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Whitehall Minuet

 

whitehall-palace-river

Whitehall Palace, London

 

This lovely tune is named for the Palace of White Hall, which had grown larger than Versailles or the Vatican by the time it was almost entirely destroyed by fire in 1698.

The Whitehall Minuet was published in 1709 by John Young in his tunebook Dancing Master, and in John Walsh’s Compleat Country Dancing Master, 1718.

Hare’s Maggot and French Morris, the ‘set’ partners to the minuet in the two very different renderings below, are both Playford tunes from 1701.

I’ve always understood that ‘maggot’ in a title means a tune that sticks in your head – an ear-worm. But I see from the wonderful Traditional Tune Archive that although the word can mean a dram (a liquid measure), ‘the musical meaning may stem from the word’s derivation from the Italian word maggioletta, or a plaything’.

 

The Askew Sisters

Emily Askew (fiddle), Hazel Askew (melodeon)

From a 2014 performance at TwickFolk, Twickenham, Middlesex, UK. The set is also on their CD In the Air or the Earth.

(‘The Askew Sisters – The Whitehall Minuet and Hare’s Maggot’, YouTube video, 5:10. Published by Eugey Baby, 15 Oct 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guZEJy_ggRQ)

 

Boldwood

Becky Price (accordion), Miranda Rutter (fiddle, viola), Matthew Coatsworth (fiddle, viola)

From the acclaimed but unreleased 2012 album Mudlarking. Whitehall Minuet starts at 1:41.

(https://soundcloud.com/boldwood/06-french-morris-whitehall)

 

GIG ALERTS!

Askew Sisters:  this coming Monday 19 September, at London’s Green Note, Camden. Last few tickets here!

Boldwood:  Saturday 15 October, St Peter’s Church, Wolvercote, Oxford. Tickets: info@stpeterswolvercote.org  or 01865 559316

 

For more information on CDs, gigs etc:

Askew Sisters:  website   facebook

Boldwood:  website   facebook

 

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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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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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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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John Stinson’s No.2

 

Originating in the Irish reel known as John Stenson’s No.2*, this lovely tune has made the transition to a new identity in America’s Old Time tradition, where it’s mostly played as a mountain dulcimer tune.

Here are two takes by fiddler Rachel Eddy and friends: video from a yard concert (played first, followed around 5:10 by a stonking rendition of Dance All Night with a Bottle in your Hand); and a rousing audio recording from Rachel’s Stockholm Old Time session.

 

Rachel Eddy (fiddle), Kristian Herner  (banjo),  Bill Fahy (guitar)

 

(‘John Stinsons Number Two – Rachel Eddy, Kristian Herner, and Bill Fahy’ YouTube video, 8.45. Posted by Bill Fahy, 8 Jul 2010. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAvyBV9FFCY)

 

 

Rachel Eddy (fiddle), and the players of the Happy Wednesday Oldtime Jam, Stockholm, Sweden

 

(https://soundcloud.com/bengt-von-andreae/stinsons-number-two?in=user180058408/sets/old-time-fiddle)

 

*The original tune was composed by accordion player John Stenson, of Co. Sligo, Ireland. There’s basic tune audio on The Session here,  along with information (scroll down) on its popularity from acclaimed Irish fiddler Kevin Burke’s album If The Cap Fits.

 

Rachel Eddy:  website  Facebook  YouTube

Kristian Herner:  website  Facebook

Bill Fahy:  website  blog  Facebook

 

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