Bayou Seco play at Ickleford Primary School and Free concert at Sun Hotel draws crowds
Festival favourites go back to school
Rhythms of the World festival favourites Bayou Seco, from New Mexico, brought their distinctive music style to Ickleford Primary School and a free concert at the Sun Hotel in Hitchin on Thursday 26 May as part of the festival’s Outreach programme.
Ken Keppeler and Jeanie McLerie, from Silver City in the New Mexican mountains, began their busy day in school with a concert for the whole school, playing accordion, fiddle, banjo and harmonica and singing in English, French and Spanish.
Then there was a workshop for the older children in Years 3, 4, 5 and 6, in which they learned about New Mexico, its history and culture, and heard some of its traditional music and songs.
The school’s violinists and cellists learned and performed two pieces with Bayou Seco, then there was a workshop with the younger children in Reception, Y1 and Y2 and a closing concert. ‘It was a real privilege to have Bayou Seco in school and we are very grateful to Rhythms of the World for giving us this opportunity,’ said Headteacher Pat Salmon. She said the children thoroughly enjoyed playing music and learning with Jeanie and Ken and finding out about the music of New Mexico. Comments from the children included ‘It was really good’, ‘inspirational’ and ‘funny’.
Free evening concert
The free evening concert at The Sun Hotel in Hitchin was a great success. As well as Bayou Seco, it also featured young singer/songwriter Jose Vanders who’d driven straight from her final exam at Bristol University to be at the show. The appreciative audience were treated to Bayou Seco’s traditional tunes gathered over the last 30 years, which mix Cajun, Hispanic and cowboy tunes all delivered with a wry sense of humour and a style that engaged the audience from start to finish.
Arriving early on Wednesday evening and with time on their hands, Bayou Seco joined the open mic session at Baldock Folk Club and enjoyed an evening of great tunes and great company. Some of the attendees were so impressed they came to the Sun Hotel show the following day.
Steve Smither, Rhythms of the World Performance Director, said: ‘The work Bayou Seco did at Ickleford School was a real inspiration, with the whole school getting involved. The closing concert will live in my memory for a long time. It was a real privilege to bring them back to Hitchin; there is a special bond between the band and the festival and I know they sing our praises wherever they go.’ He added: ‘The Outreach programme continues to grow as an important part of the work Rhythms of the World does outside of the festival weekend and is something we’ll be putting additional resources into, to grow the links with the local community.’
Tickets on sale now
This year’s Rhythms of the World festival – the 20th – will take place on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 July in the grounds of Hitchin Priory.
Tickets are now on sale via the website www.rotw.org.uk and can be bought from outlets in Hitchin and the surrounding area. Event organisers are advising festival-goers to buy their tickets in advance to save money and avoid the queues on the day – ticket prices are £7 per adult and £3 for youths, with 5 and unders gaining free admission. On the day prices are £10 and £5 for adults and youths.