To mark the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love, we premiered a new set of arrangements of tunes from ’67, including music by the Velvet Underground, Buffalo Springfield, the Doors and The Association.
With the help of several friends from our Paris chapter, we took over Kings Weston House on 17 June for our big summer event, featuring oil projectors, floral outfits and several different mini-ensembles.
Besides our main outdoor set, there were plenty of mellow happenings within. It all came to a storming climax around midnight from prog rock maestros Asteroid Deluxe.
Fantasy Orchestra leader and guiding light, Jesse D Vernon, writes:
As committed-for-life fans of Ursula Le Guin, my wife Kate and I decided to start running appreciation days when we discovered some amazing music, composed by Todd Barton, to accompany one of her books, Always Coming Home. Published in 1985, about a cultural group of humans—the Kesh—who “might be going to have lived a long, long time from now in Northern California.” (p. i) Part novel, part textbook, part anthropologist’s record, Always Coming Home describes the life and culture of the Kesh people.
Todd Barton wrote a selection of folk songs and music which the Kesh might have been going to sing and they make wonderful listening and a great subject for a singing workshop and performance.
We celebrated the World’s Most Famous Unknown People at the Cube on 2 April, with a set including music by Connie Converse, Judee Sill and – in person – Andy Skellam and (below) Rita Lynch:
we popped along the M4 for a set at the Ivy House in Nunhead on 23 April;
we donned appropriate cossies for an Apes Alliance benefit at the University of Bristol on 28 April;
and we played two sets at the Big Love Festival in Hay-on-Wye on 30 April/1 May.
We then split ourselves in two on the weekend of 7 May: while most of our number played at the Park Row Sustrans Festival in Bristol, several of us hopped on Eurostar to join our friends in the Paris Fantasy Orchestra’s for their Bowie Party.
We beguiled the long dark evenings with a few gigs and polished up some new material, which we unveiled at Bristol I Beseech You, our contribution to the Fringe events supported by the BBC6 Music Festival in Bristol.
Having besought Bristol, we celebrated Bowie on 5 March at a show hosted by Backwell Festival — a fond and full-throated tribute delivered with support from The Ambling Band and Invisible Circus. Joining us were old FO friends and guest singers Chris Apthomas (also keyboards) and Jimmy Goodrich:
Whilst the national spotlight is once again shine Bristolwards with the BBC 6Music Festival taking place here, The Fantasy Orchestra have decided to join in and celebrate the magnificence that is Bristol’s homegrown music. We present a set of original tunes by Bristol-based artists such as Rachael Dadd, Andy Skellam, The Precious Mings, Paul Bradley, Rira Lynch, Rozi Plain, Jamie Harrison, This Is The Kit and more!
Expect the exotic; psychedelic loveliness; rousing choral noise; some choice costumes – and possibly a musical saw
Be sure not to miss that gorgeousness that is our opening act…
Yama Warashi; a Fishponds based supergroup led by Yoshino Shagihara who blend a fusion of traditional Japanese melody and harmony, new age and old age sounds, mixed with a rotating smorgasbord of local talent.
£7 in advance from bristol ticket shop (£10 on the door)
L’inénarrable Fantasy Orchestra–au complet, avec chorale et section cordes–vous invite à une fabuleuse soirée David Bowie en Technicolor –attention les yeux les amis ! (et les oreilles… 😉 )
Une scène ouverte précèdera le concert, venez chanter votre Bowie song préférée !
Come and check out the Fantasy Orchestra doing their bowie set with a full set of strings, horns, and singers. Doin’ it like David never did it before, all the lushest arrangements in full effect with some wonderful talents on guest vocals
Autumn’s been a busy season for the Fantasy Orchestra. First there was our set at the Priston Festival near Bath, then for Halloween we took over the Kuumba Centre in St Paul’s, Bristol for a night of macabre revels.
The mostly new repertoire included songs by Dr John and the Specials, and Jeffrey Lewis’ If You Shoot the Head You Kill the Ghoul, which is fast becoming an orchestra favourite.