Happy New Year!
Thanks to everybody who came to the Fiddle Party at Cecil Sharp House in December, when London Fiddle School members and friends played in a big informal session, some at the tables, others - for that extra adrenalin buzz - from behind microphones at the front. It was interspersed with 'spots' this year from Adrian Koval, Dominic Dyson, Liz Simons, Helen Tate & Dan Spanner and Rattle on the Stovepipe. Some of us had been studying American tunes during the autumn, so it was great to have Dave Arthur and Dan Stewart along on melodeon, guitar and 5-string banjo. We had mighty English and Irish tunes as well, with Richard Bolton on cello and Sue Lee on accordion and whistle. The surprise discovery of the night concerned a Polish tune called Trzesionka ('Cha-Shon-ka'), a Fiddle School favourite. Years ago, back in Rzeszów (Zshe-shov), Poland, Adam Sternik, now one of the students in my Old Time class, had learned this five-part 'shaking polka' from traditional fiddler Alfred Kaminski and recorded it with his band, Sielska Kapela Weselna. I learned it from their CD and put it in my Eastern European tune-book. What a treat to have Adam, our direct link to the tune's source, leading our group performance!
Left to right: Richard Bolton, PC, Dave Arthur
and Dan Stewart (photo: Sue Lee)
It was a good year at the London Fiddle School. A group of us performed at the British Library in July, part of the Full English project.
Left to right: John, Nicola, Helen, Dominic,
Richard, Penny, Fiona, Michele, Helena, Ben,
Pete, Leah, Philippa, Dave, Allan, Julian,
Jessy and Sue at the British Library, July 2013
Fiona, Ben and Helena at the British Library
The Fiddle School kicks off on Wednesday 8 January, the Basic-Plus class at 6.30pm, the Intermediate class at 7.45pm, this term focusing on Irish and Scottish styles. Come and join us - see Workshops for details.
Out at last! My latest book/CD in Schott's World Music series appeared in September. New Fiddle Tunes is a collection of new fiddle compositions, mainly my own - and also including Snicket, a jig by Sue Lee that I play at the start of my YouTube video on The Bow Hold. The publishers kindly flew me over to Cremona, Italy, home of Stradivarius and birthplace of the modern violin, to celebrate at the Mondomusica music fair. Cremona is a violin obsessed town, of course, with violins in almost every shop window display and I also visited the recently opened Museo del Violino.
New Fiddle Tunes
PC at Mondomusica with Julia Duchi,
a student at the Milan Conservatory
I have not one but two CDs due to appear early in 2014. Rattle on the Stovepipe's latest offering on WildGoose Records is called Old Virginia while Cooper and Bolton's on Big Chain Records is Angel's Waltz. I'm really pleased with both of these recordings and hope you'll enjoy them, but I'm not going to say any more until they are actually available. Rattle will be playing at Dartford Folk Club on 28 January. Richard Bolton and I will be at the Electric Cinema, Harwich on 26 February and Islington Folk Club on 27 February.
Rattle on the
Stovepipe's new CD
Pete's latest album with
It looks like being another busy year of gigs and workshops. I'm particularly looking forward to a week in France with guitarist and singer Kevin Dempsey at the end of June, not least because the weather should be fantastic and Vacances Creative, our hosts, have got a swimming pool. And do great food, apparently.
See you later,
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