Saturday, 3 August 2013

Raphael Achache - Music in the Square 2013 - Sat 3 August 2013

Earlier today I had the great good fortune to catch an appearance by Raphael `Raph` Achache, the first of this years` Music in the Square events.

A talented guitarist with a strong voice and an engaging manner, Raph began his set with jazz standard Ain`t Misbehaving, an excellent song performed excellently, then proceeded to work his way through a set comprised mainly of blues and rock `n` roll tunes. Johnny B Goode, Be Bop A Lula, I Got a Woman, Why Don`t You Do Right, Kansas City (renamed `Beeston City` for the occasion !), Hey Hey, Hit the Road, Jack  and many others were all performed convincingly, as were one or two less well-known to me such as a Lynyrd Skynyrd number which seemed to be called They Call Me the Priest and another by `I don`t know who`  which might be called I`m Gonna Get Arrested.

In case all this bluesiness prove off-putting to those less familiar with the genre, we were also treated to an assortment of  other covers, including Ob La Di Ob La Da, No Woman No Cry, I`m a Believer and Stuck in the Middle With You. Some of these were performed more convincingly than others, I have to say.

There were no displays of virtuosity, but clearly he is a more than capable guitarist and his singing is top notch. I have a suspicion that he may be less engaged with some of the non-blues material he covers, and he might want to watch that audiences don`t pick up on that.

As a purveyor of classic blues, jazz and r `n` r he is on very solid ground and I think he is sensible to reach out to a wider audience as well.

The Music in the Square format does present certain hazards to an unaccompanied acoustic performer. Not far from the stage a stall holder was selling plants and flowers. Part way through Raph`s first set, another man arrived, set up stall nearby and started selling jacket potatoes, and shortly after that, the men came to empty the bins. None of this phased our young bluesologist who swung and strummed in an admirably unconcerned fashion.

I don`t know his musical past or likely future plans. It might be that he would be wise to consider either penning original numbers or collaborating with others. In the meantime, if he only helps to keep this music alive and/or introduce it to a wider audience, that would be a fine thing.

On the web ;

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