Music with enough charm to send tree blossom tumbling

Outstanding: Red Hippo
Outstanding: Red Hippo
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Red Hippo

Square Chapel, Halifax

By Derek Greenwood

Having successfully individually progressed their careers through jazz, folk, world music and ska, Red Hippo presented us with an intriguing evening of “funky folk”.

Taking their inspiration from past experience, together with traditional folk melodies from Scandinavia, Ireland and England, a programme of familiar and original pieces enchanted us with its variety.

The first set flew by, wit and banter sprinkled with tit-bits of truth and knowledge, together with blatant, yet subtle, combinations of violin, whistle, sousaphone and sax, music strewn with enough charm to bring the fairies down from the hills and float the blossom from the trees.

This recently formed trio of Peader Long, Daz Jones and Simon Chantler gently massaged our musical sensibilities with their outstanding talents, showcasing their exceptional ears for harmony and rhythm, set against their musical histories.

It was impossible not to smile at the simple sense of joy these multi-instrumental heroes conveyed in sharing their love of music with others, thereby transcending a mere performance: they pursued their multi-cultural journey with style and integrity but with a lightness of touch.

In the second set, the trio was joined by six more talented musicians, morphing at random from the auditorium clutching an even wider variety of instruments. We all happily foot-tapped our way through every tune, familiar or not, continually marvelling at the incredible musical skills on display.

The question is, have we any better idea of what “funky folk” really is? Who cares? – catch Red Hippo wherever and whenever you can!