Sidetracks & Detours
PASS IT ON 38
weekly walkabout Supplement 4 2 2024
Hello, we follow us today down happy trails, sidetracks and detours, lost highways and roads to nowhere and to any place where it feels safe to be lost. All your old friends are here working in their favourites place to write and we introduce a new member of our team, too. Elizabeth Ann is as much into books as she is to music. We also bring news of a radio presenter who is championing one of our favourite artists. You know you can find more than a thousand free to read articles in our archives, and when you like anything in particular that we do please use that information and PASS IT ON to like.minded, arts loving friends. so, just turn the page and start to read and we´ll meet you round the corner.
The Poet In The Rain meets Seamus Kelly at
A PLACE FOR POETRY: by the canal
Live Jazz UNDER MILK WOOD preview by Jazz In Reading
Live Jazz MUSIC THAT´S GOING PLACES by Rob Adams
Jazz On Air, assorted HOT BISCUITS by Steve Bewick
Jazz On Air, CHILL AND THRILL with Iain Lawton
MUSIC IN PORTSMOUTH, by newsletter
READING A WRITER introduced by Elizabeth Ann
all points forward by Peter Pearson
Island Insights by Norman Warwick
WHAT´S NEXT by Those In The Know
The Poet In The Rain meets Seamus Kelly
by the canal: A PLACE FOR POETRY
Having just completed an exciting arts-intervention project, one of my favourite poets; Seamus Kelly and participants on the project have produced a large-print, poetry anthology verse produced during the course of the work.
´We are really pleased´, Seamus says, ´to have the Canal Laureate, Roy McFarlane, coming along to the launch to read and talk and there will also be readings from the book´.
The launch is free of charge and refreshments wll be available at the event on Friday 9th February, 10am to 12noon, at Hare Hill House in Littleborough.
If possible please let us know if you’d like to attend and of course you are welcome to bring others along with you.
The book itself will be distributed free of charge to people with visual impairments and will also be available to purchase on the day (or by contacting myself or Liz White) priced at £5.00 per copy.
UNDER MILK WOOD preview by Jazz In Reading
Jazz Suite: Under Milk Wood
Saturday 17 February 7:45pm
The Alan Cornish Theatre
Oakwood Centre, Headley Road
Woodley, Berkshire RG5 4JZ
In Dylan Thomas’ famous BBC radio drama Under Milk Wood an omniscient narrator invites the audience to listen to the dreams and innermost thoughts of the inhabitants of the fictional small Welsh fishing town, Llareggub, (bugger all spelt backwards).
They include Mrs. Ogmore-Pritchard, relentlessly nagging her two dead husbands; Captain Cat, reliving his seafaring times; the two Mrs. Dai Breads; Organ Morgan, obsessed with his music; and Polly Garter, pining for her dead lover. Later, the town awakens, and, aware now of how their feelings affect whatever they do, we watch them go about their daily business.
Under Milk Wood endures because it recognises the warmth of friendship, family, and community that can still bind us together.
The drama – a ‘play for voices’ – was the inspiration for renowned pianist and composer Stan Tracey, ‘the godfather of British jazz’, to create his 1965 album Jazz Suite: Under Milk Wood. Tracey’s efforts resulted in a beautifully constructed set of eight tunes, each with an unmistakably individual character, including the acknowledged genius of the tone-poem Starless and Bible Black.
Logo Live Jazz
MUSIC THAT´S GOING PLACES
previewed by Rob Adams
Hello, This month we look back on an old friend’s career and look forward to a celebration of the young musicians who are attracting attention nationally and internationally to the vibrant Scottish jazz scene.
Mike Travis (left) was more than a superb drummer and percussionist. He supported, encouraged and nurtured younger, emerging musicians and shared the benefits of his considerable experience for many years. Mike’s playing with Japanese percussionist Stomu Yamashta, with Soft Machine bassist Hugh Hopper and with the band Gilgamesh can still be appreciated on recordings. He also led the band EH15 and residents of that musical postcode and others will honour Mike at the Voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh on Sunday 11th from 3pm.
Tommy Smith’s previous solo acoustic concert in Crail Community Hall won a stream of superlatives from The Courier’s reviewer, who placed Tommy among the greats who preceded him – John Coltrane, Stan Getz, Ben Webster. High praise indeed. The East Neuk of Fife town’s community hall hosts another solo concert on Sunday 18th. Another chance to be mesmerised by spontaneously chosen melodies, both familiar and unexpected, in a lovely intimate setting.
Jazz at the Merchants House in Glasgow begins a new series with the duo of alto saxophonist Laura Macdonald and pianist Zoe Rahman (right) on Sunday 25th. The two musicians have worked together before, Laura having guested with Zoe’s trio and then returning the compliment in a duo and quartet. So there’s a real understanding at work here with two musicians who are firmly rooted in jazz but also draw inspiration from their respective backgrounds, Laura in Scottish music and Zoe in the Bengali tradition. Another high quality evening is guaranteed in this excellent venue.
Looking ahead to the first three nights of March, the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra has commissioned new music and new arrangements from some of the musicians who are causing Glasgow’s – and Scotland’s – jazz scene to be spoken about in awed tones. Singer Kitti, saxophonists Helena Kay and Matt Carmichael, trombonists Noushy and Liam Shortall (aka corto-alto), bassist Ewan Hastie, pianist Fergus McCreadie (who is composing a piece for Peter Johnstone) and KARMA are all contributing to Nu-Age Sounds. Concerts take place in Dundee on Friday 1st March, Glasgow on Saturday 2nd and Edinburgh on Sunday 3rd – and the buzz is growing already.
JAZZ IN FEBRUARY
Thu 1: Eddie Gripper Trio
Sun 4: Jazz at the Movies/Marisha Addison Band
Thu 8: Mama Terra with Blue Lamp Youth Combo
Thu 15: Wako
Thu 22: Grappelli Night with Seonaid Aitken Qnt
Thu 29: Same Moon in the Same World
Fri 23: RNLI Fundraiser with Steve & Sheila Gaughan, Tayside Big Band, Don Paterson, The Sunnysiders, Havana Swing, Vardo, East Coast Jazzmen
Fri 2: Eddie Gripper Trio
Sun 4: Marianne MacGregor
Wed 7: Paul Kirby Trio
Thu 8: Jazz Moods Qrt
Fri 9: Brian Molley Qrt
Fri 16: Jazzmain
Sun 18: Elaine Crichton
Fri 23: Octology
Sun 25: Anna Vanosi
Wed 28: Boteco Trio
Thu 29: Kevin Barrett Group
Playtime @ the Outhouse
Thu 8: Stu Brown Double Dr-um-ami
Thu 22: Ben MacDonald plays Sam Rivers
Tue 13: Nimbus Sextet
Sun 25: Laura Macdonald & Zoe Rahman
Sat 3: Deschanel Gordon
Wed 7: Jonathan Gee Qrt
Sat 10: Mornington Lockett with Henry Lowther
Sat 17: Paul Booth
Sun 25: Zoe Francis with Jim Mullen (1:30pm)
Wed 28: Tim Whitehead
Sun 4: Curtis Stigers
Wed 7: Stefano Bollano
Thu 8: Soweto Kinch
Thu 15: Art Themen
Tue 20: Nikki Yeoh & NYJO
Wed 21: Lars Danielsson
Wed 28: Elina Duni-Rob Luft Band
Thu 29: Alfredo Rodriguez Trio
As always this list isn’t intended to be comprehensive; other gigs are available.
Jazz On Air
assorted HOT BISCUITS
prepared by Steve Bewick
Martin Pyne & Quartet feature next week on HOT BISCUITS with music from their recent release `A new Pavan.` This boasts Marianne Windham on bass, Russell Jarrett on guitar, and saxophonist Philippe Guyard whoi are are all sensitive and creative players, and a real joy to listen to.
When you listen to this programme you will also hear Brian Kellock, with Nigel Clark and Rob Percy on `Bop Kick,. A tribute to Carla Bley. Van Morrison (Official) with Chet Baker, Send In The Clowns.` (RIGHT)
Geoff Dubber admits he is Delighted To See The Gin. and we will also play Bent Persson, Swedish Trumpet player introducing us to High Society. If this sounds interesting please PASS IT ON and join me at
Jazz On Air
CHILL AND THRILL
with Iain Lawton
This series of mixcloud episodes offers jazz that includes the likes of Karla Harris. Obviously Iain is, like our friend Steve Bewick, a broadcaster of impeccable taste.
Centennial Cheering For
PORTSMOUTH MUSIC FESTIVAL 2024
Celebrating Portsmouth´s Musical Excellence
Song and dance competitions dominate our tv screens these days, but did you know that Portsmouth has one of the UK’s oldest such talent competitions?
This one has been running continuously for over a century ! The prestigious Portsmouth Music Festival was established in 1917 to uplift morale during World War I.
It continues its legacy in 2024 as a continuing celebration of music and dance excellence. The 2024 Festival opened on Sunday 28 January 2024 with the Guitar & Strings Section at the Menuhin Room, Portsmouth Central Library.
This annual extravaganza awards cups in various categories, including dance, song, piano, speech & drama, brass, woodwind, and more. Aspiring musicians and dancers, ranging from schoolchildren to adults, perform to expert adjudicators who provide positive feedback for each individual.
Winners are not only recognized locally but also get the opportunity to be considered for special performance opportunities during the year after their festival appearance.
Of course, the Festival is not just about competition, it is about learning, having fun, and enjoying the experience of performing to a friendly audience. It really is for everyone – beginners and advanced performers alike.
Andrew McVittie, the chair of the festival and a pianist himself, remembers competing in the festival as a child. He emphasizes the inherent benefits of participating in musical and dance activities.
He said: “The benefits of taking part in a performing arts festival such as we are lucky enough to have in Portsmouth are endless. It’s a huge opportunity to show everyone what you can do, to express yourself, and to learn more about your art. For young people, it helps build resilience, confidence, and self-belief. For many people, it’s the start of a journey.”
Cllr Steve Pitt, Leader of Portsmouth City Council said “Portsmouth Music Festival has a long and successful history. I actually took part myself many years ago! As a council leadership team, Cllr Suzy Horton and I are passionate about young people being able to access cultural activities and know just how beneficial playing music can be to their personal development. It is fantastic to see Portsmouth Music Festival re-established where it began and we hope to see it thrive.”
Operated as a charity and powered by volunteers, the festival spans various local schools in the city over successive weekends, with several events in February half-term. The festival awards a large number of cups and trophies, some dating back to the 1950s and crafted from solid silver. These help to provide a permanent record of Portsmouth’s cultural heritage and the city’s enduring commitment to musical excellence.
Key awards include the prestigious PORTS FEST Recital Prize, the Solent Symphony Orchestra Concerto Award, and sponsorship from the Milton Glee Club for a young player to attend the European Youth Music Summer School.
The festival’s finale is the Gala Concert, a spectacular showcase of the best performances. This year the event will held at 3pm on Sunday 24 March 2024 at Crookhorn College.
Facts and Figures:
Established in 1917.
Number of Cups: nearly 500 across the various sections, not all in current use.
Number of Performances to be held this year: 2364 of which nearly 2000 are in Dance.
The 2024 Festival opened on Sunday 28 January 2024 with the Guitar & Strings Section at the Menuhin Room, Portsmouth Central Library.
Full programme: https://portsmouthmusicfestival.co.uk/2020-programme-for-all-events/
Entries for this year are now closed.
Did You Know? Portsmouth Music Service offers instrument rentals for any child living or studying in Portsmouth.
For details, email@example.com.
Portsmouth – A Creative and Cultural City: Arts Council England announced in October 2023 a £650,000 investment as part of the Place Partnership award to “underscore Portsmouth’s commitment to strengthening its economic future and international reputation as a hub for creative and cultural innovation”.
LITERATURE: READING A WRITER
Roger Trend introduced by Elizabeth Ann
We had just returned home from wandering the sidetracks and detours along the Happy Trails of Lanzarote in search of arts related stories. As we switched on the computer in ´the office´ (a bedroom), there was a ping to inform us of an e-mail dropping in. It was from our friend Larry Yaskiel, the honorary editor of the quarterly glossy magazine Lancelot, part of the Lancelot Digital News Service. His e-mail told us there was to be a talk the following day by an author called Roger Trend, who was here on the island to promote his latest book The Island Of Volcanoes, described inside its front cover as a guide to Lanzarote geology and landscape.
We arrived at the book launch rightly expecting it to focus on the scientific. Roger Trend, though, might be of scientific mind but he is a congenial conveyor of his findings. He first introduced his collaborators and advisers who had been part of the process of collating this book of scientific fact and the fantasy landscape that that science and nature have created together.
Roger was born in Dover in the UK in 1948 and has degrees in geology, geography and science (geology), He taught in UK schools for twenty years and then spent two decades in education departments at Sheffield, Exeter and Oxford Universities, specialising in Earth Sciences education.
He has since also given many conference presentations and has written and edited numerous research papers, chapters and books for teachers and fellow researchers.. He has also been consultant for about forty childrens´ books on geology, geography and science.
Now retired and living near Exeter in the UK, Roger still visits Lanzarote regularly with Sandra, his wife, and their extended family.
On this occasion he was combining business with pleasure by giving talks about his book not only on the occasion we saw him in Yaiza but also at The Lancelot Hotel in Arrecife.
Whether or not we know much about the subject matter, most people find listening to an expert speak on his topic with a passion and enthusiasm, in terms we can understand, to be one of life´s great pleasures. Roger certainly ticked all those boxes as he spoke lovingly about the science that has created our landscape and constantly reminded us of the aesthetics of that landscape and why it attracts so many millions of tourists. He even stated his admiration of the photographers who had worked with him on The Island Of Volcanoes and how they also loved their work, and took as much pleasure in learning of the combination of scientific circumstances that had created the locations he identified for photography to illustrate points he made in his text.
Lanzarote, he explained, is a unique island that resembles other planets rather more than it resembles the rest of its earthly home. Nevertheless, Lanzarote has a profound connection to the very purest origins of this earth. Our region of Timanfaya, that Roger calls an áwe-inspiring open air museum, has been awarded some of the United Nations´ most prestigious environmental designations, such as The Biosphere Reserve And World Geo-Park.
Lanzarote and its neighbouring islands are full of astonishing sights and attractions including Timanfaya National Park, location of volcano eruptions in the eighteenth century. There also miles of underground volcano tunnels, dramatic lava fields and, not least, the artistic and innovative ways in which islanders have adapted to their new landscape. Over the centuries they have somehow made the most out of their blanket of volcanic rock.
The book itself features beautiful and informative photographs by Ruben Acosta and Christian Hansen, The foreword is penned by renowned volcanologist Juan Carlos Carracedo and Valentin R Troll to complement both the art and science of the text.
He has undertaken research on education practices in teaching geology presenting his lectures and lessons in an educational and poetic way, offering a comprehensive and engaging explanation of the complex processes that shape a landscape that captivates both the European Space Agency and NASA, as well as millions of Lanzarote´s vistors each year.
Look forward to learning more about Roger Trend and his new book in the third and final part of this series in forthcoming edition of PASS IT ON in March.
A Readers Perspective: All Points Forward
PRESERVE GIGS LIKE THESE
Tim O’Brien and Jan Fabricius
Halle At St.Michaels -Manchester January 2024
review by Peter Pearson
Halle At St Michaels (RIGHT) is a converted catholic church located in a now gentrified part of Ancoats. Used as a rehearsal space for The Halle Orchestra it is also used as a small gigs venue. The interior of the venue is new to me but whilst spartan and somewhat lacking in facilities its multi purpose adaptability means that it is not solely dependent on musical events.
Ancoats has changed beyond recognition in recent years and the cobblestone fringed tiny terraced houses on the street, which previously had backyard toilets, are now selling at average prices of well over half a million pounds.
Arriving at the venue early I had a pleasant chat outside with the sound man. Inside there were no house lights on and this remained the case throughout until the performance ended. It was so dark that Tim O’Brien and Jan Fabricius (LEFT) had difficulty finding their way up the front steps to the stage. During the intermission it remained in darkness. The promoters made no introductions or comments on future promotions and I do feel that a more welcoming atmosphere could have easily been created. Those niggles aside it was a fine night of music making.
The audience of about 80 were of the baby boomer age, reflecting the demographics of Americana gigs that I have previously commented on. On Tim’s last tour in the area in 2017 he appeared at Bury Met to a full house of about 200.
I have been attending his frequent UK visits since I was privileged enough to see him perform with Darrell Scott in 1999 to a full house of 150 at Westhoughton Folk Club.These days he performs as a duo with his talented wife Jan Fabricius on harmony vocals and mandolin.
This year they are touring their new album, Cup Of Sugar, released on Tim´s own Howdy Skies label. They are playing dates on the continent and in the UK at various venues, culminating in an appearance at Celtic Connections in Glasgow. The annual festival is now in its 40th year and attracts the cream of roots music musicians, some flying in from the States and playing a one off gig whilst others, like Tim, make it part of an extended tour or team up with the Transatlantic Sessions tour as guest artists.
Born in Wheeling West Virginia, Tim is now celebrating 50 years in the business. A founder member of Hot Rize, over the years he has collaborated with his sister Mollie, Darrell Scott, Steve Earle and Mark Knopfler and a host of others as well as being a regular on the Transatlantic Sessions tour and TV series. In the USA he is primarily known as an exponent of Bluegrass. As a songwriter he has composed numerous songs for fellow artists. A particular favourite of mine is his co-write with Danny O’Keefe of When You Come Back Down, for the Bluegrass band Nickel Creek.
Living in Nashville since 1996 his skills on guitar, mandolin, fiddle, and banjo make him an in-demand session player.
His music covers the entire Americana spectrum from performing traditional folk on albums such as the Thomm Jutz and Martin Simpson collaboration, Nothing But Green Willow, to Bluegrass and Country.
Whilst just at home performing solo, Tim and his wife have performed together nationally and internationally either as a duo or as part of the Tim O’Brien Band since 2015. In a duet setting with a guitar, fiddle, mandolin, and their two voices the pair delivered to a highly appreciative audience a 2 hour, 23 songs performance that was both warm and intimate.
The beauty of Tim is that it all looks so effortless whether its guitar, mandolin, fiddle or banjo. There was lots of humour throughout, with each song being prefaced with a consumately delivered background introduction.
Opening the first set with Hold To A Dream from his 1991 album Odd Man In, the pair moved on to a couple of songs from his I Walked On album, I Breathe In and Nervous. Tim then announced that much of the set would focus on his new album Cup Of Sugar. There followed the hilarious and tuneful title song which tells the true story of life with his neighbour.
The album has a few songs about animals. The song Bear, he informed us, was written following the unexpected and extremely rare appearance of a live Bear in the Nashville streets, having come from the mountainous hinterland.
Jan took lead vocal on the song She Can’t, He Won’t and They’ll Never. The song was conceived on the way home from a visit to friends who were locked into an unworkable relationship.
The instrumental old time song, Rye Straw, ended the first set of ten songs and some of the audience dispersed to the only lit parts of the venue, the pop up bar and merch table.
Playing a solo fiddle and vocal arrangement of his song Working On A Building, the duo closely followed that by a couple of songs co-written with Tom Paxton who, at 86 was due to appear in a couple of days time on a Ralph McTell promoted gig at The Half Moon, Putney. The co-write, You Took Me In, is due to appear on a forthcoming compilation album, The Bluegrass Songs Of Tom Paxton.
A personal favourite of mine, Brother Wind, was introduced as being inspired by a story in the Annie Proulx book Postcards. In my view the definitive version of the song was delivered in Transatlantic Sessions 3 with Darrell Scott delivering harmony vocal and Jerry Douglas on sublime Dobro. Have a watch on Youtube.
Another standout was his version of Bob Dylan’s Senor, recorded on his Red On Blonde Dylan tribute album.
Tim had realised that the traditional ritual of leaving the stage for an encore was on practical grounds out of the question and he asked the audience to supply rapturous applause if they wanted a further three songs in lieu. There followed the gospel song Feed My Sheep, followed by the sublime More Love and a song inspired by the African American activist Congressman John Lewis, When You Pray Move Your Feet.
The pair left the stage to sign CD’s leaving the audience still wanting more. On my way out the sound man sought me out to ask if I had enjoyed the concert. I certainly had and the sound was excellent. It had been a really enjoyable evening and at £20 a ticket a stark contrast to the ticket prices to see the Eagles a few miles down the road in May at the brand new Arena. Its such a shame that these gigs are now few and far between.
JOSE LUIS ROJA
the great Lanzarote reporter, dies
Norman Warwick learns from Lancelot Digital
He stood out for his work in various media outlets and especially in the old weekly Lancelot where he was a central figure.
Today the journalistic profession is in mourning after the news that on Thursday, the 29th January, the well-known Lanzarote photo-journalist, José Luis Rojas Tejero, (left) died at the age of 79, in the “Molina Orosa” General Hospital in Lanzarote where he was admitted on Tuesday, the 26th, due to various complications of his already weak state of health.
Rojas Sr. was one of the first modern photo-journalists on the island, working for various media outlets and as a freelancer . He collaborated for EFE, Canarias 7 and also published several reports for the historic magazine Interviú. But perhaps his most prolific stage was in the 80s and 90s at the weekly LANCELOT where, in addition to being a photo-journalist, he was one of those responsible for the advertising department.
José Luis was always very loved among his people, with his bohemian and fighter character, he earned the respect of the journalistic profession. Above all, he helped, whenever he could, many people and disadvantaged social groups.
Today many miss the official recognition of his work and his figure, which is why some journalists, such as Manuel García Déniz, consider that the Lanzarote Cabildo should take over his archive, which was essential in the 80s and 90s of an island that was being transformed at full speed due to the arrival of tourism.
He is also considered a fundamental figure in the birth but above all establishment and success of the old weekly LANCELOT by Antonio Coll. A very important stage for the future development of the island that is reflected in the lyrics but especially in Rojas’ photos.
Rojas was buried. in Mémora, where his body now rests in peace. LANCELOT MEDIOS send their deepest condolences to the family and our recognition of a fundamentally good and generous person.
Note of condolence from the Popular Party of Lanzarote
The President of the Popular Party of Lanzarote, Astrid Pérez, expresses her regret for the death of the photo-journalist José Luis Rojas, and on her behalf and on behalf of the Popular Party, conveys her deepest condolences to all his family, friends, relatives and professional colleagues.
Astrid Pérez highlights “the great professionalism and the incalculable legacy held by the man who has been one of the most prominent deans of photo-journalism on the island, whom we will all remember with a camera in hand, almost in any circumstance, and always eager to capture and immortalize even the most seemingly insignificant moment”.
Pérez recognizes in Rojas “a man of deep convictions, who loved his profession to the extreme and whose photographic work for more than four decades is living history of Lanzarote, of an island that always maintained interest in its objective.”
Rest in peace. JOSE LUJS ROJAS TEJERO
Don´t miss our Look At And Listen To Lanzarote Five Day Festival next week. Starting tomorrow, Monday 5th February through until Friday 9th February. We begin by introducing the Double Bass (the upright citizen of any genre of musical group) and then we´ll have a chat with the kind of guy who plays the instrument. We will take you to a football match that might end up a scoreless draw, but we will then introduce you to three excellent players who might score a perfect hat-trick. We will then explain how the timple talks and introduce you to an author who calls the timple ´the coolest, sweetest little guitar in the world´! Trust us, you´re gonna need a bigger bookshelf !