Observations: Canal desires for folk duo
Friday 25 September 2009
"Mystery Train'', "Route 66" and "Eight Miles High" – travel by almost every conceivable means has long had a pull on songwriters' imaginations. One exception seems to have been the leisurely, anachronistic narrowboat, until, that is, an unlikely duo set out to navigate a canal, compose music inspired by their journey and perform en route.
John Burton, aka Leafcutter John, is an idiosyncratic artist working not only as a folktronica pioneer, but also as a member of Mercury-shortlisted jazz outfit Polar Bear. Folk star Lisa Knapp is an exemplary fiddle player (among other instruments) and spellbinding vocalist. They would probably both agree, though, the star of their project is the Chiswick, a lovingly restored 1930s canal boat.
Together, Burton and Knapp are touring the Grand Union waterway between London and Birmingham, wherever possible using their craft as a floating stage with a specially built platform for their group. They take in a wide variety of surroundings along the way: Hatton Locks is one of the leafier, more unspoilt locales of Warwickshire, while they finish up outside the Flapper & Firkin. The pub is right in Brum's centre, with views of the flight of locks known as Farmer's Bridge.
The pair have unearthed boat songs from folk resource the Vaughan Williams Library, at Cecil Sharp House, and sampled sounds from today's waterway – Burton has fashioned his own hydrophone to record underwater noises. "Water music" is about to get a strange new meaning.
Canal Music play Hatton Locks, 27 September, and Birmingham, 30 September
BBC Trust agrees to axe channel from TV in favour of digital moveTV
Final Top Gear reviewTV
FestivalsFive ways to avoid the portable toilets
Jurassic WorldThe results are completely brilliant
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 2 David Cameron refers to 83-year-old Labour MP Dennis Skinner as 'Jurassic Park'
- 3 Alton Towers Air breaks down: 80 people stuck on broken down Monorail during heatwave
- 4 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 5 Alwaleed bin Talal: Saudi Prince to donate entire $32bn fortune to charity
The Rolling Stones announce biggest ever touring rock exhibition with Saatchi Gallery
Game of Thrones season 6: Daenerys actress Emilia Clarke says '50/50 chance' Jon Snow is alive
'Dukes of Hazzard' pulled from screens by CBS as outcry over Confederate flag grows
Game of Thrones season 6: Release date, plots and dragons - everything we know so far
Glastonbury 2015: The Who mock Kanye West - 'who's the biggest rock star in the world?'
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
They are neither a 'state' nor 'Islamic': Why we shouldn't call them Isis, Isil or IS