Salut! Commentary

Peruvian dreams. How to make music for love not money





David Denny: 'with our faithful Ericka La Roja at Uchos where the new bridge across the Marañon was being constructed. You can't see it but we are about 1,000m below where road enters the canyon'


Every now and then, the electronic postbag at Salut! Live yields something special. This is an example. It's from David Denny, a response all the way from Trujillo (the city of everlasting spring') in Perú, to a piece here about the dramatic effect of lockdown on the performing arts. I told David I was minded to promote and if possible expand his contribution to the status of self-contained article and this is the result of our exchanges.

I did not know this when I wrote to him but there is indeed a connection with Sandy Denny. 'I do have the same surname as a beloved departed singer,' he said. 'We are cousins. I am a bit older than she would be, and I had my guitar first... hare and tortoise.' That said, it is not a connection he seeks to exploit.

Here is what David wrote on a subject close to his heart, followed by a fascinating playlist of YouTube clips from which I have chosen to highlight one delightful piece, Monica Pantoja's exuberant and infectious El Funeral de Rio (despite the sombre title, this is a protest song about the ruination of La Paz's river Choqueyapu)  ...

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Cara Dillon, Ian Anderson, John Spiers and the tragic lockdown tale that cries out for an uplifting new chapter

Two small slices of social media grabbed my attention today. Someone posted at a neighbourhood group to which I belong in Ealing, west London that a motor-cycle had been nicked from outside an address at the other end of the avenue from my street. Crikey, I thought mischievously, our wretched Government has even let down the pilfering classes, ensuring that in bleak times even for them - burglaries must surely be down if everyone's been stuck inside - criminal lowlife must find its own ways to survive.
Then I saw Cara Dillon's tweet shown above. And I have to confess to feeling a great deal sorrier and angrier about the plight of musicians, entertainers generally and the venues in which they used to perform before Covid-19 than I do about any grievances thieves may harbour.
I have wondered at different stages of the crisis whether there might be anything this tiny site could do to help. Would Salut! Live's small but sometimes influential readership make some sort of crowd-funding appeal work? This tweet from John Spiers - think Bellowhead but much more, including a stream of spot-on tweets as @squeezyjohn - sums up how performers feel about the appalling lack of support they and their industry have received ...

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Covid-19, Lombardy and the Corries: 'and we'll all go together'


At my main site, Salut!, I have been publishing the coronavirus-related thoughts and experiences of friends scattered far and wide.

The series has produced some outstanding pieces of writing and I urge those of my readers who come only here to browse them by clicking on this link.

Renata Baraldi is an Italian Facebook friend; we have never met but have a mutual acquaintance and a shared love of folk music. She has a particular fondness for the Dubliners. I make no apology for repeating at Salut! Live the poignant words she contributed to the series from her home in Lombardy, the disease's European epicentre ...

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Diamonds and rust? fRoots halts publication after 40 years

The ink was barely dry, metaphorically, on the piece I wrote acclaiming the 40th anniversary edition of Ian Anderson's treasured magazine fRoots.

Stretching to 148 compelling pages, the bumper edition itself was barely half-read. And along comes this little bombshell, from Ian himself.

The jewel that has been, for four decades fRoots (if we include the last few editions of Southern Rag before the title changed, initially to Folk Roots, and the new publication was launched), has faded. "I’m so sorry to bring the news that fRoots Magazine is suspending publication," Ian's sad message begins. We knew he was in discussions over a takeover and hoped to stand down as editor; we didn't know those talks were doomed to failure.

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Recovery and rediscovery: Pentangle

Bryan Ledgard's picture of Pentangle at 2007 BBC Folk Awards

Choosing music to make physical exercise more bearable can be a challenge. It has to be good to have any chance of working, but the last thing you want is for the accompanying exertion to put you off it for life.

In days when I’d spend half an hour in the office gym before starting work,  I found the only album that would see me through an activity I loathed was the  eponymous John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers


Following a minor op, I had to choose again, to go with daily sequences designed to acquaint my body with what had happened to it and strengthen the muscles.  

Jacqui McShee - I found a. better photograph offered by Vintage Photos at Amazon but was unsure of copyright  - would understand. We are both of an age when such medical issues crop up.

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Songs you cannot get out of your head: from Linda Thompson and Sandy Denny to Dolores O'Riordan, Nic Jones and Kate Rusby

Author: Colin Randall

Linda thompson - 1
Time for another of those lists.

We all have them, songs or tunes we just cannot get out of our heads. A friend who is fairly contemptuous of Ed Sheeran - I am not, incidentally, and like him if selectively - was furious about not being able to shake off one of his hits (I have forgotten which).

Naturally, our personal choices for such lists are liable to change, on a whim or after coming across new or newly remembered sounds. I am restricting my own, current selection to music that is on my mind because I like it ...

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