Spooky session rocks at Sidmouth FolkWeek

PUBLISHED: 11:29 04 August 2011

The Spooky Men's Chorale with their tool, on top form at Sidmouth FolkWeek

The Spooky Men's Chorale with their tool, on top form at Sidmouth FolkWeek

Archant

Sell-out Spooky Men’s concert wows Sidmouth festival audience

EACH time I see them, The Spooky Men’s Chorale just get better and funnier.

In a packed Ham Marquee on Monday night, the black-bedecked choir from Australia – all men in case their title didn’t give you the hint – had the audience by the proverbials, writes Di Bowerman.

One moment you are listening to rib-cracking lyrics from Don’t Stand Between a Man and His Tool, the next you are blown away by the melodic power of their Georgian folk tunes.

There is no doubt this choir can really – and I mean really – sing. Their combined voices are powerful, tear-jerkingly emotional and keep you riveted to your seat.

For two hours they had us spellbound. The heat was incredible, they must have been wilting inside their silly hats and overcoats, but they gave their all, including a Spooky-treated rendition of Abba’s Dancing Queen, followed by their tender encore, The Parting Glass, an Irish folk song.

The marquee rocked with singing and clapping, and laughter from the audience as Ryan tried hard not to corpse while singing Light Pole, with the choir’s leader draped around his waist.

Certainly The Spooky Men’s Chorale is unique.

So too is Celtic band Uiscedwr, formed by fiddle-player extraordinaire Anna Esslemont and her drum playing husband Cormac Byrne, with guest guitarist Nick Waldock.

Having literally just flown in from Germany, Anna admitted they were flagging, but their electric performance belied this. They were scintillating. Their sound is rich, fast-moving, vibrant, original and takes folk to a new level.

What a shame to hear that this is the band’s last year of performing, although Anna does have a project – Bad Anna – for the future.


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