Feral Mouth, Mari Joyce, Sefo Kanuteh at Spiegeltent grounds for NNF13, Sunday 19 May, 2013 review
The weather for this festival has not been as kind as it could have been, but at least for this Sunday afternoon’s ‘Lights Out’ session at the Festival beer tent in Chapelfield Gardens it was a little warmer and a bit sunnier too. The informal line up included Feral Mouth, with Georgia Shackleton guesting on fiddle, Mari Joyce with her full band, and Sefo Kanuteh with Pedz from the Ferals jamming on percussion. Also in the line up were The James Frost Band, Koi Paraga, and Nous Parlons Scum but of these I only caught the last song of Koi Paraga.
As the bands were all performing without PA it could easily have been missed, but while searching for the music I saw Pedz, and he was about to introduce the soothing sounds of Sefo Kanuteh. I have written about Sefo several times recently, and there is not much more I can add, other than to say that his gentle kora playing, even without PA, held the attentive audience transfixed and mesmerised throughout. Pedz, who had arranged this gig, was playing African drum alongside Sefo and it sounded beautiful. Read about Sefo at his permance in Olives the previous Friday here.
The beer tent is always so lovely at the Festival, with fine ales and decor by The Bicycle Shop and Frank’s Bar, it has a lovely, easy, boho ambience, with most of the listeners sat relaxed on the floor in front of the stage.
Following Sefo was another ‘unplugged’ set from Feral Mouth, with Georgia Shackleton guesting on violin. Georgia is extremely talented and I had been looking forward to this collaboration with much anticipation ever since I first heard about it, even having spoken with Jape earlier in the week who said “We’d better fit a rehearsal in at some point”! This looseness and informality is part of the Feral charm but also says much about all the musicians’ great talents, and the quiet confidence they have in themselves. They are much better musicians than they would have us believe. I was especially impressed with Georgia today, who really “gets” the band and I think she really adds to the overall sound. I have seen Feral Mouth several times with guest fiddle players – including the legendary jam with Sara Watkins, but aside from that occasion I have been unsure that it quite worked, with Georgia it most certainly does, and I do hope they will perform together again at some point.
The set seemed to fly by, and with Jape having to get to a shift at work there was no chance of it being extended, though we were still treated to Darlin’ Corey, Diniler, Nelson, Tatters, and quite a few others. From the moment they started it felt like it was going to be a good one, and it was. They seemed to be having some great fun too, with Holly looking after John’s kids at the back of the stage, one of whom was intent on joining Pedz on drums, quite literally!
The final act that I was able to catch the full set of today was the lovely Mari Joyce and her band. The songs are delicate and the voice as I have mentioned before is fragile yet assured, and very beautiful. She is backed by a wonderful band who compliment her singing style extremely well.
I speak in a little more detail about Mari at her Birdcage gig earlier in the month.
All in all an extremely lovely, relaxed and informal afternoon of superb music. I feel the Festival Gardens have a little less going on this year, which is a shame but understandable in these times of cuts to funding, but these little musical corners are often the highlights and memories and therefore I was glad to have caught most of this session.
Feral Mouth will be headlining the afternoon session of the next Norwich Rocks at Gibraltar Gardens on Bank Holiday Sunday (May 26) at about 5pm, and The Cottage on Silver Road at about 8pm the same day.
Georgia Shackleton performs solo and also with the country/hillbilly band Rattleshack http://www.facebook.com/Rattleshack
Words and photos by richard shashamane