Paint me with colours
Hands up if you know what an Irish Bouzouki is. No, its not a black coffee fortified with Ouzo. No, its not a Dublin seagull related to the sooty tern. No, its not a clever tax dodge used by US businesses to keep all the loot and avoid paying any tax at all.
No, its none of those. Its a musical instrument, not unlike a mandolin, and you will surely have heard the sound of the bazouki in that iconic piece of film music, Zorba The Greek. On a slightly different cultural plane, the cheese shop sketch from Monty Python has, for some inexplicable reason, a bazouki player sitting in the corner strumming away. And anyone who has come to our Klub Kakofanney Sunday Sessions will very likely have seen an Irish Bazouki in the hands of local historian Mark Atherton, master of the middle ages, (by which I mean the middle ages of history, not middle-age school years nor middle-age spread). Mark and his moveable feast of musicians writes songs aboout King Canute, Dorchester Hill, and the days when viking longboats sailed up the Thames to Oxford.
This week, I am delighted to bring you a Klub Kakofanney Unplugged session from Mark, along with his partner in crime, Julie Dyson, playing some of the songs from their repertoire. This session includes a first ever public performance of a new song, Down To The Ships.
I hope you are enjoying our mix of unplugged recordings and materials from the archives. The first video we published, back at the start of this crisis, featuring Phil and Sue in the living room, has now been watched over a thousand times which is quite a milestone. It would have been a kilometer stone but, you know, Brexit and all that. Remember, if you are feeling frustrated at the lack of gigs and you or your band would like to film a short performance video for Klub Kakofanney, please do get in touch with me and let me know you are interested.
Live organised music events which are open to the public look like being at the end of the queue for reopening after covid, and I fear any financial support for the performing arts will be funnelled into opera, theatre, and orchestras. Grass roots music will be sadly neglected, even though its culture touches far more people than the highbrow genres, and is much more effective at reaching the marginalised groups in our societies. Here are a few examples of world music reaching out and touching people. (apologies for the adverts on these external videos, but poor old Google has to pay for its bouzouki coffees somehow).
T-Bitch want to be Pretty
The punk band T-Bitch worked with Project 49, a community group based in Southend-on-Sea which supports adults with learning difficulties. Together they made this video of the T-Bitch song, Pretty, and published it just before the world went into Operation Lockdown. I love the uninhibited way that the people in this video are having so much fun. The song is pretty catchy too.
Lindsey Stirling, Tunapendwa (We are loved)
Lindsay Stirling is an amazing dynamic violinist and dancer. She once appeared on America's Got Talent where Piers Morgan told her "You're not untalented, but you're not good enough". Since 2013, she has worked with Atlanta Music Project to help spread appreciation of music to children who might not otherwise have the chance. This video of her in Kenya, playing to kids in a remote village school, is heart-warming. Music breaks down barriers, and education empowers people.
Citizien's Initiative, Rang De Basanti (Paint me with the colours of spring)
For sheer feelgood factor, this citizen's initiative in Mumbai takes some beating. It took part unannouced on a Sunday evening in Mumbai Central Station. The station temporarily stopped the trains and played the music over the station's public address. The music comes from a Hindi film, Rang De Basanti.
Stay safe everyone, keep the music in your hearts, and remember, if you would like to make a short performance video for Klub Kakofanney, please get in touch.