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)
Henry Webster: website
A tune for 25th November – feast-day of the legendary Alexandrian princess, scholar and Christian martyr who has her work cut out as the patron saint of a diverse slice of humanity, from potters and unmarried girls to knife-grinders and librarians.
‘St. Catherine’ is the 1701 Playford name for My Lord Cutt’s Delight, a tune from Henry Atkinson’s 1694 Northumberland manuscript. (The Session has notes on repeats, if playing this tune for the dance.)
The two featured videos this week pair St. Catherine in dance sets with another tune – Leveret play it second to New Anything; melodeon-player Anahata places it first in a set with The Cotillon.
Andy Cutting (diatonic button accordion), Rob Harbron (English concertina), Sam Sweeney (fiddle)
A track from the trio’s 2015 debut album New Anything. (St. Catherine begins at 1:58.)
(‘Levert – New Anything/St Catherine’ YouTube video, 4:19. Published by Sam Sweeney, 12 Dec 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tev4RxJQwJE)
A very clear solo version that makes an excellent a teaching video. Played on an Oakwood D/G melodeon.
(‘My Lord Cutt’s Delight/The Cotillon’ YouTube video, 3:10. Published by anahatamelodeon, 30 Aug 2011. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ko6pY_5VD78)
Leveret: website Facebook Twitter
Anahata: website YouTube
7-9 October 2016
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!
Full details and booking here.
For Laurel’s full programme of retreats, workshops and classes, see the Teaching menu on her website.
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 Eaton: Soundcloud YouTube
Nigel Eaton, cabinetmaker: website
Chris Eaton, maker of hurdy-gurdies: website
Folk Music Retreat with Laurel Swift
April 8th – 10th 2016
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.
Don’t forget your walking shoes as well as your instrument/s!
Full details and booking on Laurel’s website
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.
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
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
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 Eaton: Soundcloud, YouTube, website
Chris Eaton, hurdy-gurdy maker