Since I had already seen Shantalla perform twice before, I knew I could expect a band with an excellent live reputation, an ever so cheerful Helen Flaherty and four jovial musicians gladly willing to throw a party.

They certainly didn’t fail to live up to my expectations. Although the people forcedly had to stay glued to their seats, the band succeeded in capturing the audience right from the start. Just like Martin and Dennis did during the first part of the evening, they alternated cheerful up-tempo tunes and breathtaking melancholic songs. One of Shantalla’s great strengths is undoubtedly Helen’s voice, which is even more beautiful “live” than on CD!


Being deprived of showing their appreciation by dancing, people tried to communicate their approval by clapping along with the music, which did not appear to be all that easy. Sometimes the people at the back seemed to be located in another time zone: they completely clapped out of time. Could that be because the sound took so long to travel to the front? Or were they maybe clapping quicker than sonic speed? I wouldn’t know, but fortunately, the accordion player offered a helping hand in order to get the audience back in tune.

As a matter of fact, the way in which the band members interact with the audience certainly turns each of their concerts into something very special. When they are chatting to the audience, they really make you feel like you have been invited at their homes for Sunday afternoon tea! Yet, I did have my objections when Helen said something about sitting back and relax in “those comfortable seats”, for, during the break, I had seen many a man leaving those same seats in a completely wretched manner for lack of leg space!


One of the high points of the evening certainly was the sing-along moment “dadidoodledey dada dodeeda”, correct me if I’m wrong! The audience definitely impressed me (and the band!) with their singing talent, but, unfortunately, the end of the concert drew nearer. After a deafening applause, Helen came back on stage and sang, unaccompanied, a beautiful song called “John Anderson”. If that didn’t give you any goose bumps, you should probably go see a doctor. After that, the other band members joined her and it was party time again. They made a few more jesting remarks, such as “don’t forget, if you drink and drive tonight, be sure you have a car”. And to believe that there are people who wonder why I love folk music... I think it was on the tones of “The Rocky Road to Cashel” that we had to leave in order to catch our train.

Apparently, the concert has been recorded by VRT for broadcast in June, so I’ll certainly keep an eye open to see whether they played more encores after we left!

More info on Helen Flaherty: http://www.helenflaherty.be
More info on accordion player Gerry Murray: http://www.gerrymurray.com

10:46 Gepost door Aisling | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |

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