Category Archives: English folk/modern

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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Jan Mijne Man

 

The melody from a Dutch/Flemish traditional children’s song about a little boy who creates havoc pretending to be a knight.

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Sometimes found in English morris dancing, the tune is played here live by wondrously funky dance band Blowzabella, first up in a set in Am, then transposing to Bm to morph into second tune Go Mauve (at 1:45).

(Image: Manet, Boy with a Sword*)

 

 

Blowzabella

Andy Cutting (diatonic button accordion), Jo Freya (vocals, saxophone, clarinet), Paul James (bagpipes, saxophones), Gregory Jolivet (hurdy-gurdy), Dave Shepherd (violin), Barn Stradling (bass guitar), Jon Swayne (bagpipes, saxophones)

 

 

(From Blowzabella’s 2010 live album Dance.)

See Blowzabellawebsite  Facebook  for 2016 upcoming gigs, band news and recordings

*Metropolitan Museum, New York. Image courtesy of Simon Abrahams and EPPH

 

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Workshop alert: Creative Music Retreat

 

Folk Retreat with Laurel Swift

8-10 April, Thurlby, Lincolnshire

 

Just a few places left on this wonderful multi-instrumental folk weekend. Inspiring classes, home-cooked food, informal sessions and country walks in the Fens. And don’t forget your walking shoes/boots!

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Details and booking here (book by 14 February for reduced rate!)

 

For  music by Laurel, see her website, Laurel fiddle

or use the Fiddletails Search (above right)

 

 

 

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Halsway Schottische

 

‘Sing for the coming of the longest night’

This beautiful tune, composed by Nigel Eaton in 2011, is so well loved it has its own website – a project to record as many different renderings as possible. Anyone may upload their version; to date, there are 172 recordings on the site.

 

 

Nigel Eaton (hurdy-gurdy)

Played here in D – a great key for fiddling Halsway. I play it tuned ADAE and double-stopped, to catch something of the hurdy-gurdy’s drones. (Nigel plays it in G here)

 

(‘Halsway Schottische (Halsway Carol has words of course)’ YouTube video, 1:39. Posted by Nigel Eaton, 26 Feb 2012. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twX-ctnN8EQ)

 

 

Halsway Carol

Nigel Eaton (hurdy-gurdy), with Julie Murphy (vocals) and the SE19

As a midwinter carol (in F), with lyrics by Iain Frisk.

 

 

 

Nigel Eaton: Soundcloud, YouTube, website

Iain Frisk: Soundcloud, website

Julie Murphy: tumblr, bandcamp

 

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First False Path

 

A beautiful light-and-shade waltz composed by English fiddler, bass-player and violist Laurel Swift, also widely known as a dancer, choreographer, composer, and inspirational teacher of all things musical. Laurel is playing here with duo partner, fiddler, melodeon-player and dancer Ben Moss (you may remember the tune from a May 2015 Fiddletails post which focused on the second tune in the set, Whitefrairs’ Hornpipe.)

 

Ben Moss & Laurel Swift

Filmed at Sidmouth Folk Week 2014.

 

(‘Ben Moss & Laurel Swift – Waltz Set’ YouTube video, 3:48. Posted by Laurel Swift, 12 Dec 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNSsjxrLv0M)

 

Laurel Swift (fiddle)

Solo teaching video made for Laurel’s Ealing Folk Band class (a treasure-trove of mainly English tunes and their dots).

 

(‘first false path’ YouTube video, 1.15. Posted by ealingsessions, 1 May 2012. https://youtu.be/KBG4RDja8Zk)

 

BenandLaurel 2

GIG ALERT!

Ben Moss & Laurel Swift play Walthamstow Folk Club, London, Sunday 25 October. Details and tickets here. (Highly recommended – they played and sang up a storm at their Green Note gig back in January 2015!)

More information on their website, and on Facebook, and Twitter (@FolkieBen, @Laurel_Swift).  Oxford Folk Weekend has an interesting biography of the duo linked to a future gig in April 2016.

Current EP available from Ben & Laurel’s website, where you can listen to the great (free!) track No Money. 

 

BenandLaurelCD

 

 

 

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The Muffler/Bhaskar’s

(NB: This set of tunes is a double post to cover next week as well, when I’ll be fiddling away on the EAC Summer School somewhere in deepest Gloucestershire, and nowhere near a computer!)

 

The Muffler composed by Jon Swayne; Bhaskar’s composed by Barn Stradling. From the Blowzabella album Strange News.

A pair of breezy mazurkas to wish Cool Spinnings to Alasdair Paton and all the courageous amateur cyclists taking on the gruelling Étape du Tour in the French Alps this Sunday 19 July.

 

Blowzabella

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Andy Cutting (diatonic button accordion, triangle), Jo Freya (vocals, clarinet, bass clarinet, soprano and tenor saxophones, whistle), Paul James (border bagpipes, soprano and alto saxophones, whistle), Gregory Jolivet (alto hurdy-gurdy), Dave Shepherd (violin, octave violin), Barn Stradling (acoustic bass guitar, octave bass guitar), Jon Swayne (border bagpipes, soprano and alto saxophones)

 

 

 

For upcoming gigs, band news, and to possess Strange News in the flesh, go to Blowzabella’s website, here.

 

Controcanto

Ernesto Voena (diatonic accordion), Angelo Girardi (bass guitar), Giulia Tomasi (violin), Arcangelo Divita (clarinet), Luigi Mingoni (flute), Marco Gajon (guitar)

This group from the Piedmont region of north-west Italy specialises in playing for folk dances. The dancers in this video show the lilting rhythms of the mazurka steps.

 

(‘The Muffler / Bhaskar’s (Mazurka)’ YouTube video, 4:16. Posted by girando49, 23 Feb 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LC9BzvTd1g8)

For more information and videos of many more named folk dance tunes, see Controcanto’s website, here, and girando49’s Youtube channel, here.

 

 

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Falco

Perhaps my favourite tune in the whole wide, sky-filled world.

Paul James’s wild rant*, named for falcons, whirls and tumbles and jinks like the Red Kites I watched playing on the Ridgeway thermals near Monks Risborough one summer evening.

Two videos: the first, dancetastic band Blowzabella recording the tune for their album Strange News; the second, Paul’s teaching video.

 

Blowzabella

Several of the band’s musicians are multi-instrumentalists. The line-up here is:

Andy Cutting (triangle), Jo Freya (bass clarinet), Paul James (bagpipes), Gregory Jolivet (hurdy-gurdy), Dave Shepherd (violin), Barn Stradling (acoustic bass guitar), Jon Swayne (bagpipes)

(‘Blowzabella recording in France 2013’ Youtube video, 4:54. Posted by Paul James, 21 Aug 2013. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhfrhJWR_AE)

 

Paul James

Paul teaching Falco on border pipes, fast and slow; first in F, then in G from 4:38.

(Note to fiddlers: I like to play this tuned GDGD – gets a little of that pipes/gurdy drone sound. However, E strings don’t last long with all that tuning back up again, so if you want to play cross-tuned, perhaps best to use AEAE, and stick to standard tuning if you want to play along with Paul’s pipes or other non A-friendly instrument.)

(‘Paul James of Blowzabella playing the tune “Falco” on border bagpipes’ YouTube video, 8:58. Posted by Paul James, 28 Nov 2013. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aICsx8Ig820)

* Rant: a dance with a rhythmic, percussive step (not someone having a right go on social-media!)

 

For more information on Blowzabella’s gigs, recordings etc – and the fantastic all-dancing, all-playing Blowzabella Days:

http://blowzabella.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/blowzabella

https://twitter.com/blowzabella

More samples from their many CDs are available on YouTube, Soundcloud, Napster, Google Play, etc

 

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The Valiant

Three different takes on the glorious 48-bar jig composed by Simon Ritchie.

Nick Hart and Tom Moore

Nick (duet concertina) and Tom (fiddle) recorded this haunting rendering on their 2014 self-titled CD.

Mary Humphreys and Anahata

Played at breezy dance speed on English concertina and Oakwood melodeon, in a set with The Alexander (by William Clarke of Feltwell – see Mary’s fascinating notes at: http://www.maryhumphreys.co.uk/William_Clarke.php)

Simon Ritchie (composer)

Simon and His So-Called Band recorded the original barnstorming version on their 1998 album Melodion Mania. I hope to post up a Spotify link here soon, but in the meantime you can hear the track on Spotify, and download it from Amazon. 51tcHC0EplL._SL500_AA280_

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