A day in the round room


23 jui. 2008, 18h29m

Sun 20 Jul – BBC Proms 4 & 5 - Folk Day and Ceilidh

After walking ALL the way round the outside of the Royal Albert Hall, due to some confusion over doors, we settled ourselves down on the arena floor.

First up was a singer called Bella Hardy, I wasn't entirely impressed in that she had a good voice, but there was no interest in the song (Seventeen Come Sunday) which was followed by a rather lackluster Royal Northern Windband playing Vaughn Williams' English Folk Song Suite (the first movement of which is Seventeen Come Sunday).

Next up (after another Bella Hardy singing the original) was a rather fab Granger arrangement of a rather fab folk tune.

The next bit was rather too "modern" for my liking and went on and on (and on!).

The second half was opened by a group of kids playing various folky tunes. Turns out they're taught by Kathryn Tickell. They were (unsurprisingly) very very good.

Next up were some hungarians playing traditional hungarian music, which was fab.

Next was a rather fab bit where the hungarians played a folkdance which on which a movement of Bartoks Romanian Dances was based, then the orchestra played that movement, followed by the next traditional dance back and forth between the hungarians and the orchestra.

This particular prom was rounded off with a piece by Kathryn Tickell, which was also awesome, although given who'd written it, and that she was there playing it, I'd have liked some more pipes than were used. We had to dash out during the ovation to get a good place in the queue for the evenings prom.

Having secured a good place in front of the main stage we realised that most of the prom was actually going to be happening behind us on a little stage in the middle of the floor.

As with the earlier prom, first up was Bella Hardy, this time she was accompanied rather than singing a cappella, by herself on fiddle, and with a harper and squeezebox player. I'm not sure if it was the accompaniment or her own choice of songs, but she was much better this time round and rather enjoyable. Only slight problem was as we were stood behind her (on a raised stage) I wasn't entirely sure where to look...

A personal favourite of mine was on next in the shape of Martin Simpson. He tunes up more musically than most guitarists play, and although it wasn't the best chosen set, the atmosphere was electric and full of emotion leading to a fantastic performance.

After a brief interval (which was great fun with the culture clash of the Bellowhead fans who wanted to move to the front for the main event and the prommers, where the etiquette is based around stealling other people spaces and once you're somewhere, that's where you stay and so on), the main act of the evening came on. Bellowhead are always fantastic, and this was no exception, in a very short set they played with vast amounts of energy and fun. The only downside was the length of set, in that they only played six songs.

The evening was rounded off with an Irish Ceilidh. It was SO MUCH FUN, took a vast amount of energy, I've not been that shattered in ages, but it was more than worth it


  • marksw

    Well I only caught a short bit if the prom (on TV), but thankfully it was mainly Bella Hardy. I guess it was the second/later prom because Martin Simpson was on after her. Anyway, I thought she was fantastic! A charming voice and a nice selection of tunes (those that I heard - I only got the last two I think). In fact I enjoyed them so much I ordered the CD off Amazon! The only reason I watched the few minutes I did was because I was upset to see so few people in the audience -- the Albert Hall looked quite empty -- and poor old Bella seemed quite uncomfortable talking in-between pieces. I'm glad I did, because as I listened to her I really enjoyed it. I'm a musician but have never listened to Folk music before. However if Bella is on next year I'll definitely make an effort to visit!

    27 jui. 2008, 21h51m
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