Sunday, November 21, 2021

Vibrant art & music as autumn starts to fade

It's been a vivid week for visuals: Frome's town centre, already a half-way to a Dickensian Christmas filmset with its cobbles and overhangs, is beginning to sparkle in anticipation of solstice celebrations, and a brilliant exhibition at Black Swan Round Tower gallery is reminding us how art makes a great gift... not just paintings here but wonderful ceramics and garments. Friday night's opening of Together Again, an exhibition by Old Bakery Artists was crammed with superb work, all very well displayed, and with many of the artists themselves present. Cleverly curated to show all the work to advantage despite the sometimes-tricky circular space, this was full of vivid colour and varied textures - Here's surrealist painter Caroline Walsh-Waring with some of her work, and a young visitor admiring the knitted fertility deities on display. 

Another opening on the same night at the WHY gallery displayed some of the immaculate and extraordinary engravings by Chris Pig, who I met outside discussing his work with some of his fans.  His exhibition, Fancy Goods, wasn't so easy to photograph in situ, but you can see one of these impressive works here - an immaculate and tender glimpse of a moment in time in a barbers' shop.

Music has been impactful too, with jazz, funk, and 'twisted blues and religious fervour' enlivening the gathering gloom of late November.  Rosco Shakes brought their upbeat jazz style to Bar Lotte on Wednesday, this time with a different line-up: Steve on sax, Josh on bass, Ned on drums and vocals and guitarist Paul who scan wing his guitar over his head and plays it on his back... whoever said jazz musicians are snobs?
And on Saturday, 23 Bath Street opened its stage for a fundraiser for Fair Frome, an independent community service providing support for the most vulnerable in our community, for whatever reason. This charity is based at the Town Hall and provides a wide range of vital services, especially in the winter.  Two popular local bands played live: Unit 4, a newish funk quartet fielding vocalist Mark with David on guitar, Danny on bass & Pat on drums.  The Back Wood Redeemers followed, with their six-piece band giving a theatrical performance of their of gospel/rock favourites. Dancing ensued, some of it on stage.

Finally: the changing colours of leaves seemed even more vibrant than usual this year but the strong winds brought masses of them down creating rich carpets on our pavements but stripping trees naked. It looked like maybe a little too late for my walk from Heavens Gate to Shearwater on Sunday, but by the lake the trees were still russet and gold: here's my favourite shot. 

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