IF you have been shopping down Broad Street in Reading lately you may have come across a pair of young percussionists busking with a medley of home-made instruments — buckets and tins and old oil drums, writes Lesley Potter. They make a brilliant sound, and always attract a huge crowd. It just goes to show that raw musical talent will out, no matter what.
A folk band coming to the Nettlebed Club on Monday have a similarly unorthodox approach to instrumentation. In fact, the Churchfitters have been described as “a folk band like no other”.
Their show includes a double bass made out of a saucepan, vocals accompanied by a musical saw, fast fiddle mixed with funk-rock rhythms and traditional tunes reinvigorated with... what else but jazz riffs from a sax.
The four virtuoso musicians from England and France strut their stuff on a stage that bristles with all manner of instruments, including flute, banjo, dulcimer, tin whistle, guitar, ukulele, electric hub-cap bass and a sackful of percussion. They also have a “bing-bong” machine made out of hack-saw blades.
The quartet have written a number of original tunes, and their show is also liberally sprinkled with the odd joke.
Londoner Rosie Short is on vocals and she is equally at home singing blues or plaintive femme folk. She also writes her own music and plays flute, saxophone, banjo, tin whistle, dulcimer, ukulele and any number of things you can shake, rattle, or whack with a stick.
Rosie’s brother Chris is the band’s fiddler and also plays mandolin, as well as providing vocal harmonies.
Boris Lebret from Lannion in France is described as “part bass player, part mad inventor” who hates to play a regular instrument when he can cobble together a better one out of scrap metal. When he discovered four strings weren’t enough for his driving bass rhythms, he simply reached for the Black & Decker and bolted on another six.
Finally Nelson is on percussion, drums, guitar, mandolin and vocals.
The Churchfitters play a one-night gig at the Nettlebed Club on Monday, February 10 at 8pm. For tickets call 01628 636620 or visit www.nettlebedfolkclub.co.uk