It promised to be a warm ride as I strapped the fiddle to the back of the motorbike for the run down to Majors Creek near Braidwood in New South Wales, about 114 km from Canberra. I dressed lightly beneath the outer armour, but hadn’t reckoned with the cloud into which I ascended on the final approach into my destination. Majors is one of the best folk festivals in Australia – smaller and more intimate than the National, but large enough to attract the major acts.
I entered to the delightful harmonies of MusicOz 2008 winners Mothers of Intention. Tony Pryzakowski’s fiddle playing was unmistakable from the first notes, as were Rosie McDonald’s harmonies. This is a band that just keeps getting better.
Out on the oval, a Maypole dance was being woven with a morris dance team and a crowd of willing participants.
Bizerka’s energy and amazing rhtyms delighted the crowd, and the concentration of the fiddler was palpable as she played 7/8 and 5/8 rhythms. They ran a workshop on using phrases to make complex rhythms more comprehensible.
The Fiddler’s Forum showcased great playing across a range of styles, from celtic to bluegrass and Eastern European.
But for me the sessions as always were the highlight. The pochette attracted attention – as did the hardanger fiddle (hardingfele). I met old friends and played music with new ones.
Tony and I had our by now traditional ‘dueling fiddlers’ playoff – someone thought we were from the same band! Let alone different cities. We are well matched.
See you there next year :-)