Friday, August 25, 2006

Sherwood Drone

There's not a lot of summery weather left, it seems, but Vaughan got another Children of the Drone session together in his open-sided barn last night. It was a good one, with Rupert along for the first time in a while, and a bass player called Steve who'd never played with us before (he described the experience, enthusiastically, as "overwhelming").

Vaughan - acoustic guitar, mandolin, percussion, melodion, voice, acoustic bass guitar, autoharp(?)
John - acoustic guitar, mandola, charango, sitar, whistles, voice, percussion
Henry - percussion
Rupert - percussion
Keith - electric guitar, percussion, melodica
Steve - electric bass guitar
me - saz, balalaika, percussion

Steve mentioned having to cycle back to Eggesford as well as a musical Krishna connection - I correctly guessed that he knows Rob (an Army surplus trader who's been very helpful to me and some of my traveller friends in the past) fact Rob's his landlord now. I've had fun jamming with Krishnas in the past - Stonehenge Summer Solstice 2001 (where they had the best beats amidst the djembe chaos) and a Diwali gathering at the Friends Meeting House here in Exeter. I don't know how involved Steve is in the actual movement, but there's definitely evidence in his playing of a lot of the positive, uplifting energy they seem to generate.

Listen Here

On returning home, Vicky and I caught the end of Radio 3's Late Junction. Verity Sharp was playing some weird-and-wonderful stuff heavily featuring swanee whistles. This was followed by one of the most beautiful things I've heard in ages - a piece of psych-folk that went unannounced and ended the programme. I guessed it was Espers, and I guessed correctly, having checked the online playlist - "Dead Queen", from their Espers II album. I was feeling quite emotionally fragile at the time and this piece was medicine for the soul. I love this band. Listening to that song again makes me want to try and get a band like that together. The swanee whistle piece turned out to be from an album called Eine Kleine Thriftmusik (recordings based on instruments found in charity shops, car boot sales, etc.) by Brass Monkey (not to be confused with Martin Carthy's one-time ensemble).

Also, Simon Drone has been out in Vilnius (Lithuania) checking out the scene and meeting what he calls "our Lithuanian fanbase", a librarian called Lukas who enthusiastically got in touch after listening to some Dronings online. Lukas has his own "intuitive music collective" and Simon had a chance to jam with them the other night. Here's his description of it (he has previously apologised for spelling, etc. - the result of using a Cyrillic keyboard!):

Hi All

last night i went to a small room above a music library in an old soviet era building to meet and play music with our lithuanian chapter.they are a very different bunch from us, with four maybe five experienced musicians and about ten that i would describe as enthusiastic amateurs. they all wanted to know about what we do and how we do it, and i felt very much like a special guest and also some kind of international droning diplomat.One of the musicians who turned up,Solus, is at the music academy hear and played various woodwind, percussion and trumpet.Only one other person there new him and he claimed to know it was happenning because angels had whispered it to him.In fact the Djembe player, Darius, had told him about it when they met to play music the previous night.

Wilka, who kindly organised the whole event, after one piece said "how did I like thier Mistakes", so i explained that there can not be mistakes when you are inprovising, just unexpected events.

I talked with vytas after about how often they get together, he said about every 6Months,so i tried to encourage themm to get together more regularly and they all liked the idea of meeting once a month.

The age/gender split of the group was very different from us, being mostly comprised of young women, with many improvised vocals being produced.

I took a couple of photos as did Wilka, and i will ask here to email me some copies.

One interesting point is that here they have tea and biscuits before they play, and don't stop for half-time.

we played inside for a couple of hours and then moved outside and played by a monument to lithuanian writers, until it started to rain.

Unfortunately no-one recorded this session, though Darius has a minidisc which he may bring in to future sessions. I hope the sherwood drone went well, by coincidence one ot the women singing last night was talking to me about visiting sherwood forest near nottingham when she visited the uk a few years ago.

I have alsoo talked to vytas about the vilnius 2009 city of european culture events, he is going to see if it may be possible for us to come here as part of the year's calebrations.

See you all when i get back.



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