It was another of those moments of serendipity which created one of the greatest Celtic music legends of… the small Somerset village of Uphill.
My children were young and I was at home with them when late one evening my husband Bari sauntered the couple of hundred yards to our pub, the Dolphin. I wasn’t worried when he didn’t return at closing time as expected, guessing he was standing outside the pub chatting to friends, maybe having sampled a couple of extra pints…
He arrived home when I was in bed and he was very smiley and excited and not the littlest bit tipsy. He had gone to the pub and found an abandoned drum kit and a couple of blokes with guitars. As a drummer he couldn’t resist asking if he could have a little play… and the rest as they say… was the start of Uphill’s own Celtic Connections.
It wasn’t long before there was a regular meeting of four musicians Terry, Mick, Amy and Bari and singer Kevin were meeting regularly and jamming then practicing in the pub cellars, thanks to the support of landlord Paul.
Terry played guitar, Mick played banjo and mandolin, Amy played fiddle and tin whistle and Kevin played the fiddle and lagerphone, and sang.
Before long, playing a variety of traditional music, they had gigs in and around Weston and a loyal following. They played lively sing-along music but their big thing was actually getting the audience to song along with them rather than just humming and lalalala-ing. To do it they had a magnificent laser display unit – the words written on rolls of wallpaper! This was especially useful when singing well-known tunes with their own words made up by Kevin!
They travelled widely through Somerset, Watchet, Wellington, Weston… and other places not necessarily beginning with W. They occasionally had gust players, the amazing bass player, Jim, the Dolphin’s then landlord, Louie, and jazz zinger Ros Cuthbert.
There were some great gigs, and great times and a lot of happy memories!