Saturday, 28 August 2010

Whitby music

Double rainbow over Whitby
I've just returned from Whitby where I've been for the Folk Week. I didn't get to many formal concerts, although I did see the great John Kirkpatrick, a great singer of mostly traditional material and expert squeeze box player, and a joint concert of Keith Donnelly and Les Barker, two of the funniest acts on the folk scene. I spent more time in the fringe sessions and saw some spectacular singing and playing, particularly in the Station Inn. The Elsinore also has some busy music sessions in the evenings, and a couple of afternoons I played in a couple of impromptu singarounds there.

Legends looking, er, legendary.
Our own Lunchtime Legends rock & roll session ("the premier fringe event of Folk Week") in the Elsinore on Flowergate at Wednesday lunch time had a set of 32 songs, probably the longest set during the whole of Folk Week, and we're not even booked to play! It was packed out as ever and seemed to go down a storm. A charming young girl was giving me nice smiles while I played and bought one of our CDs, so I asked her her name. She told me, and mentioned her age was: "Five and three quarters." Our opening act was the excellent Jim Causley, who got into the spirit of things with songs he associated with his mother (he is a lot younger than us!). For a change we were joined by a bass player, Joe Gannet, who joined us to good effect, giving the sound a bass presence it sometimes lacks. John Kirkpatrick (mentioned above) has opened for us twice: 1998 and 2008.

Going to Whitby is like going on holiday with friends, as there are so many people I know there, some I see only once or twice a year, but quite a few from the Southport and Merseyside area.  All in all a great week, with the weather mostly good, but as usual it was all over far too quickly. I hardly took any pictures, but the one included here was of a double rainbow I could see from the small yard of our holiday cottage.

We went on a pub crawl in Whitby; I'll write about that in a day or two, in case anyone chooses to visit this lovely fishing port (although the amount of fishing gets less every year).

I also saw some traditional dances from most parts of Britain, and they are rather more varied than the "bells ands hankies" image, although there were plenty of those around. Here is a YouTube video of the parade of dance through the town, taken across the road from the Elsinore, which you can see clearly.


  1. Sounds like a brilliant week. I saw Keith Donnelly (along with Flossie Malavialle) supporting Fairport a few months back - they were rather good. Didn't know morris got as far north as Whitby.

  2. Morris gets everywhere. A couple of years ago I came across a team who were dancing rapper, an energetic style of sword dance from NE England. Nothing unusual in that, except these were all attractive young women from Aberdeen who went round their local pubs dancing rapper and getting drinks bought for them all night.


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