Headed across town to the sound of Charles Mingus

Headed across town to the sound of Charles Mingus’ Ah-Um (still feeling the Waitsian after-hours jazz club vibe from yesterday) to catch the eclectic traditional music quartet Bal De Bourdon at Brixton Hootananny. The name means dance or ball of bees – a bees’ knees-up! Incredibly hard to believe this was their first gig – they’re so accomplished! Actually each member is a very talented and experienced performer in their own right, so this seemed like a perfect coming-together of fellow-spirits. A nicely unfamiliar set of songs from France and Cornwall, in tremendously subtle and effective new arrangements by the band, told stories of the sea, coastal-dwellers, dreamers and drifters – with a hint of magic and more than a touch of melancholy. As lead singer Evrah told us, even the song about the Cornishman kissing his sweetheart under the mistletoe ends with him dwelling on “the loneliness within himself”. Between-song explanations were super-helpful to our enjoyment of these undiscovered gems. And although we were happy to sit and listen, the airiness and lightness of touch suggested the dance-origins of much of the material. Superb musicianship from Jeremy Halliwell on guitar (what a sound!), Evrah on vocals, Martin Oakley on accordion and harmony vocals and Karen Yarnell on eclectic percussion left us wanting more! (Great house sound too – full marks to the soundman in his bullet-proof Perspex box!) Hopefully Passport can record an interview / live session with these musical explorers before too long…


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