Thursday, July 14, 2011

Rhythms of the World Festival

14 July 2011

On Sunday we made a first visit to the Rhythms of the World Festival in Hitchin. Rhythms of the World is celebrating its 20th anniversary and has grown from a free event in the town centre to a substantial world music festival, now located in the lovely gardens of Hitchin Priory. I was amazed by the scale of the event which included more than 130 bands on 7 stages over 2 days - with full price tickets only £7 per day! We only managed to see 5 bands during our brief visit but they were all very impressive - from the excellent three-piece rockabilly band The Zipheads to the delicate songs of Glasgow group The Recovery Club to the rhythmic fusion of The Tabla Rhythmix. The highlight of our day was a performance on the main stage by the young English folk superstar Jim Moray (reviewed here in August 2008). I've been a fan of Jim Moray since his 2003 debut album, 'Sweet England', but I hadn't seen him live before. He put on a good show to a packed crowd - proving there is still life in the electric guitar/hurdy gurdy combination! Jim Moray takes traditional folk songs and reworks them with a rock feel, incorporating varied influences including electronic beats and rap. He looks every inch the rock star and it was great to see him approach the microphone in his leather jacket, with his electric guitar slung over his shoulder, to say "here's another murder ballad".

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