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Folk Club wraps up in style

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Two stylish debutants, a newly formed group and a handful of past favourites combined to provide a great evening of entertainment at the Bermuda Folk Club’s final gathering before the summer recess.

The five-price musical collective ‘The Tramp Presidents’ topped off a three-hour potpourri of talent that featured the unexpected debut folk club performances of England’s Ashleigh Weir and Canada’s Travis Chambray.

Ms Weir hails from the city of Sheffield famed for the likes of Joe Cocker, The Human League and Pulp and is currently visiting the Island. She has previously performed in the UK and, on Saturday, offered to sing a few of her self-penned songs.

From the moment Ms Weir struck up, on a borrowed guitar, with ‘The Elephant In The Room’ it was clear the audience was in for an unexpected treat. Her powerful, soulful voice grabbed the attention of those sitting under the stars enjoying the performances at the Spanish Point Boat Club’s outdoor shell stage

Ms Weir’s vocal confidence was matched by her solid strumming. She switched from beat-keeping to indie-music style flourishes during her three-song set, which featured her original composition ‘Lost And Found’ and a memorable finale about wishing on space junk. “Maybe I’ll be someone someday,” sang Ms Weir and surely she will judging by the quality of her Bermuda Folk Club debut.

The English singer-songwriter was not the only outstanding newcomer on Saturday. The American folk tune ‘The Wayfaring Stranger’ was masterfully handled by Canadian Travis Chambray as he made his first appearance at the club. His gentle vocals gave the spiritual song impressive resonance, and his accomplished guitar-playing sparkled on his opening song and the self-penned ‘Mary’ and cover version of the Queens of the Stone Age’s ‘Long Slow Goodbye’ which followed.

The evening of music had begun with club MC Jamie Lovell’s pumping cover of Bob Seger’s ‘I Wanna Get Lost In Your Rock ‘N’ Roll’ before he handed over to the ukulele-playing Mike Hind, one of the Island’s most highly-regarded performers. Forever able to liven things up, Mr Hind did not disappoint as he powered through a set that included his own composition ‘Superman’ and Bill Wither’s ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’.

Justin Faria, who also featured as a band member in the evening’s headlining act ‘The Tramp Presidents’, was on form during his four-song solo slot. With soaring vocals and a fiery guitar style that at times evoked the power of a hurtling train, he delivered a blistering performance.

Singer-guitarist Mike Keats lightened things with a touch of humour through his originals ‘Bermuda Rockfish’, ‘Ace Girl’ and the delightful ‘Um Ums’ song.

Club regular Peter Haynes expanded the evening’s musical spectrum with covers of ‘Puff the Magic Dragon’ and Donovan’s ‘Universal Soldier’ before signing off with the crowd-pleasing ‘Wild Rover’.

Since making their club debut last year, Ecuador duo Los Bohemios have established themselves as audience favourites. It was clear to see why as Vinicio Cordova and Milton Villamarin excelled with a string of Latin American tunes and wonderful harmonies on the Spanish song ‘Night of Bohemia’.

The highlight came when the duo signed off with the tune ‘Cabello Viejo’ from Venezuela, featuring some delicious melody work on the Spanish guitar.

The night concluded with the musical collective known as ‘The Tramp Presidents’. The five-piece band had only played together once before, but that was not apparent as they kept things tight during a nine-song set.

A variety of tunes written by singer-guitarist Jamie Petty were given full reign with the accompaniment of Hugh Murray-Mason on keyboards, Jamie Lovell on bass guitar, Justin Faria on banjo, and Barry Freeman on mandolin.

Lovell’s bass lines wove in and out with great effect, while the banjo/mandolin combination was a revelation, adding unexpected dimensions of sound. All members of the band had their moment to shine in mini-solo spotlight moments during the soaring, upbeat ‘Knock It Up’.

Mr Petty’s songwriting is both evocative and heart-wrenching, as shown by his solo ‘Debbie’ a love song to a girl with breast cancer, and the full-band treatment of ‘Child Of The Street’ a powerful reflection on street life poverty.

The Bermuda Folk Club now takes a break for the summer, but will resume monthly shows in September.

(Photo by Scott Neil) England's Ashleigh Weir debut Folk Club performance was well received.
(Photo by Scott Neil) The Tramp Presidents were the final performers at the Bermuda Folk Club on Saturday, with a well-received nine-song set. From the left are: Hugh Murray-Mason (keyboards), Jamie Lovell (bass), Jamie Petty (guitar/vocals), Justin Faria (banjo) and Barry Freeman (mandolin).
(Photo by Scott Neil) Canada's Travis Chambray made a powerful debut at the Bermuda Folk Club.

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Published July 08, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated July 07, 2013 at 9:28 pm)

Folk Club wraps up in style

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