Caravanserai

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UK folk group Caravanserai boast unusual beginnings befitting their chaotic but dynamic musical style - being formed by the edict of a Czech Consul during his time in Leeds, Yorkshire, England. Immediately…
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UK folk group Caravanserai boast unusual beginnings befitting their chaotic but dynamic musical style - being formed by the edict of a Czech Consul during his time in Leeds, Yorkshire, England. Immediately following the ‘velvet revolution’ in his home country he decided he would like to take some British musicians over to Prague to busk on the streets there. He offered his friends six weeks to establish a band and rehearse, while he organized accommodation and venues. Three members of the septet, Quentin Rawlings (guitar, mandolin), Gill Pearson (fiddle) and Cluny Macpherson (percussion), had already amassed considerable experience playing behind the Iron Curtain. Eventually they developed an ear for Balkan music that replaced their original Irish leanings. With the addition of Sam Saechter (French horn), they also added a discernible Jewish klezmer influence. He too had been a member of several street bands, adding to Caravanserai’s self-acknowledged preference for ‘loud and rude music’. The remaining members are Graham Jones (bass), Dutch accordionist Herlinde and two clarinettists, Mary Plumb from Leeds and Kelly Grattan from Dumfriesshire, who alternate time depending on the location of performances. A lot of their songs are simplified versions of traditional dance tunes, and though they have recorded to critical approbation they remain primarily a performance group. As they maintain: ‘We deal in energy, dynamism, direct communication using weird rhythms and scales. It’s challenging and driving, intriguing but not alien.’