jacey: (blue eyes)
I've contributed a blog post to Gill Polack's Women's History Month blog. This is a slightly rejigged and expanded version of the one that appeared on Ruth Booth's blog last year. http://www.gillianpolack.com/jacey-bedford-womens-history-month/ and on LJ http://gillpolack.livejournal.com/1373839.html
jacey: (blue eyes)
A revised version of David Bowie's Space Oddity, recorded by (Canadian) Commander Chris Hadfield on board the International Space Station.
jacey: (blue eyes)
Vatican Rag - Tom Lehrer

First you get down on your knees,
Fiddle with your rosaries,
Bow your head with great respect,
And genuflect, genuflect, genuflect!

Do whatever steps you want, if
You have cleared them with the Pontiff.
Everybody say his own
Kyrie eleison,
Doin' the Vatican Rag.

Get in line in that processional,
Step into that small confessional,
There, the guy who's got religion'll
Tell you if your sin's original.

If it is, try playin' it safer,
Drink the wine and chew the wafer,
Two, four, six, eight,
Time to transubstantiate!

So get down upon your knees,
Fiddle with your rosaries,
Bow your head with great respect,
And genuflect, genuflect, genuflect!

Make a cross on your abdomen,
When in Rome do like a Roman,
Ave Maria,
Gee it's good to see ya,
Gettin' ecstatic an'
Sorta dramatic an'
Doin' the Vatican Rag!
jacey: (blue eyes)
Imagine my surprise to get a phone call from Hilary, my band-mate in Artisan, to say that a friend of hers had alerted her to the fact that Artisan was being trailed regularly on BBC Radio 3 for a programme of 'Traditional carols with a modern twist from the Garrison Church, Copenhagen.' She gave me i-Player details and sure enough, at one minute fifty-nine on this morning's Rob Cowan show on Radio3 up pops a trailer.

Checking up in Radio Times the above mentioned song is part of the programme from the Garrison Church performed by Ars Nova Copenhagen, directed by Paul Hillier and that the song 'We Three Kings' is arranged by Hillier.

Believe me when I say that I know the sound of my own voice, and Brian's voice and Hilary's voice, and also the sound of our own recording. The trailer was definitely Artisan singing We Three Kings, our own arrangement from our 1990 CD 'TheSeason of Holly and Ivy' and believe me when I say I know we have never been to Copenhagen, nor have we ever been part of Ars Nova Copenhagen nor sung any Paul Hillier arrangements. In fact I would say that we are about as English as you can get - the only Danish blood maybe coming from long-time Norse ancestors.

I haven't been able to listen to the programme because it's currently being broadcast live and had already gone beyond the Copenhagen segment by the time Hilary phoned, but I fully expect that when I do get round to it on i-Player that we will not be on the programme.

While it's nice to know that our CD is still in the record library at the BBC, couldn't the BBChave managed to trail the programme by playing the actual performers who were being broadcast? Anyone expecting to hear the same (uncredited) music as they heard in the trailer would be sadly disappointed.

High Ground

Aug. 1st, 2012 12:45 am
jacey: (Default)
Our American friends William & Felicia with whom we were briefly in a five piece band in 2006 have recorded one of the songs we used to sing together (written by my lovely husband) on their new CD, Blue Divide. Here it is, have at it. 'High Ground' written by Brian Bedford performed by William Pint & Felicia Dale. It's very weather-appropriate for this English summer.

Ooops edited because the embed code fro their site didn't work. Here's the URL instead: http://pintndale.bandcamp.com/track/high-ground
jacey: (Default)
John Tams and Barry Coope, of course with 'Lucifer and Vulcan/Steelos' from the BBC Radio Ballad 'Song of Steel'
jacey: (Default)
John Tams and Barry Coope, of course with 'Lucifer and Vulcan/Steelos' from the BBC Radio Ballad 'Song of Steel'
jacey: (Default)
For [livejournal.com profile] la_marquise_de_
Just to cheer you up.
jacey: (Default)
For [livejournal.com profile] la_marquise_de_
Just to cheer you up.
jacey: (Default)
For [livejournal.com profile] cmcmck and [livejournal.com profile] anghara for different reasons.

This is my friend Eileen McGann who is blessed with one of the finest voices on the planet. As an added bonus the artwork in the video is all hers, too. Yes, she's Canadian. Can you tell from the subject matter?

jacey: (Default)
For [livejournal.com profile] cmcmck and [livejournal.com profile] anghara for different reasons.

This is my friend Eileen McGann who is blessed with one of the finest voices on the planet. As an added bonus the artwork in the video is all hers, too. Yes, she's Canadian. Can you tell from the subject matter?

jacey: (Cromer04)
It's only when someone on my LJ f-list asked me 'What's all this music stuff about then?' that I realised that I've known some of you for only a short time and you weren't in my life when I was gigging professionally.

For twenty years I was part of something very special - an a cappella trio of harmony singers called Artisan. That was me, (Jacey Bedford), together with Hilary Spencer and my best beloved, Brian Bedford, (not to be confused with the Anglo/Canadian actor of the same name).

We started out small in folk clubs in the north of England in 1985 and grew. We travelled the world with our music, doing 31 tours to the USA and Canada between 1994 and our 'retirement' in 2005. We played all over the UK, in Hong Kong, Australia, Germany and Belgium. We played to audiences of 20,000 at some of the major North American Festivals and recorded 14 albums and a DVD, all but the very first still available. We tended to stick to where English is the first language or colloquial English very widely spoken because we were as much about words as about music. Our resident songwriter,  Brian, wrote most of our songs including 'What's the Use of Wings' (his song most covered by other artists) and 'Breathing Space.'

For 15 years we also did a hectic Christmas show called 'Stuff the Turkey' which included seasonal songs, carols and a mini pantomime.

ArtisanLast year we got together again for a reunion tour for three months in the summer, touring the UK and Canada. We recorded a  CD of brand new songs, called 'Random Play' and produced in smart eco-friendly packaging. There's a series of amateur videos on Youtube that Gary Kazin took at Lunenburg Festival in Nova Scotia and there are links here. We take no responsibility for the quality of the filming, (our own commercial concert DVD was done by Reflex Films),  but it gives you a general idea - including 'outtakes'.

Though I don't generally advertise on LJ, I would just like to point out that all our CDs are available to buy from our website and that we do have four Christmas titles as well as our regular CDs. There are paypal buttons and a shopping cart on the website, but if anyone is having any problems (paypal buttons are unaccountably funky for a small number of people) just email me at the contact address on the website and I'll ort it out for you. All quoted prices include postage to anywhere in the world.

If you are still looking for Christmas presents... look no further. We've even got a special offer on. All four Christmas CDs plus an Artisan sampler CD for £45 including postage to anywhere in the world.

No more adverts. If you're interested go to it!
:-)
Thanks for reading.
jacey: (Cromer04)
It's only when someone on my LJ f-list asked me 'What's all this music stuff about then?' that I realised that I've known some of you for only a short time and you weren't in my life when I was gigging professionally.

For twenty years I was part of something very special - an a cappella trio of harmony singers called Artisan. That was me, (Jacey Bedford), together with Hilary Spencer and my best beloved, Brian Bedford, (not to be confused with the Anglo/Canadian actor of the same name).

We started out small in folk clubs in the north of England in 1985 and grew. We travelled the world with our music, doing 31 tours to the USA and Canada between 1994 and our 'retirement' in 2005. We played all over the UK, in Hong Kong, Australia, Germany and Belgium. We played to audiences of 20,000 at some of the major North American Festivals and recorded 14 albums and a DVD, all but the very first still available. We tended to stick to where English is the first language or colloquial English very widely spoken because we were as much about words as about music. Our resident songwriter,  Brian, wrote most of our songs including 'What's the Use of Wings' (his song most covered by other artists) and 'Breathing Space.'

For 15 years we also did a hectic Christmas show called 'Stuff the Turkey' which included seasonal songs, carols and a mini pantomime.

ArtisanLast year we got together again for a reunion tour for three months in the summer, touring the UK and Canada. We recorded a  CD of brand new songs, called 'Random Play' and produced in smart eco-friendly packaging. There's a series of amateur videos on Youtube that Gary Kazin took at Lunenburg Festival in Nova Scotia and there are links here. We take no responsibility for the quality of the filming, (our own commercial concert DVD was done by Reflex Films),  but it gives you a general idea - including 'outtakes'.

Though I don't generally advertise on LJ, I would just like to point out that all our CDs are available to buy from our website and that we do have four Christmas titles as well as our regular CDs. There are paypal buttons and a shopping cart on the website, but if anyone is having any problems (paypal buttons are unaccountably funky for a small number of people) just email me at the contact address on the website and I'll ort it out for you. All quoted prices include postage to anywhere in the world.

If you are still looking for Christmas presents... look no further. We've even got a special offer on. All four Christmas CDs plus an Artisan sampler CD for £45 including postage to anywhere in the world.

No more adverts. If you're interested go to it!
:-)
Thanks for reading.
jacey: (Default)
To UK musician friends, friends of UK musicians and all sensible people.


Thanks to Eddie Walker of the Musicians Union for raising awareness of the fact that the Government has announced another consultation on the 2003 Licensing Act which brought in stringent licensing regularions for all venue offering live music. Rules so tortuous (and expensive) to comply with that many pubs and clubs simpl
y ceased to support live music any more.


This one proposes that pubs, clubs and other small venues offering live music should no longer have to apply for an entertainment licence. (Yay!) The MU has responded to the consultation, but it is likely to come down to numbers for and against, the MU is therefore asking all members to write to DCMS in support of the proposals. But you don't have to be a member of the MU to support the changes.

If the amendment is accepted, then more gigs should become available for working musicians. (Double Yay!)

If you agree, please share this via LJ, Facebook or whatever and copy (or reword) the text below and send it to:
regulated_entertainment_consultation@culture.gsi.gov.uk


• As an active musician I am writing to support the MU’s submission to this consultation, and to voice my own support for the proposals to cut red tape for live music.
• I believe that the inclusion of regulated entertainment in the Licensing Act 2003 is not necessary and that its inclusion has greatly increased bureaucracy for very little benefit to the licensing objectives.
• I hope that this consultation will result in an exemption for small venues putting on
live music with fewer than 200 people in attendance.
• I also support the proposals outlined in Lord Clement-Jones’ Live Music Bill.
.
jacey: (Default)
To UK musician friends, friends of UK musicians and all sensible people.


Thanks to Eddie Walker of the Musicians Union for raising awareness of the fact that the Government has announced another consultation on the 2003 Licensing Act which brought in stringent licensing regularions for all venue offering live music. Rules so tortuous (and expensive) to comply with that many pubs and clubs simpl
y ceased to support live music any more.


This one proposes that pubs, clubs and other small venues offering live music should no longer have to apply for an entertainment licence. (Yay!) The MU has responded to the consultation, but it is likely to come down to numbers for and against, the MU is therefore asking all members to write to DCMS in support of the proposals. But you don't have to be a member of the MU to support the changes.

If the amendment is accepted, then more gigs should become available for working musicians. (Double Yay!)

If you agree, please share this via LJ, Facebook or whatever and copy (or reword) the text below and send it to:
regulated_entertainment_consultation@culture.gsi.gov.uk


• As an active musician I am writing to support the MU’s submission to this consultation, and to voice my own support for the proposals to cut red tape for live music.
• I believe that the inclusion of regulated entertainment in the Licensing Act 2003 is not necessary and that its inclusion has greatly increased bureaucracy for very little benefit to the licensing objectives.
• I hope that this consultation will result in an exemption for small venues putting on
live music with fewer than 200 people in attendance.
• I also support the proposals outlined in Lord Clement-Jones’ Live Music Bill.
.

For Alma

Jun. 3rd, 2011 10:09 am
jacey: (Default)
Prompted by [livejournal.com profile] anghara 's video of Ladysmith Black Mambazo (and extra guests) singing The Lion Sleeps Tonight here's a version of ZULU singing the same song, 'Mbube' in Zulu. It's a bit more raw than the ladysmith version. Closer to the original, I suspect, without the overtones of 'Wimoweh' which is the Americanised version, of course. ZULU is the group I've written about before. I'm working with them here in the UK. The vid was filmed by my son in law, Ian Kenton, at Wallingford Festival last September. Lead vocalist on this song is Zama Siphengana. The company - only 6 of them - are all genuine Zulus from Umlazi Township (Durban). There's four tracks here if you want to hear more.


For Alma

Jun. 3rd, 2011 10:09 am
jacey: (Default)
Prompted by [livejournal.com profile] anghara 's video of Ladysmith Black Mambazo (and extra guests) singing The Lion Sleeps Tonight here's a version of ZULU singing the same song, 'Mbube' in Zulu. It's a bit more raw than the ladysmith version. Closer to the original, I suspect, without the overtones of 'Wimoweh' which is the Americanised version, of course. ZULU is the group I've written about before. I'm working with them here in the UK. The vid was filmed by my son in law, Ian Kenton, at Wallingford Festival last September. Lead vocalist on this song is Zama Siphengana. The company - only 6 of them - are all genuine Zulus from Umlazi Township (Durban). There's four tracks here if you want to hear more.


jacey: (Default)
Today was a day of paperwork: contracts, mail, folders and files. The backlog of work hardly seems to be going down... or rather it is going down but more is arriving on my desk daily.

Yesterday I got to go to The Square Chapel Arts Centre in Halifax with The Churchfitters - a fine band from Brittany who are on my agency books. Superb concert. Four very well matched musicians. Rosie with a delicious bottom end (I'm talking voice, here) and multiple instruments including sax, whistle, dulcimer, uke and percussion, Topher holding it all together with outstanding guitars, Chris's soaring fiddle and ethereal bowed saw and Boris on home made basses, percussion and occasional mime. And Boris's basses have to be seen to be believed. A standup bass that started out life as a cauldren and a dustbin lid and a bass banjo thet used to be a saucepan... a kind of panjo. A brilliant all-round show. Dynamic, lively and a lot of fun.
jacey: (Default)
Today was a day of paperwork: contracts, mail, folders and files. The backlog of work hardly seems to be going down... or rather it is going down but more is arriving on my desk daily.

Yesterday I got to go to The Square Chapel Arts Centre in Halifax with The Churchfitters - a fine band from Brittany who are on my agency books. Superb concert. Four very well matched musicians. Rosie with a delicious bottom end (I'm talking voice, here) and multiple instruments including sax, whistle, dulcimer, uke and percussion, Topher holding it all together with outstanding guitars, Chris's soaring fiddle and ethereal bowed saw and Boris on home made basses, percussion and occasional mime. And Boris's basses have to be seen to be believed. A standup bass that started out life as a cauldren and a dustbin lid and a bass banjo thet used to be a saucepan... a kind of panjo. A brilliant all-round show. Dynamic, lively and a lot of fun.
jacey: (Default)
Random Play CDNew CD has arrived! Whee.
Called 'Random Play'.
Eleven tracks (written by Brian Bedford) and only a tenner from gigs or £11.50 by post worldwide.
Available from here

We're dead pleased with the eco-friendly packaging. It's in a light-but-shiny, cardboard, gatefold sleeve - with a spine so you can still store it with your plastic cased CDs - and it weighs in at less than 50g.

Artisan reunion tour is going well, but busy busy with gigs from Stonehaven (just south of Aberdeen) to South Moulton (North Devon).

Barely time to keep up with email and little time for LJ and even less for facebook. Have now finished all UK gigs in July. Met up with lots of old friends. (Hey, less of the OLD, they cry!) Getting ready to head off for Canada on Wednesday, leaving Mum and Diezel Dog looking after each other (and manning the office together). I think Mum might make a better job of opening the post, though Diezel always volunteers to do it.

First gig is Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival in Nova Scotia. Our fourth of fifth time there and this is the one that asked us to reunite for their 25th anniversary - so it's all their fault, really! it's also the festival where we met Tanglefoot in 1995 or 96.

After the weekend in Lunenburg we fly to Toronto to stay with friends Nigel and Clarisse for five days, playing already sold-out Houseconcert for DW who was the director of the very first festival we ever played in Canada in 1994.

Then we have a gig on the next Sauturay at the Aeolian Hall in London Ontario and our support act is... wait for it... Steve Ritchie and Al Parrish ex of Tanglefoot. These are the guys who look like (respectively) Charles II and Jesus. Fee? Hey this is a gig we'd have paid to do! (But don't tell the organiser!)

And the following day we drive up to Chatsworth Ontario - about 3 hours north of Toronto and a few minutes siuth of Owen Sound, to stay with the aforementioned Steve for five days. There's another houseconcert gig in Grey Highlands, close to Chatsworth. But the big gig is at the end of the week: the Owen Sound Summerfolk Festival. A fabulous music and crafts festival.

The two festivals we're playing are two of my favourite festivals in the whole world.

We fly home on 23rd August and start the UK gigs all over again - well, different venues, you know - on 2nd September (until 17th). We're exactly halfway through the British gigs, now, with 12 in July and 12 in September.

jacey: (Default)
Random Play CDNew CD has arrived! Whee.
Called 'Random Play'.
Eleven tracks (written by Brian Bedford) and only a tenner from gigs or £11.50 by post worldwide.
Available from here

We're dead pleased with the eco-friendly packaging. It's in a light-but-shiny, cardboard, gatefold sleeve - with a spine so you can still store it with your plastic cased CDs - and it weighs in at less than 50g.

Artisan reunion tour is going well, but busy busy with gigs from Stonehaven (just south of Aberdeen) to South Moulton (North Devon).

Barely time to keep up with email and little time for LJ and even less for facebook. Have now finished all UK gigs in July. Met up with lots of old friends. (Hey, less of the OLD, they cry!) Getting ready to head off for Canada on Wednesday, leaving Mum and Diezel Dog looking after each other (and manning the office together). I think Mum might make a better job of opening the post, though Diezel always volunteers to do it.

First gig is Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival in Nova Scotia. Our fourth of fifth time there and this is the one that asked us to reunite for their 25th anniversary - so it's all their fault, really! it's also the festival where we met Tanglefoot in 1995 or 96.

After the weekend in Lunenburg we fly to Toronto to stay with friends Nigel and Clarisse for five days, playing already sold-out Houseconcert for DW who was the director of the very first festival we ever played in Canada in 1994.

Then we have a gig on the next Sauturay at the Aeolian Hall in London Ontario and our support act is... wait for it... Steve Ritchie and Al Parrish ex of Tanglefoot. These are the guys who look like (respectively) Charles II and Jesus. Fee? Hey this is a gig we'd have paid to do! (But don't tell the organiser!)

And the following day we drive up to Chatsworth Ontario - about 3 hours north of Toronto and a few minutes siuth of Owen Sound, to stay with the aforementioned Steve for five days. There's another houseconcert gig in Grey Highlands, close to Chatsworth. But the big gig is at the end of the week: the Owen Sound Summerfolk Festival. A fabulous music and crafts festival.

The two festivals we're playing are two of my favourite festivals in the whole world.

We fly home on 23rd August and start the UK gigs all over again - well, different venues, you know - on 2nd September (until 17th). We're exactly halfway through the British gigs, now, with 12 in July and 12 in September.

jacey: (Default)
Artisan tour going well so far. Lots of friends and fans (and friends who are fans and fans who are friends) turning up to gigs. Much hugging (when not singing).

Thursday: Cockermouth flood fund gig at the Kirkgate - a freebie. A nice starter gig for the tour with Bob (who has booked us loads of times for that venue) and Peter who sets everything up. Hilary is still reeling from being charged £4.20 for a pint of diet coke at The Bitter End (brew pub near the venue) when we went for dinner. nice food, but they know how to charge.

Friday: Cleckheaton Folk Festival - a 'meet Artisan' session in a pub across the road followed by a gig in the Town Hall finishing off the main concert. Nice to see sound-crew Graham Bradshaw and Lawrence again. Graham was engineer at our first ever festival mainstage gig (Wath Festival 1986).

Saturday: Concert in the 13th century church in Ross on Wye put on by our friend Sarah Jones who is not only the vicar, but is a great songwriter, guitarist and singer herself (from before her vicaring days - and she still takes a 'hoiday' to do one tour per year), Lovely to find an audience from the town who didn't know us at all, but came on Sarah's say-so. Srah and Ginny did excellent PA for us. Sold our CDs from an old bier rather than a table. It's not the first time we've been 'on the beer' but certainly the first time we've been 'on the bier'. Sarah kind of works on a Sunday, so we stayed with her at the (gorgeous) Rectory and then on Sunday moring went to have breakfast with our mutual friend, Ginny.

Sunday: The George Hotel, South Molton, North Devon. A gig for Tom and Barbara Brown - one of their occasional Shammick Abroad nights. Lovely to see some old friends - some expected and some a surprise appearance. Lot's of audience participation. Lovely gig.

Monday: Nettlebed - a gig in The Village Club for Mike Sanderson. It's a folk club, but a big one and one time recipient of the BBC Folk Awards 'Folk Club of the Year' gong. Lovely to see [livejournal.com profile] green_knight  there. Everyone joined in choruses and  we had superb feedback, including from Mike who says he rarely sits in the club for every single song because he often has to pop out to do folk club organiser stuff part way through. Tonight he not only stayed for every single song but cut one chap dead who tried to talk to him about organiser stuff during our set. Thanks, Mike. Lovely to see out long time fans (now become friends), known for the longest tome to us as 'The Pattersons of Basingstoke' (Tony & Gill). So many familiar faces. I can't put names to all of them but I remember conversations and we seem to take up where we left off - despite the five year gap!
jacey: (Default)
Artisan tour going well so far. Lots of friends and fans (and friends who are fans and fans who are friends) turning up to gigs. Much hugging (when not singing).

Thursday: Cockermouth flood fund gig at the Kirkgate - a freebie. A nice starter gig for the tour with Bob (who has booked us loads of times for that venue) and Peter who sets everything up. Hilary is still reeling from being charged £4.20 for a pint of diet coke at The Bitter End (brew pub near the venue) when we went for dinner. nice food, but they know how to charge.

Friday: Cleckheaton Folk Festival - a 'meet Artisan' session in a pub across the road followed by a gig in the Town Hall finishing off the main concert. Nice to see sound-crew Graham Bradshaw and Lawrence again. Graham was engineer at our first ever festival mainstage gig (Wath Festival 1986).

Saturday: Concert in the 13th century church in Ross on Wye put on by our friend Sarah Jones who is not only the vicar, but is a great songwriter, guitarist and singer herself (from before her vicaring days - and she still takes a 'hoiday' to do one tour per year), Lovely to find an audience from the town who didn't know us at all, but came on Sarah's say-so. Srah and Ginny did excellent PA for us. Sold our CDs from an old bier rather than a table. It's not the first time we've been 'on the beer' but certainly the first time we've been 'on the bier'. Sarah kind of works on a Sunday, so we stayed with her at the (gorgeous) Rectory and then on Sunday moring went to have breakfast with our mutual friend, Ginny.

Sunday: The George Hotel, South Molton, North Devon. A gig for Tom and Barbara Brown - one of their occasional Shammick Abroad nights. Lovely to see some old friends - some expected and some a surprise appearance. Lot's of audience participation. Lovely gig.

Monday: Nettlebed - a gig in The Village Club for Mike Sanderson. It's a folk club, but a big one and one time recipient of the BBC Folk Awards 'Folk Club of the Year' gong. Lovely to see [livejournal.com profile] green_knight  there. Everyone joined in choruses and  we had superb feedback, including from Mike who says he rarely sits in the club for every single song because he often has to pop out to do folk club organiser stuff part way through. Tonight he not only stayed for every single song but cut one chap dead who tried to talk to him about organiser stuff during our set. Thanks, Mike. Lovely to see out long time fans (now become friends), known for the longest tome to us as 'The Pattersons of Basingstoke' (Tony & Gill). So many familiar faces. I can't put names to all of them but I remember conversations and we seem to take up where we left off - despite the five year gap!

On Tour

Jul. 3rd, 2010 06:40 pm
jacey: (Default)
Expect sporadic messages from me for the next few weeks. The Artisan tour is underway. Cockermouth on Thursday (a flood-fund gig). Cleckheaton on Friday (folk festioval with a lot of old friends) and Ross on Wye tonight - a gig in a church with more old friends.

Devon tomorrow and Nettlbed (near Henley) on the way back up hom on Monday.

On Tour

Jul. 3rd, 2010 06:40 pm
jacey: (Default)
Expect sporadic messages from me for the next few weeks. The Artisan tour is underway. Cockermouth on Thursday (a flood-fund gig). Cleckheaton on Friday (folk festioval with a lot of old friends) and Ross on Wye tonight - a gig in a church with more old friends.

Devon tomorrow and Nettlbed (near Henley) on the way back up hom on Monday.
jacey: (Default)
Sometimes I have to write these Artisan recollections down when I think of them. I should have kept a tour diary, but I didn't. Anyhow, I've been emailing Karen Traviss while she's been stuck in the States courtesy of volcanically rescheduled flights and something she daid brough this to mind.

Artisan and the dreaded God-Spots

We used to get shoehorned into the god-spot at folk festivals on the principle that if you can sing harmonies you must be able to sing hymns. It was horribly embarrassing (you know, all those two-handed, enclose-your-hand-in-both-of-theirs, Happy God type handshakes) because all the people in the audien... er... congregation assumed that we were singing in church because we wanted to - as in: we had a free choice and chose to get up at 9.00 on a Sunday morning after a heavy Saturday night at a folk festival to attend a church service at ten and sing one or two songs in the middle of the proceedings. Yeah, right.

We were there because the festival was paying us to be there for the weekend and on our worksheet it said: Sunday 10.00 a.m. Folk-service in church.

So one year we were booked to sing at Bromyard Folk Festival (Herefordshire) and - oh joy - got the god-spot again. We had a couple of safe songs planned and had sing one of them already... then the sermon was given by this amazing peripatetic monk who had the kind of buzz-cut, badly-mended-broken-nose image that was more reminiscent of Lee Marvin on a bad day. Apparently he used to be a male nurse in a mental hospital before he took up monking for a living.

Together with a younger monk he did a kind of intense, theatrical, Morecambe and Wise (though not funny) double-act and delivered a sermon that actually kept us awake - about how Christianity could be force for evil and Paganism could be a force for good - depending on the actions (good or bad) of the followers. (Okay, this is back in the early 90s, right, when almost everyone in the congregation mixed up Satanism and Paganism and their knowledge of both came from watching The Exorcist.)

So having listened to what amounted to an incredibly broad-minded church sermon for the day, we checked the church ceiling for cracks (none, so we figured we were safe) abandoned the easy-on-the-brain song we'd been planning and delivered 'The Burning Times' instead. (With an intro to set it into context.) 'Burning Times' by Charlie Murphy, You know, the one with the chant chorus:
'Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali, Innana.'

The song more or less echoed the sermon and is mostly about how when politics and religion mix, someone's going to get hurt. (In this case it was the 'witches' during the Inquisition.)

OK, the song might not be historically all that accurate, but - hey - that never stopped Mel Gibson making Braveheart, did it?

So after the sho... er... service we were all standing outside being wished Happy God (squicky handshakes delivered with painful sincerity) when the monk (and I'm desperately sorry to say that I've forgotten his name) came hurtling up the path and said, (imagine a Welsh accent), 'That song! That song! That's the trouble when everyone's worshipping a dead man on a cross instead of a living religion!'

Anyway, he asked for a copy of the song and we gave him a cassette of 'Driving Home' (at that point is was only available on LP and tape) . In return he sent us a theological breakdown of it with all the bits he thought praiseworthy, dubious or just plain wrong - which was fabulous to have.

But to crown it all... Although we got away without the church ceiling falling in on our heads - two weeks later our living room ceiling collapsed!

Ah, well, you win some, you lose some.

Artisan: Driving Home

jacey: (Default)
Sometimes I have to write these Artisan recollections down when I think of them. I should have kept a tour diary, but I didn't. Anyhow, I've been emailing Karen Traviss while she's been stuck in the States courtesy of volcanically rescheduled flights and something she daid brough this to mind.

Artisan and the dreaded God-Spots

We used to get shoehorned into the god-spot at folk festivals on the principle that if you can sing harmonies you must be able to sing hymns. It was horribly embarrassing (you know, all those two-handed, enclose-your-hand-in-both-of-theirs, Happy God type handshakes) because all the people in the audien... er... congregation assumed that we were singing in church because we wanted to - as in: we had a free choice and chose to get up at 9.00 on a Sunday morning after a heavy Saturday night at a folk festival to attend a church service at ten and sing one or two songs in the middle of the proceedings. Yeah, right.

We were there because the festival was paying us to be there for the weekend and on our worksheet it said: Sunday 10.00 a.m. Folk-service in church.

So one year we were booked to sing at Bromyard Folk Festival (Herefordshire) and - oh joy - got the god-spot again. We had a couple of safe songs planned and had sing one of them already... then the sermon was given by this amazing peripatetic monk who had the kind of buzz-cut, badly-mended-broken-nose image that was more reminiscent of Lee Marvin on a bad day. Apparently he used to be a male nurse in a mental hospital before he took up monking for a living.

Together with a younger monk he did a kind of intense, theatrical, Morecambe and Wise (though not funny) double-act and delivered a sermon that actually kept us awake - about how Christianity could be force for evil and Paganism could be a force for good - depending on the actions (good or bad) of the followers. (Okay, this is back in the early 90s, right, when almost everyone in the congregation mixed up Satanism and Paganism and their knowledge of both came from watching The Exorcist.)

So having listened to what amounted to an incredibly broad-minded church sermon for the day, we checked the church ceiling for cracks (none, so we figured we were safe) abandoned the easy-on-the-brain song we'd been planning and delivered 'The Burning Times' instead. (With an intro to set it into context.) 'Burning Times' by Charlie Murphy, You know, the one with the chant chorus:
'Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali, Innana.'

The song more or less echoed the sermon and is mostly about how when politics and religion mix, someone's going to get hurt. (In this case it was the 'witches' during the Inquisition.)

OK, the song might not be historically all that accurate, but - hey - that never stopped Mel Gibson making Braveheart, did it?

So after the sho... er... service we were all standing outside being wished Happy God (squicky handshakes delivered with painful sincerity) when the monk (and I'm desperately sorry to say that I've forgotten his name) came hurtling up the path and said, (imagine a Welsh accent), 'That song! That song! That's the trouble when everyone's worshipping a dead man on a cross instead of a living religion!'

Anyway, he asked for a copy of the song and we gave him a cassette of 'Driving Home' (at that point is was only available on LP and tape) . In return he sent us a theological breakdown of it with all the bits he thought praiseworthy, dubious or just plain wrong - which was fabulous to have.

But to crown it all... Although we got away without the church ceiling falling in on our heads - two weeks later our living room ceiling collapsed!

Ah, well, you win some, you lose some.

Artisan: Driving Home

jacey: (Default)
Ontario Council of Folk Festivals Conference here I come.

So the plane leaves Manchester at 8.55 to connect in Heathrow to the Ottawa flight departing at 1300, which means I have three hours in LHR, but since there seems to be a change of terminal (which my travel agent specifically said there was NOT) I'm not too worried about having time to kill. I've done the fast-turnaround-running -between-terminals thing at Heathrow before. It's NOT FUN.

It will seem very weird flying alone. I've usually done it as part of Artisan's round the world gigging.

I get back in (again via Heathrow) at 9.25 on Monday 19th - fuddled with jet-lag and with only five days to sort out my Milford stuff...
jacey: (Default)
Ontario Council of Folk Festivals Conference here I come.

So the plane leaves Manchester at 8.55 to connect in Heathrow to the Ottawa flight departing at 1300, which means I have three hours in LHR, but since there seems to be a change of terminal (which my travel agent specifically said there was NOT) I'm not too worried about having time to kill. I've done the fast-turnaround-running -between-terminals thing at Heathrow before. It's NOT FUN.

It will seem very weird flying alone. I've usually done it as part of Artisan's round the world gigging.

I get back in (again via Heathrow) at 9.25 on Monday 19th - fuddled with jet-lag and with only five days to sort out my Milford stuff...
jacey: (Default)
Went to York yesterday with Canadian song-maestro James Keelaghan and his trio (David Woodhead, Zav RT plus Nancy - David's wife). Spent the afternoon mooching about my favourite city - including the required walk up The Shambles and down Stonegate and via Barley Hall. Then tea in Batty's cafe with Nancy, a trip round the outdoor food festival where I bought cheeses - a Norwegian Gjetost and Old Amsterdam, though I was really looking for White Nancy which they didn't have.

Then - an hour in Borders checking out their SF/F section.

Yes, of course I succumbed. Though I could have spent a fortune I was quite strict with myself so I bought only: The first of Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden books, Storm Front, and - a complete impulse buy - Joe Abercrombie's Last Argument of Kings. This is the third in a trilogy and they didn't have the first two, but it looked sufficiently interesting to give it a try. So now I'm torn: do I read them out of order and risk spoilers, but make sure I really do like it before buying the first two parts, or trust that I will enjoy all three and splash out on The Blade Itself and Before they are Hanged? Anyone out there read them?

Then - on to the gig at the Black Swan, a longstanding folk club in one of York's oldest pubs (the building was there in the early 1400s but it's only been a pub from the mid 1700s). This was my only chance on this tour to see the James Keelaghan Trio in action. Brilliant night, fantastic music. I wore a big silly grin from start to finish (in addition to my clothes before you lot get all smart-arse).
:-)
James Keelaghan
I can highly recommend his new album, House of Cards. He's a powerful songwriter and a consummate performer with a rich baritone voice and an assured presence. There are tracks to listen to on his website and a run down of the rerst of the dates on his current UK tour.

jacey: (Default)
Went to York yesterday with Canadian song-maestro James Keelaghan and his trio (David Woodhead, Zav RT plus Nancy - David's wife). Spent the afternoon mooching about my favourite city - including the required walk up The Shambles and down Stonegate and via Barley Hall. Then tea in Batty's cafe with Nancy, a trip round the outdoor food festival where I bought cheeses - a Norwegian Gjetost and Old Amsterdam, though I was really looking for White Nancy which they didn't have.

Then - an hour in Borders checking out their SF/F section.

Yes, of course I succumbed. Though I could have spent a fortune I was quite strict with myself so I bought only: The first of Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden books, Storm Front, and - a complete impulse buy - Joe Abercrombie's Last Argument of Kings. This is the third in a trilogy and they didn't have the first two, but it looked sufficiently interesting to give it a try. So now I'm torn: do I read them out of order and risk spoilers, but make sure I really do like it before buying the first two parts, or trust that I will enjoy all three and splash out on The Blade Itself and Before they are Hanged? Anyone out there read them?

Then - on to the gig at the Black Swan, a longstanding folk club in one of York's oldest pubs (the building was there in the early 1400s but it's only been a pub from the mid 1700s). This was my only chance on this tour to see the James Keelaghan Trio in action. Brilliant night, fantastic music. I wore a big silly grin from start to finish (in addition to my clothes before you lot get all smart-arse).
:-)
James Keelaghan
I can highly recommend his new album, House of Cards. He's a powerful songwriter and a consummate performer with a rich baritone voice and an assured presence. There are tracks to listen to on his website and a run down of the rerst of the dates on his current UK tour.

jacey: (Default)
Sent to me by Mike McNulty and I love it.
This video was done by 5 sound engineers who went around the world recording individuals doing this song.  They then blended this together into one song and video. 
 
http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=2539741

jacey: (Default)
Sent to me by Mike McNulty and I love it.
This video was done by 5 sound engineers who went around the world recording individuals doing this song.  They then blended this together into one song and video. 
 
http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=2539741

jacey: (mad)
People are posting their favourite Christmas songs and this has to be  - if not my least favourite - at least the most embarrassing song sung in the wrong place at the wrong time. Don't misunderstand, it's a good song (in the right place) and we used to sing it with lovely 3 part harmonies.

So... )


Bur it was probably the most embarrassing moment of my performing career.





jacey: (mad)
People are posting their favourite Christmas songs and this has to be  - if not my least favourite - at least the most embarrassing song sung in the wrong place at the wrong time. Don't misunderstand, it's a good song (in the right place) and we used to sing it with lovely 3 part harmonies.

So... )


Bur it was probably the most embarrassing moment of my performing career.





jacey: (Default)
I'm actually enjoyaing sitting at home...

In previous years, touring with Artisan, today would have been the first day of an intensive Christmas show run. We always started on the first full weekend after Number One Daughter's birthday, ensuring we were always at home for her, and that we never let the shows get too early. (Though in truth November is a bit early and we always breathed easier once we hit December.)

I just put a Christmas Show page up on the Artisan web site, but here's a pic from the last show.


The Christmas show run was bloody hard work. We once did 28 shows in 27 days - including 2 matinees and one night off. At the beginning of the run I always wondered how I'd get through it and at the end of the run I was always sorry it was over.
More pix )



jacey: (Default)
I'm actually enjoyaing sitting at home...

In previous years, touring with Artisan, today would have been the first day of an intensive Christmas show run. We always started on the first full weekend after Number One Daughter's birthday, ensuring we were always at home for her, and that we never let the shows get too early. (Though in truth November is a bit early and we always breathed easier once we hit December.)

I just put a Christmas Show page up on the Artisan web site, but here's a pic from the last show.


The Christmas show run was bloody hard work. We once did 28 shows in 27 days - including 2 matinees and one night off. At the beginning of the run I always wondered how I'd get through it and at the end of the run I was always sorry it was over.
More pix )



jacey: (Default)
This combines my favourite music ( a cappella) with one of my favourite movies (original Star Ward Ep IV). via the Swivet



jacey: (Default)
This combines my favourite music ( a cappella) with one of my favourite movies (original Star Ward Ep IV). via the Swivet



jacey: (Default)
I've organised a concert tonight with the excellent Canadian performer Dan McKinnon. Venue: our house.

That may seem a little weird to those of you who aren't familiar with the folk scene but houseconcerts are an important part of the circuit in the USA and Canada. People literally book a performer, invite a load of friends who 'make a donation' instead of paying a ticket price (that means you're not turning your house into a venue as it remains - technically - a private party). They give the whole of the proceeds to the performer and also provide them with a meal and a place to stay overnight. It's a sensible filler for performers on tour and far from home. And it's a lovely experience for the audience to get so up-close-and-personal to great performers and also to socialise with them.

I hadn't intended tonight's concert to be a houseconcert, however...

We're in a state of limbo with the folkish concert series I run at Birdsedge Village Hall. I had six concerts booked before we got notification that we'd got a grant to refurbish the hall, so I arranged temporary accommodation for the concerts up at the church hall, just a few hundred yards away from the Village Hall. It's a slightly smaller venue, but quite a pleasant room. The only disadvantage is that being a Methodist church we can't have a bar in there and can't offer our patrons the option of bringing in their own beer. (I'm a bit cross about the latter because the church body seems to make exceptions for the art group who have wine at their showings - but one of the main churchies is on the art group committee - go figure!)

Whether it's the church thing or the beer thing that's putting them off or whether people just don't like change - my ticket sales have not only slumped, they've dropped out of sight. (Or maybe people are really believing the credit crunch to the extent they've pulled up their own personal drawbridges.) When we sell out (which we do about twice a year for certain artists) we sell 100 tickets. I reckon on a good day we generally get sixty to seventy people to our concerts. On a bad day I'd say the turnout is about thirty and we can manage on that if we have to as long as the artist is not too expensive... but the September concert pulled in just 17 people and the advance ticket sales for tonight are just 13. Yes THIRTEEN. I'm gutted.

And that's why I've moved the venue to our house. At least we won't have to pay rent on the hall and I can easily seat twenty five people in my living room in relative comfort. (Thirty at a push.) It means I won't be paying out of my own pocket to stage the event and the performer gets 100% of the 'donations.' It also means the Village Hall doesn't make anything on the catering but - hey - I can live with that, especially since none of them ever buys a ticket.

And the performer, Dan McKinnon, is great! I mean GREAT. He's got a voice that just melts you instantly and has been described by other Canadian performers as 'the best voice in Canada'. He writes intelligent, engaging songs and he also does brilliant interpretations of Stan Rogers' songs - whom he resembles vocally. (Stan being the great Canadian songwriting hero, writer of 'Mary Ellen Carter' and 'The Lock Keeper' who died tragically young in 1983). He's also a charming chap - very likeable both on stage and off.

I don't think it's the performers that are putting people off... and I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong. So where's my audience? At the end of the day I have to ask myself if I can continue. I run these concerts to a) contribute to the Village Hall's fundraising and b) provide another venue on the circuit for touring musicians. I don't actually make anything out of them for myself and they're a certain amount of hard work. (Mailshots, both paper and electronic, designing advertising, remembering to meet advertising deadlines, sending promo to newspapers, taking ticket orders and posting them out, plus all the stuff on the day like setting out chairs, arranging the stage, doing PA (Best Beloved's job) and helping to clean up and wash up afterwards.)

Our first ever concert in the Village Hall was in 1983 and for 25 years we've been working in less than ideal conditions in a scruffy old hall which was not perfect for our purpose. Now at last we're going to have a shiny new refurbished hall and I'm seriously doubting whether I'll still be able to run a concert series in it. Without an audience a concert is just an expensive rehearsal.

jacey: (Default)
I've organised a concert tonight with the excellent Canadian performer Dan McKinnon. Venue: our house.

That may seem a little weird to those of you who aren't familiar with the folk scene but houseconcerts are an important part of the circuit in the USA and Canada. People literally book a performer, invite a load of friends who 'make a donation' instead of paying a ticket price (that means you're not turning your house into a venue as it remains - technically - a private party). They give the whole of the proceeds to the performer and also provide them with a meal and a place to stay overnight. It's a sensible filler for performers on tour and far from home. And it's a lovely experience for the audience to get so up-close-and-personal to great performers and also to socialise with them.

I hadn't intended tonight's concert to be a houseconcert, however...

We're in a state of limbo with the folkish concert series I run at Birdsedge Village Hall. I had six concerts booked before we got notification that we'd got a grant to refurbish the hall, so I arranged temporary accommodation for the concerts up at the church hall, just a few hundred yards away from the Village Hall. It's a slightly smaller venue, but quite a pleasant room. The only disadvantage is that being a Methodist church we can't have a bar in there and can't offer our patrons the option of bringing in their own beer. (I'm a bit cross about the latter because the church body seems to make exceptions for the art group who have wine at their showings - but one of the main churchies is on the art group committee - go figure!)

Whether it's the church thing or the beer thing that's putting them off or whether people just don't like change - my ticket sales have not only slumped, they've dropped out of sight. (Or maybe people are really believing the credit crunch to the extent they've pulled up their own personal drawbridges.) When we sell out (which we do about twice a year for certain artists) we sell 100 tickets. I reckon on a good day we generally get sixty to seventy people to our concerts. On a bad day I'd say the turnout is about thirty and we can manage on that if we have to as long as the artist is not too expensive... but the September concert pulled in just 17 people and the advance ticket sales for tonight are just 13. Yes THIRTEEN. I'm gutted.

And that's why I've moved the venue to our house. At least we won't have to pay rent on the hall and I can easily seat twenty five people in my living room in relative comfort. (Thirty at a push.) It means I won't be paying out of my own pocket to stage the event and the performer gets 100% of the 'donations.' It also means the Village Hall doesn't make anything on the catering but - hey - I can live with that, especially since none of them ever buys a ticket.

And the performer, Dan McKinnon, is great! I mean GREAT. He's got a voice that just melts you instantly and has been described by other Canadian performers as 'the best voice in Canada'. He writes intelligent, engaging songs and he also does brilliant interpretations of Stan Rogers' songs - whom he resembles vocally. (Stan being the great Canadian songwriting hero, writer of 'Mary Ellen Carter' and 'The Lock Keeper' who died tragically young in 1983). He's also a charming chap - very likeable both on stage and off.

I don't think it's the performers that are putting people off... and I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong. So where's my audience? At the end of the day I have to ask myself if I can continue. I run these concerts to a) contribute to the Village Hall's fundraising and b) provide another venue on the circuit for touring musicians. I don't actually make anything out of them for myself and they're a certain amount of hard work. (Mailshots, both paper and electronic, designing advertising, remembering to meet advertising deadlines, sending promo to newspapers, taking ticket orders and posting them out, plus all the stuff on the day like setting out chairs, arranging the stage, doing PA (Best Beloved's job) and helping to clean up and wash up afterwards.)

Our first ever concert in the Village Hall was in 1983 and for 25 years we've been working in less than ideal conditions in a scruffy old hall which was not perfect for our purpose. Now at last we're going to have a shiny new refurbished hall and I'm seriously doubting whether I'll still be able to run a concert series in it. Without an audience a concert is just an expensive rehearsal.

jacey: (Default)
I spent most of today updating my music agency website to include two great new acts, the Mighty Zulu Nation and The Queensberry Rules who will both be available for UK festivals in 2009.

As a music agent I turn down so many acts who want me to represent them for UK touring, some because they just are not right for the market, but mostly because I just haven't got the capacity to take on even a tenth of the people who ask (possibly even a hundfedth...). Most of them are fine performers but there are just not enough hours in the day.

And then as a writer I get frustrated because I can't find an agent to represent me.

Daft, innit?

Or maybe it's karma.

When I contemplate taking on a new touring act they have to be not only musically impeccable, and entirely to my taste, but they have to have some kind uf USP - unique selling point.

What's my USP as a writer?

Maybe when I figure that out I'll get myself an agent.
jacey: (Default)
I spent most of today updating my music agency website to include two great new acts, the Mighty Zulu Nation and The Queensberry Rules who will both be available for UK festivals in 2009.

As a music agent I turn down so many acts who want me to represent them for UK touring, some because they just are not right for the market, but mostly because I just haven't got the capacity to take on even a tenth of the people who ask (possibly even a hundfedth...). Most of them are fine performers but there are just not enough hours in the day.

And then as a writer I get frustrated because I can't find an agent to represent me.

Daft, innit?

Or maybe it's karma.

When I contemplate taking on a new touring act they have to be not only musically impeccable, and entirely to my taste, but they have to have some kind uf USP - unique selling point.

What's my USP as a writer?

Maybe when I figure that out I'll get myself an agent.
jacey: (Default)
[personal profile] green_knight has just discovered Tom Lehrer and I've been a huge fan ever since I borrowed a ten inch record from my Uncle Bob in the early 1960s. (Yes you're right it's not typical chidren's fare!)

So see [personal profile] green_knight's journal for youtube links to Lehrer, but below are a couple of youtube links to my friends Lou and Peter Berryman. There is a connection. Bear with me.

We first met Lou and Peter on our (Artisan's) first Canadian tour in 1994 and we hit it off immediately, both musically and personally. Lou and Peter are from Madison, Wisconsin, and they write and perform some of the wackiest songs. Peter writes the words and Lou the music. A few years ago they were playing in the town where Tom Lehrer lives and as he'd always been their hero, too, they sent him an invitation to their concert... hardly daring to hope that he'd come. He not only came, but after the show introduced himself and gave them the quote of a lifetime: 'If I were still writing songs today, I'd like to be writing songs like Lou and Peter Berryman.'

Wow!

and
jacey: (Default)
[personal profile] green_knight has just discovered Tom Lehrer and I've been a huge fan ever since I borrowed a ten inch record from my Uncle Bob in the early 1960s. (Yes you're right it's not typical chidren's fare!)

So see [personal profile] green_knight's journal for youtube links to Lehrer, but below are a couple of youtube links to my friends Lou and Peter Berryman. There is a connection. Bear with me.

We first met Lou and Peter on our (Artisan's) first Canadian tour in 1994 and we hit it off immediately, both musically and personally. Lou and Peter are from Madison, Wisconsin, and they write and perform some of the wackiest songs. Peter writes the words and Lou the music. A few years ago they were playing in the town where Tom Lehrer lives and as he'd always been their hero, too, they sent him an invitation to their concert... hardly daring to hope that he'd come. He not only came, but after the show introduced himself and gave them the quote of a lifetime: 'If I were still writing songs today, I'd like to be writing songs like Lou and Peter Berryman.'

Wow!

and
jacey: (Default)
Today Tanglefoot is rehearsing in my living room again. The whole house is full of music and the place looks like a bomb site. Everyone is in a mellow mood and jokes are flying.

I am happy!

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