Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn, The Barbican, London, 25th January 2020

A rare visit to these shores for Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn saw the pair on stage at The Barbican – it was the simplest of stage setups, a couple of chairs, a few microphones and a couple of banjo stands for each player. Bela Fleck is, of course, the master of all things three fingered Scruggs style, and so much more. Having exhausted what Bluegrass offered by way of a challenge he expanded into jazz – for example his collaborations with Chick Corea – and with the Flecktones into the world of experimental electric jazz-funk. Abigail Washburn’s own banjo prowess is in the realm of clawhammer – and of course she also sings. Bela does not sing. Their combined talents have been exhibited on a series of duo albums which take a more traditional folk tack, albeit traditional folk embellished by the finest of banjo playing. Material from their recent album ‘Echo in the Valley’ has been played in the UK for the first time on their brief tour, and made up a good part of the concert. Continue reading “Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn, The Barbican, London, 25th January 2020”

Paul Brady and Andy Irvine to play seminal Andy Irvine/Paul Brady.

The Barbican in London have announced a special performance in their Autumn schedules by Paul Brady and Andy Irvine of their groundbreaking album ‘Andy Irvine / Paul Brady’.  Released after the duo formed in the wake of the breakup of Planxty, the eponymous album – which also featured ex-Planxty band mate Donal Lunny – has long been regarded as a seminal work of folk, and specifically Irish folk, and is notable for, amongst other songs, Brady’s version of ‘Arthur McBride‘ which would be lifted lock, stock and barrel by Dylan on his album ‘Good As I Been To You‘.  The concert is in the main hall on the 15th of October. Continue reading “Paul Brady and Andy Irvine to play seminal Andy Irvine/Paul Brady.”