Simplicity of high quality folk music delivered with power and emotion by the combination of a trio of sound vocals, acoustic guitar and fiddle delivered by the multi award-winning and talented duo Marin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick. They had the capacity audience on Level 3 Lounge at St David’s Hall enthralled as another Roots Unearthed session got under-way, we were treated to folk music that Martin and Dave have developed over 40 years of performing, and with their easy stage presence, they quickly built a rapport and produced a range of music – a delightful mix of vocals and instrumentals. This was a master class in English Folk tradition and Martin shared his knowledge so that each collection of melodies or lyrics were given a social/cultural relevance and context.
Martin Carthy started off with a passionate plea for St David’s hall funding to be continued by Cardiif Council which received a very warm reception. He then launched into the music informing us we do not do happy! With a selection of Mariana Russell ballads. ‘The Bed-making’, with an informative introduction Mariana song and a bit personal. On the 1901 census one of her twins either Lavinia or Corelia was missing having gone into service; but there was a child in the house and a daughter now in the workhouse the song is all about what should have happened! Their version of ‘The Death of Queen Jane’ has been recorded by many though I do feel that Martin Carthy’s version has an authenticity in the simplicity of his approach to the music so that the lyrics are placed centre stage.
Dave Swarbrick took over the repartee, giving Martin’s throat a rest (He was suffering tonight with a cough); we had a tales of travels and meetings with custom men including sniffer dogs and meeting the custom man on Uist leading into a collection of three fiddle driven instrumental tunes all in variations of 3 time starting off with Bride of Unst, most northerly of Shetland Islands. The rendition of ever popular John Barleycorn raised the tempo and everyone related to this perennial favourite on the folk circuit.
The sets included nautical songs reminding us of the Royal Oak, sea-fight against the Turks, followed by Baroque English tunes. First jig representing dance music of yesteryear then the Running Footman Jig this medley of tunes certainly got the audience’s feet tapping and in the mood for a dance.
Once, again Level 3 bought to Cardiff folk music delivered by living legends that could deliver just what the folk doctors ordered.
Future dates For Roots Unearthed @ St David’s Hall
Cara Dillon, Tuesday March 4, 8pm
Chris Wood, Tuesday, March 13, 8pm
Brass Monkey, Tuesday, April 3, 8pm
Amy Wadge & Pete Riley, Tuesday, April 24, 8pm
Heidi Talbot, Tuesday, May 15, 8pm
Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas, Tuesday, May 29, 8pm
Warsaw Village Band, Tuesday, June 19, 8pm
Flook, Monday, July 23, 8pm
Kan, Tuesday, September 18, 8pm
Tickets are priced £12 from the box office on 029 2087 8444