REVIEW: Daphne’s Flight at Lowdham Village Hall

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Sensitive, strident, soulful, proud, intelligent, passionate, quirky, uplifting, humorous,  poignant, ethereal, forceful and joyous are just some of the adjectives that could be applied to Daphne’s Flight, the all female ‘folk super group’ who performed at Lowdham Village Hall on September 21.

It is apt that they are named after a Greek goddess as this performance was simply heavenly. Following closely on the heels of Andy Fairweather Low’s blistering performance some fortnight earlier, this Warthog concert was a gentler if no less enjoyable affair.

Daphne’s Flight: Julie Matthews, Chris While, Melanie Harrold, Helen Watson and Christine Collister, formed in 1996 at the Cambridge Folk Festival. This resulted in an album and tour but was then followed by a 20 year hiatus. In 2017 they reformed producing a second album and time together on the road again.

It’s hard to believe that they spent so long before deciding to get back together because as a quintet they exude a touch of magic. Each brought something different to the mix resulting in a unique whole. Many songs were performed over sparse instrumentation emphasising the quality of the harmonies and intricate vocalisation.

It is apt that they are named after a Greek goddess as this performance was simply heavenly.

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Topics in the largely self-written songs included break ups, first loves, aspiration, doing the right thing, and even Manx Folk Lore. A highlight was Collister’s yet to be recorded, You Got Me Going, with the protagonist pleading for the chance to stay by the side of her partner.

‘I wrote it 10 years ago and didn’t know what to do with it. Then I realised it needed Daphne-fying!’   Given the audience response to Collister’s hugely soulful performance, it’s sure to be on a disk in the near future!

In a show full of social comment with their own songs like Count Me In, and, Pride, Harrold took lead on Elvis Costello’s Shipbuilding. She recapped on the song’s insight through the juxtaposition of job creation on the shipyards with the horror of the Falklands War. The same community creating work and yet sending folks off to potential harm.

The evening gave the appreciative audience uplifting, sing-along moments, more reflective sections, a bit of philosophy and ‘life coaching’, and times for a chuckle. An evening well spent!

Rapturous applause summoned the ensemble back for an encore which was rather apt in being Father Adieu.


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