dimecres, 30 d’octubre de 2013

It Might Get Loud #JimmyPage #TheEdge #JackWhite

El tercer documental que he mirat aquesta setmana, ja ho vaig veure fa 2 anys per primer cop. It Might Get Loud, nos explica l'historia de tres dels guitarristes de rock més bons del món, Jimmy Page, The Edge, i Jack White. D'on van sortir, com van aprendre, quins estils toquen - i un monton d'anecdotes interessants per qualsevol fan de la musica rock - fan que la pel·licula se'ns fa curt! També els tres es troben junts per a xerrar i tocar junts. Si sents curiositat per la musica rock dels ultims 50 anys, aquest documental també és un "must-see"!
Ja vaig penjar algunes peces de la pel·licula fa 2 anys, per aixo avui, posarem una cançó de cada u dels protagonistes:
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The third music-based documentary I'm going to praise is It Might Get Loud. The history and life of three of the great rock guitarists, albeit each one from a diferent time period. Jimmy Page, The Edge, and Jack White. Their lives, upbringing, first steps on the road to fame, and musical fulfillment - their different concepts and playing techniques - loads of amusing and interesting anecdotes ... it all adds up to a "must see" for anyone interested in the last 50 years of rock music. The three stars also meet up to chat together and play a couple of tunes.
I posted these a couple of years back when I first saw this film, so today what I'll do is post different songs they are each well-known for (gulp, losing control of my English here!)




dimarts, 29 d’octubre de 2013

Living in the Material World #GeorgeHarrison

Segon documental que us recomano; Living in the Material World. Aquest documental fet per Martin Scorsese sobre la vida de George Harrison és molt bonic, i molt interessant. La vida de George potser el menys conegut de totes les histories dels Beatles, però potser és un dels més interessants sobretot en l'etapa post-Beatles. M'agraden els Beatles, m'agrada George, i tots els projectes que ha anat fent, i m'agrada que un director de cine li dediques més de 3 hores de pel·licula.
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Second hot tip; the documentary Living in the Material World. Martin Scorsese's documentary on the life and times of George Harrison. Maybe he was the least talked about of the Beatles, but he led a fascinating life, especially post-Beatles - being involved in many amazing music projects all the way up to his death. I love the Beatles, I love hearing about them, I love George and his music, and I particularly love the way a director like Martin Scorsese has given him over 3 hours of film!



Something ...
Something ...

dilluns, 28 d’octubre de 2013

Searching for Sugarman #Rodriguez

Aquests ultims dies he mirat una mica la tele - tot una novedad! I he aprofitat per a posar-me al dia en el tema de documentals relacionats amb la musica. Aixi que, avui començo les recomanacions. Primer, Searching for Sugarman (no sé si ho van traduir aqui, seria Busant al Sugarman). Suposo que els altres 6,999,999 Catalans ja ho heu vist, però jo no vaig poder anar al cine i el DVD fa mesos que està a la prestageria esperant el seu moment , que va ser la setmana passada. Aquesta pel·lícula és molt especial si no et conten lo que passa, per tant, no vaig a posar cap "spoiler". Només us dirà que totes les persones que hi surten, i la gent que ha fet el documental, són gent a qui la musica els parla. Gent a qui la musica els dona sentit a la vida, gent que viu per a, o amb, la musica. T'explica com petits moments poden canviar el món, o poden canviar les persones.
Realment paga molt molt la pena. Ara us ajunto una de les cançons del Sixto Rodriguez, estrella de l'historia, i a continuació la pel·lícula sencera - però evidentment si la podeu veure al cine encara, pos, millor!
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The last few weeks, I've actually managed to watch a bit of telly - for once in my stressed-up life. Among other films, I've tried to catch up with a few music-based documentaries that I'd not had chance to see yet. And now I will recommend them to you! First up, Searching for Sugarman. The story of the singer Sixto Rodriguez. This film is especially great to watch if you don't know the story beforehand, so I'm not going to give you any clues here! But I will insist - it's well worth watching, especially if you like the magic of life, the magic of music. All the characters, and the film-maker, show the joy they receive through music, and how it adds a certain magic to their lives. So, if you can, check it out at the cinema, fantastic; if not, here's a Youtube link to the film. Even if you are not struck on the music itself (impossible!), the story of how music can change or make people's lives is always awe-inspiring. So, first a song, and then the full film ...


dimecres, 23 d’octubre de 2013

Pau Casals

Quan vaig venir a Catalunya per primer cop fa "alguns" anys, no en sabia res del pais o la seva gent. L'unica referencia que tenia era el llibre d'Orwell, Homenatge a Catalunya - un bon començament. Com que no m'he interessat mai per les arts, no coneixia ni Gaudi ni Miro, ni Pau Casals. Si no hagues sigut per els Electric Light Orchestra, tampoc hagues sabut quin instrument és el violoncel. Bé, ara sé una mica més i per recordar els 40 anys des del seu mort, farem 4 ratlles i la famosa intervenció a les Nacions Unides...
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This week marks the 40th anniversary of the passing away of Pau Casals. Now, if you know your world politics, and music, you'll probably know him. I didn't, though, before coming to Catalonia so I'll offer a brief summary for those who like me are not so au fait with "the arts":-
Pau Casals was a Catalan, born in 1876. World-famous cellist and composer, famous to the extent that he played for Queen Victoria, Roosevelt, and JFK, among others. After Franco's coup d'etât, he went into exile and was an outspoken critic of those countries who supported Franco's dictatorship, or merely turned a blind eye - countries such as the USA or England, who eventually accepted Franco into the UN! Casals stopped playing the cello publicly and dedicated his time to campaigning for the return of democracy in Spain and Catalonia, and other peace campaigns around the world. 
His work, especially in favour of the refugees and victims of Franco, led to his being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize - but Spain's influence on other countries proved too strong. He refused to play at the UN for many years as they had accepted the Spanish dictatorship, but on a few occasions of world-wide importance, he accepted that the benefits of his playing there were immense. He played his beautiful haunting piece El Cant dels Ocells (The song of the birds), and in 1971 was asked to compose the music for the UN hymn. It was then in 1971 that the UN awarded him with its first UN Peace Medal, and he gave his famous speech - improvised at the age of 94. 
Highly recommended listening, here is the "I am a Catalan" speech, followed by the Song of Birds. Spare a few minutes to give them a listen, you will not regret it!


dissabte, 19 d’octubre de 2013

If you love to read ... #Libraries #Biblioteques

Vam aprofitar les vacances de l'estiu per visitar, i usar, la biblioteca nova de Hoyland - el meu ciutat natal. Som molt fans de les bibliotques, i encara que sembla que avui en dia amb tant d'internet a casa, la gent no li cal anar-hi, a mi em sembla que s'han adpatat prou bé als temps moderns. Potser ja no anirem a buscar quin és el capital de Nova Zelanda, o com cuinar un cupcake, però si que continuen atraient "clients" tant pels llibres o per les activitats i opportunitats que ofereixen.
 Natros usem molt la biblioteca de Tortosa, tant per llibres, com per participar en actes culturals o pels jovens. A l'agost vam fer lo mateix a Hoyland, anant cada 4 dies a buscar més llibres i passar una estona fullejant-los allì mateix. Fins i tot vam tenir temps de participar en el projecte especial de l'estiu, on els xiquets els hi tocava un certificat, punt de llibre, enganxines etc, i al final una medalla si conseguien llegir un cert numero de llibres durant les vacances. En fi, jo content de continuar usant les biblioteques (encara recordo el meu primer viatge en autobus tot sol, als 11 anys - era per anar a la Gran Ciutat, Barnsley, precisament per anar a la biblioteca!), però més content de veure que les biblios estan "alive and kicking" i sembla que els nostres xiquets continuaran la tradició :)
Ah, si, em pregunteu si hi ha diferencies entre biblioteques angleses i catalanes? Pos, per exemple, a Tortosa si tornes un llibre tard, no et fan res; a Anglaterra si passa un minut del deadline, et cau la multa si o si! Aixo si, potser són només 10 peniques per dia, però s'asseguren que els llibres tornen quan toca. A Anglaterra, per agafar "prestats" CDs o DVDs, a més, s'ha de pagar una petita tarifa - potser una lliura. A Tortosa no es paga res.
Us deixo amb una versio de Rolling in the Deep que ha fet Sarah Ada (NYSRA) per animar la gent a llegir!
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Back in the summer, another of our adventures on holiday in England involved visiting the brand new library that's opened up in Hoyland, and then visiting it again, and again ... the kids loved it and even participated in the Summer Reading Project, getting all kinds of little gifts to encourage them to keep reading - and if they managed to finish the project (I think it involved six books), they got a little medal. Our kids love libraries, and we are keen users of the one in Tortosa - following on from their father's example, as I've always been a big library user. Maybe nowadays we don't need a library to find out the capital of New Zealand, or how to cook a cupcake, or get from Rome to Paris on a bank holiday, but I think there is still a big need for libraries and the services they offer - and I see they have adapted too. In Tortosa not a day goes by without some kind of activity - cultural, social, for kids, for adults ... there's always something to do and see.
So, libraries, be they English or Catalan, keep it up! And politicians, watch what you are doing - he who cuts back on present education and culture, kills off the future of their society as someone once said, probably.
Ah, yes, you're asking if there are any differences in English and Catalan libraries? Well, for example, if your book us past its return date, in Tortosa you don't get fined, you just get reminder emails. In England if I remember correctly there is an immediate fine - maybe it's only 10p a day, but there's no getting out of it. Another difference is that the CD/DVD borrowing service in Tortosa is free - in Hoyland you have to pay a small fee to borrow this kind of material.
Anyway, here's a cool version of Rolling in the Deep by Sarah Ada (NYSRA) to encourage people to get/keep reading!

dijous, 17 d’octubre de 2013

She does it right - Dr Feelgood #hospitals

Ultimament he tingut l'oportunitat d'usar diferents serveis publics tant a Catalunya com a Anglaterra. Encara que l'objectiu d'aquest blog no és d'anar pel cami de les comparisons, com he explicat algun cop, potser podria dir 2 cosetes, però sempre al nivell d'anecdotes sense importancia - deixant els estudis seriosos per a la gent que es pensen ser experts.
Avuí, parlarem de metges i hospitals. He anat a diferents serveis aquests mesos, tan a Tortosa com a Barnsley i la primera cosa que he de dir és que, malgrat les retallades, els serveis i tracte sempre han sigut bons. Que s'ha d'esperar per a que et visiten? Pos, si, però realment no difereix gaire de les meves experiencies anteriors. No dubto que a les grans ciutats els col·lapes siguen més grans, però on he anat jo, pos, l'espera de sempre.
Papers - a Anglaterra com que no en tenim de DNIs ni ganes de tenir-ne, tant al metge com a l'hospital, m'han tractat sense veure cap document oficial - simplement, omplint un formulari amb alguns datos personals. A Tortosa si no portes el carnet de la seguretat social, uf!
Aparcaments - a l'aparcament principal de l'hospital de Barnsley es paga per aparcar, tant els pacients com els treballadors. Aixó fa que molts treballadors vagin en transport public o aparca més a lluny i van caminant. A Tortosa no es paga. Alguna gent diu que falten aparcaments, però no estic d'acord. En part és per la situació dolenta de l'edifici, pero principalment és per les poques ganes de caminar. Hi ha un aparcament bastant gran dins dels terrenys de les muralles antigues, a 5 minuts caminant, pero poca gent l'usa. Aixo si, la gent aparca dalt de les voreres en tots els voltants de l'hospital i aixi els visitants i pacients hem de caminar pel mig del carrer!! WTF! Si, la gent malalta no pot caminar molt de troç, però també la gent que si que pot caminar, o els visitants, o els treballadors, ho podrien pensar i aparcar ells més a lluny, deixant espai per aquella gent que ho necessita, en comptes de pegar voltes en cotxe a vore qui pot arribar més a prop. Quan jo era jove i mons pares em portaven a l'hospital a visitar gent, és de les primeres coses que em van explicar - d'aparcar una mica apartats ja que natros no ens cal estar a la porta mateixa.
Voleu sentir Doctor Feelgood?
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So, recently I've been using various public services in Catalonia and England. As I said once, the objective of this blog isn't to write witty deep comparisons between the two countries, but maybe the odd trivial anecdote:
Today - health services. Having visited doctors and hospitals in both Tortosa and Barnsley, I'll start by saying I'm reasonably pleased. Despite all the cutbacks and job losses, waiting times and services seem to be not too different from recent years. Well done workers! Maybe in bigger cities, the expected collapse on health services is more noticeable.
Identity - luckily English people still don't have ID cards, so I didn't have to show one to get served in England, I simply filled in a form with a few personal details (name, address, age, religion!). Back here in Tortosa, if you don't show your ID and/or social security card, you're in trouble!
Parking - Catalans may be shocked by the fact that you have to pay to park in Barnsley Hospital car park - and that also applies to workers. I suppose many must use public transport to avoid this, or I know people who park a little further away and walk. It seems tough to have to pay, but if it's the only way to keep a few places free for those who can't walk so far ...? People believe Tortosa Hospital has a parking problem. As it's built on top of a hill in the town centre amidst the old castle walls,  it is true that it is strange with several very small (free) car parks  shoved when they can fit them. However, there is a large carpark a 5-minute walk away which people hardly use, preferring instead to park on the pavements! Thus, yours truly has to walk down the middle of the road to get there!
Enough, before I get grumpy, here's Doctor Feelgood:

diumenge, 13 d’octubre de 2013

Bat out of Hell - Meatloaf

Aquest mes marca la 36e anniversari d'un dels LPs més importants, més impactants i, simplement, millors de l'historia de la música - Bat Out Of Hell, del Meatloaf (i Jim Steinman i un "amazing" grup de musics, cantants, productors). Es podria escriure un llibre sobre aquest LP, la seva música, la seva historia, i el seu exit - i segurament que algú ja ho ha escrit. De moment, però us podeu fer l'idea mirant l'entrada al wikipedia i escoltant el LP. Aquí us ajunto el Youtube però si algun dia us he dit que la musica no s'ha de gaudir sortint de les llaunes que passen per altaveus a l'ordenador, avuí és aquell dia. Compreu el LP, si potser en vinil, i poseu-ho en un tocadiscs de veritat, i uns altaveus de veritat i preparar-vos per gaudir de 45 minuts de gloria!
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So, this month sees the 36th anniversary  of Bat Out Of Hell - one of the greatest, most groundbreaking, amazing, successful LPs ever. Meatloaf (together with Jim Steinman and a host of amazing musicians, singers and producers) came together to make magic when they recorded this album. Not a dull moment on it. They could probably write a book about this record, its history, music and success - and someone probably already has. For now, though, you'll just have to make do with Wikipedia. 
I'm including the Youtube of the full album but, please, listen to me (for once): if there was ever a day when I said all this listening to music via tinpot speakers on your computer ain't no good, this is that day! Do yourselves a favour - buy the bloody album, if possible on vinyl. Bang it on a proper turntable and play it through some decent speakers, and be prepared for 45 minutes of heaven (or hell). 

divendres, 11 d’octubre de 2013

Soldier Blue - Buffy Saint Marie #12th October

Adaptant-nos a la llei Bauza, avui escriurem directament en anglès :) Sobre el 12 octubre (i una cançó vagament relacionada) ...
The 12th of October is the Spanish National Day, a celebration held every year but which is gaining a certain notoriety this year as we'll explain in a moment. 
Apparently it's held on this day to celebrate the day Columbus discovered America back in 1492, after sailing the ocean blue, and what this meant for the progress of the world and the union of two great continents. This has always seemed a little strange to me - that a country's principal day of celebration is the day they invaded another country/continent. On top of that, as we know Columbus wasn't the first to go to America, nor did he know where he actually was - and he may not even have been Spanish (though he was working for, and in the name of, the Spanish royal family). Wikipedia says that this day is also celebrated across South America, but I imagine it's mainly celebrated by the descendants of Europeans as the descendents of native Americans probably think quite differently about the "progress" this event involved.
Respecting different cultural and historic backgrounds, and speaking from a not-too-informed point of view, I can't help imagining if other European countries like England or Holland held their most important national celebration on the day they landed in north America or the day England "discovered" Australia. Strange.
Anyway, it's celebrated all over Spain but with a "certain reticence" (understatement of the year) in those parts of the political state of Spain which would rather get out of there - such as Catalonia or the Basques. There is a huge and lavish military parade in Madrid and lots of patriotic acts. In Catalonia, most people take advantage of the day off to go mushroom hunting or a to have a paella with the family - but I even know people who make an effort to actually work on this day.
Anyway, there has always been some kind of rally or act in Barcelona by those here who like to celebrate this day - not many, but it's a free country. However, this year, it's becoming a Hot Topic. Coming just a month after 1,600,000 people took to the streets to demand independence, the pro-Spanish unionists are taking the rally in Barcelona seriously to try and show that there are just as many Catalan people against independence and in favour of unity with Spain etc. Obviously, if you look at the numbers, that's an impossible task and so they've started organising buses from other parts of Spain for people to come and march in Barcelona. I suppose they'll give them a Barcelona-disguise when they arrive to make them look like locals (a Messi shirt should do).
 Many of these buses are paid for by political parties (unlike the pro-indy acts, where every person pays their own way). Right-wing parties such as the PP, UpD, Cs are all taking part and encouraging their voters to, but alongside them will be the Falange party. Those of you who know any Spanish history (Civil War, Franco) may be surprised that this party actually legally exists! But it does, and it will be marching through Barcelona beside the Spanish conservative party, and the Catalan equivalent of the racist EDL (the PxC)! Marginal neo-nazi groups have also expressed their intention to join in - with many internet messages explicitly stating they will cause violence and "hunt the Catalans"! Catalan police have said they will take firm steps to prevent this - but the principal Spanish police trade union have actually asked their members to take part in the rally! (yep, there are different police forces here)
As they say, you couldn't make it up!
This seems to be the Spanish govt's strategy to convince Catalans of the benefits of staying in Spain - intimidation, threats, fascism, and violence if you consider leaving!

Today's song - not being an expert on native south (or north) American music, rather than just put a random track on, we'll change subjects slightly and remember Buffy Saint Marie's 1971 song from the film of the same name about the massacre of north American natives.

dimarts, 8 d’octubre de 2013

I feel the earth move - Carole King #Earthquakes #Castor

Potser ja heu sentit parlar - o potser ja els heu sentit en persona ... resulta que fa dies que tenim petits terratrèmols aquí a les Terres de l'Ebre. Diuen les males persones que estan relacionats amb el projecte Castor, un magatzem que fan baix la mar per guardar gas. Bé, com diuen els jefes de l'empresa, no hi ha res comprovat del tot ... només les casualitats que han començat els tremols ara i tots comencen en els voltants del Castor i ja els havien avisat abans del que podria passar.
En fi, passi lo que passi amb aquest projecte ara, només hi ha una cosa segur - que els empresaris mai perden. Si han de tancar i marxar, pagarà l'Estat - en paraules clares, tu i jo.
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Exciting times down in southern Catalonia. We've been experiencing hundreds of minor earthquakes, recently reaching up to 4.2 on the Richter scale. By an amazing coincidence, the epicentre for these quakes is an off-shore gas storeage project (click for news in Eng.) about which everyone said - Don't do that, you're likely to set off an earthquake! The infamous Castor Project.
No serious damage yet, just lots of rocking beds (as the actress said to the bishop), and a burst water main in a nearby town. We're crossing our fingers, and other body parts, though, as we have three nuclear power plants within 60 km. Yeah, live life to the full!
The govt authorities have told the company to stop work while they work out what to do next (remember the Dutch kid who had to stick his thumb in the dam ...?). But, whatever happens, there's one thing clear - business men never lose. If the company has to pack up and go and set up in some third world country, they'll be amply compensated apparently by our friendly government - which means the taxpayer.

diumenge, 6 d’octubre de 2013

Birds of Chicago, plus loads more ... #Madfest (3)

Ultima, però no per això el menys important, de la trilogia d'apunts sobre Madfest. Lo que ens va agradar més d'aquest festival, potser és aixo de sentir musica de gent com tu o jo - vull dir, crec que m'agrada tant o més anar a petits concerts al poble per sentir un desconegut, que anar a la Gran Ciutat per sentir les Estrelles. Com hem dit abans, la majoria de concerts eren fins i tot gratis, de gent que passa la vida segurament fent una altra feina i intentant tirar endavant aquesta faceta de music. Per aixo, sempre que podem , comprem els CDs que tenen per vendre (o samarettes). Igual que no ens dona cap remordiment baixar musica de U2 gratis, trobo que els petits artistes que necessiten un cop de mà, mereixen això i molt més.
Destacarem un dels grups que vam vore per la nit - els Birds of Chicago, una combinació molt interessant d'estils i veus - pero també podem recomanar que mireu als Mambo Jambo, Lauren Tate, Plum Hall, Baghdaddies i, potser el grup més famos que van tocar, els Capercaille - segur que hi havia molts més també,. pero ja no vam tenir temps per a escoltar més. Com hem dit abans, a banda de musica, n'hi havia un munt d'activitats per a fer en els petits de casa també.
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Last but not least of the Madfest blogpost trilogy. Before we sign off, I think we should offer a final thought on this kind of event .. alongside the small concerts we've seen back home in Tortosa by local or just-starting-out artists, we've come to realise we enjoy them just as much, and probably more, than going down to the Big City to see a Superstar. I think I'd much rather see a small group in it for real, than the likes of professional people who've seen it all, done it all. Mainly for this reason, I believe these artists should be supported - save your bootleg downloads for U2 or Elton John, and buy the CDs and merchandise of this kind of artist! Which is what we did.
Anyway, we saw plenty of groups but the one we'll focus on in a moment is Birds of Chicago, mainly as we were left in awe by their amazing combination of styles and singing. Before their video, though, other groups we saw included (and are worth checking out with these links): Mambo Jambo, Lauren Tate, Plum Hall, and the Baghdaddies, as well as, probably the most famous group of the weekend - Capercaille. Plenty more, but we also had to spend time on all the other activities available, especially for kids :)


dissabte, 5 d’octubre de 2013

Le Vent Du Nord - #Madfest (2)

Continuant amb més música que vam coneixer al festival Madfest (llegir l'apunt anterior), aquí tenim a Le Vent Du Nord - un grup del Quebec que ens van encantar.
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By popular demand, let's have a few more recommendations from the music we heard at this year's Madfest (see previous post). From Quebec, Le Vent Du Nord. Great stuff, great people, great for dancing.

dimecres, 2 d’octubre de 2013

The Mistakings #MadFest #Elsecar

Com els meus seguidors regulars sabran, vinc d'una zona "post-industrial", uns pobles on la gent abans vivia de les mines de carbò i ara viuen de la sort o de les subsidis de l'estat. Quan Thatcher va tancar les mines, per exemple, va acabar amb pobles com Elsecar a South Yorkshire. Poc a poc, però, els governs locals han intentat donar una sortida a la seva gent i/o promoure el poble, aprofitant, precisament, les instal·lacions historiques de la mina. El Centre de Patrimoni Local (Elsecar Heritage Centre) és un lloc ple d'edificis vells, antics tallers i magatzens, i vies de tren, i canals de transport, que s'ha intentat donar una segona vida. Ara hi ha artesans o petits botigues i organitzen activitats diverses en cap de setmana. El primer cap de setmana d'agost, organitzan un festival de musica folk i actes culturals, el Madfest. Aquest any hi hem anat. Està molt bé. No és Glastonbury - no trobarem a gent que són "cools" ni van d'hipsters ni hippies. Simplement s'hi atansa la gent del poble, els iaios i els nets, els gossos i els adolescents. Vestits tal com rajen sense pensar en un minut del "look". I a passar-ho bé. Com que cada any el cartell de grups aconsegueix portar noms més coneguts (en el món del folk), també vé alguna gent de fora. Molt de tallers d'artesania, molts d'actes pel carrer, poesia, un escenari per espontenis, molts de contes i teatres pels petits, i moltissima musica - ah, i molta cervesa artesanal. Fins i tot hi ha gent que porta el seu propi got de peltre de casa.
I tot gratis, menys uns concerts en recinte tancat a la nit - pero durant el dia hi havia una quinzena de concerts gratis - amb els cantants passejant per allì i aixi vam poder saludar a diversos.
Per cert, quan diem "folk" en anglès no vol dir simplement rotllo Bob Dylan o Lluis Llach, sino musica tradicional.
Anyway, anem a repassar un parell o tres dels grups que ens van agradar. Primer The Mistakings, un grup de 3 noies joves que encara no han gravat disc, pero tenen coses penjades al Youtube o Facebook. Canten moltes cançons tradicionals, i molts de shantys - cançons tipiques de la mar, dels pirates ... a vore si us agraden:
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So, as regular readers may remember I come from South Yorkshire, a place we may define as post-industrial! To be specific, Hoyland, next to Elsecar. Elsecar, a village torn apart by Thatcherism when the mines were closed down. Ever since then it's struggled to get back on its feet. One of the positive things local governments and citizens have tried to do, though, is make the most of the old mine buildings, workshops, storerooms, railway, canal and so on. The Elsecar Heritage Centre rents out many buildings to craft shops, artists, small businesses, and puts on many fantastic events at weekends to draw the crowds in. One such event is the folk festival known as Madfest, held every August. This year we were lucky enough to be there.
It was great. No Glastonbury or Woodstock - this was no place for the ultra-cool hipsters or even hippies, more a grandparents and grandkids' day, dog walkers, parents and pushchairs, just the locals wandering through, and fans of good ol' fashioned traditional music; more a beer (or tea) and pie event, than a joint-smoking love-in. Walking boots on their feet, rather than flowers in their hair.
A great weekend - loads of free music (and a few paying concerts at night), pies, real ale, poetry, street art, kids' theatre shows, dancing, chatting, a really good time. Nothing pretentious. The singers came off stage and just mingled in with the "crowds" - well, let's say "bunches of people" then!
Anyway, highly recommended - just remember you can take your own tankard :)
So, we'll run through a few of the groups we really liked over the next few posts. Starting with The Mistakings, a group of three young lasses who did some amazing singing, fiddling, strumming- running through traditional songs and shanties galore. They've not even recorded an album yet, but they've got some stuff up on Facebook and Youtube of course! Judge for yourselves ...