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Posted Wednesday, May 9, 2007
This month at the Loaded Dog was the Saturday after ANZAC Day. It was fitting, therefore, that one of the themes of the night seemed to be songs of the First World War.
The first floorspot was Paul Buckleberry, a solo guitarist and singer songwriter who entertained us with two of his own songs with some nice guitar accompaniment. The second spot was from Vic Farrell, a schoolteacher. She believes in writing songs of everyday life and sang in a smoky blues style. Jenny O'Reilly was part of the winning team for this years Chorus Cup at the St Albans Folk Festival, and sang the winning song, a humorous song by Ken Smith called "Who Moved the Marquee?"
The first of the advertised performers was Duncan Chalmers, whose strong tenor voice and vivid interpretation made his very stirring performance fill the performance space wonderfully. His first song was the Stan Rogers epic narrative "White Squall", about the dangers of sailing on the North American Great Lakes. He sang the Eric Bogle song "Gift of Years" which tells the story of an Anzac soldier who returns to Gallipoli after seventy-five years to visit the graves of his old mates. For something more traditional, he sang Sally Gardens; music set to a poem by Yates. He then sang an original song about girls being sent to away from their countries, selling themselves for money and the promise of a better life. His final song was a lovely romantic tune to the words of Robby Burns.
Our main performer, Kate Mclurcan, started with a rendition of two well-known Eric Bogle songs about World War I "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda" and "No Man's Land". She did a lovely rendition of an Iris de Menthe song for a friend who had died, describing the happy memories that remain of lost friends. She sang a song by Phil Lobl, about the dangers suffered by boat people, in the sinking of the Siv X off the Western Australian coast. The boat was a very unseaworthy vessel carrying women and children refugees to Australia from Asia to join their husbands in 2001. The song is a telling commentary on the government's attitude towards refugees.
After the break, there followed the typical Dog policy of and “now for something completely different”, a wonderful set from a subset of Goodly Sport, a medieval singing group. They sang in the true a’capella medieval style. It was lovely to hear the old style harmonies. They gave a rendition of the well-known Agincourt Carol to a very old tune. They performed a number of short pieces by Ravenscroft, a medieval writer, including "The Owl", which they sang in three parts. They also performed two numbers in the madrigal style. While initially a little tentative the performance became stronger and more confident as the set progressed. Yummy, there should be more of this music. Maybe we can get the whole choir back next year.
Kate Mclurcan came back and performed a Pat Drummond song, again with war as its theme. She followed this up with Kristina Olsen's song "The Man with the Bright Red Car". She gave us another Pat Drummond song about the treatment of refugees using the metaphor of Jesus’ flight into Egypt. To end off, she performed the great chorus song "Hard Times", a great way to finish what was a night of wonderful performances with a wide range of themes and styles.
Performer photos: Bob Bolton