It’s been a shamefully long time since my last post (see News), but to make up for it, here’s a great set of tunes for fiddling, dancing, whistling (if you’re good enough!) and all-round good-timing. Wonderfully synchopated, fun to learn, and total ear-worms. What could be better for a Sunday afternoon?
Two videos: first, ace English folk trio Leveret playing the two tunes as a set, followed by melodeon-player Anahata with a three-part version of the 18th-century Blew Bell (a 3/2 hornpipe). And as always, you’ll find the usual folk/aural tradition variations in the tunes as played. Just choose your favourite, and off you go!
Andy Cutting (diatonic button accordion), Rob Harbron (English concertina), Sam Sweeney (fiddle)
From a 2015 concert in Lummen, Belgium. You can hear the set on their album New Anything.
A heartfelt but short post today (a strained hand means I can’t type much at the moment). And unusually for Fiddletails, it’s a song, brief but beautiful – an old ‘twelve days’ counting song from iconic Yorkshire group The Watersons, to welcome in the ‘twelfthmost day’ on Epiphany, Twelfth Night.
Jolly Old Hawk is a Roud ballad; for possible origins and links to lyrics, see Mainly Norfolk, and the usual fascinating debate on mudcat.
Wishing you all a year of hope, health, happiness – and plenty of whatever music lights your life!
Norma Waterson, Elaine (‘Lal’) Waterson, Mike Waterson, John Harrison
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 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.
Every couple of weeks or so I feature a tune that's caught my fancy – audio/video clips of brilliant musicians playing great, perhaps uncommon tunes to learn by ear. Most are from the English and American Old-time traditions; some hail from other musical worlds ‒ Scandi, perhaps, or French. But whatever you play ‒ fiddles or frets, free-reeds or fipples ‒ I hope you enjoy catching these wonderful tunes!