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Elfin Bow & Friends

Venue: View Two Gallery
Town: Liverpool
Date: 30/06/16

It would be quite difficult to imagine an event with a more diverse range of musical styles than we enjoyed tonight at View Two Galley in Liverpool.

The evening was hosted by Elfin Bow [aka Elizabeth Jones] ,ostensibly as a launch for her new single "The Wisdom". However, the capacity audience was treated to four very different but equally enjoyable acts which ranged from Elizabethan and Medieval instrumentals on harp and guitar; an international ethnographic fusion group ; an accomplished pianist/singer/songwriter and a pastoral psych-folk singer and her group.

First off were Bryony Elizabeth and Jonathan Darnell ,on harp and acoustic guitar respectively ,who really impressed me with their beautiful renditions of tunes from Shakespeare plays ["The Green Man" and "Light of Love"]; a gorgeous Welsh Hymn "Ruabon" ; Bagpipe tunes ["Chanter/Alphonso"] and a stunning version of "She Moved Through The Fair". I found their combination of Celtic harp and guitar to be absolutely magical and would love to hear more of them.

Next up was Victoria Wasley , Elfin's sister, who is a talented musician,singer and songwriter in her own right and who had travelled from London to perform tonight. Playing both guitar and grand piano ,Victoria demonstrated her skills with beautiful ballads , which at times reminded me of Joni Mitchell. Her version of Nina Simone's "Feeling Good" was simply breathtaking. Victoria is currently recording an album ,which I look forward to hearing.

The next act, Udagan , was, to coin a phrase, something completely different. Udagan are Saydyko Federova , an internationally renowned Khomus player from Siberia, and Oscar South a contemporary music creator . Udagan combines the ancient traditions of the Sakha people with experimental technology to create unique and extraordinary sounds. Basically, Saydyko creates a whole range of sounds using just her voice and Khomus [mouth harp] which Oscar then digitally manipulates electronically to create an aural collage which is unlike anything you have ever heard before. Remarkable.

And so to the headliner, Elfin Bow ,who was joined on stage by Victoria [harmony vocals], Saydyko [khomus and bird song], Oscar [electric bass] and a drummer [sorry ,I didn't catch your name].

Elfin and friends performed a selection of songs from her forthcoming new album , including the lovely "Daffodilly Down" [complete with bird song impressions from Saydyko - does anyone remember Percy Edwards?] ; "Sleep of Reason"[with lovely harmonies from Elfin and sister Victoria] and Elfin's new single "The Wisdom", about finding your own voice.

No show by Elfin Bow would be complete without her pair of songs about the "Witch of Melling", Edith Grimshaw , namely "Grimshaw And The Fingerclaw" [which featured some lovely flute from Victoria] and "Edith's Song", which tells the tale from Edith's point of view.

The audience really got into "Prairie Madness" with some serious clapping and singing before the final song, a lovely version of the traditional song "Black Is The Colour".

It was an ambitious plan to put on four such different acts in one evening but it worked perfectly and a great time was had by all.

Peter Cowley

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