Lichfield Arts opened the L2F Festival with the talented husband and wife duo Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman playing at Wade Street Church.

Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman

With a performing career that stretches back more than 25 years, the evening encompassed some choice covers and their own intriguing songs which covered more ground than the average folk night would.

With Sean’s rhythmic guitar blending seamlessly with Kathryn’s flute, vocals and keyboards this was the kind of musicianship that only develops over time.

With no drums or bass to keep a rhythm, no other instruments to add colour, the duo had to do the heavy lifting themselves, with many of the songs being of a longer, narrative nature.

The traditional The Knight’s Ghost opened proceedings, with its tale of a soldier dying in war, while the original song The Roper Dancer with some fine filigree piano playing was an exploration of tight-rope walkers.

So Long, by Sandy Denny, showed Kathryn’s vocals off to great effect, as did their cover of The White Hare by Sean’s brother Seth.

A little levity was added with The Cows of Mystery, complete with a ragtime-like guitar part, while the first set was closed by a Kathryn singing The Ballad of Andy Jacobs.

During the second half, a slightly more surreal tone was added to some of the songs, with 52 Hertz being about a whale singing at the wrong frequency to attract a mate.

The Child Owlet and The Granite Mill by Tim Erickson were from the rockier side of the duo’s repertoire, with the guitar being as much as a battering ram as it was a musical instrument.

The concert closer, A Tribute of Hands, was a look at the little known fable that Antwerp was built upon the hands of a giant.

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