A great return to Redbourn Folk Club, 27th April 2017

What a great evening it was last night at Redbourn Folk Club; an intimate space, packed to the rafters. As Na-Mara starts a busy sequence of gigs over the coming weeks and months, we really couldn’t have asked for anything more.

Redbourn Folk Club, run by Malcolm Hobbs, Jenny McNaught and others has been a big supporter of our music ever since we started and it is always a pleasure to return there. Its proximity to where we live also means that a lot of our friends and local followers can get along quite easily.

The club takes place in a cosy outroom of an excellent traditional pub in the pretty village of Redbourn on the edge of Hemel Hempstead.

The evening kicked off promptly at 8.00pm and the floor spots for the evening were all of a very high standard. Malcolm Hobbs kicked the evening off. Those who know the folk scene in Hertfordshire will almost certainly know Malcolm with his powerful voice and classy bouzouki skills. He started the evening with a terrific rendition of Victor Jara’s Hands, the song about the Chilean folk music hero who was mutilated and then murdered by the Pinochet regime in that country in 1973.

Malcolm was followed by Mike Excell, another excellent local folk singer who deserves a lot of attention. Mike writes great songs and we were treated to a number of his best through the course of the evening. I particularly like his own composition, ’Cooking the Frog’, about the unscrupulous methods by which various salesmen hoodwink the old and defenceless. He later also did a great version of Jarvis Cocker’s ‘Common People’.

Malcolm and Mike were followed by three part harmony group Bunion’s Oak whose infectious good humour and inviting harmonies soon had everybody singing along and they truly warmed the audience up for us.

All the hard work put into rehearsals recently certainly paid off for us and we were very quickly into our stride. The evening allowed us to introduce a range of new material amongst a supportive audience. In particular, we performed a newly translated song from Wallonia called If I Had but One True Love, a new tune set, and a new song called Sisters and Brothers that calls on us to remember those toiling away around the less developed parts of the world in terrible working conditions to provision us with cheap goods in the west. Folks singers need to consider geography as well as history in their songwriting. I’m pleased to report that all the new material was very well received and, indeed, we ended the evening with rousing calls for an encore which we were naturally delighted to honour.

Many thanks to Jenny and Malcolm for the invitation to perform once more at Redbourn Folk Club, and to Malcolm again for his kind words from the stage and his wonderful dry humour throughout the evening, and thanks to all those who came along and supported us so wonderfully on a memorable night.