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need to be brief is observed, There is a glos- sary of movements, steps and dance shapes though it is far from comprehensive with terms like do-si-do, hullichan jig step and bal- ance amongst those not included. However there are places where he gives fuller descrip- tions of the movement. For example, in the Foula Reel he describes in detail the way that the top couple weave to the bottom rather than just naming the movement as a ‘double pousette’. The dances are also graded accord- ing to their complexity; unsurprisingly, it is only the Scottish dances that fall into the ‘dif- ficult’ category.

My Festival Romance

Thomas Brooman Tangent Books (ISBN: 9781910089583)

Music fans will recognise, in Thomas Brooman’s memoirs of his musical life to date, the bright-eyed enthusiasm of a kindred spir- it. My Festival Romance, which charts his own journeys of musical discovery as well as his rollercoaster career as Womad co-founder and the man at the artistic helm of Womad festivals until 2008 (his painful sacking from the organisation), captures all that brimful enthusiasm of a genuine devotee to a cause. The words spill over each other in their eagerness to convey the highs and lows, the joys and pain, the backstage insights and the many tangents that his fulsome life contains.

It isn’t a slick account. It flits and side- tracks in its rough chronology of his life, from the gig-hooked schoolboy via the vibrant Bristol punk scene of the 1970s and its Bristol Recorder magazine DIY/can-do attitude to almost accidental festival organiser. And for that it rings true. It reflects a man passionate about a cause: open-hearted, generous in his acknowledgements and accolades (even handing over passages of text to other voices in the story) and occasionally flawed.

Charting the rocky passage of artistic glories, some catastrophic financial losses, and ultimately more than 150 globetrotting wonder-filled Womad festivals, it offers a fas- cinating and reflective behind-the-scenes insight into the marriage of a shared musical vision, with musicians from different walks of life sharing stages around the world, and fes- tival infrastructure, logistics and the success of the Womad brand.

In keeping with the ever-burning passion to share great music, Thos’ book is accompa- nied by a limited edition Music From A Festi- val Field CD, with track selections reflecting Brooman’s wide-ranging musical tastes. It features some of the key players from his story from Totó la Momposina from Colom- bia, to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Kanda Bongo Man, and Michael Messer’s Mitra (with whom he still has an association)… though of course, not everyone can be represented, such as one of his initial festival inspirations The Drummers Of Burundi.

An insightful and inspiring read for all music fans and festival devotees… from one of us. Sarah Coxson

100 Favourite Ceilidh Dances

Andy Greig Luath Press (ISBN 978-1-910745- 38-0)

Starting as a dance caller in the Bristol area, Andy subsequently moved to Scotland from where he offers this collection of Scottish and English dances. Many favourites, old and new, are amongst those detailed here.

Each dance comes with a diagram of the start positions, suggested tunes , some back- ground and a list of instructions in which a

The book will prove to be useful to both newcomers and experienced dance callers. In the time between receiving this book and writing the review, this caller learned to call two dances from it and revived three others he had allowed to lapse from his repertoire.

One sentence stands out from his intro- duction: “What I’ve come to understand over the years is that dance, like everything else, must adapt and evolve to survive.” Spot on, Andy! In 40 years as a dance caller, this review- er fully understands the truth of that sentence Vic Smith

Johnny Handle – Life And Soul

Pete Wood Pete Wood (ISBN 978-0-9576187- 9-4) paperback £12.50

Johnny (born John Alan Pandrich, March 1935) is the quintessential Tyneside entertain- er – musician, singer, songwriter, raconteur. Universally regarded as a linchpin of the north- east folk revival, he’s still going strong at age 82! Life And Soul is the aptest description for this man with the “insatiable appetite for lots of things”, and Pete Wood (who in the early ’80s played alongside Johnny in The New High Level Ranters) is a lifelong friend with ideal credentials to chart Johnny’s life and impressive tally of achievements.

An entirely consummate musician, of whom Alistair Anderson once said “give him a ham sandwich and he’ll play a tune on it!”, Johnny started out on the piano (although he developed an enviable propensity for “pick- ing up an amazing number of instruments very quickly”); he was playing skiffle and jazz when in 1958, at Newcastle’s New Orleans Jazz Club, he encountered, by chance, “this chap from Oxford”, who turned out to be Louis Killen from Gateshead, and with whom he struck up an immediate rapport; they were to co-found the first of the region’s folk clubs there, and it was (in Pete’s opinion) their “drive for quality” that gave the north- east such an edge in the early folk revival.

Pete steers us through the Handle bio - graphy with great affection and respect for his subject, benefitting from personal inter- views generously granted and gaining insights from anecdotes and tributes from fellow per- formers (including Eric Burdon’s admission that he got House Of The Rising Sun from hearing Johnny’s rendition in a Newcastle club). In three succinct yet fact-filled chapters, Pete chronicles Johnny’s pivotal role in the folk revival (while recognising that he also led a full working life), before halting the narrative to engage in selective but appetite- whetting discussions of Johnny’s own compo- sitions – viz The Songs, The Recitations and The Tunes. A preceding chapter celebrates Johnny The Researcher (brilliantly dubbed by Pete Coe “a man who deserves capital letters”). The book’s final chapter brings us up to date with Johnny’s post-’retirement’ activities.

Pete sums up Johnny thus: “His easy, accommodating manner has brought his music to the attention of many who would have otherwise passed it by” – in other words, Johnny has been, and remains, a true ambassador for north-east culture. After reading this book you’ll definitely wish to investigate Johnny’s œuvre to date (including 132 songs and 317 tunes – copious details can be found on Johnny’s website). David Kidman High Level Ranters 1972: Alistair Anderson, Colin Ross, Tom Gilfellon and Johnny Handle right.

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