Category Archives: English folk/modern

Steppy Downs Road

After a long break (apologies!), let’s kick off with a little airy lightness, written by English fiddler Sam Sweeney and recorded live in lockdown by his newly-minted Sam Sweeney Band. The tune, named after a Cornish country lane, is from their recent album Unearth Repeat, which has helped raise spirits, feet and lockdown dust during these low days.

Times are desperate for musicians and all creative artists right now. Wherever I can in my tunes blogging, I’ll be posting links for voluntary funding and music purchase. If you enjoy the music, please do buy or donate, if you can. Any amount helps, no matter how small.

Here’s Sam’s fundraiser link for the band.

Happy fiddling, everyone: wishing you well and happy!

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Sam Sweeney Band

Sam Sweeney (fiddle), Jack Rutter (acoustic guitar), Louis Campbell (electric guitar), Ben Nicholls (double bass), Dave Mackay (keyboards)

Recorded live in lockdown, May 2020

(‘Steppy Downs Road (Live in Lockdown)’, YouTube video 4.53. Published by Sam Sweeney on 19 May 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zf4nmbIpcBQ&feature=emb_logo)

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Sam Sweeney: website  funding Twitter Facebook

Album Unearth Repeat is available from Sam’s website shop, and linked online vendors

Keep an eye on Sam’s Twitter and Facebook posts for updates on recordings, videos, gigs and other projects!

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Milford

 

 

Andy Cutting’s lovely bourrée Milford seems to be rarely played. Here he is: first, playing it for a dance; and second, teaching it at workshop. As far as multi-instrumental versions go, the tune is part of trio Leveret’s repertoire (of which Andy is a member), but the only online video of a live performance is too poor a recording to be worth sharing, so finally I’ll link you to the marvellous audio from their album New Anything, on Spotify.

 

Andy Cutting (diatonic button accordion)

Playing for an Italian community dance in 2012.

(‘Millford (Andy Cutting), YouTube video 4.46. Published by girando49, Mar 13 2012. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3uGZxf4Zb5U)

 

Andy Cutting (diatonic button accordion)

Teaching session at a Bonn, Germany, workshop in 2014.

(‘Milford – Andy Cutting’, YouTube video 2.25. Published by mattias de smet, May 20 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9FbuxBArc8)

 

Leveret

Andy Cutting (diatonic button accordion), Rob Harbron (concertina), Sam Sweeney (fiddle)

Audio track from their their 2016 album New Anything.

https://open.spotify.com/search/results/Leveret%20Milford

 

Andy Cutting:  website  Facebook

Leveret:  website  Facebook

 

 

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Mrs Saggs

fiddle-saggs

I’ve wanted to learn this beautiful air for a long time. Composed by English musician/songwriter/composer Chris Wood – one of English folk music’s iconic fiddlers – it seems to have become known online predominantly as a melodeon tune. The version I’ve chosen for tunecatching is played on melodeon with clarity and heart by Cambridgeshire-based musician Anahata.

Fiddle versions are few and far between, but I love the Will Pound Band’s soulful arrangement* with English fiddler Henry Webster. Enjoy it here (Will preferred me not to embed the video as the band is no longer together, but as it’s still up online I’m assuming a simple link is acceptable.) *Note that harmonica virtuoso Will tweaks the straight melody to fit the harmonica’s range.

Anahata (Oakwood D/G melodeon)

(‘Mrs Saggs – a tune by Chris Wood – Anahata, melodeon’. YouTube video, 2:33. Uploaded by anahatamelodeon on Aug 18, 2011. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cv2LkaxLOw4)

Anahatawebsite

Henry Webster:  website

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Stop Press: Radio Rich Pickings

Radio Rich Pickings launches today!

club_holds_radio_dance_wearing_earphones_1920Tuesday 27 September 2016

6-8pm UK

1-3pm EST

TO LISTEN ONLINE:

  1.  Click the LINK
  2.  Click PLAY

 

 

My good friend and West London neighbour, ex-Genesis roadie turned environmentalist Richard Macphail, goes solo on air tonight with his shiny-bright new radio station, playing an eclectic mix of rock (1960-1985 ish), jazz, classical, folk, and a whole kaleidoscope of you-heard-it-here-first stories from his years on the road.

The second hour he describes as Off Piste – and it does what it says on the tin. Tonight, acclaimed English folk band Leveret (a Fiddletails favourite) is on the playlist with a track from their 2016 CD In The Round.

Kick back and stretch your ears for a while. I’ll see you there!

(Radio Rich Pickings: http://69.175.94.98:8200/index.html)

 

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Folk Music Retreat with Laurel Swift

Street, Somerset

7-9 October 2016

Street retreat

Just a few places left on this first event in Laurel Swift’s 2016-2017 varied teaching programme – a multi-instrumental weekend retreat with the emphasis on developing ensemble skills alongside individual playing and musicianship. Expect dynamic, inspirational teaching in great company, fuelled by wonderful food and drink in glorious country settings.

Oh, and you’ll need to pack walking boots with your instruments!

Glast Tor

Full details and booking here.

For Laurel’s full programme of retreats, workshops and classes, see the Teaching menu on her website.

 

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Curlew

curlew

 

Hurdy-gurdy maestro Nigel Eaton’s haunting evocation of this ancient European wader, a frequenter of marshes and estuaries. A 3/8 bourée, he wonders…? Sounds good to me.

 

Nigel Eaton (hurdy-gurdy)

Played on a hurdy-gurdy made by his father, Chris Eaton.

 

(‘Curlew’, YouTube video 4:12. Posted by Nigel, 2 Mar 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcg6D_fQMUQ)

 

Nigel EatonSoundcloud  YouTube

Nigel Eaton, cabinetmakerwebsite

Chris Eaton, maker of hurdy-gurdies:  website

 

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May Day Weekend gig alerts!

Gadarene and Dipper Malkin

Two great London gigs a stone’s throw from Kings Cross, with Fiddletails-featured musicians as you’ve probably never seen them before!

 

Gadarene

Kings Place, Friday 29 April, 10-11.15 pm

Info and tickets here  (Note late performance times – but Kings Place is only a short walk from Kings Cross tube.)

Fiddler Laurel Swift clogs and swings double bass in this extraordinary band playing ‘ultra-modern ancient music that’s wild enough to dance to! Gadarene transform obscure English 18th and 19th-century tunes with arrangements drawing on styles from funk and reggae to electronic and trance. With clogs and drums, mandolin, double bass, fiddle and flute, the band celebrate the release of their new CD’.

Audio showreel:

Gadarene:  website

(Laurel Swift previously featured in posts Ben & Laurel 28 May 2015, and Idbury Hill audio teaching track 22 Aug 2015)

 

Dipper Malkin

The Harrison, Sunday 1 May, 8-11 pm

Info and tickets here

Fiddler/viola d’amore player John Dipper joins forces with guitarist/singer Dave Malkin in a subtle and intriguing new duo.

Promotional video:

Dipper MalkinFacebook

(John Dipper previously featured in Oss 18 Sept 2015)

 

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Stop press! Multi-instrumental folk music retreat

Folk Music Retreat with Laurel Swift

April 8th – 10th 2016

Thurlby, Lincolnshire

 

Just a few places left on this amazingly good workshop with fiddler/composer/dancer Laurel Swift. Fabulous teaching, playing and walking (and food!) in an unspoilt Lincolnshire village – the kind of weekend where you play your socks off and go home feeling as though you’ve had a week’s holiday.

Thurlby

Don’t forget your walking shoes as well as your instrument/s!

 

Full details and booking on Laurel’s website

 

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Great Uncle Henry

 

Fiddler Emma Reid’s composition Great Uncle Henry, played with Rob Harbron’s Waiting For Rain in a set of memorable tunes from the duo’s subtle, engaging album Flock & Fly.

But first…

Gig Alert!

Rob Harbron & Emma Reid play London’s Green Note

Monday 4 April

Details and booking here.

 

Rob Harbron (concertina), Emma Reid (viola)

 

 

You can hear and buy Flock & Fly on Bandcamp here, or by clicking on the player links above.

Rob Harbron:  website  Twitter

Emma Reid:  website

 

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Lyvet

 

Sometimes you meet a tune you know is just never going to let go. Acclaimed hurdy-gurdy player Nigel Eaton plays his tune ‘Lyvet’.

A wonderful tune to play against a drone string to catch those gurdy tones.

 

Nigel Eaton (hurdy-gurdy)

In G minor

(https://soundcloud.com/nigeleaton/lyvet)

 

In F minor  – on a hurdy-gurdy made by his father, master hurdy-gurdy maker Chris Eaton

(‘Lyvet’ YouTube video, 1:15. Posted by Nigel Eaton, 27 Feb 2013. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUXJEOVHcb4)

 

Nigel EatonSoundcloudYouTubewebsite

Chris Eaton,  hurdy-gurdy maker

 

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