A singaround at Folk at the Grove, central Leeds, 23rd September 2016
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.
Accompanied by my brother, we parked up close to the pub and made our way to a cosy room in The Grove Inn decorated throughout with large black and white etchings of folk heroes from the last sixty years, and a spotlighted stage at the far end of the room. Club organisers Brenda and Norrie Spence welcomed us warmly and club members were quick to say hello. We never drink when we perform but so convivial was the atmosphere in the room, I can confess to being sorely tempted!
At the appointed hour, the club came to attention and the good music (and excellent banter) flowed. Folk at the Grove is endowed with a lot of talent amongst its members; too much for me to try and list here. Suffice it to say there was both quality and variety with everything from humorous poems and songs, great rousing choruses and shanties, to delicate classical and traditional pieces played on guitar and concertina.
We played a couple of songs in the first half ‘round-the-room’ and I am pleased to report they seemed to go down well. For the second round-the-room, MC Brenda accorded us the honour of closing the evening with two songs. Just before we took to the stage a group of young people quietly took up residence at the back of the room. Our two chosen numbers to close the evening were Only For Three Months, about the experiences of the Basque children of 1937 and two Galician muiñeiras. When we returned to our seats we were greeted by a few more young people enthusiastic to talk to us about the music. It turned out they were overseas students visiting Leeds - with some amongst them from Galicia and the Basque country. They were very emotional to hear songs about and tunes from their homeland. It was similarly very kind of the regular club members to take time to tell us how much they had enjoyed our music and visit.
Many thanks to Brenda and Norrie for looking after us so well throughout the evening. Similarly, many thanks to all the club members who sang along so heartily with our choruses and were so generous in their feedback at the end of the evening. We sincerely hope to visit the Folk at the Grove again at some time in the future and, until then, we wish the club all the very best!