Sunday, June 12, 2005

Birthday session

birthday card, handpainted by Vicky

It was my 35th birthday yesterday, celebrated with an extended outdoor session involving various Droners and friends.

Simon arrived early with Alison, played a bit of harmonium with my saz, but had to leave early too.

Sam and Sym stopped by on their way from Glastonbury to Dartmoor - Sam's band 'Green Angels' (currently her plus Stevie P and Mandy - both of whom were once part of 'Heathens All' - mostly playing traditional French and Breton folkdance music - bagpipes and bouzoukis) were playing at the "d'Accord Summer Picnic and Bal/Fest Noz" at Leusdon near Poundsgate that evening. Sam played a bit of clarinet with us.

clockwise - me, Keith, James, Vaughan, Sym and Sam

This sort of social occasion is generally not very conducive to recording music (people talking, moving about, etc.), but I still managed to set my minidisc recorder up discretely amidst some plants and capture about 90 minutes of sounds. The neighbourhood sparrows contributed quite extensively, often in a quasi-rhythmic mass-squawking. The session was much more saz-oriented than most Drone sessions, and I remember feeling a bit self-indulgent in the extent to which I was playing. Listening back, though, I'm quite happy with the way it came out.

Listen Here

Keith and some of the others had kindly pooled their resources to get me a copy of Julian Cope's book The Megalithic European, an excellent choice after last year's gift of JC's The Modern Antiquarian. One of the first items that grabbed my attention was the section on the sacred landscape of Weris in Belgium which I visited in 1994.

This dolmen was the first thing Inge and I came across when we arrived there, so we sat atop it in the sunshine playing our guitars. The local self-appointed 'druid' (one of very few 'druids' in Belgium, without a doubt) turned up shortly thereafter and introduced himself.

The Grand Dolmen of Weris, with me just visible off to the right

Back to my birthday...As the evening drew on and it got a bit chillier we lit a little fire in a brazier, and I got into some very nice saz and percussion jamming with Rupert, who I hope will be droning with us quite a bit more in the future.

Keith and I, framed by Vicky's garden at it's midsummer best

Rupert, Vicky and I then wandered down to the North Bridge Inn to meet Keith and partake of Future Sound of Exeter's '70's prog and 60's psychedelia evening', enjoying some excellent local ale accompanied by old favourites from Atomic Rooster, Pink Floyd, Focus, Led Zeppelin, etc., as well as some fairly obscure stuff that none of us could identify.

We also managed to informally negotiate a slot for 'Pulse' (Henry and Richard's dance-based Drone spin-off project) at the Sunday of the July 2-3 Respect Festival, the music for which is being organised by FSOE. On the 2nd, we're supposed to be playing two sets at a little festival out near Coleford, so I'm hoping I'll be back in time to see Misty in Roots and Baka Beyond at the Phoenix that evening.


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