So much talent was on offer at the Rye Arts Festival! A friend of mine managed to get a ticket for Lynched which I sadly missed and said it was an extraordinary performance and was sold out days before.
On Saturday September 17 this traditional Irish Folk Group from Dublin, combining four-part vocal harmonies with arrangements of pipes, concertina, Russian accordion, fiddle and guitar, played to a packed Community Centre and I am told everyone there loved it.
On September 22 I attended 9Bach – Welsh Musicians, winners of the 2015 BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for best album. It was a rare treat with voices and music accompanied by guitars, bass, harp and beautiful harmony vocals.
Lisa Jen sang mostly in Welsh but explained what the songs were about which helped a lot to enjoy her clear, beautiful voice singing ballads and songs of her country.
I hope that many people, whatever political persuasion, saw the film Tony Benn: Will and Testament. I saw it some months ago. It is an engaging documentary of the second longest serving Labour MP.
He had difficulties in the political arena because he stuck to his left wing ideologies and principles even when things were rough in his private life. Harold Wilson said of Tony Benn: “He immatured with age”. I went to many of his live talks and have great respect for him. Rye composer Michel Duvoisin wrote the music for this film.
I thought I was lucky enough to see Terakaft, four musicians who came via Paris to Rye from Mali. Having been involved with African culture I had great expectations but must admit that I and a few other people I spoke to were disappointed. Perhaps we did not have enough understanding of Mali’s music.
September 28 and Rye was in for another treat in the form of The Italian Job – La Serenissima, the leading ambassadors for the music of the Italian baroque.
There was a feast of various instruments (nine violins, two cellos, a base, two oboes, and four trumpets as well as a theorbo) providing a very complete and wonderfully rich sound. Apparently La Serenissima is recognised as the UK’s leading exponent of the music of eighteenth century Venice and connected composers.
The last concert I am looking forward to is by the Wihan String Quartet, on Thursday, September 29 at Winchelsea, which has been described by the International Record Review as “one of the best quartets in the world today”. Over the years the Quartet has gained a reputation of interpreting its native Czech heritage and the many classical, romantic and modern masterpieces of their repertoire.
The Rye Arts Festival closes with the opera Don Pasquale at the Milligan Theatre, Rye Academy in Love Lane on Saturday, October 1, directed by Alisdair Kitchen. We have to thank the sponsors and Rye Arts Festival Committee for a wonderful varied programme over the last two weeks in which, I am sure, there was something to be found for everyone.
Photos: Rye Arts Festival