-No Electrics? No Instruments? No Way! A Capella Night at Bonn Folk Club

Folk_Club_June (57 of 61)There were so many people at the last Bonn Folk Club that John Harrison decided this time to make room by leaving the instruments at home! Okay, maybe that wasn’t the plan, but it seemed to work. Or was it the torrid heat outside that kept the audience down to a more manageable 80-ish? The theme was ‘A Capella’, so for the most part voices were the only ‘instrument’ not ‘confiscated at the door’. Exceptions were special guests Linda Sutti from Italy and Frank & Piet making a return appearance from Belgium.

Folk Club 59 then, and it got off to a questionable start. In the best possible sense I should add, with John’s rendition of Rudyard Kipling’s famous pause for thought ‘If’. Second up was the probably even more famous ‘Danny Boy’ which I actually prefer just as John presented it this evening – without any sugary violins/pipes etc – just an evocative plaintive lyric that in itself can move a man to tears. A journey into traditional old English folk followed with John proclaiming “Of all the trades in England, a-begging is the best. For when a beggar’s tired, you can lay him down to rest. A begging I will go-o, a begging I will go” After which John welcomed Paulo to the stage and was last scene heading out to the patio with his hat in his hand…

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One Night Stand -in full force at Folk Club

Paulo gave us the restful ‘Birds been Blue’ that I only caught half of as I went in search of a guitar (well, John was nowhere to be seen) so as I hadn’t smuggled one in, I looked for someone who had – and found one sitting quietly behind special guest Linda Sutti. Just in time for John’s return to announce my tribute to BB King. I make no pretense at being either a good singer or guitar player, but I did want to put on musical record what BB meant to me. (it’s on this website in writing HERE. In retrospect I could have presented ‘One Kind Favour’ a-capella, but I had a fear that after asking people to clap the beat I would be clapping alone, so I did – as we say so concisely in English, ‘chicken out’ and hide behind Linda’s guitar.

…which was handed over to it’s rightful owner, and a far better singer, player, songwriter and even better looking person than myself – Linda Sutti. My attention was brought to Linda some time ago via an unlikely source -Henrik Freischlader. Mr Freischlader is no stranger to 3songsbonn.com as very possibly the best Blues-guitarist in Germany and proprietor of the excellent Cable Car Records that is also home of Layla Zoe,Tommy Schneller and now Linda Sutti.

Does playing music make you happy?  - Linda Sutti thinks so!

Does playing music make you happy? – Linda Sutti thinks so!

Linda is not a Blues-Rock guitarist herself and it took a few minutes for her to adjust the volume of her beautifully penned folk style to a point where the audience could all hear. It was noticeable that she notched up her volume and they in turn notched up their concentration to a point where Folk Club magic was once again attained. A pity then that the opener ‘Hurry’ (co written with Henrik) which is a delightfully up tempo number perfect for a Summer day got lost a bit behind the crashes of glasses at the bar. By the dreamy ‘For the Thrill’ though all ears were on Linda’s voice and keen to catch her lyrics which were a delight:

“His name starts with ‘E’ and he thinks about me.
I don’t know much more, ‘cept he’s careless and free…”

A modern love song? The thrill of love found and what matters isn’t names but moments, a rush of emotions. All beautifully captured in a short couplet. If you didn’t catch it all on the night – then go to Mr Music and DEMAND a copy of the CD ‘Wild Skies’!  Beautiful music and lyrics were order of the day delivered by Linda Sutti.

Just4 sounds like a quartet that doesn’t set out to change the world but they do make it a nicer place to be. With Pharell Wiliams’s ‘Happy’ for example or the Beach Boys ‘Barbara Ann’ Feel good music delivered by a quartet with smiles on their collective faces. They will never financially be millionaires from their music but we were all a little better off musically from their contribution. Good music to welcome in the week-end, no more and no less.

As you can imagine, The One Night Stand was a challenge on the Folk Club ‘stage’. ‘All through the Night’ or ‘Ar Hyd y Nos’ in it’s native Welsh was a suitable title for a band with such a name I suppose. The number I most remember though was Bette Midler’s ‘The Rose’ evocatively sung .

Belgian Blues - Frank & Piet

Belgian Blues – Frank & Piet

Second guest-stars of the evening (yes, so popular is Bonn Folk Club these days) were Frank & Piet from Belgium. Making their second appearance (the first was an unbelievable two years ago, how time flies) They immediately reminded me of why I liked them so much first time around – Blues tinged songs from musicians who have no deeper secondary intention other than to sing from the heart. Their new Cd ‘I’m OK’ actually bears testament to their last appearance here because the inner sleeve is a picture I took from their 2013 appearance in Bonn. Either side of the break they delivered a heart-felt set of sometimes very serious material and sometimes rather less so (as in ‘Love is a four letter word’) A duo who play and write from the heart and who will always be a welcome addition to a Folk Club evening.

Ralf Gogo was the proof that there is always a place for a ‘walk-in’ at Folk Club’s and proved it’s worth the effort to keep a place open, with beautifully sung versions of Alan Taylor’s ‘It’s Good to see you’ and the Joan Baez number ‘Here’s to you’ described in Wikipedia thus:

“A tribute to two anarchists of Italian origin, Nicola Sacco and Bartelomeo  that were sentenced to death by a United States  court in the 1920s. The consensus of critical opinion has concluded since that the ruling was based on abhorrence to their anarchist political beliefs rather than on any proof that they committed the robbery and murders they were accused of.[1][2] The case is known as the Sacco and Vanzetti Affair”  Will we hear Baez herself sing this in Bonn soon at Kunst!Rasen I wonder?  If not, this was a good pause for thought.

Hans J

A Capella control for Funny Thursdays

Funny Thursday were more than just a, well, funny name. Hansjörg Schall is certainly a Band Leader who puts ‘leader’ in capital letters. A recent release by Zaz has a super version of ‘Champs Elysees’ on offer but this version was every bit as enjoyable. There was plenty of Swing to be had from the smiling faces and voices of Fresch! A Barbershop quartet who competed at times with the cappuccino machine for volume but were really ideal on an A capella evening, I especially loved their version of ‘You are my Sunshine’.

The major part of part two was a return to the evocative voice and lyrics of Linda Sutti. The title track of her Henrik Freischlader produced CD ‘Wild Skies’ was proof that Linda had adjusted well to playing totally acoustic. The CD version has some beautifully orchestrated Violins but the plaintive lyrics from Linda about Summer Flowers were all the better for simplicity. I loved ‘Bicycles’ only to discover it’s from an early EP no longer available (there were problems with the original tape recording apparently). Maybe Mr Freischlader can save it somehow? I hope so, because it sounded wonderful on this sultry Summer evening. Linda’s take on Aretha Franklin’s ‘Chain of Fools’ was somewhat hijacked by Barry and co at the bar who added a gentle counter melody, much to Linda’s obvious amusement.

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John and Linda celebrate coming to a successful conclusion of ‘Mercedes Benz’

If you checked out my intro to Linda you will have seen she is a huge fan of Janis Joplin. John Harrison had definitely spotted this, so a duet, that in typical folk-club style, quickly became a quartet and then an audience number began of ‘Mercedes Benz’. Only the familiar ‘Jock Stewart’ could finish an evening like this at Bonn Folk Club.

For the record, we finished pretty much on time. For the record too, there were heavy thunderstorms shortly afterwards. Maybe the God’s objecting to an ‘early’ finish to their Friday evening?



2 thoughts on “-No Electrics? No Instruments? No Way! A Capella Night at Bonn Folk Club

  1. Hey Folks,

    it’s allways a great honour and pleasure to perform at FCB. Many thanks to John, Steve and everybody who is involved to make this happen. Performing Here’s to you was very Special… Thank you Folks!

    Ralf Gogo, not Burger (;-)

    • Apologies for the name change Ralf.
      Somewhere between playing, singing, writing and photographing I got a wire crossed.

      Have now corrected the mistake – and thanks for your, and the many other regulars on the first Friday of the month’s enthusiasm for the Folk Club – without it there would be no Bonn Folk Club!

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