Home County

I drove into London today to listen to some of the workshops at the Home County Music and Art Festival.  It was a gorgeous sunny day in Victoria Park – ten acres of mature trees and wide spreads of grass.

Here are some moments from the folk festival that took me beyond the world of form:


A woman leaning back against a big tree, her head nodding to the music, and her backside caressing the bark

A young black singer deep into a gospel song, standing at a stationary microphone without an instrument, opening her mouth so wide as she sang, her fingers opening and closing in the air

James Keelaghan telling us that his dog died last Friday and then singing “Sinatra and I”, an ode to his four-legged travelling companion.  All in a deep baritone

Nathan Rogers moving forward and back in his chair, as he channelled the storytelling energy of his dearly departed father Stan, with words such as “The mountains moved inside of him”

A young woman guitarist, resplendent in a white fedora, Shirley Temple curls and an all-black outfit, sending the melody to heights unknown with the vibrato in her fingers

The audience clapping and smiling after each fiddle, mandolin and electric bass solo

Connie Kaldor singing a song about a nightclub in France for dogs, and a woman in the audience standing up, moving to the stage with her white terrier in her arms, and dancing big circles with her doggie

The fingers of a bass guitar player making love to his strings as he took over from the vocals

A woman crooning the lyrics “With my aspirin, my soul begins to slip” (or so I thought), when she really was saying “With my last breath, my soul begins to sleep”

And more words from elsewhere:

The way she sang was magic
Of the things we know are real

Riding the dark train to heaven

It was a winter of record-breaking lows for me


The music lies within us all, and seeks to open our hearts.  May we listen.

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