Friday, November 17, 2006

'Coustick thing in Glastonbury

A particularly pleasant evening at the Assembly Rooms, largely motivated by Stevie P, I think. I didn't play, just really enjoyed listening. Sym did a set of songs with Daygan (bass) and Gem (percussion) [effectively a semi-acoustic version of SunArmy (formerly "Tsunami") who I've somehow managed to never witness doing their electrified punkrock thing]...very refreshing to hear someone with a voice and guitar break out of cliched song structures. John E. Aris did some songs, as wonderful as ever, spent most of the rest of the evening sitting with me, bubbling with genuine enthusiasm and gratitude for the quality of the music and the company we seem to so regularly find ourselves in. Gem played some guitar with Dora (I think) who plays fiddle and sings beautifully - they did an excellent version of "Follow Me Up to Carlow", Rohan (who I jammed with a bit at festivals this summer) playing low whistle with them. Stevie, Jonno and Maya finished the evening with a set of mostly old Heathens All favourites. Maya sang "And No Birds Sing" (Keats' poem "La Belle Dame sans Merci" put to music) which I'd totally forgotten about - hadn't heard her sing that for years, and it was exquisite (as was all her harmony singing throughout their set). They did an Andean folk song too, really energetic and refreshing. Sam played a bit of clarinet with them on one number, as well as joining in for a ukelele singalong/intermission.

Stevie said he'd recorded the whole thing off the desk straight onto his laptop. It would be nice if some of what occured ended up in the public domain - we shall see.

event flyer

I ended up staying at Sam's on Windmill Hill, then getting up in the morning and wandering the footpaths and lanes of Avalon, a warmish, damp day, leaves blowing about everywhere...I played a bit of saz on the Tor, then wandered down to Gog and Magog (the two very ancient oaks), up over Chalice Hill, etc.

Back in town, things were gearing up for the Glastonbury Carnival (or the "Carnivore", as Nathan - once of Dragonsfly - who I bumped into, calls it), so I decided to flee back to Exeter. En route down the High Street I was stopped by Dave from Badly Horsedrawn Boy, busking with his mandolin, his horse Blackthorn tethered to a lamppost beside him, munching carrots. He correctly identified my encased saz as a saz (I'm used to people telling me that it's a sitar, or banjo, or balalaika...) and suggested we play a few tunes together. It was cold, and we could hardly hear each other, but managed to get a bit of a modal jam going, then a couple of hectic versions of Irish tunes, before deciding to call it a day, resolving to continue where we left off around a fire somewhere less noisy at some point in the future.


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