Monday, 19 December 2011

Bayan time (12)

Not me! - but one of the performances I'm using for guidance.

So I went again to the Topjam Sessions at Topsham Rugby Club yesterday evening. If you saw me pushing a pram down the High Street, that was what it was about (we have an "eco-pram" that we use for carting the cats to the vet for their vaccinations, and it's equally good for transporting a very heavy musical instrument around town).

photo by Bridget Batchelor
I've been practising Ástor Piazzolla's Libertango, and gave it its first public outing. I mentioned working on this earlier this year (see Libertango, 18th April) but I shelved it as I wasn't getting anywhere, and felt I wasn't up to it yet. But I revisited it a couple of weeks ago, and this time found it learnable. It's a difficult piece, chiefly due to the tango syncopation and some unusual jazz chords on the bass (though you can get away with minor 7ths), and I made a couple of false starts - but after collecting myself, I managed straight through on the third try, and I think it went pretty well. I am, however, playing a skeletal unembellished version of it; there's a very long way to go.

If you're a musician in Topsham, I recommend the Topjam Sessions, organised by Martin Stork and David Gander and held in Topsham Rugby Club on some Sunday evenings (see Facebook for specifics). They've been extremely welcoming, considering I play a non-standard instrument; in fact, I've been blown away by the positive audience reaction to the bayan. Apart from their finding it interesting and unusual, I've had more than one person say they find the sound very evocative: of "being at the seaside", and of "being at a steam rally" (I hadn't anticipated this, but there is a kind of Gavioli flavour to some of the voices).

One other piece of good news; I mentioned in April - Bayan time (4) - having problems with being out of tune with other squeezeboxes at Topsham Folk Club, and assuming it was the bayan out of tune. I now think I was mistaken: both at the recent gig with Lily at A la Ronde and yesterday, the bayan was perfectly in tune with correctly-tuned instruments. Evidently at the Folk Club someone else nearby must have been out.

- Ray

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