Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Cocos Christmas Carol

Sunday 19th December 2010, The Farmhouse, Canterbury

Cocos Christmas Carol flyer

I got there just in time for The Ladies of the Lake, singing unamplified in the restaurant part of The Farmhouse. Natasha, Nicola and Mary-Anne have been joined by their friend Jo from the Smugglers Singers for this project. They started with "My Husband's Got No Courage in Him" (much giggling from the peasant diners), followed by Mary-Anne's new "People of the Sea". Natasha picked up an acoustic guitar for "The Hills of Spain", which sounded very much like an old folk song to me, but Phil assures me she just wrote it. Some more lovely stuff (which I can't recall now), ending with a spellbinding arrangement of (of all things) the old children's rhyme "Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat...", set to a haunting melody and interpolating part of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman" (I think it was).

A bit later, the Smugglers Singers (whose main set I'd missed, but whose recent CD-R of home-recorded sea shanties I've heard) returned to sing a couple of Christmas songs. I'm pretty fed up of Christmas songs, but (not surprisingly - everything this crew touch seems to turn to gold), they managed to make "Silent Night" and even "Ding-Dong Merrily on High" sound magnificent to my ears.

Quite a lot of the scheduled acts (The Momeraths, Tom Farrer, The Turncoat) couldn't make it due to the weather, but we got an excellent Will Varley set. Will in ironic Santa hat delivered the usual stinging political punk-folk songs, with a couple of love/hate songs thrown in (one I'd not heard, called something like "Fate Sometimes Gets Things Wrong", was in the same sort of league as Dylan's "Idiot Wind", truly captivating from beginning to end). He'll be recording his album soon, and if he gets it right, it could end up having quite an impact...

The full 8-piece Cocos Lovers finished up with an excellent set of mostly their newer stuff, including "Blackened Shores"? (heard just once before) and a new Mary-Anne song I didn't recognise. It was a bit like an abbreviated version of that last, extended two-set thing they did at St. Alpheges, just with a livelier audience. And Matt Tweed (who I put them in touch with) is going to be recording their new album in January! I reckon they'll have another excellent year in 2011, however long it takes the world-at-large to catch up with their wonderfulness.


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