As the last stragglers took their seats, Tzigane eased us into the evening with a serene number on acoustic guitar, percussion and sitar. The sitar was soon exchanged for a piano accordion and the former remained sitting, tantalisingly, on the front of the stage for the remainder of the evening.
Playing a short set of just four songs, they were the self-proclaimed “classy act” prior to the energetic whimsy of the main act for the evening, Galonka. Their style was varied, with all numbers very different from one another while also similar in the sense that they had the feel of being made up on the spot. It was oddly discordant sounding, with unusual time signatures and a lack of discernable melody for much of it, however the audience reacted enthusiastically.
There was no time to grab another drink before Galonka took to the stage. They are a five piece group, who play folk and gypsy music from a wide range of backgrounds – French, Czechoslovakian, Russian, you never know what you’re going to get. It was all high energy and a lot of fun, with jokey banter amongst the members between, and even during, songs.
Many of their tunes are solely instrumental, with beautiful melodies played on violin and clarinet to the soulful backing of guitar, mandolin, contrabass and piano accordion. It was nice to also hear some pieces with lyrics to change things up mid set, and new number, The Traveller’s Song (in Russian pirate style), was a highlight of the night. After two rousing encores, the audience dispersed into the night, though it’s likely some continued on with the band at a promised after-party at a nearby pub.
Kryztoff rating: 4K
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