Jun 11 2024

Charm of Finches (AUS)

Plus support Mia Kelly

Friday 7th June 2024

Photos, video and review by Keith Belcher

Friday 7th June 2024, The Live Room, Saltaire. Mia Kelly opening for Charm of Finches. Another performer ‘discovered’ by Ron and Hilary at Folk Expos in the States. This was Mia’s first UK tour. She had only arrived 2 days earlier. Mia is a singer /songwriter from Gatineau, Quebec and performs in French and English.

Mia was recently awarded Young Performer of The Year and Emerging Artist of The Year at the 2024 Canadian Folk Music Awards. Canada has given us, amongst others, Gordon Lightfoot, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell so they do produce the goods. Mia has one of those powerful and expressive voices that could probably fill a hall without amplification. There sounds like there is power and emotion in reserve.

Mia was solo tonight, thumb and finger strumming an acoustic guitar. I couldn’t help but think what that voice would be like in front of a full rock band. Maybe one day!

All the songs tonight were very well written, intelligent, insightful and meaningful lyrics about a number of topics. There was one co-write : ‘Meaning Well’, a co-write via Zoom with our own Blair Dunlop who has also appeared at TLR , albeit a few years back. Blair is the son of Fairport Convention/Albion Band founder Ashley Hutchings (also appeared at TLR) and Judy Dunlop. Also, a long suffering Spurs supporter.

The set started with Garden Through The War, a quite intense song about, among other things, relationships. Mia emanated “joie de vivre” throughout her set, nice to see so much enthusiasm and lovely smiles on display. A good rapport with the audience quickly established. No more French from me but we did have a song in French, ‘Dépaysée’. There were also songs about ancient men who sailed in boats of wood and the men were made of steel, (Bonefish Boys). A song about the River Ottawa but giving it it’s native speaker name of ‘Kitchissippi’. The final song of the brief set was ‘Vagabond’, an uptempo song to end the set inspired by a homeless stranger on a long bus journey asking her, out of the blue, to go ‘cliff jumping’. Mia left the stage to a very good response from the discerning TLR audience. I have no doubt she will be back.

TLR regular Eric wrote ; “Mia Kelly was wonderful, Hilary and Ron, please book her again…Top Notch songwriting”

Ron wrote of both acts; “Three incredibly talented young women, all still under 25. There’s a whole generation of great young musicians and songwriters out there.”

Charm of Finches. Two Australian sisters Ivy and Mabel Windred-Wornes. No strangers to The Live Room. They first appeared to TLR audiences during the Covid Lockdown period in 2020 via virtual electrickery and a huge transcontinental time difference. Our show that night was (I think) 7pm but they were ready to play at 3AM in Australia. Well done Ron and Hilary for keeping the music going during that dark period.

They first appeared in Yorkshire in the flesh in July, 2022 with Chris Brain opening. They were such a hit they were eagerly welcomed back to reappear in 2024. A description of their music I like is chamber folk’. It also has (to me) a kind of Victorian, oldy, gothic feel.

Part of the visual for that and their videos is their shopping in ‘Opp (Opportunity) Shops’ as the duo call our Charity Shops, buying old wedding dresses and dieing/adorning them. Ivy’s almost Bharatanatyamish hand movements, a form of classic Indian Hand dance mudras add to the ethereal quality of their songs.

The quality of their sibling harmonies is outstanding. The duo restricted themselves to keyboards and guitar for this show, a violin was used in previous shows. There was a request for ‘Treading Water’ which features the violin, as the encore. The planned encore was ‘Wonderful Oblivion’. After a few seconds thought, they obliged the audience with an unrehearsed wonderful version of ‘Treading Water’, showing great versatility. Another great reception from the TLR crowd.

TLR regular Mike Latham commented “This was our third time of witnessing Ivy and Mabel…The sounds they created with simple musical accompaniment and their distinctive voices was, for me, a very mature performance. They seem to have determined their own unique approach, particularly in the way they use their voices and can now develop their sound further.

Their sound has a very ethereal feel to me, enhanced by the style they present in their attire and videos. I am reminded of the films of Crawford and Davis and that was reflected in the title song from their new album ‘Marlinchen In The Snow’. Another stirring performance from them and new fans won as I know there were some in the audience who had not witnessed them before.

Another great event; thanks Ron and Hilary, once again. “

videos by keith belcher

Meaning Well

Clean Cut


On My Own

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