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Review: Leveret and Spiro at the Lichfield Guildhall

Seven of the best known musicians on the British live instrumental and folk music circuit convened to play at Lichfield Guildhall as part of their Eccentric Orbits tour.

Taking in elements of folk, minimalism, collective improvisation, and chamber music making the Leveret and Spiro played short sets, before an encore that saw all seven players on the one stage.



Kicking of the evening were Leveret, who consist of Andy Cutting on melodeon, Sam Sweeney on violin and Rob Habron on English concertina. The unusual instrumental combination led to a number of unexpected musical avenues.

The pieces were detailed, with melody lines spilling over each other. From the opening of Glorious Sun, to the minimalism of Rain on the Woodpile, or the folk strains of The Road to Poynton and Robber’s Road showing the full range of the trio’s music making capabilities.

With violinist and composer Jane Harbour, mandolinist Alex Vann, guitarist Jon Hunt and accordionist Jason Sparkes, the music of Spiro offered a more rhythmic variety of music.

Taking in folk strains, the music of Philip Glass, Steve Reich and Simon Jeffes, there was variety of tone and texture in the ensemble’s sound.

From the opening of The Darkening Plains, to the more focussed Yellow Noise, simple refrains for violin overlapped with complicated accompaniments, with the mandolin and accordion providing much of the musical heavy lifting.

The highlight of their set though was Welcome Joy and Welcome Sorrow, a serene setting of complicated time signatures, providing support for some fine playing.

Leveret and Spiro joined together for the encore of The Scarlet and The Green, a fine fitting to an evening that showcased the work of these two talented ensembles.

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