Folk - Bob Lewis
Did you know that Sussex much like Scotland and Ireland has
its own indigenous folk music? I didn’t either, but
Bob Lewis, who plays the Royal Oak tonight, tells me Sussex
has produced 800 identifiable songs unique to the county.
“When folk started to be collected and catalogued in
the 20th Century, researchers found that the folk scene in
Sussex had one of the richest histories,” he tells me.
Often esoteric aspects of local knowledge are preserved in
the music, which Bob has been performing without musical accompaniment
for over 40 years. “I sing songs about wars, sailors,
transportation, farming,” he says, “and some of
them are 200 years old and refer to people and events that
have been largely forgotten.” His songs also preserve
a language that would otherwise be lost. “Do you know
what a wimbrel is,” he asks. I don’t really need
to answer. But he only knows it’s a tool for tying bales
of hay because someone put it into a song once. And then that
song was handed down, and handed down. No wonder then, that
the current resurgence in family and local history has seen
Bob find a new source of fans.
A local folk legend, Bob is full of praise for Vic and Tina
who put ‘heart and soul’ into Folk at the Oak.
“They go to a lot of effort to bring people from all
over the country, and all over the world, and that means they’ve
got a loyal, appreciative audience. And that makes it a lovely
place to play.” JM