Turning east into Boyces Street is a little like stepping through a portal into another dimension. If the road is wet you might see reflections of nearby tacky lights, but apart from that, it is a world away from the rite of passage for teenagers otherwise known as West Street. Yet it is just around the corner and in this narrow street, you will find the hidden emerald that is the Fiddler’s Elbow. Once a month this quaint Irish pub, blessed with being one of only five pubs in the city certified by the Guinness Quality Accreditation programme, presents a showcase night featuring four musicians/bands. Hosted by Brían McNamara of Warsaw Radio fame and also Paul Murray of – well, Paul Murray fame, it is a musical evening of the highest standards, evidenced by the application process each musician must undertake in order to be considered.
Essence of a Folk Singer
Co-host Paul Murray took to the stage first and strummed and sang his excellent homespun songs with ease and talent. Brighton is awash with folk musicians, so you have to swim against the tide to gain recognition; but as a performer, Murray is the very essence of a folk singer. He brings melodious tunes and colourful lyrics to his audience with a listenable voice that is perfect for the job. Throw in some flawless handling of an acoustic guitar and his half hour slot flew by. Clearly, he has a strong following, substantiated by the cries of ‘Holiday’ when he invited requests from the audience and subsequent swaying and singing-along, when he happily obliged.
Folk, Rock and Latin
Vinod was next, complete with sparkly hair and he continued the theme of folk music by providing us with some very accomplished singing, accompanied by his own guitar. Migle, with her delicate guitar playing and haunting voice, followed and moved us away a little from the folk genre and gave us something gentler, along the lines of Sara Bareilles and Fiona Apple. Finally, to a pub packed with high spirits, the three-man acoustic band Liemba returned us to something reminiscent of folk/rock but with a definite hint of Latin and rounded the evening off beautifully with their energised playing and harmonised singing.
In recent years, Open Mic has gathered momentum across the country but particularly in Brighton. A perfect platform for rising musicians to offer their talents and become a part of the live music scene, they also provide a vast range of entertainment for music lovers. Folk Off Sessions started four years ago in order to showcase some of the best of that local talent and possibly provide a springboard into more serious musical commitments. With a slant towards folk/indie/roots music, these sessions are free to attend and with reasonably priced Guinness kept to perfection in one of the most convivial pubs in the city, put the next one in your diary.
The next Folk Off Session is March 30th @8pm
Article by Lisa O’Connor