A regular column from Spalding Folk Club’s Martin Browne.
Spalding Folk Club’s audience on Wednesday, November 4 were entertained by Canadian singer-songwriter Maria Dunn and her long term collaborator, record producer and accompanist Shannon Johnson.
Shannon had only just flown over from Canada the day before and, despite being severely jet-lagged, certainly never let her disorientation affect her beautiful fiddle playing.
The majority of Maria’s performance was based upon the issues of workers’ rights and social justice. Her songs sympathetically relate to specific events from the past in the area around her adopted home town of Edmonton, Alberta, and in particular the clothing industry’s treatment of its mainly immigrant workforce.
There were some especially poignant songs: We Were Good People – telling of the brutal suppression of 10,000 peaceful protesters in the hunger march in Edmonton in December 1932 – and Blue Lung, which told the story from the point-of-view of a denim clothing mill worker dying of lung disease.
The songs powerfully hit home, always empathising with their subjects but never being over sentimental. Maria was equally adept on guitar and accordion and Shannon had the perfect knack of a true accompanist knowing when to come in with her blissful violin playing and support harmony vocals.
Folk events: tonight Spalding Folk Club’s singaround at Welland Yacht Club, and tomorrow Kathryn Tickell and the Side are in concert at Stamford Arts Centre (8pm). On Sunday at South Holland Centre, US bluegrass band Front Country are appearing (7.30pm) and Monday is the Oscar Preston Memorial Song Competition at the White Horse, Baston (8pm). On the same night there is a song and tune session at the Pig and Whistle, Swineshead (8pm). Also at Swineshead next Thursday at Arts Coritani, Dave Parkinson is the guest at the Last Thursday Acoustic Music Club (8pm). On Saturday, November 28 Sleaford’s Winter Wilson appear at the village hall Aslackby with support by Dave Smith and Patty Vetta. Tuesday, December 1 is the Masons Folk and Acoustic Club at the Mason’s Arms, Bourne (8pm).
Spalding Folk Club’s next guest at South Holland Centre on Wednesday, December 2 is evergreen folk performer Archie Fisher (8pm).