Brad Spurgeon's Blog

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Jammin’, Dancin’ and Groovin’ at the Ptit Bonheur la Chance

July 13, 2011

It hurts so bad, just trying to keep to myself all the material I want to use in my documentary of the open mics around the world. But I caught a very cool, laid back little jam at the bar last night after the Ptit Bonheur la Chance open mic had formally ended in the basement room, the “cave.” Here it was Thomas Arlo playing Chardes Bourdon’s Epiphone at the guitar with Vincent Barriquand of the band Black Butterfly, sitting at the bar and jamming – and Ollie’s dog coming up at the end. And this just topped off a beautiful night with the final songs of Ollie closing off the show eliciting the remaining spectators to their feet to dance. Another beautiful moment of a beautiful evening.

It was summertime at Ollie’s open mic, which meant as with the previous week, a different crowd. But some of the regulars nevertheless. And the fact there were so many different people in the audience made me relax and feel I could repeat myself a little, so I did “Borderline,” I did “What’s Up!” and then I took the big risk with “A Change is Gonna Come.” I still did not feel I had done a good job of that song, that I seem to perfect only in my living room. But I recieved some good responses on it and was told that I should do it more.

I had, in fact, faced a big challenge on what to play since immediately before I went up there was this guy Elian Dalmasso, who was extremely interesting. He is a Parisian who lives in London and has a band there called “The Burnetts.” It was his birthday or something, and he had a little group of people with him, and he gave us all a very good little concert – so good that I thought I should put up here three of his songs. But that meant that I had to really search for the right thing to follow him with. I chose my songs for both the contrast to his, and what I thought might engage the audience. It worked.

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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