Below is an account of the first of two dayd in Madrid when we were honoured by the Friends of the International Brigades In Ireland (FIBI) with an invitation to perform two concerts in Rivas-Vaciamadrid to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Jarama, where, alongside Republican forces, the British, Irish, Garibaldi, Dmitrov, 6th February and Thalmann Battalions, the Abraham Lincoln Brigade and many others fought heroically to halt the advance of fascist forces on Madrid.
Those who know our music will be aware that we do a lot of work with the International Brigades Memorial Trust. As such, it was a great honour to be invited to participate in one of a series of events to commemorate and remember the courage and sacrifice of the brave men and women who went to fight and to care for fighters in the battle against Franco's fascists in the second half of the 1930s.
You can’t beat spending an evening with friends and that is what we had last night in our home town of St Albans, courtesy of Folk at the Maltings and event organiser, Alison MacFarlane.
As can be seen from the accompanying photos (with many thanks to our pal Ray Smith for taking them and sending them over), the Maltings is an intimate auditorium that invites a listening atmosphere. This is ideal for us and the stories we tell.
For the final day of our four day trip to Yorkshire we had been invited to perform at an event to raise funds for a more fitting memorial than currently exists to eight International Brigaders who left the city to fight in the Spanish Civil War. It was an honour to be invited to perform and we very much looked forward to performing alongside punk folk hero Joe Solo.
After two excellent nights at the Topic Folk Club in Bradford and Folk at the Grove in Leeds, we set off in good time from our base in Rawden to travel, first, to have something to eat in Saltburn with senior club member at The White Hart Folk Club, Kevin Hall, and then to travel on to the club itself.
What a pleasure it was to perform at the famous Folk at the Grove last Friday evening. After a morning walking at Almscliffe Crag - a millstone grit outcrop between Leeds and Harrogate - and an excellent pub lunch in the sunshine in Ilkley, it was a fine end to the day to get involved in an evening of good music at The Grove Inn in central Leeds.
On a sunny Thursday afternoon, we set off for our first port of call on what was to be a four day musical trip to Yorkshire.
Blessed by having family in the county, we headed for Rawden near Pudsey where a very welcome meal awaited us on arrival. Sadly, an accident on the A1 had delayed our arrival there by an hour - so we ate quickly, made our apologies and headed for the famous Topic Folk Club in central Bradford to perform a brief set in an evening headed by US folk singers Dana and Susan Robinson.
There is a great deal of humour and a lot of good music to be heard at the Orpington Folk Club and it was a great pleasure to be invited back to the club after our visit in late 2015.
Bromyard is a lovely town and it hosts a lovely folk festival. This was our second invitation to perform at the festival and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves again, performing four concerts and hosting a workshop over three days. The trip to bromyard also afforded us the chance to stay with close friends in a village close to Bromyard and to catch up with all of their news.
It was another lovely evening in the company of the Hoy-at-Anchor Folk Club yesterday.