A Pleasant Night in Uxbridge, May 2013

We are grateful to the club organiser of Uxbridge Folk Club, Archie McAulay, for his continuing support for na-mara. Half way through our recent performance at the club he informed the audience that we are the only performers to have visited three times since the club was revived by Archie a few years ago. We were unaware of that honour and were humbled to hear of it.

Travelling to the club separately for once, Rob and I met up with Archie ahead of the gig for a bite to eat and a general and very informative catch up about all things club and folk related. Given the buffet nature of the meal, it took a lot of discipline not to eat too much, but we succeeded, just.

The film crew who had earlier been working outside the restaurant, endlessly filming a crest-fallen women looking at a man getting into his car, had disappeared by the time we finally made our way back across to the club to do a sound check.

Once done, we had chance to chat with support act Lisa Winship and Andy Mathewson before the audience began to assemble.

Lisa and Andy kicked the evening off with a wide ranging set covering blues and ragtime as well as some of their own compositions. Excellent guitar from Andy and beautifully smooth vocals from Lisa made for a very pleasant forty minutes in a style very different to our own.

Later on in the evening, it was great to hear Daria Kulesh singing solo and with another member of Kara, the exciting new band she is involved with. We recently had the pleasure of appearing on Daria’s local Radio Dacorum folk programme and it was lovely to hear and see her in action and to catch up with all her news – including the event on 10th August when we will be appearing with George Papavgeris and Philip Henry and Hannah Martin. We wish all the very best to Daria and Kara. Kara certainly sounds an exciting line up and, with its mixture of instruments and cultural influences, will do very well.

It proved a night for new songs. Daria played one of her new songs, drawing wider lessons from the tragic deaths of ‘Butterfly Brothers’, Harry and Cody Churchill. She and her Kara colleague also gave a first outing for one of his songs, Union Street - a moving song about love across the urban-rural divide, set on the Isle of White.

We played L’Amant de Nantes again and I’m pleased to report that is settling into the set very well now. However, we also rolled out a new number when we played for the first time in public our new composition ‘The Garden of England’ which uses a very current example to tell the story of human trafficking and slavery occurring in the UK today. The song reveals a dark and hidden side to how food arrives on our tables. The song tries to convey the menace for people caught up in that situation and is technically quite tricky. However, we delivered the song well and Rob’s mandolin solos were a treat.

It was nice to chat with members of the audience on the way out about a number of our songs and instruments, and we were roundly thanked for a stimulating evening. We thank Archie for his continuing support for na-mara and wish him and all at the Uxbridge Folk Club, the very best for the future and especially for its Ickenham Music Festival Folk Weekend in early June 2013.