Brad Spurgeon's Blog

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The Swedish Girl Invasion and a Fiddler

January 19, 2011

The two highlights of Ollie’s open mic at the Ptit Bonheur la Chance bar last night were for me the three Swedish women (actually there was a fourth in the audience) and the fiddle playing of the Englishwoman, Georgia.

But even Georgia’s participation was with one of the Swedes, Sister Fay (who should not be confused with Sister Ray). It turned out that the two groups of Swedish women were not even connected, it was just happenstance that they both showed up.

In any case, Georgia played a jig to start with. Then she played with Sister Fay, who sang and played guitar, on a song from the 1930s – Dream a Little Dream of Me – that was also famous in the 1960s when sung by the Mamas and the Papas, one of whom knew the co-writer of the original song…. They also performed a song that I immediately recognized the music to, which was Shady Grove. But I knew it as Matty Grove, primarily through the Fairport Convention version (and recently the version sung by Zara Sophia at my Mecano brunch. I spoke to Georgia about it, and she said the two were similar. She has classical training on the violin, but has had much experience in folk and bluegrass bands.

The next highlight was when Sister Fay and her Swedish friend – whose name I do not remember – got up to sing a Swedish song. It was very beautiful, and another case of great music not really having to be understood literally to be appreciated.

I almost forgot, there really was another highlight to the evening, and that was Vincent Barriquand from the band Black Butterfly, who played solo with a guitar and no microphone. His strong voice carried with no problem through the small room, and without the mic we got to appreciate all its qualities. He too sang at my brunch, just a week and a half ago.

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