A Hawk And A Hacksaw
Amsterdam Paradiso (Kleine Zaal), The Netherlands
20th March 2011 (2011-03-20)
Type: Audience (master), recorded front of house, 3 metres back from
the left, ceiling-mounted PA stack.
Source: 2 x DPA 4060 mics -> DPA MMA6000 amplifier (100 Hz low-cut filter) ->
Edirol R-09HR recorder (44.1 kHz/16 bit WAV)
Lineage: Audacity 1.3.12-beta (tracks split, fades added) ->
FLAC (compression level 8) [libFLAC 1.2.1 20070917]
01. Foni Tu Argile
02. Española Kolo
03. Manaki Mou
04. Fernando's Giampari
05. I Am Not A Gambling Man
10. Vasalisa Carries A Flaming Skull Through The Forest
11. Dragon Kolo
12. The Bad Girl's Lament
13. Raggle Taggle
15. No Rest For The Wicked
16. [encore break]
ENCORE (played acoustically in the audience):
17. The Man Who Sold His Beard
18. Romanian Hora And Bulgar
19. Sleep Walk
Running time: 72m 10s
I don't do a lot of post-processing of my my recordings. Those who've
downloaded them know that. I prefer to keep a faithful reproduction of the
sound on the night. Laziness and lack of skill with audio editing software are
merely peripheral factors.
So, I add fades, split the recording into tracks, export them to WAV and then
encode those to tagged FLAC. Not so much work, right?
Deciding (i.e. working out) where to put the split markers and coming up with
matching song titles can be as time-consuming a process as twiddling knobs and
dials in an attempt to improve the sound.
Such was the case with this recording of A Hawk And A Hacksaw. Even though I'd
nabbed Heather Trost's scribbled set-list to work from, it was still a
The paper list was missing songs and had others misspelt. That's wouldn't be a
big problem with a lot of bands, but when the set consists of traditional folk
songs from Hungary, Romania, the Balkans and Turkey, some of which the band
haven't even released, you're in trouble.
So, my friends, what you now have before you is the result of many hours of
toil. Just so you know.
Anyway, enough of my trials and tribulations and on to the point of the
exercise: what a great gig!
I bought my ticket for this just a few hours in advance, unsure if I could be
arsed to brave the cold for a band whose music I need to be in a particular
frame of mind for. Realising that I've almost only ever regretted NOT going to
a gig, wisdom dictated that I muster the energy and attend. And I'm very glad
A slip with the recorder meant that I only just managed to start the recording
before the band kicked in with the first number.
From that point on, they barely stopped to draw breath in a performance of
eye-widening virtuosity. Trying to stop one's feet from moving was akin to
putting a Fruit Pastille in one's mouth and trying not to chew.
The Kleine Zaal wasn't sold out, but there was a good crowd in attendance.
It was perfect, actually. There was room to move about (if you weren't taping
the gig) and it wasn't too hot.
Jeremy Barnes and Heather Trost are joined on stage by trumpet player Samuel
Johnson and percussionist George Lawler, two musicians clearly of the same
calibre as they.
Jeremy sticks to the accordion throughout the show, whilst Heather plays
violin on all but one song, picking up a bizarre-looking Stroh violin for
'Vasilisa Carries A Flaming Skull Through The Forest'. During this song, she
teases a dangling string, dragging it between her fingers to coax the note
from it. It's a remarkable sight and no less interesting to listen to, as it
sounds as if the violin is burping in tune with the music.
One rousing stomper after the other comes careering by until the set is closed
by the highlight of the evening, the aptly named 'No Rest For The Wicked',
even more aptly renamed 'No Rest For Heather' on her list, indicating the
vigour required to perform the song.
The crowd lap it up and there just has to be an encore. The band return, but
instead of heading for the stage, they walk into the audience and start
playing in the middle of the room. Because there's enough room to move freely,
I quickly manoeuvre myself to the focus of everyone's attention and record the
final three numbers, which are played acoustically, standing next to Heather.
The last two songs are performed by just Jeremy and Heather. Minus the trumpet
and percussion, the volume is a little low during these, but not annoyingly
so. I was, in any case, using a pre-amp to record the gig, an absolutely
essential piece of equipment this evening.
Here's a clip of the band playing in the audience from the previous night's
show at the Botanique in Brussels:
That'll give you a taste of the atmosphere.
It's a longer set than I was expecting, nineteen songs running to over seventy
minutes of musical exuberance, a performance full of beans from start to
Balkan folk music from New Mexico: it doesn't bode well on paper, I grant you
that, but what we have here is totally authentic. Jeremy and Heather have
travelled Europe, dueted with the Hungarian Hun Hangár Ensemble and spent a
couple of years living in Romania. They've studied this music as academics and
Make no mistake. This isn't a watered-down, low-spice dish for dainty Western
palettes. This is the genuine article, fiery and fervid, performed with relish
As usual, I have done performed no software trickery to enhance the recording.
The sound is crystal-clear throughout.