Dream Show: Annie Ball | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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On Saturday 7th August, enchanting event organisers Semibreve will be putting on a night of beautiful sounds in an enchanting secret location in ​​Clara Vale. Performing this candlelit woodland gig is Northumbrian concert pianist, accordion player and Co-founder and Artistic Director of Semibreve, Annie Ball. She will be joined by Margate-based singer, double bassist and guitarist Rebekah Bouche who has released two albums to critical acclaim and was once chosen by Van Morrison to open his set. Both artists will bring traditional songs from their respective repertoires, spanning folk, blues and spirituals from both sides of the Atlantic to create a wondrous and harmonious evening of music.

Here, Annie tells us what her dream show would look like if reality was no obstacle…

Every time Semibreve plans a gig we think of the artist and the audiences’ immersive enjoyment. From the moment they will arrive, how they’ll engage with the venue, the sights, sounds and the musicians. Our dream gig is probably pretty damn close to some of the gigs we’ve done outside over the past year or so under five enormous conker trees which create a canopy and the kind of giant den you would play in for hours as a kid. Growing up in rural Northumberland I spent most of my days within a 3 mile radius of my house, climbing sheer rock faces and investigating abandoned quarries and derelict buildings. When it was time for tea, my mum would ring the big brass bell (which still sits in the conservatory there) and it would ring out loud across the Redesdale valley, our tummies would rumble and we’d pedal ten to the dozen. I would probably try to recreate this playful, hedonistic and intrepid atmosphere for our dream gig in a woodland clearing in midsummer. There would be lots of botanical cocktails which looked as beautiful as they tasted. There’d be a long table set with beautiful vintage linen and lace napkins, all hodge podge and mismatch but in an intentionally stylish layout. LOTS of candles, an Ivy table runner with fairy lights and festoon lights all around. The menu would be epic, having been foraged by us that day; we would have all sung songs of the land in multilayered harmony as we toiled, pointing out different birds and other wildlife. We would feast on slow roasted lamb with honey glazed aubergine with a rich wild berry and rosemary jus that’s been boiling on the stove for weeks and perfect roast potatoes… And Yorkshire puddings mmmmmm. There would be salads and sides from all over the world (a la Christmas at home for the past few years, turkey and ottolenghi salads with chips and onion rings, our table decor was a giant marrow with candles plunged into it). We would drink champagne and the best red wine known to man whilst being serenaded by… Hmmm this is in our dreams right? Joan Armatrading, Queens of the Stone Age, heck while we’re at it what about Queen! And Elvis!! And all the greats we’ve invited to play for Semibreve over the years  would be there like Cath and Phil Tyler, Kate in the Kettle and The Brothers Gillespie. But it would be a very fluid “get up and play/sing if you feel like it” affair, the musicians would also be guests, we’d all collaborate in an effortlessly heartfelt outpouring of joy. That’s one of the reasons I’m really looking forward to having one of our favourites, Rebekah Bouche back this August. She and I were in a skiffle band together many moons ago, which was a riotous affair with everyone singing tunes and just enjoying sharing music together. We’re going to sing a bunch of traditional songs together, and then do some improvisation which is basically the musical equivalent of going on an adventure and building a den! But where was I…? So everyone’s getting up and singing tunes, and it’s time for dessert! The desserts would be out. Of. This. World. Pretty much a bottomless buffet of desserts which contained zero calories obviously. We would dance and sing until the sun came up then we’d wild swim in a warm lagoon. Everyone who came would be given a sheet music origami butterfly as a memento.

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