Fret and Fiddle

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The music of Stephane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt was bought to vivid life when Fret and Fiddle performed at Lichfield’s Guildhall. The three piece of guitarist Andy Bole, violinist and singer Salene Bijou, and deputising bassist Simon Smith played a concert of inventive musicianship, and songs from a range of genres such as traditional folk, and some klezmer and performers, such as Penguin Café Orchestra, Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen. They started with the jazz standards Sweet Georgia Brown and I’ll See You In My Dreams which were melodically inventive, and swung wildly. The bluesy standard Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor had a higher vocal pitch than the standard, but the new arrangement suited Salene’s voice very well. A number of TV themes were also featured, with Jeeves and Wooster being a highlight. The folk interludes of Fisherman’s Hornpipe and Shiver Me Rags showed a new side to the band’s sound, as did the slide banjo rendition of Tom Wait’s Chocolate Jesus. The second half started with two of Reinhardt’s and Grappelli’s best known compositions in Minor Swing and Nuages, while Django’s Castle was a tone poem that was a three way conversation. Leonard Cohen’s Dance Me To The End Of Love was suitably brooding. Penguin Café Orchestra’s Music For A Found Harmonium was a display of nimble guitar playing. An encore of the standard It Don’t Mean A Thing, If It Ain’t Got That Swing was a fitting way to end the concert, while also acting as something of a manifesto for the trio.