Concert Review – Fret and Fiddle – Lichfield Guildhall – December 19th 2012

Concert Review – Fret and Fiddle – Lichfield Guildhall – December 19th 2012

Reviewed by: Ben Macnair

The music of Stephane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt was bought to vivid life when Fret and Fiddle performed at Lichfield’s Guildhall.

The three piece of guitarist Andy Bole, violinist and singer Salene Bijou, and deputising bassist Simon Smith played a concert of inventive musicianship, and songs from a range of genres such as traditional folk, and some klezmer and performers, such as Penguin Café Orchestra, Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen.

They started with the jazz standards ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’ and ‘I’ll see you in my dreams’ which were melodically inventive, and swung wildly. The bluesy standard ‘Make me a pallet on your floor’ had a higher vocal pitch than the standard, but the new arrangement suited Salene’s voice very well. A number of tv themes were also featured, with ‘Jeeves and Wooster’ being a highlight. The folk interludes of ‘Fisherman’s Hornpipe’ and ‘Shiver me Rags’ showed a new side to the band’s sound, as did the slide banjo rendition of Tom Wait’s ‘Chocolate Jesus’.

The second half started with two of Reinhardt’s and Grappelli’s best known compositions in ‘Minor Swing’ and ‘Nuages’ whilst ‘Django’s Castle’ was a tone poem that was a three way conversation. Leonard Cohen’s ‘Dance me to the end of love’ was suitably brooding, whilst Penguin Café Orchestra’s ‘Music for a found Harmonium’ was a display of nimble guitar playing.

An encore of the standard ‘It don’t mean a thing, if it ain’t got that swing’ was a fitting way to end the concert, whilst also acting as something of a manifesto for the trio.

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