EP release and tour dates for Co-cheòl (Victoria)

Co-cheol
Co-cheòl: EP launch and performance dates

Victorian Celtic quartet Co-cheòl are launching their debut EP (‘Co-cheòl’) at the Boite World Music Café in North Fitzroy on Saturday 11 October 2014.

Boasting a wealth of instrumental skill and experience, a real strength of the group is in their vocal harmonising which comes to the fore in their EP. The group was also recognised with a runner-up award in the recent AUS-ACA A Capella Championships, plus awards for ‘Best Band’ and ‘Best Comedy Song’.

Co-cheòl made their festival debut in January 2014 at the ever-popular Cygnet Folk Festival in Tasmania to rapturous responses from audiences.

Co-cheòl EP cover
Co-cheòl EP cover

The group started singing together in October 2013 and this self-titled EP is their first recording.

Co-cheòl comprises Claire Patti (vocals/harp), Georgina Walton (vocals/ukulele), and twins Merrily Hansen (vocals/flute) and Ginger Hansen (vocals/accordion).

Claire Patti was recently awarded the 2014 Female Vocalist of the year in the Australian Celtic Music Awards.

Ginger Hansen provided a little more background on where the band originated and what makes them hum (no pun intended):

‘Claire, Merrily and I have all sung together in the past at one point or another in a community choir. Claire has her own solo career as well as singing with Taliska. She was doing a solo album and obviously can’t do harmonies with herself while performing!

So she asked Merrily and I if we could give her a hand with concerts.

We did the backing tracks on her album and thought this is a good thing; we’ll keep doing this.

Claire works at a school where Georgina works, and one day Claire was singing to herself at work and then this other voice, Georgina, joined in with a great harmony line – and that was it!

We want to do more original material. We have one or two original numbers, as well as some lyrics that are ready to be put to music. Aside from this, we do all our own arrangements of a mix of traditional and more modern stuff.’

Co-cheòl is pronounced ‘Co-shaal ‘ and appropriately means ‘harmony’ in Scots Gaelic. Ginger spoke briefly about the origins of the band’s chosen music.

Co-cheòl
Co-cheòl

‘We have a family connection with Celtic music to varying degrees. We’ve all just had different amounts of exposure to it.

The National A Capella Championships were great. The event was incredibly well-organised, really well-attended, and it was just amazing to get in contact and make friends with a lot of other musicians and groups.

Quite of lot of groups from New South Wales and South Australia as well. When we go to Adelaide we’ll be meeting up with those people.

It was great to be in the company of a lot of other music nerds who enjoy singing as much as we do!

A capella is definitely a buzzword at the moment, so people are focussing on that aspect which is fine. They don’t necessarily have a picture of our music when they think of our singing, so that’s a nice surprise for them when they come to see and hear us.’

Victorians and South Australians have several chances to see Co-cheòl perform starting with the EP launch:

Saturday 11 October — Boite World Music Café, North Fitzroy (Vic)
Saturday 18 October — Darebin Music Feast, Wesley Anne, Northcote (Vic)

21 to 22 November — Carnival of Music, Clare Valley (SA)
Sunday 23 November — Creatively Celtic, Church of Christ, Aldgate (SA) EP Launch

More details on these dates are on Co-cheòl’s gig page.

You can see and hear more of Co-cheòl on their Youtube channel, Facebook page and Soundcloud site.

The EP is available from 11 October 2014 and pre-sale details are at Bandcamp.

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Interview: Tolka (Victoria)

Image courtesy of Tolka
Image courtesy of Tolka

Interview with Tolka (Victoria)

I was initially attracted to the sound of Tolka as they reminded me strongly of one of my favourite Australian folk bands. I won’t say which one, though it was mentioned in dispatches and a subject of some discussion when we spoke — press ‘Play’ below to find out more.

When we spoke earlier in the year, on a sultry Saturday evening when the Illawarra Folk Festival was fairly humming, strumming, beating and dancing, Tolka hadn’t at that point put one foot inside the recording studio for their debut album.

However, last weekend, ‘Tunes From The External Hard Drive’ was launched with appropriate fanfare in their hometown of Melbourne.

There are more chances for you to see Tolka for yourself via their gig listing. The album will be available soon at Bandcamp, or contact Tolka directly about where to snaffle a copy.

Upcoming festival gigs for Tolka:

3 to 4 June – Robert Burns Scottish Festival, Camperdown (VIC)
20 to 22 September – Turning Wave Festival, Yass (NSW)

There’s also an exhibition of the album’s artwork at the Brunswick Arts Space from 13 to 28 July.

Dr Gilbert’s Set from the National Celtic Festival, Victoria, 2013:

Claymore (Vic.) Flying Saucer Club, Friday 8 March 2013

Claymore (Vic.)
Claymore (Vic.)

Claymore Live

The Flying Saucer Club

First the details, then the existential ponderings.

Claymore are playing at

The Flying Saucer Club
4 St Georges Road. Elsternwick, Victoria

Friday 8 March 2013

From the presser:

Claymore’s reputation as outstanding entertainers has led them to perform at many local and international festivals, they have performed in New York, Scotland, France at the “Festival Interceltique“, the largest Celtic festival in the world many times, New Zealand, Sydney, Melbourne, Launceston (Tasmania), National Celtic Festival, Port Fairy Folk Festival, Queenscliff Music Festival, Big Blues Day Out, Perth International Arts Festival, Brunswick Music Festival and many more.

The band has played many live radio and television performances in Australia and overseas. 

With a mixture of traditional Scottish and Irish music and modern self penned Celtic rock the band represents the best of new age Folk Music.

Through a diverse and unique mix of sound’s featuring guitar, mandolin, fiddle, military snare, the highland bagpipes and even a didgeridoo, it is little wonder Claymore are one of Australia’s most popular festival acts.  A not to be missed extravaganza.

Claymore are one of the first bands to spark my interest in folk music. Unless you count that village fair in Surrey in 1979 where I first experienced Morris Dancing (and have been in therapy ever since). Continue reading

Bruce Watson: solo and Unsung Heroes project

Bruce Watson. Picture courtesy of www.brucewatsonmusic.com
Bruce Watson. Picture courtesy of http://www.brucewatsonmusic.com

Bruce Watson

Talks mostly about Unsung Heroes

(But he’s about to do a week or so of solo stuff so make sure you read to the end!)

Tracking back even further through my backlog of recorded material, back a fair few weeks ago now, Bruce Watson was on the road with three of his Victorian compadres (I could have said Mexican, but didn’t) for the Unsung Heroes shows in a few venues. Sadly, this article didn’t get to see the light of day in time for those shows, but as you’ll read, the project has quite the life that will see it around for some time to come. Here Bruce talks about how the concept came about and what the future plans are for the project.

And then, you can start scribbling dates in your diary as Bruce prepares to have a mini-assault on ACT and the southern highlands/Illawarra hinterland/central coast and Hunter region over the next ten days.

Bill Quinn: Tell me about the Unsung Heroes project.

Bruce Watson: It’s a collection of four singer-songwriters – which is sort of unusual for singer-songwriters to all get together. But we all met at a thing called the Darebin Songwriters Guild which is based in our local area in the northern suburbs of Melbourne.

And we got together to do that, and the actual idea for the project came from Moira Tyers, and she was just basically talking to people about it. She formed a band with Wendy [Ealey] and Neil [Robertson]. And I heard about the project and said, ‘This is really good. I’ve got some songs that would fit into that idea, and I’d love to be involved in some way’.

So I was invited into the project.

We actually started with about ten people. And gave the initial concert with a whole lot of local songwriters that did songs on the theme of ‘Unsung Heroes’.

Then we gradually filed it down to a manageable number of people, and to more of a thematic approach, with the organising principle being: time. It’s chronological, going from settlement (and a little bit of a flash-back to pre-settlement Australia) and it goes right through to a few contemporary people – a few people who are still alive and doing amazing things.

So that’s how the show started, and it’s turned into a show that’s got a narrative and a set of songs and the visuals are really important. It’s got a slide show component that’s quite important. Continue reading

Liz Frencham on touring with Gregory Page and Jimmy the Fish

Liz Frencham talks about playing solo

and with Jimmy the Fish and Gregory Page

This is a slightly elongated and fuller version of the interview with Liz Frencham that first appeared in Timber and Steel on 28 September 2012.

Liz Frencham is one of the hardest working women in folk.

Liz’s collaborations, bands and projects are legendary. If you laid out her records end to end, including her solo, band, contribution and bit part playing thereon CDs… my, it would take a long time to pick them all up again.

Liz spent part of winter cocooned away in rural Victoria, but in recent times she’s been on the road with her bluegrass outfit Jimmy the Fish, and with the inspired pairing with Fred Smith as Frencham/Smith.

Sometime in the late 1980s, or so it seems, Liz had an interview with Bill Quinn which included one landline, one mobile phone as conduit, and another mobile phone as recording device. Liz was in picturesque southern Trentham, and Bill by the banks of the Moruya River on the beautiful Eurobodalla Nature Coast in rural, coastal New South Wales.

As Liz prepares to strike out on a tour with US singer-songwriter Gregory Page, I started by asking Liz where her preference for solo or band performing lay.

Liz Frencham: I wouldn’t call it a preference. It’s exactly the same, say, as playing playing with Jimmy the Fish and playing with Fred.

Playing solo is “different” and it requires different skills. Probably one thing it has in its favour at the moment is that it still completely terrifies me.

It’s not something that I’ve mastered. It’s exciting and I haven’t settled into a comfortable groove, which makes the possibilities seem more endless. I wouldn’t say it would be a preference, per se.

I am a bass player, and when you’re fitting into your role the most is when you’re accompanying somebody else.

Continue reading

The Go Set interview with Justin Keenan for Artsound FM and Overheard Productions

The Go Set
The Go Set

The Go Set interview with Justin Keenan

for Artsound FM and Overheard Productions

Oh lordy, lordy, lordy.

Some days the universe gives you lemons, and you can either make lemonade or a whisky sour — then tip out the sour and chug down the whisky.

Tonight, necessity was the mother of invention, and later on tonight, I’ll post a picture that will explain why this otherwise lovely interview sounds like poor old Justin is at the end of a very long string, talking into a rather large tin can.

Resonance we don’t got; noise modulation we do; and a modicum of normalisation and balancing. But you can’t overdo these things.

Who cares? The Go Set are coming to Canberra on Friday 20 April:

The Merry Muse (Turner Bowlo, Canberra Southern Cross Club)
54 McCaughey Street
Turner ACT
Doors 7.15pm

Support: Chloe Hall and Silas Palmer
$17 full/$14 concessions/$12 Monaro Folk Society members
16yo and less are free if accompanied

And here be the interview:

*** THE AUDIO OF THIS INTERVIEW HAS BEEN DELETED FROM SOUNDCLOUD DUE TO SPACE LIMITATIONS ***

*** THE AUDIO OF THIS INTERVIEW HAS BEEN DELETED FROM SOUNDCLOUD DUE TO SPACE LIMITATIONS ***

The Go Set interview with Justin Keenan for Artsound FM and Overheard Productions

And if you listen to the interview here, or you heard it on Friday morning on Artsound FM, you may have detected two things:

1. Some pretty average sound quality, and

2. A camera click.

Due to some technical challenges and the fact that I really had to get the interview done there and then, I took the shortest distance between two points: a straight line.

Neccesity is the mother of invention -- recording the interview with Justin in Studio Two at Artsound FM with a bog standard speaker phone and my iRiver
Neccesity is the mother of invention — recording the interview with Justin in Studio Two at Artsound FM with a bog standard speaker phone and my iRiver

 

A Punter’s Perspective 14 — Countrified folk or folkified country? (Greg Champion)

Greg Champion
Greg Champion

A Punter’s Perspective

Random observations on the wide, weird world of folk from the side of the stage

#14 Countrified folk or folkified country? (Greg Champion)
First published in Trad and Now magazine, February 2009

When musical chat turns to genres, labels and identification, if someone poses the age old question, ‘Is it folk?’ or the broader chestnut, ‘What is folk?’ I suddenly hear my mother calling.

(For a woman with reduced lung capacity, she can make herself heard well enough from 300kms away when the need arises, God love her.)

They are worthy and valid questions of a kind, with multiple levels and directions of discourse, but to borrow a phrase another family member uses, if someone starts on these topics, I can just feel the backs of my eyes going dry.

It’s fair game (sometimes) if weighty matters are being discussed at a conference or workshop, but when someone decides to get all loquacious after 17 pints of the sponsor’s product at a festival, that indeed is time to throw them their guitar or bodhran or electric spoons and ask can they play that one about the boat/shearers’ strike/ode to Annie, Nancy or Gwinviere.

For all of that, there’s one related topic that I’m continuously interested in: folk versus country. Which is not some sort of fiddle and dobro slap-down in the cage with folding chairs at ten paces, but more of a mild interest on where the line is, or if it exists.

Are there points of intersection, cross-over (and pass your partner down the line) or even symbiosis?

I’m suspecting ‘yeah’ on all three.

But lord knows I’m a punter and do not presume to be capable of long treatises on-topic. Instead, I took the chance at last year’s Maldon Folk Festival to buttonhole a favourite performer, just one of many who move in both worlds of folk and country: Greg Champion, as he made his way through a lunch-time feed of Indian food outside the Guinness Tent. Continue reading