Welcome to the Dragon Folk Club

Welcome to the official blog of the Dragon Folk Club, which meets for a singers night every Friday at The Bridge Inn, Shortwood, Bristol. Everyone is welcome whether you sing, play or just listen.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

A good crowd for St George

There was a superb turn-out for this week's session. I am sure that was thanks mostly to Maggie's efforts in ringing round the regulars and irregulars. Thanks go to all who turned out for this only slightly belated St George's Day session and to give the best possible impression for Neil, who returned to the club to film the first half of the evening.

Neil is planning to make a documentary film about the club. On his previous visit he found our accustomed lighting level too low for his camera, so this time he brought  his own light source and proceeded to shine it at anyone who dared to open their mouth to sing or touch a guitar to play.

There were a lot of people there, and we only got twice round everyone in the evening, so here goes trying to mention everyone present at least once...

Monday, 21 April 2014

Good Friday to Easter

This week's session was held on Good Friday. In the Christian tradition this commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and is therefore a sombre day, preceding his glorious resurrection on Easter Sunday. We only have one session a week though, so this one has to cover the whole week-end. We had songs representing, more or less literally, the events of the whole weekend, and some with no particular relevance at all.

Mike started off the evening with the Pace Egging song. The Pace Egg Plays are traditional village plays, with a rebirth theme, in which St George smites all challengers and the fool, Toss Pot, rejoices. The drama takes the form of a combat between the hero and villain, in which the hero is killed and brought to life, often by a quack doctor. The plays take place in England during Easter, indeed the word 'Pace' comes from the old English word 'pasch' literally meaning 'Easter'. They are a tradition that was once widespread throughout England, but is now only practiced in a few areas, particularly Lancashire and West Yorkshire.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Mainly shanties and death - but keep smilin'

Though short in numbers this week, we were good in voice. Richard and Lesley brought two visitors, I believe they were Lesley's brother and sister-in-law (sorry if I'm wrong). Unfortunately they didn't sing but they provided a very welcome audience. We were told that Richard and Lesley's two sons (and one son's girlfriend) were invited to join us but when they picked themselves off the ground laughing, they politely refused. Well, I suppose we can be grateful they were polite about it! We really don't bite (often) and there is something for everyone, especially if you bring some of it along yourself - a song, a tune, a poem, a story, whatever.

Mike kicked off the evening with what he jokingly called "a very quiet song", Bully in the alley; we all joined in and made sure the start of the evening represented how we intended it to go on.

Robin reprised his performance of last week, singing Rosario in the style of the Young'uns. Another left-over from last week was that Derek had teased us with a snatch of Rigs of the time. He was surprised that Mike hadn't started this week with it, so he took that task upon himself.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Starstruck Folkies

Female drummer (Roud 226)
This week we learnt that Mike, a long-time critic of guitars at folk clubs, has bought an example of that classic famed instrument of folky torture, the banjo! Of course, in experienced hands, such as those of the club's friend Betty, my old friend Richard Holland, or hundreds of other accomplished players, it can be absolutely acceptable but we shall see (or maybe we won't see) what Mike makes of his new purchase.

We were visited this week by Neil, who has been in touch with me for a few days regarding the possibility of filming a documentary about the club. He brought his camera and did some filming, though he hopes to return sometime to do a proper filming session. Capturing each singer involved moving the microphone into position and placing candles close enough to shed some light on the subject. Mike seemed to be looking for a make-up artist but none was forthcoming.

Pre-session discussions were sparked by Maggie handing out copies of the magazine Folklife Quarterly. The main subject was Vin Garbutt, who appeared on the cover in an advert for the Bromyard Folk Festival. I don't remember exactly how, but this eventually led to Derek singing an excerpt from the Rigs of time.