Monday 9 March 2015

Kara at Twickfolk

Daria Kulesh - Vocals
It is understandable that the weight of folk music history creates slow change on our proud and virile scene here in the UK. This is only a half truth of course because if we blur the lines of the genre's definitions then there are exciting collaborations bubbling away all over the country. Whether Kara are erupting from the volcano's mouth or burning into the fringes of folk music outposts it matters little, especially for the listener.

Gary Holbrook - Accordion
Kara are Ben Honey on guitar, Gary Holbrook on accordion, Daria Kulesh on vocals and Kate Rouse on hammered dulcimer and backing vocals. Their music is both twist and traditional. They are described by Rebekah Findlay (The Folk Show on Bishop FM) as "Russian, French, English fusion of folk". Their debut album Waters So Deep has inspired many positive reviews with 'creating waves', 'buzzes' and 'gems' glowing in the journalists' copy. Despite a union of only 2 years their debut album already sits proudly in The Telegraph's best folk music albums of 2014 and they have a Love Folk LIVE award for Most Exciting Live Performance.

Kate Rouse - Dulcimer/Vocals
I first drew Kara's lead singer Daria Kulesh as a fresh face in December 2012 whilst I was artist-in-residence at cherished folk venue Twickfolk. She was supporting Miranda Sykes and Rex Preston then and I described her as a Strawberry Delight. It is with great pleasure that I can reveal that time has neither diminished her colour nor her verve. She is just as vibrant and makes one feel glad to be alive. You always feel as though someone has cranked the colour saturation dial on an analogue TV vision such is the presence of her likeable personality.

Ben Honey - Guitar
This night at Twickfolk (22/02/2015) Daria Kulesh started with Russian tale Rusalka, which was coupled later in the set by Mermaid's Lullaby, both in Kulesh's native tongue. They both amply fed our imaginations, the words were thick and plump like a mysterious fog that encompassed us all. The lightness of Kate Rouse on dulcimer cut through this fret, but never weakened it's spell.

In fact a Daria Kulesh vodka inspired song (no name, sorry?) was even richer and deadlier than those that proceeded it. Once again it was an impressive Rouse start with lightness in both sound and heart but soon descended into Russian darkness. For Kulesh there was a piercing pathos that cut through the audience, a slight tumble to the voice and an undertow that caught us in it's swell. The mind thought of the blood that runs, whether that be in the veins or pooling at our feet.

Juilan Peers
Amongst the set were Ben Honey's home grown fare Union Street and Seaview which were tender and unsurprisingly effective amongst our island race. Even less of a surprise to you will be that a foray into jazz dulcimer with Devilry Dance was a hit with this artist. Again we heard that wisp of darkness in Kulesh's voice and the all too brief accordion of Gary Holbrook. Like all the songs on show at Twickfolk it was Kulesh's presence on stage that sold many of them to us. Her hands and movement pulled us in, maybe there was tricky in the air but we were willing putty in her grasp.


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