Vieux Farka Toure

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"This flawless set of lyrical and beautifully written songs trickled their uplifting melodies through a receptive audience like a timely balm."

Wednesday 15th September, 7.30pm 

St Andrews Church, Psalter Lane, Sheffield

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After 18 months of social uncertainty, Talking Gigs first ‘live’ gig was held as part of the Nether Edge Festival and hosted in St Andrews Psalter Lane Church.  This was certainly a change of scene.  The band performed on a raised dais at the centre of the church with fine glass windows reflecting the fading sun and the grand architecture embracing the music as if in celebration.  The chairs were certainly more comfy than at the HUBS but the lighting was not ideal.  This said, it was a wonderful event and a pleasure to share live music with a sold-out audience of over 130.


Mishra introduced their set with ‘Road Dust and Honey’from their first album ‘The Loft Tapes’. This gentle, flowing tune featured Kate Griffin on vocals and banjo, John Ball on tabla and santoor and Ford Collier on percussion and whistles, Joss Mann-Hazell on double bass and Alex Lyon on harmony vocals and bass clarinet.


Talking Gigs host, Alasdair, led the light-hearted conversation through the formation of the band and musical demonstrations of how the individual instruments compliment their distinctive Indian influenced style.  This included a ‘tabla bol’ in which John and Ford exchanged quick-fire vocal phrasing, imitating the sound of the tabla, that would have been learnt through an oral tradition.  The expressive, and increasingly more complicated ‘tabla bol’ phrasing, or ‘tukra’, went to and fro between John and Ford in a duet that built to a crescendo ending, and thunderous audience acclaim. Each band member had an opportunity to ‘showcase’ their instruments and new member Alex Lyon treated us to several bars on the bass clarinet to show off it’s depth and range. Another audience pleaser.


The band spoke of their plans, a tour and the release of their new album Reclaim.  This album tells the story of a new era for them, inspired by the bird-call “teacher” of the Great Tit which tempted them outside during lockdown. It evokes how nature reclaims and puts out new shoots following times of environmental stress.  Kate said, “We take our stories from earth and nature, rather than the troubles of life”. The image of the Great Tit has also been included on the CD cover for the new album (designed by Kate herself).


The first half closed with the title track from Reclaim, a light melodic and positive tune with playful riffs on santoor and tabla.  It brought the sound, wind and sunshine into the quiet of the church.


The second set included the following tracks from two of their albums:

1. Deep Seas/The Loft Tapes              

2. This The Sound/Reclaim                

3. Rise/Reclaim          

4. Reel to Reel/Reclaim          

5. Swell/Reclaim                    

6. I Never Will Marry/Reclaim           

7. Burn/Reclaim                     

8. The Truth/Reclaim


This flawless set of lyrical and beautifully written songs trickled their uplifting melodies through a receptive audience like a timely balm.  There was rousing applause for this young Sheffield-based band who are gaining a coveted recognition through channels such as the Songlines magazine and were due to go on tour the following month.   A great return to live music at Talking Gigs!

Words: Olivia Cox; Pictures: Don Murray

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