A regular column by Martin Browne of Spalding Folk Club.
Vocal harmony trio Artisan were the guests at Spalding folk club last Wednesday.
The three friends started out together for fun in 1984 and, three decades later, it was obvious that fun was a major ingredient of their longevity and success. Professionals since 1988, they officially retired in 2005, reformed in 2010 for a reunion tour and joined up again for a limited date tour this year.
As a testament to their ability and professionalism they held the audience’s attention for the full 90 minutes without instrumental accompaniment or amplification. The evening’s concert was a balanced blend of witty introductions, anecdote and perfectly polished harmony singing.
All but one of the songs were composed by Brian Bedford whose songwriting career began as a teacher looking for something a little more inspiring than that available then within the school curriculum. His wife Jacey and third group member Hilary Spencer encouraged him to extend his writing into the folk domain when their increasing popularity demanded a wider and more original repertoire.
The programme was a varied mix of comic and serious songs, sometimes slow and lilting, other times fast and punchy. From such a broad spectrum of quality singing it was hard to choose any song in preference to the others but Brian’s anthemic What’s the Use of Wings and Stan Rodgers’ the Mary Ellen Carter were particularly noteworthy. Judging by the comments as they left, a great night was had by the audience.
Looking ahead, tonight at the Lincoln Arms, Spalding Folk Club has its tune session (8pm). On Sunday at the Marquis of Granby, Sleaford, there is a singaround session with a few tunes (4-8pm). The Haconby Hare music session is at the Hare and Hounds, Haconby, on Monday (8pm).
Spalding Folk Club’s singaround takes place at the Welland Yacht Club next Thursday, August 20 (8pm). Admission is free and all are welcome.
The folk club’s singers and musicians plus Slapdash Appalachian dancers feature in a free outdoor concert on the lawns of Ayscoughfee Hall on Sunday, August 23 (2-4pm). Take a blanket or camp chair to enjoy the alfresco music in comfort.
At the Pig and Whistle, Swineshead, there is a tune and song session on Monday, August 24 (8pm).