Tag Archives: folk-rock

KINDRED SPIRIT— Live at Twickenham

Through their inter-woven folk/rock prog-rock compositions, Elaine Samuels and KINDRED SPIRIT explore the magic of our existence.

We saw their spring show this week at the new community facility in the heart of Twickenham, in the excellent 320-seat theatre at Brewery Wharf — known as The Exchange.

Elaine Samuels and Kindred Spirit – “explore the magic of our existence” Photo Credit: @neilmach 2018 ©

Under a bright star-pentagram, an ancient sign of cyclic transformation, the show started with the driving energy of a new number.

Pandora’s Box” had dragon-skin rhythms from Aleem Saleh on drums, enchanted voices from both Elaine and Catherine, threaded stringwork from the talented Martin Ash on violin  and spiral water-snakes of pure enchantment from Catherine Dimmock on flute.

Their “Beast” cycle came in the first half of the concert. With “Run Red” perhaps the most melancholic part of the set-piece. Cloudy with violin mists, this lyrical “feminist historical anthem…” was performed with great majesty and artfulness.

Yearning sax from Catherine… Photo Credit: @neilmach 2018 ©

Elaine explained that the song was inspired by a challenge given by a fan.

He dared her to write a song influenced by Alan Moore’s American Gothic story “The Cursed.”

The final part of the song-cycle was the Dylanesque and haunting “Wolves at the Gate.”

As well as the amazing song ‘Kindred Spirit’ with its gentle meanders, we also enjoyed the mysticism of ‘Children of the Stars’ a song that explored our shared journey across the universe, with yearning sax from Catherine.

We were also treated to a second apocalyptic new number [from their forthcoming fan-funded album.)

Titled “Red Rose” it began with a tribal drum then slowly built into a fiddle-dee-ree urban jig of wonderful proportions. The number was truly cinematic in scope.

The highpoint of the Twickenham show was, for us, the third new song from the much anticipated album. Titled “Daemons” this was the first time it had been played in public.

A a fiddle-dee-ree urban jig of wonderful proportions… Photo Credit: @neilmach 2018 ©

A prowling pace was set-up by drummer Aleem with loitering moodiness from Mike Hislop on bass.

Then began the ever-fermenting and promiscuously potent concoction of sounds.

With a frenzy of fire from Martin’s violin strings and lots of lucid provocation from Catherine… this was possibly the only true “prog rock” number of the night. Boy, what a stunner!

Kindred Spirit gave us seductive treasures, moments of complete serenity, and songs of constant wonder. A great show. We can’t wait for the next album.

Words & Images: @neilmach 2018 ©

Link: https://www.facebook.com/KindredSpiritBand

Kindred Spirit gave us seductive treasures, moments of complete serenity, and songs of constant wonder… Photo Credit: @neilmach 2018 ©

Kurran and the Wolfnotes – Redfest 2010

If you are one of yesterday’s men (or daughters) and you want to hang on to those past sweet summer memories then you will, of course, have enjoyed Glasto and Reading – but for those of us who want to celebrate the joy of discovering new talent and fresh sounds, and who wish to assess what is going to be hot (and what’s gonna be cool) in the years to come …… then there is no summer festival finer than Surrey’s Redfest. Now in it’s fourth year, Redfest has gained a solid reputation for show-casing emerging musical talent. And boy, did this year’s festival just roll out that talent. In abundance.

For example, on the main outdoor stage – that looked like a giant jesters hat in the rolling green fields- we had the alt/folk rockers Kurran and the wolfnotes.  Those smooth and shiny main vocals from Kurran were given splendid counterpoint from the gorgeous J-Lo look-alike on keyboards – the ravishing stomp-mistress, Natalia.

The K&W songs are complex structures, they are tapestries of sound. Churning waves of emotion given form and life by delicate strings, sweet harmonies and always eloquent and memorable tunes. Songs like ‘Your Four Limbs’ have a natural ebb and a gentle flow that stir up sweet emotions within the listener. But sometimes, just when you start to think that the structure of a song is sparse and fragile, great waves of brittle, menacing sounds greet you like a sudden summer storm. The effect is both exhilarating and breath-taking.

Lead vocals (Kurran – formerly K-Bomb out of ‘Trash Fashion’) ‘are ‘West Coast’ scenic and are reminiscent of Paul Simon – singing along with band Love. Sparkly guitars from Kurran and Tim tend to be from the poppy side of folk-rock – but there are plenty of generous sound structures reminding me of Fairport Convention.  Songs like ‘Set You Off’ tend to remind me of R.E.M  (circa ‘Out of Time’) and perhaps have a harder, leaner sound at times. The chugging rhythms and earnest steadfast beats make the happy Redfest crowd sway and clap in joyful harmony. Tribal percussion is beaten, thrummed, trampled and crashed out by Chris on drums (but never brutally) and is often augmented by other members of the band who cooperate to create a solid yet luminescent wall of sound.

A band to remember …

© Neil_Mach
July 2010



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East of Ealing – Bearded Theory Benefit


East of Ealing at Bearded Theory Benefit gig SEP 26 City Club, Guildford

East of Ealing play a fun mix of roots rock fused with traditional brick built and foundry forged foundation folk.

Folk songs are commonly regarded as the songs that express something about a lifestyle that existed in the past or is about to disappear- but that sense of the melancholy does not dominate the music of EoE. Instead, their songs are a lot of fun and puns are in abundance, with musical interludes sometimes surprising the audience when they rise up without warning, like the musical equivalent of Pop-Tarts.

The band also remembers that traditional folk music is an experience shared across the world. So, like Druhá Trava or Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, East of Ealing provides lessons aplenty on the subject of how folk music has evolved into what we now consider to be popular music and how the traditions have merged, emerged and altered into the various distorted forms we now recognise, along the way.

They provide some interesting and unexpected variations, along this tortuous path, and their shared sense of fun is welcome, as is their undeniable virtuosity.

For example, in an imaginative and fun song ‘the Great Unknown’, Moorish influences prevail, but the melody just puffs along like a ska number with Balkan folk flourishes. And for those who did not know that punk rock is a direct descendant of folk music (and I’m not kidding) East of Ealing provides plenty of references to this musical criss-  crossing from the reels, hornpipes and jigs of pure folk to the analytical and sparse punk melodies that can be heard in work by the early Pogues, and even The Clash

Along the way, there’s plenty of fun in the East of Ealing musical repertoire, with puns a-plenty and twinkle in-the-eye tongue-in-cheek antics, as we try to keep pace with the myriad of tiny musical one-liners and punch lines. But the substance of East of Ealing is dances, jigs and general merry-making. And the crowd at the City Club Guildford responded to the music with a hearty gusto …. reeling, jumping and dancing into the warm evening air.

There are large portions of Eastern European sounds in the EoE tunes-  in particular in the single ‘Black Ship’, and these sounds cross-over to more traditional Romany music and then back to punk rock, like other brands of rebel music similar in style and heart to that of Gogol Bordello and DeVotchKa. Pre-Raphaelite beauty Stephanie Graffiti squeezes out some amazing sounds from her electric violin-  from Pink Floyd-esque ‘synth’ lushness all the way through to Led Zeppelin-style screeching ‘guitar’ breaks.

Jim Bean provides most of the voice and the looks (if the whole Pirate Shipmate look is your bag, baby), with a neckerchief, hearty hat and superficial smile. He plays a beautiful acoustic bass and also employs, at times, an electric squeeze-box to give the sounds more depth of image. Paul Castleman on drums, cannot be ignored. Paul is a talented drummer with a superb sense of the mischievous. Mik P plays the electric and acoustic guitars and often provides the kind of rawness and energy that lifts East Of Ealing from their trad-folk roots and prods, pushes and squeezes their sounds towards more lofty rock horizons.

East of Ealing are folksters tinged with rocker irony like ‘The Knitters’  and rockers mixed with folksy irony like ‘Korpiklaani’. I like that.  Get up and dance. Are we there yet?

© Neil_Mach
September 2009


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