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Our last session for 2006 proved to be a wonderful night, with plenty of new faces and some old favourite tunes. One of the highlights was a performance by The Red Herrings, a group based at the Swedish Church in Toorak, who play "Scandinavian fusion" according to their leader Bjorn. They certainly provided a captivating bracket of tunes, with a mellow yet lively sound. With 2 fiddles, guitar, 2 piano accordions, double bass and clarinet it was a big sound that filled the hall with lovely "walking tunes", polskas and marches. I don't think we've heard the clarinet at NFFC before, and hopefully clarinetist Lucy will return to NFFC (I'm told she has a wonderful singing voice too). In fact we hope the whole band will return!View video of the Red Herrings
Rick gave us an old favourite Singing Land and a classic Australian song that's not performed as often as it should be, Diamantina Drover. We hadn't seen Gerry for a long time and his return was most welcome as he gave us Route 66, Blue Moon and a lament on the trials and tribulations of a guitar player, to the tune of Would You Like To Swing On A Star
The Newport Bush Orchestra really got into the "groove" with a bracket of tunes and some commentary from leader Greg, with a few fiddler's tips for getting extra volume - "whacking on" and "ringing strings" - that the old-time fiddlers used when they were playing solo for hundreds of people at a dance.
Newcomer Vanessa accompanied herself on guitar and harmonica for a couple of numbers including Perfect World. She heard about NFFC from Greg J. who came along a few times this year...word gets around! Then there was Ted with Don't Think Twice, It's All Right, Jackie with Hank Williams' Kaw-Liga and lots more, but I stopped taking notes and started jamming. See you all next year!
Mason St Newport came alive on these two days with live music. The Newport Swing Band played outside Sammy's Bakehouse on the 21st and then a few of the Folk Club regulars put together a 2-hour music session outside Pears On Mason on the 28th. Despite wind and the odd shower of rain, the novelty of live music on the streets of Newport brought in lots of people and the cafe staff were kept busy. Or were all those extra coffees just for the musos? Anyway, I met just about everyone I know in Newport and a few people I hadn't met before, so that alone makes it a success! We hope to repeat and maybe even expand these live music performances in Newport.
Another enjoyable night at the Fiddle and Folk Club. Alan kicked off with Guantanamera and Ghost Riders in the Sky with everyone joining in the "Guantanamera" and the "Yippie-aye-ey". Then Harry and his daughter Gail played us a Swedish folk tune on fiddle and flute. Another Gail (some wit suggested there was a Gail warning) gave us a couple of Joni Mitchell songs - Big Yellow Taxi and Both Sides Now, accompanied by Greg H. We experienced a severe ukulele shortage at this event, with Jackie and Alison absent and only Gail and young Isaac flying the ukulele flag.
Ted brought out a children's song he'd prepared for his gig at the Sacred Heart fete a couple of weeks ago - The Fox and the Goose - and then He's In the Jailhouse Now, by request. Dave departed from his usual poetry recitation with a version of Henry Lawson's short story The Darling River, delivered in his entertaining "camp-fire yarn" style. Simon was in top form this night, with Come All You Fair and Tender Ladies, Diddy Wah Diddy and Love in Vain, and then later on his own composition What You Gonna Do?, which he he'll be singing at the Maldon Folk Festival in the songwriter's competition - go Simon!
The Newport Bush Orchestra showed their increasing repertoire and skill with a selection of Australian bush tunes. Their leader Greg O'Leary brought along a circular tune called Watching the Cattle, apparently used by the old-time cattle drovers to keep the cattle quiet. Pretty soon the rest of us caught on to the tune and the musicians far outnumbered the audience! After a cup of tea the fiddlers took the lead and played a tune called "that one that Chris and Simon played at Colbo" and another called, "you know, the one that goes da-da-dee-da-da-di", finishing up with one whose name I did catch, Mason's Apron. The Parting Glass was meant to be the traditional final song but we couldn't quite make up our minds to leave so we did a couple more Irish tunes before finally packing up the chairs for another month.
Sorry, no report this month.
Our August session saw a whole lot of new faces and it was an evening that saw three groups get up and perform. Anton brought along brought along a few of his young violin students who playedwith guitar accompaniment, his mature violin students performed as "Willy Stwings" and the Newport Bush Orchestra played a selection from their expanding repertoire.
Simon Leverton started the night off with the Scottish drinking song Jock Stewart which got the audience singing along. Almost on cue, in walks a local 'music lover' who apparently had too much to drink and while passing the hall, decided to come in and offer comments and criticism during the performances. After a considerable time, when several appeals for quiet were met with aggressive replies, he was quietly escorted off the premises (many thanks Greg and Chris).
While I was disappointed that we had to contend with such rudeness, it did challenge me, and the committee, to reflect on what the folk club is trying to achieve and what we need to have in place to make sure that it works. Maybe at the end of two years that is not such a bad thing to do, and can help shape the direction that the Folk Club grows in the next couple of years.
After Simon's singing Anton's students performed. Anton Teese had invited his violin students to come along and they took this opportunity with relish. George played the Quaker tune A Gift to be Simple, Marea player a Greek melody Para Stous Para Cambous, Mary Lou and her son Darcy played Fire on the Mountain and Kathryn Tompkins and Anton played Father O'Flynn. They then all combined to play Over the Water to Charlie. It was great to see such young violinists (average age about 11?) playing with such confidence and we will enjoy watching them develop in the next couple of years.
After the violinists Greg H. played a couple of guitar pieces including the very lovely Dew Point. Ted got in to the swing of things with his song Life is Like a River and then Jackie accompanied herself on her uke to tell everyone that I want to Sing that Rock and Roll. Rick played a couple of instrumentals on his guitar and his version of Turlough O'Corolan's Si Beg Si Mor was very sweet and beautiful. Greg C. sang a number of song - the one that lingered in my mind was a wistful tune of a girl remembering the freedom she had when she was young before she learned what girls could and couldn't do. Very nice.
After that we had a break with tea and biscuits, and then those who stayed on had a good session where all sorts of songs were played including Heart of Gold (well done Leonie), The Prisoner Theme - You Used to Give Me Roses (good on you Chris) and Wendy played her first solo whistle performance (accompanied by Greg O on fiddle). The folk club has provided a great opportunity for people to perform in public and, with encouragement and feedback, we all have had the chance to develop our skills and confidence. So, drunks aside, the evening was a good session which continued to show that there are lots of people who want to perform, and plenty of potential within the Newport Folk Club to develop a really strong music culture. See you next month.
It was "all the Gregs" this month, with Greg O'Leary leading the Newport Bush Orchestra in some great new tunes (including a tune Greg picked up from some old-time fiddlers in the Castlemaine area). Then Greg Hammond played us a tune with his usual finger-picking virtuosity and followed up by singing (was this a first?) a Leonard Cohen song, Chelsea Hotel #2. Later in the night we heard from a newcomer, Greg Jenkins, who made an impressive NFFC debut with the Robert Johnson song Love in Vain and Brent Parlane's The Man Who Sold His Face.
There were some performers not called Greg - Jackie and Alison gave us a couple of new songs on the ukeleles, and some old favourites later in the evening, including Catch a Falling Star.
Rick and Greg H both had their guitars in the famous DADGAD tuning which gave a great sound to Rick's song (see video).
The Newport Swing Band performed a couple of songs as a warm-up to their performance outside Sammy's Bakehouse in Mason St the following day.
Ted made a welcome return with My Grandfather's Clock and He's In the Jailhouse Now.
Alan sang a song that brought back memories for many people - Don Gato, which used to be in the ABC songbook that was used in primary schools in the 1970s and 80s. Leonie and Alan joined forces for Jambalaya, a Hank Williams song that has the advantage of only needing 2 chords on the guitar.
Another 2-chorder provided one of the evening's highlights - Drunken Sailor, led by Leonie's 10-year-old son Isaac.As usual the poets were not forgotten with Dave giving us The Captain of the Push and Greg J with that Roger McGough poem about everyone making love on the bus...you know the one...
Another great night and a particularly eclectic mix of entertainment.
And we're proud to announce that our proceeds from this night and from the swing band's performance the following day amounted to $230, which has been donated to the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre.
The Newport Bush Orchestra
Dave gives us an old favourite - "The Play" by C.J. Dennis
Robert performing one of his original songs
The first public performance of the Newport Bush Orchestra!
Click here for videoAnd here's a recording of them in rehearsal.
Apart from the NBO and their Australian Folk Tunes there was a wide variety of styles of music played, including a selection of songs and instrumenal pieces from our friends from Folk Victoria (loved the guitar/whistling version of Maree Elaine), a couple of violin sets by Chris Langshaw and lots of Ukelele playing by Bill Martin who has just recently found that Newport is the musical centre of the west (especially for ukelele players). It was a night of great music and community spirit helped along by a cuppa and a pretty rich chocolate cake that was enjoyed by all and helped fuel some of the musos who kept up the singing and playing until just before midnight - I think we can call that a good session.
We are slowly catching up with reports on NFFC activities this year. The Bush Dance in February was a huge success. You can see a brief video below that captures the flavour of the event - lots of fun and dancing! A full report will follow soon.
The Bush Orchestra has got off to a great start with 17 participants, so look out for them at club nights and elsewhere over the next few months.
The February Friday club night is just a hazy memory now so we might not be able to provide a report on that. Even March seems a long time ago but here goes...
It was looking like a slow start but as usual Jackie, Christine and the rest of the ukulele crew didn't need too much persuading to do a few songs, which got the night going while more people arrived. Then we got out the Colbo song book and performed a few old favourites, notably The Lachlan Tigers. This is one of those songs that I couldn't even remember until I heard the chorus, then it all came back. I think it was the same for many others, as by the end everyone was joining in with great confidence.
Then Wendy sang a couple of songs - I must admit I can't remember what they were but I do remember that we were all spellbound as her wonderful voice filled the hall.
Poetry too was not neglected as Dave gave us one of the old favourites - The Play by C.J. Dennis. He took us into the world of an early-1900s street larrikin seeing his first Shakespeare play.
It was good to see Harry at NFFC again. Harry hails from the other side of town and we last saw him a few months ago performing with a bush orchestra from Ringwood. On being invited to play us a tune, Harry picked up his fiddle and, with a twinkle in his eye, invited us to "follow me!". He led us into a series of rollicking fiddle tunes and after a while the rest of us did manage to catch up! This set the tone for the rest of the evening with Greg, Harry and Chris setting a cracking pace on the fiddles and rest of us keeping up as best we could.
It was great to see several new musicians, just beginning to learn their instruments, having a go nevertheless and making great progress in just a couple of hours. At the start of the night Greg encouraged them with the phrase, "Keep going, after a while it just drops in and you'll get it." Towards the end of the night, one of the new musicians remarked, "You know, after a while it just drops in and I can do it!"
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