Sunday, 22 January 2017

Review: Martin Carthy, Band on the Wall.

I wouldn't go to watch Deep Purple last year, nor would I wish to watch the Rolling Stones anytime soon.

 I have the view that music evolves and grows, at least if it is alive and thriving it does. So the thought of seeing older men trying to recreate facsimiles of what they did forty years ago does not appeal. 

Martin Carthy is 75 years old, he has a musical track record of 60 years creativity with landmark examples along the way: his guitar technique, and collaborations like the Imagined Village a few years ago. 

Anyone expecting him to recreate his sparkling finger-dancing form of years gone by may have been disappointed yesterday evening. 

What we were treated to, as Martin stood alone with his two guitars on the Band on the Wall stage, was an entirely honest performance, no not performance, a sharing. 

Carthy demonstrated what age means: not some desperate scrabble to cling onto what our bodies are telling us we should let go of; but an acceptance of ourselves as we are now, and an acknowledgment of our ability to continue to offer something very worthwhile, yet different. 

The songs may have been familiar - that is in the nature of traditional music, many of these songs have been around for centuries - but the delivery was different. Not flashy but steeped in depth and wisdom. 

I find this refreshing. At 75 Carthy isn't the oldest folk singer to be performing. Shirley Collins recently returned to singing after an absence of 30 years. At 80 years Collins released her acclaimed album Lodestar last month, again a voice completely different from that we remember from Lark Rise To Candleford in 1978 yet beautiful nonetheless. 

There is hope for music; both youth and age have a part to play in keeping music alive and live. 

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