Category Archives: English folk/traditional

Bushes and Briars

Briar rose

 

Something a little different, a little summery. This beautiful song was the first piece ever collected by composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, on 4 December 1903, from the singing of 70-year-old labourer Charles Pottipher in the village of Ingrave, Essex.

Though the song is often rendered very free rhythmically, ace folk-dance band Blowzabella present this more rhythmic but subtle arrangement. Fiddler Dave Shepherd lays out variations on the tune over Andy Cutting’s haunting accordion riff, before piper Paul James’ evocative singing.

I seem to have found the summer fiddle-singing project I was hankering after…

 

Blowzabella

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

Recorded at a dance in Stowmarket, Suffolk, May 2016.

 

(‘Bushes and Briars by Blowzabella’, YouTube video, 6.31. Posted by Dave Shepherd, 25 May 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-ARR_vSr6M)

 

Blowzabella:  website   Facebook  Soundcloud

 

 

 

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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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Clark’s Hornpipe

 

First, a Stop Press Gig Alert! 

Tomorrow, Friday 3 June 2016, 7 pm

Alma-848x400ALMA    Emily Askew, John Dipper, Adrian Lever

CD launch at London’s historic and gorgeous Foundling Museum.

Tickets and details:  The Foundling Museum

And if we’re very lucky, they may play…

…Clark’s Hornpipe

In eighteenth-century England, the two John Walshes*, father and son, dominated music publishing. John Walsh Snr was printing engraved music on The Strand, London, by 1690, and later John Walsh Jnr won what we would now call ‘exclusive rights’ to Handel’s music. WalshHandelSonatas1732Cover

Clark’s was first published in the Walshes’ 1730 tunes collection, under the snappy title The Third Book of the most celebrated jiggs, Lancashire hornpipes, Scotch and Highland lilts, Northern frisks, Morris’s and Cheshire rounds with hornpipes the bagpipe manner, to which is added the Black Joak, the White Joak, the Brown,, the Red, and the Yellow Joaks. With variety of whims and fancies of diff’rent humour, fitted to the genious of publick performers.

Perhaps they took editorial advice, or wanted to pay their engraver less,  but the reprint title shrank to Three Extraordinary Collections, Early 18th century dance music for those who play publick.

Well, ‘those who play publick’ are still playing the Walshes’ tunes – and this particular hornpipe is one of my favourites.

 

Alma

Emily Askew (fiddle), John Dipper (fiddle), Nicola Lyons (fiddle), Adrian Lever (guitar)

Gorgeously textured performance by the London-based fiddle group at Sidmouth Folk Week 2015.

 

(‘Clark’s Hornpipe at The Ham Marquee’, YouTube video, 1.50. Posted by Alma Fiddles, 10 Aug 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aFPA7bo57o)

 

Boldwood

Becky Price (accordion), Tim Perkins (bouzouki/guitar), Richard Heacock (fiddle/viola), Daniel Wolverson (fiddle/viola)

This utterly danceable version is from the group’s 2008 album Feet, Don’t Fail Me Now, available on Spotify (the link is to the full album; it seems impossible to link to the single tune). You can find the sheet music for the tune in their first collection of English and Welsh country dance tunes The Boldwood Dancing Master, available from their website (see below).

FeetDontFail

 

Alma Fiddles:  website  Facebook  Twitter

Boldwood:  website  Facebook

*Read more about the Walshes on Wikipedia and folkopedia (scroll down)

 

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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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Black and Grey

 

A tune from Playford’s The Dancing Master, 1686 (also known as A Trip to Kilburn – originally the name of the dance that belongs to the tune).

The Round  has a good piece on the Playford tunes and dances – ‘melodies that set a-tapping the toes of Charles II, Henry Purcell and Samuel Pepys,’ says Mary Anne Ballard of the Baltimore Consort.

So, here’s Black and Grey played by quartet Boldwood, followed by a slower version on mandolin that’s perfect for catching the tune by ear.

 

Boldwood

Becky Price (accordion), Daniel Wolverson (viola), Matthew Coatsworth (fiddle), Kate Moran (fiddle)

A video made during rehearsal in January 2016.

 

(‘Boldwood – Black and Grey’ YouTube video, 4.31. Posted by Boldwood, 2 Feb 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8k90Hj9RHIQ)

 

Folk and Classical Mandolin

Sadly no name or contact details for this accomplished mandolinist, whose YouTube video notes quote interesting dates and information for the tune from The Fiddler’s Companion.

 

(‘Black and Grey or A Trip To Kilburn (Playford, 1686), on mandolin’ YouTube video, 0.58. Posted by Folk and Classical Mandolin, 27 Nov 2010. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1dHP5cJQvc)

 

Boldwood: for CDs, gigs and other news, see their  website   Facebook

Also available from their website is the brilliant The Boldwood Dancing Master, a book of over 70 English country dance tunes from 1679 to 1838.

Folk and Classical MandolinYouTube channel

 

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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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GIG ALERT: LEVERET CONCERT STREAMING LIVE

SUNDAY 6 MARCH 2016, 21:00 GMT

Live from The Convent, near Stroud, Gloucestershire.

Tune in live and watch in real time on Sunday night, or you can watch as many times as you like in the following week.
£7.50 to stream the entire gig into your living room in glorious HD.

Details and booking here.

Leveret are Andy Cutting, Rob Harbron and Sam Sweeney.

This gig is the last in their current tour launching their second album In The Round.

Leveret

Check out their music on earlier Fiddletails posts Whitefriar’s Hornpipe, Jenny Pluck Pears, Purlongs and The Rising Sun

‘We’re very excited to be playing at this amazing venue and we hope that people will tune in all over the world. Please help us spread the word about it and get in touch to let us know you’re watching it’

Leveret are on  Facebook  and  Twitter (@LeveretBand)

Leveret

 

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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.

BoywithSword_440_618

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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