Sunday, February 05, 2006

Fifteen years on

The band played for the Priory School Barn Dance in Hitchin last night. I think it's the fifteenth one we've done, making it by far the longest unbroken run of return gigs in our history.

Always great sound in the hall, the set-up and sound check was one of the easiest for ages, and although both Graeme and Steve were feeling very unwell with shocking colds, we had a really great evening. It was good to have Howard on drums again (we missed him at the last gig), and Debbie's fiddle playing just gets better and better. The band sounded dynamic, and the new tunes are starting to take on a life of their own now. As I usually try to do at this gig, I tried out some new dances last night, which seemed to go well, though the longways (Flirtation Reel) needs some extra instruction about what to do when you reach the end of the set!

The dance was sold-out, with a good smattering of old friends, work colleagues and some of the local folk fraternity, as well as a lot of parents from the school, and some of the students, too. They didn't seem too fazed by the complexity of some of the dances, they all danced, and they all stayed to the end. What more can anyone ask?

It was also especially good, having got home and stowed the equipment, to watch the excellent Coppersongs programme again on BBC 4 (another part of the Folk Britannia season). This very touching picture of the Sussex singing family, the Coppers, was made in 2004, and ends with the poignant series of events which started as Bob discovered he was to receive and MBE for services to Folk Music, and ended at his funeral service, following his sad death just four days after recieving his award. The film showed just how intelligent and lucid Bob was, right up to the time of his death, and how very popular he was, not only with his family, but also with the people of his locality, his country, and the world. The family continues to sing the old songs handed down through the generations, and it was great to hear Ben Copper explaining how he felt the songs had real relevance to life in the 21st century, just as his grandad had so eloquently pointed out at another point in the programme.


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