Folk pair provide a mix of sensitivity and humour

Bob Bolam (raconteur) and Alistair Anderson (concertina and Northumbrian pipes), who performed at the St George's United Reformed Church lunchtime concert.
Bob Bolam (raconteur) and Alistair Anderson (concertina and Northumbrian pipes), who performed at the St George's United Reformed Church lunchtime concert.

A large audience were treated to a feast of folk music and humour in the first 2015 autumn series lunchtime concert held at St George’s United Reformed Church.

Providing the entertainment were Alistair Anderson on concertina and Northumbrian pipes, and raconteur Bob Bolam.

Alistair is world famous for his tours to spread the popularity of traditional music. He is also internationally recognised as a master of the English concertina and a fine exponent of the Northumbrian pipes.

Despite the huge amount of energy he has poured into his work, he still continues to perform as a soloist.

Bob is well known throughout Northumberland as a wonderful raconteur and singer of folk songs. In Morpeth alone, he has entertained in 20 different venues.

Alistair’s programme was a delightful mix of traditional Northumbrian tunes, many dating from the late 17th century, and some composed by retired shepherds, Will Atkinson and Willy Taylor.

He was equally at home playing both concertina and pipes, and he portrayed a total mastery on both instruments, producing a fine, clear and distinct movement, with a sensitivity totally in harmony with the music.

The final rendering was one of his own compositions, The Wild Geese, specially written for the people of Wooler.

This is a piece full of nostalgia, with beautiful flowing and haunting melodies reflecting Alistair’s love of Northumberland, with its many varied and contrasting moods.

This was folk music at its very best, played on the concertina, which in Alistair’s hands becomes an instrument of sensitivity, with an amazing quality of sound and flexibility.

Bob provided the contrast with his humorous ditties and monologues, all with a north country base.

The audience was treated to a Geordie version of Androcles and the Lion, with our Geordie (Androcles) becoming a great hero in the coliseum, which was followed up with a very funny Cinderella, a north country version of the well known fairy tale.

His final poem, with grandmother’s telephone answering machine, sent the audience home in a very happy mood.

B.C.P.