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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume. 33, Number 13. 1970



Folk music's contribution to Arts Festival 1970 consisted of lectures and a guitar workshop as well as two Come-ye-all concerts preceding a Grand Final concert at the town hall.

The title "N.Z. Traditional" would probably have been somewhat prsumptious to Frank Fyfe's mind. His lecture on the subject proved a realistical appraisal of New Zealand's tenuous folk heritage. This particular field insufficiently emphasised in a country where 'folk music' proficiency is too often measured on how well overseas artists are imitated. The other lecture was a specialized one in the contemporary field by Robbie Laven dealing with the influence of Eastern music on contemporary folk. It was surprisingly interesting to the initiated listener—straight forward with a refreshing lack of dogmatic assertions. The least instructive attraction was a guitar workshop by Pitt Ramsay. This was, not unexpectedly of little practical use to budding virtuosos. The reward for watching was a glimpse of the Ramsay genius.

The most notable feature of the Come-ye-all concerts was the high standard over all. A national festival allows performers with local reputations the chance to establish wider recognition and many did so. The Monday night concert in particular was very good and although long, it was never tedious and concluded in just the right manner (leaving you wanting just a little more) with Hamilton County who were enthusiastically received.

The final concert performers were roughly divided by the two halves of the concert into those who had emerged during the week, and the specially invited guests. The performances were balanced, varied and consistently good.

The Mad Dog was considerably tighter and less frenetic than usual and included a straightforward version of "Mac the Knife" complete with steel guitar in their performance. The Windy City Strugglers, however, managed to retain the ethnic decorum.

A highlight for the reviewer at least was a beautifully controlled version of Leonard Cohen's "Sisters of Mercy" by a Christchurch singer named Frank Wood assisted by some friends on melodica, cello and guitar. A feature of the concert was the number of quality female singers. Another resident of Christchurch, Rose Shiells, sang blues based material with a distinctive low voice and included a Joplin number. Marion Arts from Waikato sang contemporary and Marilyn Bennett performed traditional material with one song backed by sitar and tabla which was an interesting experiment though not completely successful. For variety John Caldwell did a couple of flamenco numbers.

The evening (and week's folk) was concluded with possible symbolic irony by Tamburlaine whose contribution was straight pop.

Photograph of Musicians performing at a concert