Sunday 20th July 2014
Formed out of the increasingly productive Newcastle University folk degree course, The Teacups (who graduated just this summer) have been honing their performance skills at festivals and clubs around the country over the past couple of years. They have grown into a wonderful combination of very technically clever singers, with an infectious quality of energy and fun. They are, individually, lovely singers and very nice people, and together they produce excellent harmonies with warmth and humour.
The group members are Rosie Calvert, Kate Locksley, Alex Cumming and William Finn. In an earlier incarnation, pre-Teacups, the first three members of this line up were teamed up with Andy Parr, who has sung at the Poppy before so we know what a good singer he is! It made sense to ask Andy to open the first half of the concert with a couple of songs. Andy delivered the goods, with 'Just As The Tide Was Flowing' and 'Shallow Brown'.
Then it was time to introduce the full house audience to the Teacups, who gave us a full 45 minutes of mostly traditional songs with a very healthy percentage of chorus songs, shanties and other join-in songs - and join in they did! The first set included plenty of songs with very well known choruses and refrains, including The Lincolnshire Poacher (It's My Delight on a Shiny Night); Bold Riley; The Essequibo River; and Jolly Rogues. Less well-known but equally singable were an American Steamboat shanty (Storing Sugar in the Hold Below); and the infectious 'Shiny-O'. 'Times Do Change' was a lovely new song, written and sung by Rosie Calvert, and a delightful contrast.
It was probably the hottest night of the year so far - possibly the hottest Poppy night since we started - and for a Teacups-themed refreshing change we had asked the pub to provide hot water, milk and sugar so that anyone who fancied a cuppa could make one in the interval. Phil had primed everyone to bring their own cup and saucer, and the scene lent a rather sophisticated air to the break!
Roger Bryant, the very well respected Cornish singer and songwriter, was in the area and we were very pleased to be able to ask him to open the second half with one of his best-known songs, 'Cornish Lads (are Fishermen)'.
Then it was back to the Teacups, for another terrific selection of songs. As before, there was plenty to join in with (For I Like To Rise; Young Banker; All For Me Grog) and, as before, there were some more contemplative songs. Standing out in particular were 'Ripples' (a lovely Alistair Anderson song) and a terrific song about the American humanitarian and slavery abolitionist 'Harriet Tubman'. To close the show, the four voices combined to produce an astonishing medley of rapper dance tunes which they called 'Rappers Delight' - at very fast dance speed!
The crowd called for more, so back they came to give us 'John Cherokee' for an encore.
A really excellent concert; full of energy and life! Well done The Teacups!
Thanks also to the excellent singers and musicians who stayed behind for the song and music session. So many, in fact, that we didn't manage to get a song from everyone who wanted to sing. Apologies to those who we couldn't fit in; and many thanks to those who did get to perform, including: Jim, Bee, Nick & Jacqui, Ken Bramman, Chris and Melanie Morris, Brian & Anna Franks, Ruth Graelish, Bill Wilkes and Roger Bryant. We were also treated to a song from each of the Teacups which showed off their individual voices: Alex sung a clever John Kirkpatrick song, 'Bright String of Pearls' about the Great Western Railway; Kate sang a version of 'Seafaring Kate' accompanied by Andy Parr on concertina; William sang a lovely 'Sally Free & Easy'; and Rosie gave us 'Maids when you're young'.