Dusting off that guitar was clearly a good idea for the opening act at Chesterfield Folk Club.
After a long lay due to work and family, Branca treated us to a set of carefully chosen and beautifully sung songs. Perhaps the most moving was Anthony John Clarke’s ‘Broken Years’ which she sang with understated passion relating it to her Serbian background and being unable to visit her homeland for 19 years.
With songs by Kate Rusby, Mumford and Sons, Karine Polwart, Katie Melua and Kate Wolf, Branca showed immaculate taste and skill.
The Tannahill Weavers returned after a three-year gap in the middle of a major tour which finishes in their native Scotland. They treated the audience to the best part of 20 original and additional songs and instrumentals.
Roy Gullane’s propulsive guitar laid the bedrock for three-part harmonies, the skilful flute of Phil Smillie, John Martin’s fiddle, and Colin Melvilles’s bagpipes.
Standout performances came on Jamie Raeburn’s Farewell, a transportation song, The Plooboy Laddies and the storming finale of the Pipe Major George Allan Set. They aptly finished encores with Auld Lang Syne.
The next folk concert at Club Chesterfield will be headlined by O’Hooley and Tidow on May 9.