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Happy New Year!
I'm looking forward to being out and about with Shirley Collins, Rattle on the Stovepipe, Richard Bolton AND Peta Webb in the next couple of months (not all at the same time), as well as playing a solo gig at the Cellar Upstairs, London, on 10 February. A year on from her fabulous Lodestar tour, Shirley Collins and band perform on 20 January at the British Library, London, where she will also read from All in the Downs, the new second volume of her autobiography. Then we'll be heading across to Ireland on 26 January for Belfast's Out to Lunch Festival and, on the 27th, Dublin's Temple Bar TradFest, playing at St Michan's Church. See GIGS for details.

Shirley Collins at Newcastle station, March 2017 (photo: Pete)
Shirley Collins at Newcastle station,
March 2017 (photo: Pete)

Rattle on the Stovepipe kick off 2018 with gigs at some of our favourite English and Welsh folk clubs - Dartford on 16 January, Llantrisant on 14 February, the Poetry Café, London, on 23 February and - a bit further ahead - Islington Folk Club on 8 March. See GIGS for details. We'll definitely throw a few love songs into our set for St Valentine's Day, to counterbalance the numerous murder ballads on our new WildGoose album, Poor Ellen Smith.

Rattle on the Stovepipe

Tom Paley, a dear friend of the band - and (little known fact) Honorary President of the London Fiddle School - passed away last year. I'd known Tom since 1979 and spent many an hour talking, drinking tea and playing Swedish and Old Time tunes with him. I took this photo outside his London flat in June 1992 during a break in rehearsals for a festival gig in Denmark he'd kindly invited me to join him on.

Tom Paley

After his funeral on 24 October a mighty crowd of friends gathered with his musician son Ben Paley and family at Cecil Sharp House to celebrate Tom's life and work. Dan Stewart and I played a couple of tunes we'd learned from him, including this one, Little Rabbit

Roll On Roll On - celebrating Tom Paley and his great  musical legacy at Cecil Sharp House (photo: Pete)
Roll On Roll On - celebrating Tom Paley and his great
musical legacy at Cecil Sharp House (photo: Pete)

At the very same venue 30 years ago, or at least downstairs in the bar, Peta Webb and I performed on the opening night of Sharp's folk club - one of Tom's frequent haunts, incidentally, over the years - and we'll be joining Livy and friends for the anniversary party on 6 February.

Poster Pete Cooper and Petawebb


It was two years earlier, in 1986, that Peta and I released our (trendily vinyl!) LP The Heart Is True, and I've recently put the title track up on YouTube, along with a slideshow you might enjoy of old (and more recent) photos from the archive -

LP Cover - TYhe Heart Is True

And what's happening at the London Fiddle School? Starting 10 January, I'm teaching two 11-week courses, working on British and Irish tunes with the Basic-Plus class and American Old Time Fiddle with the intermediate/ advanced. Old Time is usually a very popular class, often with forty or more participants. See WORKSHOPS for details.

London Fiddle School picnic on Primrose Hill, July 2017 (photo: Sue Lee)
London Fiddle School picnic on Primrose Hill,
July 2017 (photo: Sue Lee)

I have a clip (thanks, Alan!), which I am putting up on YouTube, of some of my fiddle students - Cooper's Sharp Fiddlers - playing in St Mary's Church Stoke Newington before Christmas at a benefit for people fleeing Myanmar. The tune - Serras No. 9 - is from 18th century Danish fiddle master Rasmus Storm, and segues into a piano performance by Holly Cullen Davies of the Rachmaninov Prelude in G.

Finally, Richard Bolton and I will be performing at the London Fiddle Convention on 25 February - see www.londonfiddleconvention.org.uk for details of the concert, workshops, fiddle contest etc. We'll also be playing a house concert in Tulse Hill, south London on 4 March - see GIGS.

Chris Haigh, Richard Bolton and Ben Somers in rehearsal for  the London Fiddle Convention (photo: Pete)
Chris Haigh, Richard Bolton and Ben Somers in rehearsal for
the London Fiddle Convention (photo: Pete)

So, a busy and exciting start to the year! I look forward to seeing you somewhere along the way.

Pete

 

 

 

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