Monday, 7 December 2009
I am not making a point today. I have point fatigue. Just a description really.....
I used to be in a klezmer (eastern European Jewish music) band - for about five years. It was Norfolk's finest klezmer band at the time - what with it being the only one. We used to rehearse every Monday evening and had quite regular gigs at times. The affiliation people get by participating in something like a band is pretty special.
I was the front's person - seeing as the band was mostly full of shy boys. I used to love thinking up bizarre introductions to the tunes and, if I am honest probably preferred the time at the mic to the time playing! I am not an academic musician (like my chap). I used to hear tunes and pick them up reasonably quickly. Klezmer has some pretty strange scales - so probably best that I didn't learn 'proper' scales for all the theory to be undone!
As part of my frontspersonship I used to tease the other (thick-skinned) fiddle player between tunes/songs and via the mic. She played second fiddle of course! I used to say things like, 'This is Hazel, she's only here for aesthetics, she can't actually play and we never plug her into the amp.' or 'We had to name this freylach after Hazel, what with her being so ugly, fat and dim - we had to boost her self esteem somehow.' Sometimes the audience's mouths would visibly drop to the floor. In actual fact Hazel is attractive, thin and very clever (doing a PhD in South American politics) and we are good friends but she DID play second fiddle!!!!
The band did eventually end and people went off to do various other musical projects - which was fine. All good things come to an end and the energy invested was pretty huge on top of family and work commitments! I have a bucket full of fond memories from those days and am very pleased to have had that episode in my life.
Particularly memorable gigs included:
• St Andrews Hall - a charity concert quickly scrappled together by Brian McNerney (big scouser on the TV)to raise money for Tsunami victims. There were a couple of thousand there - all trying to circle dance around each other in the huge hall. We were projected onto a large screen behind us which was distracting but also very ego inflating!
• A Jewish wedding in the grounds of Holkham Hall (North Norfolk). Within seconds, everyone was up circle dancing.
• A wedding in Waterloo Park (Norwich) on a gorgeous summer's evening. extremely atmospheric and we were very enthusiastically received.
• One particular gig in Norwich Arts' Centre where people were leaping about all over the place.
• Stainsby Folk Festival - we finished off the night in the smaller of the two venues for an enthusiastic crowd.
• A wedding in the grounds of Surlingham church. The stage was a hay cart and it got extremely raucous!