Saturday, 19 September 2009

Some Pics

Arts Fest 11th-13th September

The Birmingham annual free events arts bash. Anything from a local singer-songwriter in a pub, to the CBSO and th Royal Ballet on the big stage in Centenary Square. In the end, we enjoyed the smaller events more, not so overpowering with the numbers of people around. Even had a friendly chat with two Villa supporters outside the Prince of Wales pub on Sunday evening, local guys with an interest in music and no interest in causing trouble. Fun.
See for details of what was what, and look out for it this time next year!

Soweto Gospel Choir

This was quite something. Symphony Hall, Birmingham, 17th September. In the footsteps of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, a superbly polished and wonderfully energetic gospel choir bringing the life of South Africa to the Birmingham stage. They're clearly well-practised, and have performed these pieces many times, but care no less about them and their audience. A range of African and Western church and general songs (including versions of Bridge over Troubled Water and of course, World in Union[which worked really well]) formed the programme, and by the end, and with several encores, the choir had the audience dancing in the aisles and even in the stalls.
A very international audience too, great fun and really quite moving to see and take part in such a celebratory atmosphere. The singers stood came out to talk with audience members afterwards and continue the good feeling.
They're doing a national tour so get to see them if you can. for their website.

Moseley Folk 5th & 6th September

Picture from homepage, accessed 19/09/09.

Great weekend of peace and love and that generation (and younger) in Moseley Park. Cara Dillon and husband Sam Lakeman and band, quirky (and rich) folk-rocker Ian Anderson and Jethro Tull the main acts on Sunday. I got a ticket on the day, a bit more expensive but well worth it, such an enjoyable event. Ex-comedian Adrian Edmondson has turned punk-rocker, assembling a high-calibre folk band to play their own versions of the Jam, the Clash, Sex Pistols etc, refreshing versions of what have become old classics. Handily for her, Edmondson's daughter is a singer-songwriter (not bad either, though there are many in this vein) who has a CD out on her and her Dad's record label.

Went with my other half on Saturday and sat in our new folding seats - local outdoor shops must have done a roaring trade in these - near the bar. Purity ales matched by the German and Czech pils on offer. No aggro or arguments, it's not that sort of place.
Beth Orton a little shaky on Saturday but an enjoyable range of bands as ever. Keeping the old stagers show running on the stage were Comus, a truly weird but inventive psychedelic folk outfit using Milton's Comus poem as their hook and song-base. "Power to Comus" ... peace man, but stick to the paracetamol.
Altogether a lovely English and international event. The same weekend that small but ill-intentioned bunch of right-wingers calling themselves the English Defence League were causing trouble in the city centre. Well, I question what they see as English. This was English, but needs no defence, and excludes no-one with artificial leagues. Music is international and welcomes all.
Thank you Moseley Folk.