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Review: Magna Carta at Sharrington Village Hall

PUBLISHED: 08:52 05 July 2018 | UPDATED: 08:52 05 July 2018

Magna Carta performing at Sharrington Village Hall. Picture: COURTESY OF CHRIS ABRAMS

Magna Carta performing at Sharrington Village Hall. Picture: COURTESY OF CHRIS ABRAMS

Archant

An evening of laughter and top quality music was enjoyed by a sold out audience at Sharrington Village Hall on 23rd June. The world-renowned band Magna Carta had arrived to entertain us. Used to playing big venues often to thousands, Sharrington Village Hall gave those fortunate enough to attend a chance to experience the band in an intimate setting

Magna Carta performing at Sharrington Village Hall. Picture: COURTESY OF CHRIS ABRAMSMagna Carta performing at Sharrington Village Hall. Picture: COURTESY OF CHRIS ABRAMS

The band was founded in the late 1960’s by Chris Simpson and quickly became popular. Their seminal album ‘Seasons’ attracted great admiration and has helped them to sell millions over the course of their career thus far. The members of the band have changed several times over the last 49 years and, at one point, included Davey Johnstone, a hugely talented instrumentalist. Davey played with them at The Royal Albert Hall gig they performed with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He left the band to play with Elton John and has been his lead guitarist ever since.

Many albums followed including the brilliant ‘Lord of the Ages’ hailed by Rick Wakeman, a friend of Chris’s who plays on various Magna Carta tracks, as ‘arguably one of the greatest albums of its kind ever made.’

The lineup today consists of five band members three of whom came to Sharrington. The ever present Chris Simpson was here along with Wendy Ross on electric fiddle and Ken Nicol on acoustic guitar and mandolin.

Chris is a fabulous songwriter. He has the soul of a poet and his lyrics are thoughtful and perceptive. He once was a brilliantly gifted guitarist but one day whilst swimming was bitten or stung by something. The resultant swelling required substantial surgery and after that Chris found himself unable to play the guitar! However, determined to overcome this obstacle, like a seed growing through concrete, he battled through the pain (which he still endures) and relearned how to play. Sadly, he couldn’t recover all the abilities he’d lost but he has been able to resume his career and continues to entertain thousands all around the world!

Wendy has had a notable career supporting various well-known bands such as Jethro Tull. Her violin playing complements Chris’s songs perfectly and she gained great praise from the audience.

Ken is undoubtedly one of the finest guitarists in the country, if not the world! He spent several years with The Albion Band, eight years with Steeleye Span and frequently accompanied the likes of Al Stewart amongst others. During the performance here he performed a solo piece in which he demonstrated his remarkable skills leaving the audience spellbound and hungry for more!

The band’s gentle teasing of each other was very amusing and Chris involved everyone in a rousing and thoroughly entertaining rendition of Donovan’s ‘Colours’.

It was a truly memorable evening which was greatly enjoyed by the band too all of whom have asked to return!

Every couple of months we run a free entry music event at Sharrington. These are proving ever more popular along with the concerts we are arranging such as this one and Gordon Giltrap’s recent gig here. Please do keep an eye on Sharrington’s Village website: www.sharrington.org.uk for more details.

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