Tag Archives: fiddle

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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Filed under English folk/modern, English folk/traditional, Uncategorized

Durang’s Hornpipe

 

DurangHornpipe

The Hornpipe, by John Durang, watercolor from his Memoir, Courtesy of the York County History Center

Meet John Durang (1768-1822), dancer, acrobat, actor and performer with Ricketts’s Circus across the northeastern United States and into Canada. Born in Pennsylvania of German and French parents, he was George Washington’s favourite dancer.

The tune was composed for  Durang in new York in 1785 by Mr. Hoffmaster, his German violin teacher.

Durang's Hornpipe orig

Here are several different versions from North American musical cultures: two teaching videos (American and Canadian); a performance video (traditional African-American string band); and archive reel-to-reel audio of a West Virginia fiddler.

Choose your favourite to learn!

 

 

Katie Henderson (fiddle)

America: teaching video from Katie’s encyclopaedic New Tune A Day Youtube site.

(Durang’s Hornpipe (Old-Time Fiddle Tune) NTAD) YouTube video, 2:11. Uploaded by Katie Davis Henderson, 20 Sep 2011. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMTzACv31Lg)

 

Patti Kusturok, Shamma Sabir (fiddles)

Canada: teaching video from Patti’s YouTube fiddle tunes vlog.

(‘Day 229 – Durang’s Hornpipe – Patti Kusturok’s 365 Days of Fiddle Tunes’ YouTube video, 2:14. Published by Patti Kusturok, 17  Aug 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNDgl5iws5o)

 

Carolina Chocolate Drops

Justin Robinson (fiddle),  Dom Flemons (snare drum), Rhiannon Giddens (flat-footing)

The wonderful African-American stringband performing at Mass MoCA, May 2010.

(‘Carolina Chocolate Drops – Durang’s Hornpipe’ YouTube video, 2:24. Uploaded by Music Maker Relief Foundation, 31 May 2010. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Mef_qNAj6o)

 

Frank George (fiddle)

Recording by widely-respected West Virginia fiddler William Franklin ‘Frank’ George at the Berea College Celebration of Traditional Music, 30 October 1976.

FrankGeorge

(From the Digital Library of Appalachia, Berea College http://dla.acaweb.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/berea/id/3104/rec/10)

 

More information:

Katie Henderson:  NTADblogspot  website  YouTube

Patti Kusturok:  website  YouTube

Carolina Chocolate Drops:  website

Frank George: Berea College recordings

John Durang:  http://johndurang.yorkhistorycenter.org/

 

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Filed under American old-time, American old-time/traditional, Uncategorized

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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Too Many Days in Georgia

 

West Virginia fiddler Rachel Eddy retitled her ‘favourite C tune’ – commonly known as Fourteen (or Sixteen, or Eighteen) Days in Georgia. There are many variations on the tune, so here’s just this one wonderful rendering from a 2016 concert in Peninsula, Ohio.

 

Rachel Eddy (fiddle)

 

 

(‘Rachel Eddy Too many days in Georgia’, YouTube video 3:49. Posted by Casually Fine productions, 19 Apr 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ziq-nCwuCk)

 

Rachel Eddy:  website  Facebook  Instagram  YouTube

Rachel is a great teacher of old-time fiddle, banjo and guitar – watch out for workshops in the UK!

To buy CDs Hand on the Plow and Nothin’ but Corncdbaby

She is currently also playing and singing with trio The Early Mays

For more tunes by Rachel, see archived posts Road to Malvern and Whiteface, August 2015.

 

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Filed under American old-time, American old-time/traditional, American traditional, Uncategorized

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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Filed under English folk/modern, English folk/traditional

Bill Malley’s Barndance

 

An Old Time playing of an Irish tune by fiddler Bill Malley of County Clare, Ireland – first in a set with a stonking rendering of the upbeat E-B-E Reel, composed by Irish-American fiddler Liz Carroll.

As well as additional notes on these musicians and tunes, video-poster secondcousincurly writes a fascinating piece here on the importance of fiddle camps to American traditional music.

 

Brittany Haas, Lily Henley, Duncan Winkel, Kellen Zakula (fiddles), Natalie Haas (cello), Rene del Fierro (guitar)

This set was the encore at a private notloB Parlour Concert in Watertown, Massachusetts. Note Brittany Haas’s five-string fiddle!

 

(‘BRITTANY HAAS & FRIENDS: Bill Malley’s Barndance & E-B-E Reel’, YouTube video 6.59. Posted by secondcousincurly, 28 Aug 2013. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMf4IjPoJJY)

 

Brittany Haas  website   Facebook

Natalie Haas  Website   Facebook

Lily Henley  website   Facebook

Duncan Winkel   Facebook  Duo with Lily Henley

Kellen Zakula  Bandcamp   Facebook

Rene del Fierro  Instagram  BandMINE

 

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Filed under American old-time, American old-time/modern, Uncategorized

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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Filed under English folk/traditional, European traditional, Nordic traditional, Uncategorized

Sally In The Garden

 

Originally a bawdy ballad, there are two basic versions of this Appalachian Kentucky tune, some more crooked than others. I love Premo & Gustavsson’s rendering for the hauntingly off-world sounds from their uncommon pairing of indigenous Swedish and American folk instruments.

This version of the melody is usually played in Dm, but here it’s in Am. Fiddlers generally play it cross-tuned*. Laurel Premo says of her gourd banjo: ‘I use a version of the “double c” tuning. The gourd banjo is a few steps lower from the standard banjo tuning, but the relationships on the strings are the same as you’d find in double C.’

The tune has an interesting thread on banjohangout

*For more information on cross-tuning, see post Newt Payne’s Tune, and/or Search ‘cross-tuning’ to find other cross-tuned melodies.

 

Premo & Gustavsson

Laurel Premo (gourd banjo), Anna Gustavsson (nyckelharpa)

 

(‘Sally In The Garden – Premo & Gustavsson’ YouTube video, 4.06. Posted by Laurel Premo, 24 Aug 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PXxOnmAnDg)

 

Album alert!

The duo will be releasing an album this autumn – and I’ll be featuring a tune from it as soon as it’s available.

In the meantime, you can find out more about their many other projects here:

Laurel Premo:  website  (Fiddletails has also featured Laurel’s acclaimed duo Red Tail Ring – use the Search box to find posts of their compelling music.)

Anna Gustavsson:  website

 

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Filed under American old-time, American traditional, Uncategorized

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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Filed under English folk/modern, English folk/traditional, Uncategorized

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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Filed under English folk/traditional