Pick up your shoes, pull up your socks, let's go (Klub Kakofanney Lockdown Letter)

Pick up your shoes, pull up your socks, let's go

After two bleak years, music in Oxford is re-emerging. This coming weekend, Klub Kakofanney has two gigs lined up, our Friday night club night, and a more relaxed Sunday afternoon social session. It would be great to see you there.

Friday at The Gladiator Club, Iffley Road, OX4 1SJ

Our line up on Friday evening, 4th March, is headlined by Oxford favourites, The Shapes. Support comes from an upcoming local band, Siamese Sirens, and the opening act will be the Catgod Duo, Robin and Cat. The Gladiator Club is on the corner of Iffley Road and Percy Street, with regular bus services along Iffley Road. The nearest bus stop, at the corner of Magdalen Road, is a stone's throw from the club. Admission on the door is £8, cash only. The bar is cash only too, so bring coins, notes, and a smile. Doors open at 7:30pm, with music starting at 7:40pm, and finishing by 11pm.

Buy tickets online (booking fees apply)

Google Map of The Gladiator Club

Sunday at The Tree At Iffley, OX4 4EY

On Sunday afternoon, 6th March, we'll be holding a relaxed and friendly event at The Tree in Iffley, where our very own Franklin's Tower will be playing songs by the Grateful Dead, as well as their own original materials played in the style that the Grateful Dead might have played them. They will be supported by Puppet Mechanic, and by Mark Atherton and Friends. This is a FREE event with music running from around 4pm to 7pm. The nearest Iffley Road bus stop is Iffley Turn, and from there it is a five minute walk along Iffley Turn and Church Way. The Tree also does a great range of Indian meals so why not treat yourself?

Google Map of The Tree At Iffley

Remember, as well as enjoying live music again, events like this greatly help places like The Gladiator Club and The Tree to keep their heads above water in these harsh economic times. Every single person makes a difference to them.

No red flags are waving

Over the past two years of pandemic I have heard people complain that the reasonable request to wear facemasks on buses, a request which is hardly onerous to anyone, was "like living in a totalitarian state". The truly shocking and sickening news coverage of the last week, of Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine, is a reminder to all of us what totalitarian states, dictators and despots are truly capable of. It reminds us that we should cherish our right to peaceful protest, our right to disagree with the government, our right to a free press, and our right to hold free and fair elections.

Have you fed the geese?

Back in January, Alina Pash had been chosen to represent Ukraine at the Eurovision Song Contest. Alina was named the "Breakthrough Artist Of The Year 2018" in the prestigious Music Moves Europe MMEA awards, a distinction that has previously been won by Adele, and Mumford and Sons, amongst others. She specialises in electro-rap fused with traditional folk heritage and sounds. I especially like this early song, "Bitanga", which translates roughly as "Hooligan".

Alina Pash grew up in the mountains of Ukraine, and expresses herself in music. If you are interested in folk music combined with story telling, I recommend the visual feast which is Pintea, a twenty minute video album by Alina with an autobiographical narrative, and some beautiful scenery and sounds. It reminds us that people are individuals, a far cry from the drab uniformity that Russia seeks to impose on an unwilling nation. Here is the English language version.

I would always encourage folk musicians to look at ways to incorporate new ideas into traditional music. Remember, older does not mean better. Take my knees, for example,....

Hold on to your identity

In the past, some of you may have heard me sing the praises of a band called The Ukrainians, a British-based outfit who have spent thirty years fusing western rock with Ukrainian folk and who have appeared at Glastonbury and Womad. This moving video called "Hey, where you from" was released three years ago and questions the cultural intolerance to immigrants and refugees.

The band has organised a benefit gig for Saturday, in Leeds, to raise money for Ukrainian refugees. At the time of writing, the UN is reporting more than half a million citizens of Ukraine fleeing the horrors of invasion, crossing into the surrounding countries of Poland, Hungary, and Romania. Refugees have nothing but what they can carry with them. In the weeks and months to come, we have to be prepared to help people in need, people who have lost everything.

Education is the foundation

Around the world, countries are emerging from pandemic, businesses are re-opening, and children are going back to school. Here is a wonderful video from Masaka Kids Afrikana about returning to school in rural Uganda which brings a smile to my face.

Remember, music is coming back. Klub Kakofanney is back. Gappy Tooth is back. Osprey is back. The Cowley Road Carnival will be on Sunday 3rd July, and the Charlbury Riverside Festival is scheduled for the weekend of 30th-31st July. We've lost venues along the way, both in Oxford and elsewhere, but more and more gigs are appearing on the calendars, and many bars are more appreciative of the extra business that music brings in. So bands and artists, it's time for you to pick up your shoes, pull up your socks, and get out there getting yourselves bookings and stage time. Come on, let's go.

Keep well everyone, stay safe, always

1st March 2022
The Lockdown Letters
Klub Kakofanney