Tab Tries: Folk Society

The cheeky folkers

folk music folk society guitar music university of birmingham

When you think of Folk Society, you probably expect an awkward evening spent pretending to sing songs you’ve never even heard of. At least, that’s what we thought until we tried it.

Every Tuesday in the Guild, 10 to 15 musicians meet up to play some music and have a pint (or three).

As President of the society Harry Little said: “Knowing Folk music is not that important. Acoustic music leads to folk, and a lot of the folk songs are pretty easy to pick up.”

Charlie Lockwood, the Treasurer of the society, added: “We do play traditional folk music but we’re not afraid to branch out into other things as well.”

After the short break at the bar, the session really got going. Going around in a circle everyone would have their turn to play what they’d prepared for the session.

Getting into the spirit of Folk Soc with a pint

What would begin as one man and his guitar soon became a group number. The policy of Folk Soc is if you want to join in with a song then do, so by the end of the number, nearly everyone in the room had picked up the song and were playing along.

What started as one guy and his guitar doing a mash up of Kate Bush and the Cadbury Gorilla song became one guy and his guitar doing a mash up accompanied by three more guitars, a banjo, a mandolin, a ukulele, a violin and an accordion.

Folking brilliant

Ryder Patzuk-Russell, the Secretary of the society, said: “The format really helps you to get better at your instrument. Each week you come and play with people of varying abilities and it helps you to get better.

“You also have the opportunity to try out a new instrument, like if you want to have a go on the mandolin then you have the chance to.”

The meeting went on like this and there were medleys of Love Machine, a bit of Adele and even some Britney. The highlight of the evening was  by the founder of the society, Nick Charlesworth, with his mash up Shakira and a Folk Song beautifully named “Fish don’t lie”.

‘You make a man want to catch a fish’

The meeting ended with a group Four Chord session. Using the same four chords, they had to see which songs they could fit in. Not only was this highly amusing with transitions from Barbie Girl to Time to Say Goodbye but it really highlighted the accessibility and sociability of the society.

There was more talent hidden away in that room than I have seen anywhere else around the uni, and I would highly recommend Folk Soc to anyone who has an interest in music – whether you want to have the opportunity to improve and play with others or if you just want to listen to some great music. Plus, on top of all that, you get to have a few pints, what could be a better way to spend a Tuesday evening?

The cheeky folkers

FolkSoc runs every Tuesday 8pm-11pm in the Guild. You can also have a look on their Facebook page if you want to get involved.