Jez Hellard and the Djukella Orchestra - Heavy Wood

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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  Sunbathing in February and a tale of two churches...

Lolling on my rickety old deck-chair beside the van, gazing out towards the incessant rumblings of Shoeburyness and the almost imperceptible pastel horizon, with the picturesque curve of Margate (the stench of rotten seaweed too distant to impinge) laid out to the right, and nothing but a procession of thirteen Brent Geese on their morning commute disturbing the foreground, Iím minded of the peculiar rhythm of the musicianís life.

I spend ten or fifteen days racing around various countries in unlikely triangular trajectories, sleeping rarely, wearing my fingers raw and singing my heart out, whilst trying to extract what nutrition I can from ale, service stations and late-night emporia, before returning to the tip of Kent for a few days to hibernate, potter about, marvel at sea-birds, type this blog and attempt to organise the next bout whilst catching up on an often massive sleep-debt. At this moment the sun is hot on my back (though the wind is admittedly a touch fresh on the arms) and all seems well with the world.

The past few weeks have been dedicated to the study (however errant), rehearsal and performance of Jamesí Patrick Gavinís fine new album, Chewing the Fat, with its epic everyman journey from the hills of Co. Fermanagh to the mean streets of London and back again, and to the passing of dear friend Roger Coulthard whose own epic journeys took him from Derbyshire to many a strange land before his final send-off in Barnwellís full-to-bursting parish church last Friday. Thanks to Ben and Tom for excusing my disappearance from the ceremony to race to Hampshire for a show, and thanks to James for composing such sublime music and for inviting me to perform alongside such a stellar crew.

All I have to do is let my mind drift back to the thrill of singing in Union Chapel to invoke an involuntary sharp intake of breath. I believe we were all humbled that five hundred souls had come out to hear us on a dreich and drear Monday evening in February. I was positively floating for at least three days after the launch concert, and still now, Iím transported back there at the drop of a hat.

It was a true honour to finally share a stage with Hugh OíNeill, J Eoin, Tad Sargent, the elusive ”rlaith McAuliffe, the inimitable Seamus Gavin and Adrian Lever, possibly the finest guitarist Iíve ever tried to decipher, and as always, Tommie Black-Roff, Dominic Henderson, Nye Parsons and The Gavinator himself make singing songs a real treat. Thanks also to mellifluous tones of Fiona Fey and her telescopic ensemble for a beautiful opening set, and to Radomir on the sound who endured an onslaught of instruments and came out smiling.

Performing in a hall, itís often the force of the applause that stays with me, but in Union Chapel, the applause just seemed to ripple around our feet, it was the actual singing of well weighted words to listening ears in such splendid acoustics that has remained so nourishing, encouraging the singer to linger over every line and watch each word land.

Since the joy of prancing around on the grand stage backed by some of the finest players Iíve ever met, itís been something of a rude awakening as Iíve had to attempt to learn everybody elseís guitar parts, songs and peculiar chords and smile gracefully through my howling mistakes. So far weíve taken the show to The Cheriton Sessions in Hampshire and the legendary Square & Compass on the Isle of Purbeck and this coming Friday, February 23rd we will be bringing it to East Harptree Village Hall, nestled in the Mendip Hills just south of Bristol.

All you Glastafarians, Bristolians and Bath-based music lovers, not to mention Trowbridgers, Fromers, Bradfordians and the like, get yourselves tickets and come along. Youíll be glad you did. Itís being hosted by the inimitable Owain and Sue of Village Hall Gigs, with an opening set from The June Apples.

I`ve you`ve yet to get yourself a copy of Chewing the Fat, go to www.jamespatrickgavin.com and clickety click. You won`t be disappointed. If you`ve yet to buy all the Djukella albums, all my money has gone on diesel and new tyres again (not to mention various brake parts) and I`d love to be able to afford some dinner. They`re all available through the link above.

I`ll be back in touch before long with news of the forthcoming Djukella Orchestra tour of Germany, various summer festivals and all the good stuff. Very much looking forward to catching up with many of you in the coming weeks. Until then, gird yourselves against the last of the winter winds and enjoy the hints of burgeoning spring.

Posted: 20th Feb 2018 | Contact