Keeping my fingers tightly crossed it looks as though we are slowly coming back to life. Unless there is a sudden spike in covid cases we will gradually get back to live music and storytelling—and I’m looking forward to that. After being very much against it at first I have become a convert to performing on Zoom. I can see it continuing well into the future, not instead of live performances, but as a way of doing them. The big advantage is that through Zoom (and other similar media) you can reach audiences you’d never get to normally. I’ve now done half-a-dozen Zoom concerts and had people watching all over UK, in Europe and in North America, at the same time! It beats doing a world tour… no, not really, I’d like to see the world as well as the world seeing me, but you know what I mean. And I do miss ‘the roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd.’
My next Zoom gig is for the Strong Words storytelling club which is based in Cornwall—details below—on 1st July.
Before Christmas, when I was trying out Zoom, my very first session was a ‘floor’ spot for them, so the old system works! (The amount of time I spent travelling around to do floor spots back in the 1970s/80s!)
Response to some of the other concerts I’ve done:
… some people do it so well. For example, Pete Castle’s two sessions. Both of which just simply got on with the stories and songs – no messing about with questions from the crowd. Also he managed the whole lot without an interval which worked well...
At least one of those sessions was a launch concert for my FOLK TALES OF SONG AND DANCE book which has been very well received.
Here is a review from Donald Smith Chief Executive of TRACS (Traditional Arts & Culture Scotland)
Pete Castle’s new book is a delightful tug-of-war.
On the one side is a consummate performer- storyteller and balladeer. He comes away with some fluent, focussed and finely tuned inputs. I especially commend the Cornish offerings (eg ‘The Mermaid and the Man of Cury’), the Welsh tales (eg ‘Ffarwel Ned Pugh’ and ‘The Fairy Harp’), and the ballads, not least ‘Jack Horner’s Magic Pipes’ which must surely have been a broadsheet and/or chapbook classic.
Then at the other end of a firmly held rope is Pete Castle, editor, pundit and good crack. He brims over with information, anecdotes and informative titbits. Its like after the gig, when you get round a table with fellow performers to share a wealth of lore….till ale overtakes the learning.
Those two sides come together beautifully through Pete’s eye for ‘the song within the story’ – surely one of the greatest pleasures of oral narrative, and often a sign of genuine antiquity. Check out Pete’s song for ‘Mossycoats’, the backbone song in ‘Orange and Lemon’ (Orangie an Aipplie for the Scots), and the apparently simple songster who steals the show in ‘The Man Who Stole the Parson’s Sheep’.
I humbly submit though that Pete misses a trick with ‘The Hunchback and the Fairies’ as the Scots Traveller version- ‘Monday, Tuesday’- bubbles on a wee sang, the words of which are graciously extended to ‘Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday’. Still enough to get the little people toe-tapping at Midsummer!
You will get lots of enjoyment and good ideas from Pete Castle’s Folk Tales of Song and Dance. To coin a phrase, it offers an unbeatable blend of Facts and Fiction.
You can buy it from my SHOP page, of course.
Obviously I’ll be doing a few items from the book on 1st July along with some other tales and a few songs. I hope you can join me, wherever you are. I’ll be doing 2×40 minute spots.
BOOK YOUR TICKETS FOR THE 1st JULY GIG
For tickets go to: https://www.strongwords.org.uk/events/