Folk at the Snape Proms 2004
Terrafolk and Danú
It's that time of the year again - the arrival of August means for the Snape Maltings Concert Hall to remove the first 10 or so rows of seats, to make space for people sitting on the ground. That's behind the Proms - a varied musical programme over all of August covering classical, folk, world, jazz, where you can if you prefer buy a cheaper ticket to sit on the ground!
This year's programme had on the folk/world music side a slight focus on Eastern Europe, with two bands performing: The Warsaw Village Band from Poland and Terrafolk from Slovenia. Additionally, there was some excellent Irish music with Danú, and a performance of English folk diva June Tabor. I only managed to see two of these concerts, Terrafolk and Danú.
Terrafolk have established a large following in Suffolk from previous performances; however, for myself it was a "first time" experience. The Slovenian band combines musicians from various music styles, including Balkan folk, Celtic, jazz and classical. All of these styles can also be distinguished in the band's music. Most of all, it is a band that does not take itself serious, and has plenty of slapstick and a bizarre sense of humour throughout the show.
Terrafolk features violin and mandolin (the bands lead Bojan CV), guitar (Danijel Cerne), accordion and percussions (Marko Hatlak) and double bass and accordeon (Janez Dovc). The concert in Snape marked also the very last concert of the genius clarinet player Boston Balkany with Terrafolk - he decided to move on to pursue a classical music career.
While throught the concert, the talent of the musicians of Terrafolk was obvious, I found their show too ridiculous, with too many bizarre jokes and humour, and too little consistent music. Just when you get into a tune and start being impressed by it, a strange joke would interrupt the music. While I appreciated the fact that these musicians like to have fun on stage and like to experiment with their music, I found it rather disturbing how their experiments brought all of the music into the ridiculous.
For the concert in Snape, Terrafolk had invited a couple of special guests: Guitarist Tommy Emmanuel and singer/songwriter Neil Innes who used to work with Monty Pythons on their film music. The contribution of Neil Innes was rather bizzare as part of the concert, not really appropriate (note though that at last year's Proms, Terrafolk supported Neil Innes' concert). Tommy might have impressed as a good guitarist, but again somehow his appearance did not really fit into the concert.
Overall, I was quite disappointed by this concert. I had beforehand a Terrafolk CD which I highly enjoyed, but the concert unfortunately had too little focus on the quality and innovative music they present on CD. They might be a great busking band, and might turn a folk festival audience wild, but for a concert hall their performance seemd to me wholly inappropriate. More music and less jokes please!
The concert of Danú was a different story. Danú have established themselves as the best traditional music band from Ireland of today. Danú's approach to the music is fresh, lively and convincing. While stying true to traditional Irish music, they breathe a new and impressive fresh air into the music, taking away any audience. The band combines some of the creme of young Irish musicians, with a superb range of instruments, including accordeon, flute, Irish pipes and bodhran, bouzouki, fiddle.
The latest additions to Danú are their new fiddler Oisin McAuley and their new female singer and whistle player Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, which is another real asset to the band. The band is as good as ever, and shows their real skills in showcasing the solo talents in a band context - several sets of tunes have parts which are only played by single musicians, interwoven into an overall band context.
Danú are simply superb, making any listener fall in love with traditional Irish music. The Snape audience, for this concert more senior than I have ever seen it, was taken aback by the sheer power of the music.
And that was another Snape Proms seasons - now the Snape Maltings Concert Hall
returns to its classical music for the next 11 months, until the next Proms
are just around the corner!
Related Internet site- Aldeburgh
Photo Credit: All photos by The Mollis - Terrafolk photos (1, 2, 3; 3 with Tommy Emmanuel) at Snape, Danú photo at Tonder Festival 2004
All material published in FolkWorld is © The Author via FolkWorld. Storage for private use is allowed and welcome. Reviews and extracts of up to 200 words may be freely quoted and reproduced, if source and author are acknowledged. For any other reproduction please ask the Editors for permission. Although any external links from FolkWorld are chosen with greatest care, FolkWorld and its editors do not take any responsibility for the content of the linked external websites.