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GeorgeH Sidmouth now? (77* d) RE: Sidmouth now? 16 Aug 01

Yes, that sounds about right, Liz . . .

Ian Anderson (the Folk Roots one) commented elsewhere that he heard a lot of good young players all being terribly "safe" - and (sadly, as it goes against the grain) I have to agree with him. There was a lot of excellent music; some of the vocal stuff was really strong - because, with that material, if it's done well it can't fail to have an impact. But on the instrumental side even the best left me feeling "that was good but I've heard it all before".

Many of my festival highspots were away from the main venues; including Shirley Collins (could only make 2 of her 3 sessions), Walt Michael and company (stunning musicianship), and Kevin Rowsome (grandson of Leo) and Lorraine Hickey - they made me wonder why any of the "Irish" bands bother; their range of material and sheer emotive power put the typical "celtic" band to shame.

The main stage/arena events I thought really outstanding were:

Siyaya Arts (Zimbabwe) who gave a stunning and superbly staged Ham performance - half "dance" (with lots of song), half "straight" song.

Tom Robinson: Faultless! (Less well attended than I'd expected!)

The complete Wednesday night dance concert:

U. Stage (Japan): Taiko drumming, a wonderful "lion" dance, and great theatre. (They also performed street theatre around the Festival and were great fun.)

Ouse Washes Molly Dancers: Wonderful! Fully up to the standard of their "overseas" companions on the bill. Great music (never stopped to work out what was so effective about it - usually a good sign) and powerful dancing. Their first dance was based on a Norfolk murder (and possibly in slightly dubious taste); their second was titled "Battle of the Somme", was danced to "If you want to find the company" ("Hanging on the old barbed wire"), opened with a chorus of that song, and closed with a powerful rendition of "Ode to Joy" sung in German.

ALGAP Kenya: Excellent - but actually too unrelentingly fast paced to be fully appreciated.

Kuljit Bhamra and the Heritage of Punjab Dance Troupe: Stunning in every respect, and wonderfully varied - Bhangra music and dance, unaccompanied Punjabi song, Punjabi classical music . .

This really was the "not to be missed" evening, IMO.

and, as already mentioned, The Fraser Sisters!

There we are - a "vintage" year, with the highlights in the most unexpected places!


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