Tag Archives: hurdy-gurdy

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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Lyvet

 

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

(https://soundcloud.com/nigeleaton/lyvet)

 

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 EatonSoundcloudYouTubewebsite

Chris Eaton,  hurdy-gurdy maker

 

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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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Halsway Schottische

 

‘Sing for the coming of the longest night’

This beautiful tune, composed by Nigel Eaton in 2011, is so well loved it has its own website – a project to record as many different renderings as possible. Anyone may upload their version; to date, there are 172 recordings on the site.

 

 

Nigel Eaton (hurdy-gurdy)

Played here in D – a great key for fiddling Halsway. I play it tuned ADAE and double-stopped, to catch something of the hurdy-gurdy’s drones. (Nigel plays it in G here)

 

(‘Halsway Schottische (Halsway Carol has words of course)’ YouTube video, 1:39. Posted by Nigel Eaton, 26 Feb 2012. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twX-ctnN8EQ)

 

 

Halsway Carol

Nigel Eaton (hurdy-gurdy), with Julie Murphy (vocals) and the SE19

As a midwinter carol (in F), with lyrics by Iain Frisk.

 

 

 

Nigel Eaton: Soundcloud, YouTube, website

Iain Frisk: Soundcloud, website

Julie Murphy: tumblr, bandcamp

 

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Jenny Pluck Pears

An attempt to conjure a golden September from this year’s grey English summer – if we all play it like mad, the sun will come out!

My beautiful namesake tune is from Playford’s Dancing Master of 1651. Two very different arrangements – it is traditionally played with the A and B parts in different time signatures. And (might have guessed!) any tune involving women and fruit had sexual connotations. Who knew…

 

Leveret

Andy Cutting (melodeon), Rob Harbron (concertina), Sam Sweeney (fiddle)

 

 

The tune is on Leveret’s 2015 CD New Anything, available from their website.

Leveret are touring in the UK in October – starting with a gem of a format: an acoustic set, performed in the round. Cecil Sharp House, 1 October. Details and booking here. Don’t miss it! Full tour dates here (scroll down to Gigs/Autumn Tour 2015).

 

Blowzabella

Andy Cutting (diatonic button accordion, triangle), Jo Freya (vocals, clarinet, bass clarinet, soprano and tenor saxophones, whistle), Paul James (border bagpipes, soprano and alto saxophones, whistle), Gregory Jolivet (alto hurdy-gurdy), Dave Shepherd (violin, octave violin), Barn Stradling (acoustic bass guitar, octave bass guitar), Jon Swayne (border bagpipes, soprano and alto saxophones)

Played here with the traditional time-changes, first in a set with Half Hanniken

 

(‘Jenny Pluck Pears / Half Hanniken’ YouTube video, 4.37. Posted by #Blowzabella, 20 Nov 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h49aR3R_g8U)

For upcoming gigs, band news and recordings, go to Blowzabella’s website here.

 

 

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