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News February 2019

Having fun while the UK lurched towards Brexit felt almost indecent, but my six months' break from full-time fiddle teaching got off to a flying start with a Rattle on the Stovepipe tour. Dave Arthur, Dan Stewart and I started with a house concert in Peacehaven as guests of Sussex traditional singers the Copper family, then next night at the Cellar Upstairs folk club, London. On 24 January we headed to Worcester to perform at the Old Rectifying House on the banks of the river Severn. Dave visited the grave of 19th century operatic soprano Jenny Lind, the 'Swedish nightingale', in nearby Little Malvern, and we ended our set with the Jenny Lind polka. Then off to the seaside - hooray, fish and chips! - playing at Margate on the 26th at Lesley and George's Little Opry night at the Tom Thumb theatre. Finally, on 31 January we opened for Shirley Collins at The Roundhouse, London. A truly amazing night - and a busy one for Dave and me, as we also play in Shirley's band, Lodestar, along with Ian Kearey, Pip Barnes, Ossian Brown and dancer Glen Redman.

 

Rattle on the Stovepipe (The Roundhouse)
Rattle on the Stovepipe (photo: The Roundhouse)

 

L. to R. Pete, Dave, Ian Kearey, Shirley Collins, Ossian Brown and Pip Barnes  (photo, Sue Lee)
L. to R. Pete, Dave, Ian Kearey, Shirley Collins,
Ossian Brown and Pip Barnes
(photo, Sue Lee)

'Awake, awake sweet England,' sang Shirley, who'd last performed at the Roundhouse with her sister Dolly (alongside Deep Purple) fifty years ago, 'for dreadful days draw near…' Since the recent Lodestar album, she has added several great new songs to the set. Two reviews of the show have come in, very positive. I am honoured to get a name check in both, albeit in the case of the folkradio review as 'Steve Cooper'.

musicOMH Review

folkradio Review

It's odd, people who get my name wrong usually call me Steve. David Weir is not the first. It seems to be my default incorrect name. I sometimes wonder: what if I really had been called Steve, how would life have turned out? Would I have been a different, perhaps a better, person? I suppose I would have felt irritated at being called Pete. (Sorry, did I say all that out loud?)

 

Laurel Swift playing  the Glamorganshire Hornpipe (YouTube)
Laurel Swift playing
the Glamorganshire Hornpipe (YouTube)

While I've been fiddling as Rome burns (and Brexit proceeds), my London Fiddle School classes at least have been safe in the hands of Laurel Swift. 'Great tunes, harmonies, riffs, chords and improvisation,' says Laurel. 'Get stuck in and find out all the exciting ways of bringing old dance music to life…' Exploring English Fiddle, her Wednesday evening courses at Cecil Sharp House - Basic-plus and Intermediate/ Advanced levels - have proved a great success. They continue until 27 March.

I'm heading off to deepest Wiltshire tonight to record some tracks for the next Rattle on the Stovepipe album, but I shall definitely be back in town for the 27th annual London Fiddle Convention at Cecil Sharp House on Sunday 24 February, even breaking my fiddle-teaching fast to give a couple of workshops. The line-up for the evening concert includes Germa Adan, Emily Askew, Emily Smith, Gundula Gruen, Chris Haigh, Richard Bolton, Ben Somers & me.

 

London Fiddle Convention


See you later,

Pete

 

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