On Mawkin, All Over the Place
“Essentially, this album’s [The Ties That Bind] only preconceived purpose was to simply let you have fun while trying your damnedest to find some deeper meaning. We’re not making a statement apart from don’t hurt yourself while you’re dancing in the kitchen.” –David Delarre, in an interview quoted on the Mawkin website.
Because I have never run across Mawkin here in the land of commercial music, finding them as the support on the Bellowhead farewell tour was a gift. The band is made up of
the Delarre brothers, David (singer, guitarist) and James (fiddler); Nick Cooke (on melodeon); Danny Crump (bassist); and Lee Richardson (drummer). Their newest album, The Ties That Bind (which David refers to above) provided the material for their 45-minute set, which I had the privilege to see three times in three days. The first night, in Bristol’s Colton Hall, as an added bonus, featured guest Eliza Carthy (even in the land of commercial music, I know Eliza Carthy), as James Delarre had a separate engagement.
Each time I saw Mawkin–at Bristol, at Cardiff, and at Brighton–
they opened with “I Can Hew.” What a choice! If they intended to draw the audience in to get them up and dancing, this was the way to start. They won me with the first song. It helps that there’s a depth to David Delarre’s voice which is particularly attractive. At Bristol, with Eliza Carthy, she and Nick Cooke played the stomping tune off one another, and their eye contact made it clear that they were more than familiar with the way they played, and the way they fit together. The energy in the music was
inviting. Of course, once James Delarre returned for the other two shows, the energy was both the same and different–and equally captivating. I came away each time with this as an earworm.
The other earworm was the “love song” David Delarre claimed they had stolen from Eliza Carthy: “Love Farewell.” A week later, and that is the Mawkin tune still running through my head. Again, it is the combination of David’s singing, and the way Nick and James
mesh fiddle and melodeon that stay with me. The driving nature of both pieces is built on the rhythm foundation of bass and drums; even now that I’m home, I’m dancing in my kitchen as predicted. My one mistake was not buying the CD at the merch table at any of the gigs (proverbially penny-wise and pound-foolish, me); but I will be buying The Ties That Bind now, because it’s become a musical necessity.
When I parted from Louise, one of the women I’d been touring Bellowhead with, she suggested that next time I’m over, we tour Mawkin. This is not out of the realm of possibility, I think. I’m glad to have found them so serendipitously; I’m a fan now.
Postscript: On the Mawkin homepage, there’s a link to download their bootleg Bath show recording from last November. DO IT.