Woodman Folk Club - Reviews
The first thing we all had to agree on before the night started was “How
do you pronounce RANAGRI?” If you were not there and are trying to bring
yourself up to speed by reading this review I will try to help but I if
I fail it is your fault.
RAN AG RYE. If you still don’t get it sorry but it’s the best I can do.
Apparently it is an area between the Wicklow Mountains and County Carlow. It also has something to do with Donal’s Grannie but I have forgotten what.
Having digressed long enough let me tell you that Ranagri (RAN AG RYE remember) are quite possibly one of the best bands we have seen in 2014. Their music is in the main self penned and lyrically has a folk feel to it, but the sound they produce is a mixture of music and rhythms from everywhere in the world. It is so very hard to find a genre to fit them into. I had assumed that when put together a guitar (Donal Rogers); Bodhran/Bouzouki (Tad Sargent); Flutes (Eliza Marshall) and a harp – normally played by Jean Kelly (no he was a dancer) – but tonight played by Ellie Turner we would be getting some sort of take on Irish music. I was so so wrong. Donal originally a blues man played guitar to both complement his voice and provide depth to the songs. Tad played Bodhran with such enthusiasm using not only the traditional stick but also brushes and a padded stick - al la timpani – producing a variety of sounds I did not think was possible. To say that Eliza played flutes really does her an injustice. She played a flute; a bass flute; various small whistles and ethnic flutes from India, Japan and China. I am not going to attempt to spell any of the names. If you are that keen try their website – Ranagri.com. Finally Ellie – I have struggled to find the words to describe the way in which she played the harp and failed miserably. Needless to say the sound she produced was wonderful and her body language showed exactly how fond of the instrument see obviously is. Put it all together and I still cannot hope to convey the delightful sounds they produced.
Another aside – How many bands do you know have a harpist? Ok then, how many bands do you know that have a “spare” harpist they can call on when necessary?
We were treated to 14 or 15 songs/tunes and 2 encores which included a repeat of “Bogey Man” over two sets. “The Hare” had us chasing around misty moors; “Strange World” took us to the sea; “Tremors” was in turn both ghostly and had some of the best funky harp I have ever heard; while another song took us to Cameroon, “Sad Songs” turned out to be quite uplifting really; “Wrong Direction” elicited a request from the band to play our shakers (unusual that) and the introduction to “Tremors” brought a complement from Eliza about the ambient room temperature which apparently was just right for keeping her flutes warm. We aim to please.
In the first half we were treated to two songs from our own Velvet Green and also from Mr Eddy Morton. To open the second half we had MC in chief and composer/singer extraordinaire Mr Bryn Phillips who not only gave us two of his songs but also pronounced Ranagri (RAN AG RYE) right every time. Well done Brian.
Ranagri’s info says they are 4 London musicians who have formed a band. True but their musical pedigree stretches on forever. They have played with Stevie Wonder, Radiohead, Peter Gabriel and Paul McCartney plus numerous others and I am not even going to mention the film scores Eliza has played on. Look for yourself.
Enough from me. Like I said one of the best bands we’ve seen this year and another success for Des and Debs for asking them to come to the club.
Ps – they are appearing at Katie Fitzgerald’s on 5th December – don’t say I didn’t tell you. Should we get up a coach party?