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…


3 thoughts on “Headed across town to the sound of Charles Mingus

  1. Ah, cool Mingus. “A bees’ knees-up”—you are a genius…”happy to sit and listen”…do you think I would have been able to sit still? The Cornishman from the song sounds like our Bruno from the road.

    1. Yeh, Arturo referenced Mingus too, didn’t he! I still vividly remember that drive across Ldn and those sounds on the stereo (CDs – different car!). Oh yes, “the loneliness within himself” definitely sounds like Wim Wenders! No, I don’t think you would have been able to sit still… 🙂

      1. We were just having a conversation with the little about how certain music gets attached to certain memories, because he’s noticed it happening to him. I’m glad we all get to contemplate these things. 🙂

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