Jez Hellard and the Djukella Orchestra - Direct from the Shire

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Top  Upcoming Gigs
October 4th Thu
8:00pm - 10:00pm
Jez Hellard & The Djukella Orchestra
Nottingham University
October 5th Fri
7:30pm - 10:00pm
Jez Hellard & The Djukella Orchestra
Songs from the Curate`s Lounge, Long Buckby
2019 May 18th Sat
8:00pm - 10:30pm
Jez Hellard & The Djukella Orchestra
Glenbuchat Hall, Strathdon

Top  D`rect from the Shire for your listening pleasure...

As the sun starts to burn steam off the trees and and the funk of this sweltering summer begins to rise once more, I find my self ready, at last, to send the new Djukella Orchestra album on its merry way to the factory. Resplendently swaddled in jars of the finest King`s Cliffe jam, chutney and home-grown chillies, and packed to the gills with the musical wizardry of Messrs Caplin, Gavin, Henderson, Parsons, Coulthard and Black-Roff, it really is the best thing we`ve ever crafted.

Recorded live in concert on consecutive nights last year, and entitled "D`rect from the Shire" it captures The Djukella Orchestra in majestic form, performing a repertoire described by one happy audient as "wall to wall bangers", and featuring amongst other wonders, the most incredible recordings of Nye Parsons caressing his double-bass we`ve ever managed to preserve.

We`ll be releasing the album to press and public with a run of shows in the first week of November, followed by a tour of Scotland in early December, but for those of you who are keen to get your hands on a copy, you can order one right away via the link above and help us pay the huge bill which will be on it`s way to us imminently.

I know it`s coming out a little later than promised, but it`s always worth getting everything just right, and between my endless ramblings on country roads near and far, I have found myself in recent months (even more so than usual) gawking aghast at the endlessly unfolding tragicomic pantomime of our news-cycle, and losing whole days to wondering just what on earth is going on.

To think that just a month ago, we were being promised a repetitive and tautological hard breakfast by a strong and stable answering-machine seemingly conceived in an unholy union between Recep Tayyip Erdogan and a handbag, marching ever onward towards a total man date...

How things change. I must offer my sincerest thanks to all the people (and indeed unseen forces) who`ve contrived to reinvigorate our national political consciousness over the past few weeks. While our understanding of the world seems to crumble all around us, buffeted this way and that by outrageous fortune and increasingly mind-numbing and senseless tragedy, some are left agog, rocking backwards and forwards muttering "strong and stable...strong and stable...sarong and table...thong and sable...", but others are thinking.

For the first time in my adult life, it seems that people everywhere are actually starting to discuss really important issues. On the bus, in restaurants, in the pub, walking along the street, I keep overhearing people in lively debate about a host of issues, instead of the usual celebrity gossip and inanity, however hard the red-tops try to distract us. Sometimes filled with the old bile and vitriol, from whichever political angle, but often much more interesting than the mindless shouting which for so long has passed as debate.

As a performing musician, particularly in the less salubrious venues, I`m well practiced at singing meaningful songs whilst selectively tuning out "So Frank said to Helen, that Sue had been on the phone to Mike, and he said..." or that guy who insists on giving detail directions to the recycling centre centre round the back of the station in Basingstoke, "you know, the one down the lane just past that phone-box with the broken door, where John used to..." I still listen to it all, but have managed to train myself not to join in. So after years of developing this inanity filter, I find my ears constantly pricking up at actual snippets of real conversation. It`s often a little bleak, but so refreshing for these old ears.

Much has been made of the remarkable rise in young people`s engagement with the democratic process, but it`s not just confined to the young. I have been deeply inspired to find people of all ages, and from all walks of life, who`ve spent the past decade and more totally disillusioned and increasingly apathetic, develop a new-found engagement with their community and a distinct twinkle in the eye.

As Mr. Trump throws all of Obama`s toys out of the pram in a puce-faced septuagenarian tantrum across the pond, and our continental cousins look on in bewilderment and the strength and stability of our leadership, it seems increasingly apparent that we`d better just get on with sorting things out ourselves. The incredible community response to the wanton sacrifice of countless souls in Grenfell Tower last week may contrast starkly with the official response, but is testament to the resourcefulness and compassion of our citizenry. Admittedly there are some nutters out there, but the vast majority of us are more than happy to help out where help is needed.

Thanks to all the people who`ve come out to listen to us in London over the past few days, and to Seamus and Clan Gavin for hosting the best GavFleadh to date. At some points it has been so hot that I`ve been worried I`d melt into a puddle, but it`s been a joy to be surrounded by such abundant musical talent. Alastair Caplin and Nick Hart down at the Magic Garden, Johnny Cage and the Voodoo Olive appearing (as if by magic) from Cardiff, Amadis, Tell Tale Tusk and the Freddy-Stitz Rock n` Soul Collective at Jam in a Jar, and Hugh O`Neill jetting in from Armagh with his banjo, we`ve been inundated with music of the highest calibre.

The Djukella Orchestra will be back on the road for a few shows in July, first down in Kent, in Broadstairs, Wingham and Folkestone respectively, then a rare London show at our favourite bohemian hideaway, Jamboree, at Cable Street Studios in Limehouse, before heading to the south coast to Worth Matravers and Cheriton. All the dates and details are on the gigs page of the website. Looking forward to seeing many of you along the way.

Posted: 20th Jun 2017 | Contact