E2D Music Monthly

Boxing Day Boof turns five!

by Rachael Grealish

Rocking Christmas: The Chadelics at the Boxing Day Boof 2015
photo by Robert Haile

THE Boxing Day Boof is returning for 2016 with headliners Kazabian and Jolan.

For the fifth birthday of the event, presented by The Mighty Boof Promotions, organisers have pulled together a line-up to represent what they bring to the area.

Danny Maudling, CEO of Mighty Boof Promotions, said: “Boxing Day Boof is always a great day it has sold out every year we have put it on!
“This year, with it being its 5th year, we thought we would put a line up out that represents us and what we do, there’s a great mix of acts from old, current, and brand new, topped off with a number one tribute act.”

Performing are: Kazabian (the UK No.1 Kasabian tribute act), The Voice finalist Jolan, The Chadelics, Mazzoni, Reptilians, and Springfield.

Moor Row born Jolan turned on the Christmas lights in Whitehaven this year and performed a show at the Solway Hall. The Chadelics are a regular on the Boof stages – having performed in 2015 and Reptilians will be performing songs from their new album released earlier this year.

Tickets available from Threads, in Whitehaven and online: www.mightyboofpromotions.com


REVIEW: Ed Heslam & Jean Altshuler

by Lesley Park

Music from the past given a modern twist: Harpist Jean Altshuler and guitarist Ed Heslam perform at Lamplugh Village Hall. Picture: Bob Marshall

ANYONE with an eye on the West Cumbrian music scene lately may be aware of classical guitarist Ed Heslam and his work on collecting and performing the old music of Cumberland and Westmorland, bringing together examples from manuscripts held in collections all over the globe.

Ed has already performed a solo concert of some of his arrangements of these tunes. It was back in the summer at Lamplugh Village Hall that a small but appreciative audience witnessed the premier of some of this music – just Ed with his guitar, the tales behind them and the story of their re-discovery. Some manuscripts were held in local Archive Centres and libraries – others were sourced from further afield, including the United States.

But if this summer’s concert was a treat, his second concert, again in Lamplugh in late October, was nothing short of a revelation, for on this occasion he was joined by Keswick-based harpist Jean Altshuler, dueting on five specially arranged pieces.

Jean has been advising Ed on the arrangements involving the lever harp and joined him on stage for the second half of the concert – and what a delight.

The introduction of the harp added an ethereal quality to this already beautiful music, particularly in the first collaboration, the ballad Rob Lowry. As the music played there were audible gasps from the audience and nods and whispers of appreciation when the piece came to an end. The brisker pace and multiple glissandi in Hopkinson’s Favourite suited the harp so well. A waltz, ballad and jig followed showing off the inspired partnership of these two stringed instruments.

At least one member of the audience claimed never to have heard the harp played “live” before, and epithets included such expressions as “exquisite”, “breathtaking” and “sublime”.

The harp itself drew admiring glances, particularly after the performance when a few audience members chanced a closer inspection of this most glorious of musical instruments.

One young fan even had the opportunity, under Jean Altshuler’s guidance, to play the first few bars of Twinkle, Twinkle before the concert began, having never played before.

The earliest music in the set dated from 1637 while most tunes were from the 18th and 19th centuries, and came from all over the Cumberland and Westmorland, including Alston, Appleby and Hawkshead among others.

When audience members unknown to the musicians approach them to demand more of the same please, they must know they have struck a chord and they have something special. This concert was truly something special, and deserves a wider audience. Keep an eye out for more performances.

REVIEW: Manx band rocks out at Florence

by Robert Haile

Folk that rocked: Beccy Hurst and Callum Younger (pictured) brought together the Manx four piece

TUNES from across the Irish Sea headed to Egremont for a night of traditional folk music.

Florence Arts Centre rocked out to the Manx sound of Birlinn Jiarg on Thursday October 27.

The four piece folk outfit were supported by D’ Bleedin’ Blaggards that featured Ben Sloan and Paul McGhee along with Paul O’Halloran and Anne-Marie McStraw.

The Blaggards performed original songs that will feature on their upcoming EP to the enjoyment of the crowd and Birlinn Jiarg.

As one four piece replaced the other the room filled with the sound of traditional Manx music.

Brought together by Beccy Hurst on the whistle and concertina the group have been on an album launch tour.

Joined by Freya Rae on clarinet and flute, Alasdair Paul on guitar and bouzouki, and Callum Younger on the bodhrán drum.

The traditional music was mixed in with the original compositions by the group as the songs came in sets of three with an introduction, and sometimes translation, before the energetic songs began.

An instrumental and passionate band with international pedigree.

They are incredibly talented and are, for certain, destined to rise to the top.

REVIEW: Demon Barbers go XL in Keswick

by Craigh Wishart

Rise up: The Theatre by the Lake put enthusiasm and passion into clever lyrics and brilliant routines -photo by Craig Wishart

YOU’D be forgiven for thinking folk music and break dancing are opposites and such extremes could never collide.

I thought that not long ago too, that was until I saw the Demon Barbers XL in Keswick’s, Theatre by the Lake (TBTL) – that’s when I realised my error.

The band describe themselves as electric folk and I suppose if you need to name a genre then it’s good place to start, but there is so much more to them than that.

Let’s start with the music. Many of the songs take their inspiration from early British folk ballads; ‘Rise Up’, for example, is a rebellion song straight out of sixteenth century Norfolk and the themes in ‘My Bonny Boy’ delve even further in antiquity.

The lyrics and vocals from Damien Barber and Bryony Griffith may give voice to age old problems but the music is brought to life with an electronic sound more familiar to modern ears.

Keyboards, drums, bass guitar and melodeon interweave beautifully with the traditional concertina and fiddle.

But no Barbers’ performance is complete without dance and the stage was filled with clog, sword, Morris and break dancers.

Not competing with each other but blending together, morphing to combine the ancient and the modern.

The ‘May Song’ which celebrates the spring festivities began with an enthusiastic, high kicking Morris performance and seamlessly mutated into a somersaulting, head spinning, frenetic dance routine, complete with the awesome one armed holds for which break dancing is famous.

The trundling routines of pensioners around the maypole are going to seem very tame next spring.

But just as the music is hard to pin down and classify, so too was the audience.

The Carlisle women’s clog dancers had block booked seats and gave their own spirited performance in the foyer before the show began.

The enthralled crowd was encouraged to join in and sing along.

I’ve never heard a more enthusiastic crowd, even when the subject is so depressing, but the Demon Barbers have that something special and I joined in with everyone else, shouting “Go boys, they’ll time your every breath. Every day you’re in this place you’re two days closer to death,” when called upon.

We were treated to ballads, haunting fiddle solos and a high tempo ‘drum & clog’ finale.

Any folk band that plays a cover of ‘Friend of the Devil’ by the Grateful Dead has a right to call themselves the Mavericks of folk music.

The band won the ‘Best Live Act’ at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2009 and I can see why. It was without doubt one of the most exciting gigs I’ve been to in a long time.