence, so there's plenty to look at, and there's a great deal of wit both in the music and in the lyrics (if only you could hear them . . . ), and the good-time feeling is always to the fore.

There were few of his earlier classics to sing along to - a Clandestino / Desaparecido sequence, a couple from Próxima Estación Esperanza - but most of the show drew from his latest record, La Radiolina. This appears to have a harder edge to it than his earlier material, and on the first few hearings seems to be less varied musically; there are plenty of catchy tunes and riffs, and pithy phrases, but everything is very short - 20 tracks on the CD - and there doesn't seem to be as much development, either musically, lyrically or thematically, as on his earlier records. I'll keep listening.

All of which matters little when you're caught up in the excitement of the live show, however. Manu's infectious enthusiasm and driving, powerful sound kept the crowd bouncing all evening. Crazy indeed.