Perfect harmony Leveret in Concert at Downend Folk Club Review

Published on: 30 Sep 2016

leveret

There are no words to describe just how beautiful this evening was. No words that express the perfect, harmonious relationship between musicians. No words that could possibly tell you why Leveret are one of the “must see” folk acts of 2016. Fitting really, as this instrumental trio don’t really need words at all.

Sam Sweeney, Andy Cutting and Rob Harbron are three of the finest traditional folk musicians around. You might have seen Sweeney leaping from speaker stacks, pogo-ing madly and attacking his violin with Bellowhead. Cutting and Harbron play melodeon and concertina, respectively, and have played with some of the finest musicians out there, including Nancy Kerr, Fay Hield and Jon Boden. All three are incredible. They weave the old and the new together; new tunes (so new that they don’t have names) are paired with traditional English tunes hundreds of years old.  And you barely notice the join.

At the beginning of the set Cutting wryly says “this is dance music, just so you know” and it is, but it’s dance music played for love, not for hedonism. There are no pounding beats or furious crescendos, nothing of the huge Bellowhead-style chorus to bring us all to our feet. Yet there are so many moments where you become swept up in the whole, where all you want to do is waltz around this perfect church. This is music that is transcendent, ascendant and utterly joyous. You only need look at the faces of the three musicians to know how much enjoyment goes in to this. Sweeney throws his head back repeatedly, seemingly desperate to jump from his chair.  Incredibly the three of them hardly ever look at each other. This intricate, intimate music is played with complete intuition by people who know precisely what they are doing.

Over the course of their two short sets we are treated to tunes from both of their albums, ‘New Anything’ and ‘In The Round’, but song titles become almost irrelevant.  As the light slips from the evening Leveret create layer after layer of gently warming genius. Hornpipes, jigs, waltzes and morris dances fuse together in to something approaching a classical repertoire. A delicate blanket of pastoral loveliness, English roses intertwined with wild flowers, spreading out through the nave. If, however, you need one tune to seek out go and listen to Cutting’s self-written ‘Milford’. It’s just delightful.

Providing support for the evening were The Hut People. Another band entirely dispensing with words, an accordion and percussion duo set us up wonderfully for the main event. Accordionist Sam Pirt describes them as being “like Easy Jet but with better leg room” and, as their tunes whizz around the world from Sweden to Quebec, Sussex to Louisiana, you understand why. After half an hour of feel good dance tunes they left with the sort of applause that support bands don’t usually get ringing in their ears.

The whole evening left us speechless. There are simply no words.                  - Gavin McNamara

- Photo: Julian Cox

 

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