Before festival season I have a morning ritual that involves a walk up and around Brandon Hill park here in Bristol, before climbing the Cabot Tower. Not only do you get a good 360 view of the city from above before you submit yourself to it’s daily challenges, but it’s a good spot of basic exercise that builds me up to eventually going to the gym. However this ritual falls apart bit by bit the deeper into festival season I get and yesterday was the first time I’d actually been up the tower since I’d been spat out the other side of summer.
As I caught my breath and took in the majesty of my adopted city in the sunshine, I heard a coarse but powerful voice singing, Rolling Down The River accompanied by guitar, tabla and some other percussion. It came from somewhere down below, but was as loud as if it had been coming from a set of speakers on the tower platform next to me. I ran down the tower steps and tried to follow it, intrigued by the mixture of English Folk and Indian percussion, and where it must be coming from. In my haste to find it I got lost down unfamiliar park paths and also lost the sound every now and then, depending on which way I’d turned. Eventually I made it to the bottom of the park but by then the music had gone altogether.
Although I knew it must have been coming from a fairly big sound system, and most likely from outside, I still double checked the local pubs surrounding the park to see if there were any bands playing, but eventually gave up. The song played in my head for a while longer and I tried to guess at who it might have been, however it wasn’t until I got back home later that I came across a Facebook post from RSVP, a great Bristol based Bhangra band who played on the Old Mines stage at this year’s BoomTown. There was the tune staring me right in the face, it turns out it had been the soundtrack to a Crane Dance on Bristol Harbourside, played by RSVP in combination with their guitarist’s solo Folk project Whistling Treason…. and here it is. Sadly no Tabla on this version (nb: though since writing this I’ve been reliably informed that such a version is planned for release) but the fusion sound can still be heard through the guitar, which certainly sounds decidedly Indian influenced to me anyway. Catch the whole EP here.