Cecil Sharp House was decked out in all its Christmas finery for what promised to be an amazing event – and the sold out audience certainly wasn’t disappointed. The gig itself was in aid of The Musician’s Benevolent Fund – a fantastic charity that helps out musicians if a crisis should hit their working lives. Each performer this evening had been helped out by the Musicians Benevolent Fund in some way, and each told their story as they took to the stage.
The music itself spanned a fantastic variety of different interpretations of folk music. The Carrivick Sisters opened the evening with their bluegrass-influenced folk. Their stunning vocal harmonies set the show off to a breathtaking start, and some impressive guitar solo and a beautiful cover of Joni Mitchell’s River enthralled the audience. Following on from The Carrivick Sisters was the fantastic James Yorkston, with special guests Jill O’Sullivan and Seamus Fogarty adding layers of vocals to his songs, with Just As Scared being a particular highlight of his set.
There is very little to be said about Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick that hasn’t already been said. They are true masters of their craft and know each other’s performance habits instinctively, leaving their stage presence natural, compelling and completely and utterly phenomenal. This was traditional music at its finest, performed in such a way that the audience members felt as though they were watching them in their own front room. My notepad was certainly left blank by the end of their set – I was far too enraptured by their performance to be distracted by a pen and paper. A wonderful night all round.
For more information on how The Musicians Benevolent Fund helps musicians, visit www.helpmusicians.org.uk.