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  Cars big as bars, rivers of gold

Next Friday, December 2nd, I'll be playing an opening set for the great Dick Gaughan, at the Bath Folk Club. If you don't know Dick's work, you can find him on the web. He's a fine singer and stunning guitarist, with a repertoire of songs from the poetic to the political, traditional to modern. If you're anywhere near Bath, come down for an evening of great music.

Right now I'm sitting in the madness that is West London, marveling at the impatient honking of the city's drivers, and quietly digesting another week of wonderful rambling.

Two weeks ago, I got an email quite out of the blue, asking me if I could fly to New York to play at an old friend's wedding. After worrying whether I could afford a visit to the States, I was reminded of John Langan's song "Auld Jimmy",

"You've got to do it while you can,
So when you're a dying man,
You can smile at the crone,
Saying darling take me home.

And when dear lord you're six feet down,
Your friends they will not frown,
They'll be dancing 'til the dawn,
To sing about how you shone..."

and my mind was made up. So I made my way to Heathrow, managed to get my visa sorted and headed out to the Big Apple.

I was hosted by the lovely Michelle Temple, installation artist and fried egg specialist, in her Brooklyn apartment and proceeded to wear out my shoes (and feet) wandering around Manhattan. What a great city it is. Central Park on a sunny autumn day is spectacular, and the people there are as warm and welcoming as any I've had the pleasure to meet.

I was treated (thanks to traveling fox, Eric Mandala) to a Limosine ride to a swanky art party in Brooklyn, replete with naked arielists hanging from the ceilings and a stonking brass band. Taken out drinking by a bunch of MSNBC folks (thanks to old neighbours, Susi and Kelli Long) who plied me with so many drinks that I woke up on the subway, most of the way to Coney Island at 3am, wondering how to get back on the right track. A woman walked by and I said "Excuse me", to which she replied, "Dont, fuck wit' me, bitch!", and stormed off into the night.

Zach and Molmol's wedding was a beautiful and international occasion, where I met an array of avant-garde artists and grad-students from all over the place, sang them some songs and generally had a fine time. Zach's father, Syd Lieberman, a renowned professional story-teller, capped off the experience with a beautiful anecdote about driving in back woods Montana, and being told, "Just start it over the edge, and let her slide." A perfect metaphor for the beginning of a marriage. Thanks to all involved.

The night before I left, I managed to get the last remaining cheap ticket to the Cotton Club Review, a collaboration between New York City Center and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra led by the great Wynton Marsalis. It was a show recreating original programs from the Duke Ellington Orchestra's residency at the infamous Cotton Club in the 20s and 30s, complete with some of New York's finest dancers, singers and Vaudeville comedians. It was a truly exhilarating experience; really the greatest show I've had the pleasure of experiencing. My cheap ticket somehow got me a seat in the third row of the Orchestra, amongst New York socialites who'd paid five times more than me. You might say I'm lucky... After the show I was wandering around the theatre looking for a place to get a drink, and ended up at the last night cocktail party where I met several of the cast and two of my all time heroes, Wynton Marsalis and Victor Goines. Those people are delightful, warm and quite accepting of an errant English folk musician who quite clearly wasn't supposed to be there. Well you've got to do it while you can.

Posted: 25th Nov 2011 | Contact