"Hush! A Harvest Celebration" at Earlsdon Carnegie Community LibraryReview
"Hush! A Harvest Celebration" yesterday was the latest in the collaboration between "Hot Music Live Presents" and Earlsdon Carnegie Community Library and featured headliner Kristy Gallacher with contributions from other fields of the arts from M M Gibbons & Vimal Korpal.
On another beautiful Summer's afternoon/evening, the appreciative audience of all ages were delighted, regaled, amused, informed & moved by a range of differing artistic performances which despite the diversity of form, complemented each other with a sense of humanity & community with a dashing of hope, not out of keeping with the Harvest cultural heritage.
Opening proceedings was novelist M M Gibbons who not only read from some of his own work & that of some of his favourite comedic authors ("Cold Comfort Farm" by namesake Stella Gibbons, "Three Men In A Boat (To Say Nothing Of The Dog" by Jerome K Jerome plus a mention of François Rabelais as there wasn't time to read from his work), but gave depth to the material by relating it to his own life & career & beliefs and setting it within a wider context of the power of satirical writing (including his parody of "50 Shades of Grey" called "Pandora's Inner Goddess" of which even his (now former) agent said "you've gone too far"). These include "The Shed", "The Pavilion", "The Hide", "The Laboratory" and "The Ski Lodge", copies of which he kindly donated to the Library & let members of the audience have in return for donations to the Library.
Next up was community story teller & actor Vimal Korpal who spoke of the many areas he is involved in from working with refugees, theatre work & walking tours in the West Midlands (including Coventry), bringing people into areas they would not necessarily normally visit & bringing the cultures of them to life.
His performance however consisted of vivid enactments of three traditional Hindu stories, all with some form of moral, but none of which I had heard previously, and from the audience reaction (and he made sure we were part of the performance too), few if any of them had either.
Headliner Kristy Gallacher has, through a combination of COVID19 and starting a family, not been as regular a performer locally as she used to be, but it was good to notice that not only had "Hot Music Live Presents" not diminished their memory nor appreciation of her talents in the interim, but neither had Warwick Folk Festival who featured her at their new site this year.
Her talent burns as brightly as ever, but you could, if you've followed her career spot a few changes & evolutions. Opening (to my delight) with a cover of "Different Drum" (presumably in tribute to its composer Michael Nesmith who passed away a few months ago), Kristy's set as usual was heavy on her own characteristic compositions, ending with signature tracks "Blood" and "Fending Off The Frost" but with a few surprises along the way. Generally, the performance was spell bindingly quiet with Kristy responding to the rapt attention of the audience in this intimate space and utilising both the excellent acoustics & the crystal clear sound wrought for her by Wes Finch. Whether this is a reflection of her current state of mind generally or the specific environment, I certainly couldn't tell, but it was mesmerising, an effect emphasised by the hypnotic effect of her guitar playing in a variety of open tunings: it certainly was a perfect fit for the space.
Other things were new: the revelation of the one song her little daughter will become quiet to hear always & the need she felt to emphasise to the crowd that the lyrics of "Blood" in no way were an account of her life these days demonstrate how her world has developed in recent years. Even more interesting were a couple of other covers completely unknown to me & their source. Kristy made it clear that her views on the damage Spotify has done to the incomes of original writers like herself (whether or not this had a direct effect, it was certainly great to see people buying CDs from her afterwards), she also said that without Spotify's recommendations, she would never have discovered those two non-originals.
The next event in this series will be not for once be on a Saturday but on Friday October 14th starting at the slightly later time of 1830 and features musical headliner Luke Concannon as part of his national "Our Wild Songs" tour with support from Jimmy Davis and poetry from Andrea Mbarushimana. We feel so privileged to be hosting the local gig for this local hero who is now based in the USA and look forward to seeing many of his fans there.