Harp And A Monkey + Cambio Collective

Venue: Twickfolk
Towns: London
Dates: 19/4/15
Website: www.harpandamonkey.com

A combination of circumstance brought me to Twickfolk, at the celebrated Cabbage Patch pub in Twickenham, rather than Kadia's album launch back on my own patch, but to mix a metaphor, never look a silver lining in the mouth.

I've regularly heard tracks from Harp And A Monkey on Rick Stuart's "Roots And Fusion Show", including a live session and I've also caught them live a couple of times, though not for a while and more on them later.

Support on the night came from local duo Cambio Collective, a guitar, cello combination. The cello seems to be an instrument that's going through a revival at the moment, it seems to be finding its way back into folk music and certainly brings a different atmosphere to a song than bass which it essentially replacing. Cambio Collective predominantly played self-penned material and delivered a set, which I had to say I enjoyed and they definitely warmed up the crowd at Twickfolk, currently enjoying its thirtieth year.

Harp And A Monkey were playing one of their comparatively rare southern sets, predominantly they play in and around their native Lancashire, a region that very much informs their songwriting and performance, though with an instrument selection that includes. harp, banjo, glockenspiel and programmed backing, you couldn't exactly call them typical, in fact they sound like no other group currently on the circuit today.

The trio, played two sets, drawing on a recent show that they had been commissioned to put together as part of the commemoration of WW1, including a timely reminder of the horrors of Gallipoli, which was particularly appropriate with ANZAC day fast approaching, but which drew on a tale of the family of a soldier local to the band, who planted an Oak in Turkey in memory of their son and which has been tended for generations by the same Turkish family, truly an act of reconciliation.

Over the two sets their songs touched on many social and political issues, though often like the great trespasses, it comes down to the same thing, and you could really get a sense of community, not only in and around the songs, but also the way in which they were played, it really felt collaborative.

All in all a great night out. Twickfolk is a club I can see myself returning too and Harp And A Monkey are something that bit different and well worth checking out if you get the chance, not forgetting Cambio Collective, who kicked the whole thing off.

Neil King

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