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CBSO Friday Night Classics: Rodgers and Hammerstein Symphony Hall, Birmingham 4/5 “Oh What a Beautiful Evening!” is the only way to describe my foray into the world of Friday Night Classic’s at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall. The evening promised to be a celebration of one of the most renowned musical pairings of the 1940’s and 50’s, Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rodgers. The two, whose “names will be joined in history forever”, are the genius’ behind The Sound of Music, The King and I, and Oklahoma to name a few, and are thought by many to be the godfathers of musical drama, without whom the likes of Andrew Lloyd Webber would never have been born! John Wilson, our esteemed conductor took to the stage and led the CBSO orchestra thought a rousing and energetic rendition of the Carousel Waltz from Carousel, which left even him breathless, and the predominantly silver haired crowd eager with anticipation for the treats that lay ahead. Our vocalists for the evening, Kim Criswell and Brent Barrett then took to the stage to tell us it was a “grand night for singing”. Both with established careers in musiSeth Lakeman Jazz Cafe, Camden, London 4/5 Seth Lakeman divides the folk scene like no other among his contemporaries. Too folk to be rock, too pop to be folk - as one folk musician once exclaimed to me: “But he only plays big venues so he’s not a real folk musician”. Well the lovely intimate and very friendly space of the Jazz Cafe should test that theory. For the first few minutes, I had to agree, in part, that his sound was so large, and his songs so anthemic that you would rather be chanting and dancing around at a festival. But as the set progressed into new material from his latest album “Hearts and Minds”, Lakeman began to sense the mood of the room, and brought forth an ever changing mix of dark, brooding tales of Dartmoor ghosts, and punchier mandolin driven choruses for the working classes of historic Devon. His folk credentials come more from the choice of material than the execution. It’s an honest and uncompromising voice that rings with passion. Kitty Jay, which helped earn him the 2005 Mercury

cal theatre and beyond, they were the perfect hosts for the evening, and much more than two stunning singers, as they injected personality and character into each show tune. With them the show became more than just a series of song renditions. It actually felt like you were watching mini snippets from each show. At one point we were even treated to an entire scene from Carousel for “If I Loved You” which was both exquisitely acted and sung. The diverse set list read like a Rodgers and Hammerstein script, (boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, boy and girl fall out or are parted, and boy and girl are finally reunited), and showcased so many forgotten tunes, and some surprises. How many of you would know that they wrote the tune more aligned with Liverpool Football Club than musical theatre, “You’ll Never Walk Alone”? Friday Night Classics are a musical treat for the senses, and in the acoustically perfect surroundings of the Symphony Hall, this series of concerts for the masses has something for everyone, with future show’s including “A Night at the Oscars”, “Definitive Divas” and “The John Lennon Songbook”. I dare you to go and not enjoy yourself….it’s guaranteed to be virtually impossible! Km Harrell nomination, is always a highlight of a Seth gig, as he races through the song, without his band, armed with only a burning fiddle and a stamping foot. The man has one hell of a presence, so he can pull off almost any demeanour he cares to inject into his set, which should bring audiences back again and again to see how his catalogue will be reworked, as he did tonight with some first album classics from 2002’s The Punch Bowl The new album has been slightly rocked up, with a powerful double bass giving a touch of funk (or at least, live it was - I can’t speak for the recorded version). It also hits a more scathing political rhetoric than his previous sea shanty’s and tales of the past, bringing it back to people power with lyrics such as “Let the old and stinking rich fall off their chairs to the dug-out ditch,” on Hard Working Man, or “Rise up seeking land, feel the white of the government’s hands/A thousand rules, suited men from perfect schools shout at us to down our tools.” from title track Hearts and Minds. With similar FOLKS like Mumford and Sons and Noah and the Whale doing well in the charts, the now seasoned veteran is sure to do well and bring the Folk-ish singer more commercial acclaim. Tim MacAvoy

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The Kaje - August Issue (Issue 4)  

The Kaje is all about the arts - from the upcoming and underground through to the commercial mainstream. Issue 4 takes a look at: Ella Montc...

The Kaje - August Issue (Issue 4)  

The Kaje is all about the arts - from the upcoming and underground through to the commercial mainstream. Issue 4 takes a look at: Ella Montc...

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