"Lightgarden were a triumph at The Village Pump Folk Club. A wide variety of music and instruments all played brilliantly, some interesting facial expressions and dancing styles plus some awful jokes. Rob managed to play a mandolin with a string missing and still make it sound good. The Mongolian overtone singing is amazing! Hope they come back to see us again."
- The Village Pump, Trowbridge, 16th November 2012
Live review, Bath Fringe 2010: LightGarden
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- Brett Callwood
Live review: York, Black Swan Folk Club 2008
David Moss & Masha Kaestner, aka Lightgarden – Black Swan, York, 3rd April 2008
This was one of those nights where the unusual and unfamiliar provides a more stimulating evening’s entertainment and more lasting musical satisfaction than the “know exactly what you’re in for” bigger-name attractions. “Expect the unexpected” could have been the night’s motto, with the evening’s MC, iconic performance poet Tony Morris, delivering his own eclectic brand of instrumentality and forcing a couple of his original songs out into the ether. It was refreshing to feel similarly unconstrained with the choice of material for the other floor performers (Chris Euesden, yours truly and “off-the-Walls” poet Don). But the tapestry of earthly and unearthly delights unveiled by Lightgarden was truly extraordinary. That over-used word MAGIC is only the half of it. David Moss, some of you may recall, was the primary driving force behind the stunning Whitby-based trio Banoffi, who quit while they were very much ahead and called it a day around five years back. This genuinely consummate artist just happens to be tremendously skilled as a fiddler, plays a mean bouzouki, guitar and mandolin and is an amazing singer and writer of hypnotic, floaty songs for which the word beautiful might have been invented. After taking a music-free sabbatical, he’s now teamed up with a new musical partner, Masha Kaestner, a petite keyboard player (and occasional singer) who held court pretty commandingly on the harmonium (now there’s an instrument making a comeback!). The duo’s empathy was miraculous, and their set-list embraced a bewildering diversity such that dreams are made of, whereby listeners were alternately dumbstruck, mesmerised into rapt silence, or tapping three of their four limbs in uncontrollable (if slightly bemused) abandon. Getting the obligatory folky number out of the way at the start (a stomping version of Raggle Taggle Gypsies), David then indulged his known penchant for unusual and exotic time-signatures with the wild proto-Balkan Seven-Eight before moistening our eyes with the heart-rending tale of The Blind Man And The Sky. Then we were treated to the first of the evening’s extended adventures, a linked pair of songs featuring the ancient technique of overtone-chanting (of which David is both an able practitioner and teacher). And we were riveted to the spot, as it were, by this ethereal and wonderful sound reverberating around the unsung cavities of the room. After which, just when we were thinking the evening could hold no further surprises, Masha sang a strange little song in Finnish (Vainamoinen)! It was surely an indicator of the quality of the music that, interestingly (and unusually), the packed room remained packed for the second half too, highlights of which were David’s recent song Shifting Sands, and his Banoffi-period classic Bluebells and a couple of floor-shaking tune-sets. What proved a seriously unforgettable evening concluded with a mantra song as the encore. Lightgarden is without doubt one of the most enthralling acts on the scene; get your local club to book ’em!
Review by DavidK firstname.lastname@example.org on 1 May 2008