Jan14 Summary of Kadia 2013
written by Lee Cuff
2013 was a fantastic year for all things Kadia, from writing our very first song and performing our first gig as a trio to performing at our first festivals.
Beacon Fires & Nadias Aria
We kicked things off with our very first track ‘Beacon Fires’, our first collaborative effort that quickly became our signature tune. The song prepared the way for both Chris and Lee to become the main vocal presence within the band with both of them learning to sing whilst playing their respective instruments. Videos and sound clips show just how much the song has evolved since then. The song ‘Nadia’s Aria’ also grew early on and told the tale of a lady having a rather rubbish afternoon who was rescued by her friends from across the city.
Camden became our home
The first quarter of 2013 saw us adopt Camden as our spiritual home and use the open mic nights there to practice new material and gain singing experience. Hosted by the charismatic maestro that is Tim Wilson, the open mics gave us a platform for trying out our newest folk offerings in front of an attentive audience.
Our very first festival came in the form of Freshfields. We performed on the acoustic stage alongside other local favourites including Hannah Robinson, Ninebarrow and the talented guitarist Chris Woodford. The homely stage set-up included a number of sofas allowing Lee yet another chance to follow in the footsteps of one of his cello idols who has a habit of performing from a comfy armchair with a tasteful rug.
Inspiration for new material came from a variety of sources. Chris attended the Goodwood Revival with Kadia’s talented photographer and lovely administrative genius, Jo. With both of them in authentic 1940s vintage clothing, Chris, dressed as a pilot, was inspired to imagine the plight of a young airman thrown into the turmoil of war who would regularly spare a thought for his family and loved ones back home, thus ‘The Navigator’ was born.
Purbeck Folk Festival
Kadia were lucky enough, with the support of voters, to be given the chance to compete for a spot at the ever popular Purbeck Folk Festival. Playing alongside some brilliant musicians was a real treat and the band embraced the ‘Summer of Love’ theme with some outrageous flares, bare chests, peace necklaces, and a lot of sheepskin – a necessary step to stand out against the competition including Beth Johnstone, Tim Somerfield, Jimmy Hillbillies, Bob Tracey & Scott Simmons and Big Tent and the Gypsy Lantern who we later supported in the atmospheric Medieval setting of the historic King Charles Inn. We should say thank you to Scott & Bob for kindly swapping their slot at the final of the Purbeck Rising competition. Lee had to be in Bristol in the evening and had to leave the festival straight after the performance to get there on time. Without the swapping of us and Bob & Scott, Lee would have been murdered by his mates in Bristol. The costumes didn’t stop with Purbeck’s hippy theme. The Band got into the festive spirit with some tasteful Christmas jumpers and an array of seasonal hats to play some timeless yuletide classics. As Christmas drew even closer, Kadia took to the stage as Santa and his elves complete with pointy ears and pointy shoes.
New In 2014
Early 2014 hasn’t seen us slow down. January has been a busy month here at Kadia HQ. Although we haven’t been out and about, we have been rehearsing and polishing our existing repertoire and writing a number of new songs.
The band have also been planning for this year’s festival season and we are pleased to say we have already been confirmed for a number of performances including the Purbeck Folk Festival, Wimborne Folk Festival and Hen-fest, a local festival that has grown so much that this year it is moving to a new site, also right on our doorstep in Wimborne.
We have spent much of our recent practise time working on the introduction of 3 part harmony, blending new layers into a select number of our existing tunes and beginning brand new songs in 3 parts from the word go. Welcome David to the singing responsibilities.
Folk music and traditional folk ballads from across our native Dorset to the distant shores of Ireland are often strongly narrative tunes. David has penned a new song that tells the story of the origin of fire. In an exotic twist for Kadia, the tale is drawn from Native American legend and follows the plight of a greedy fox who stumbles upon a grove of fireflies standing guard over the secret of fire.
The new song, ‘My Friend’, written by Chris is complete and ready to go. The underlying story has a fable-like quality with a moral undertone encouraging all keep the door open to your friends and look after them. The music looks back to traditional approaches to tonality, with a strong modal flavour and the unexpected but pleasing harmonies that now sound exotic to our modern ears.
Our music is undoubtedly contemporary and we love nothing more than a good foot-stomping tune, but we have consciously taken inspiration from the traditional repertoire. Lee is using his knowledge of music history to help root different aspects of our music in the rich folk tradition still going strong across the country. The bare bones of a new currently untitled track weave together a handful of folk devices to create a charming little ditty.
Although we have been keeping busy away from the spotlight, we did find time earlier in the month to share an evening of ale, food and song with another folk group from our hometown. Our music making with Ninebarrow’s Jon and Jay inspired us to inject some new life into some of our original material. We went along to hear the duo perform just before the New Year where they supported the masters of surf-folk, Willowen, at their sold-out album launch. Our own Cellist, Lee, performed alongside Willowen, this time on the viola, as part of a string trio formed especially for the event.
With January already rapidly drawing to a close we are looking forward to a year jam-packed with gigs. Our next performance sees us make our Bournemouth Folk Club debut where we will support the exceptional Will McNiccol and then we return to the Fiveways Folk Club.