Friday, 31 August 2012

MuHa - Beeston Square, 25 August 2012

MuHa were the last band to appear in Beeston as part of the Summer in the Square/Beeston Summer Music series of events.

They had the distinction of having been recommended to me by an old friend of this blog, Rocking Rob Chandler, a man whose chords cause quivering wherever they are heard.

I had some reservations, but I have to say that the old saying "Rocking Rob won`t steer you wrong" was proved to be true yet again. MuHa, performing as a four-piece on this occasion, proved be one of the musical high points of a year in which I`ve heard quite a bit of live music.

Purveyors of `new roots from Eastern Europe` , they bring together musicians of differing musical leanings and backgrounds and attempt to blend their diverse styles into a cohesive musical package.

Nine times out of ten when musicians do that, you wish they hadn`t bothered, but MuHa are the one out of ten when it really does work. The only problem is, it`s very difficult to describe how they sound !

They are fronted by Iryna Muha who sang, played acoustic rhythm guitar and also briefly played an instrument which I now know to be a berimbau which I personally thought sounded awesome.

On lead acoustic guitar was a man with the dubious distinction of having once been a Latvian rock legend, Dmitry Fedotov. A superb player, he reminded me of Mr Whatshisname who played on Al Stewart`s `Modern Times` album.   

On bass guitar - an electric bass - was Louise Clements, an artist-type who apparently has the misfortune to work in Derby`s supremely ugly Quad building.  She didn`t plonk along like some rock player, she didn`t push herself forward excessively or do anything wildly innovative but in my view she was just the right player for this band.

Completing the band on this occasion was drummer Colm O`Hanlon. Again, not an obtrusive player, but as far as I could see he didn`t falter once in two hours.

As you might have noticed, I`m still not much nearer describing their sound. All I can really say is that the first set seemed to include quite a few Russian folk songs, sung in Russian. No way would I have known them as folk music of any sort without being told. To me, they did need the lead guitar to add a bit of colour, but as they had that, they sounded fine. The second set had a touch of jazz/swing here and there and even a smidgen of blues.

I was probably more at home with the second set, but truthfully in two hours there was really nothing I disliked and I would happily have heard them play for longer.

Would I listen to them at home ? I`m not sure. Would I see them again live ? Definitely.

They`re different, but if you`re at all open-minded about live music give them a chance - they deserve it.


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