Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Sharron Kraus

Orange Street, Canterbury, last Friday.

Sharron was great, she started with "Bruton Town" (that definitely won me over), mixed some old murder ballads, a Robbie Burns song, etc. with songs she's written herself. In the second set she played some banjo.

Sharron Kraus

Unfortunately the experience was ruined for me by the Friday night mass of drunk people (students mostly) who, despite having paid £5 to get in, talked loudly through both sets. This is really fragile, delicate music and it was just so disrespectful. She'd come from Oxford to sing to us, and had to fight through a wall of inane chatter. I had one particularly inane conversation right next to one ear, which inspired a mild rage which overshadowed my enjoyment of the gig.

Pearls before swine.

Oh well.

I've only just noticed via her MySpace page that she is partly (or has been?) based in Philadelphia, and collaborating with various members of Espers. Makes sense. They were what immediately came to mind when I first heard her stuff.

"Twisted Folk" (the organisation responsible) has The Owl Service coming soon...I've heard a bit, like what I hear. Not sure where they're from (East Anglia, I seem to think - no idea why). But that one's on a Saturday night, which means a louder, drunker crowd, annoyingly.

* * *

[follow-up:] I sent Sharron K a message to thank her for coming down, and to apologise on behalf of the people of Canterbury for the audience. She got back to me to say thanks, and express appreciation for what she was hearing on my "A Tiny Window" profile page. Then, a couple of days later, I got this:

Hi Matthew,

It's a small world: I was just talking to my friend Andy Letcher about mathematics, and he started talking about a person he knew who plays saz and who's writing a book on maths (he said something about explaining mathematical concepts to people who don't understand numbers..?). Turned out to be you! Well I hope we get to meet properly some time as your work sounds really interesting to me - my first degree was maths/philosophy, and my sister (near Canterbury) is a mathematician.

Take care,

I thought Andy might know her (being another Oxford-based 'dark folk' merchant). It was I who switched him onto Espers a couple of years ago, too.

On her MySpace profile, I noticed some mention of an improv trio with Helena from Espers and Alec K. Redfearn and asked about this - little has been recorded, but Sharron directed me to this session on wonderful WFMU (Irene Trudell's show, also featuring "White Bird" by the Incredible String Band, which I have somehow managed to overlook for all these years). It streams in RealAudio - the gorgeous modal improv piece (wouldn't be out of place at a COTD session) starts a bit after 1:43:00. That really ought to be released in some form or other.


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