I'm pleased to be touring soon with singer Shirley Collins - for details, see GIGS:
The legendary Shirley Collins
Feb 4: Celtic Connections, City Halls, Glasgow
Feb 11: Colston Hall, Bristol
Feb 18: Barbican, London
Mar 4: Pass It On Festival,The Sage, Gateshead
23 Apr: Safe as Milk Festival, Pontins, Prestatyn
29 Apr: Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry
6 May: Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool
14 May: Brighton Festival, The Dome, Brighton
Pete at BBC Maida Vale studio
How do I know Shirley? She's been Rattle on the Stovepipe's No. 1 fan for many years, always in the front row at our folk club gigs in Lewes, Sussex, where she lives, and in 2015 she invited Rattle to play for her 80th birthday celebrations at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Later, Dave Arthur
and I put a little banjo and fiddle on two songs on her new album, Lodestar - her first since 1978.
Left to right: Pete, Dave, Ian, Shirley
Lodestar was released in November last year to critical acclaim - voted fRoots magazine's Album of the Year - and widespread media interest. Along with guitarist Ian Kearey, Dave and I played on her recent BBC Mastertapes session, broadcast on BBC Radio-4 on 16 and 17 January (and available for a month on iPlayer) and we'll also join her on tour from 4 February. Try and can catch one of the shows - she really is a remarkable artist, and person.
Meanwhile, Rattle on the Stovepipe (Dave, Dan Stewart and me) have our own new album out, our fifth! Poor Ellen Smith, (WildGoose WGS419CD) recorded in a crazy three-and-a-half day creative outburst last July (and judiciously tweaked later), is, as you'd expect if you've heard us before, a mix of English and American Old Time tunes and songs. Strictly speaking, when I say it's 'out', I mean that at the time of writing it's back from the factory in cardboard boxes. But Poor Ellen Smith will be available very soon from the SHOP on this site, as well as from WildGoose Records -
Poor Ellen Smith
The band will be playing at the Cellar Upstairs, London, on 11 March, and Walthamstow folk club on 11 June - see GIGS for details.
2016 was a year of shocks, obviously. Six weeks after the Brexit vote I was teaching at Danish fiddler Harald Haugaard's International Fiddleschool in northern Germany - a pleasure as always to work with my students and fellow tutors from across Europe (and the USA), but depressing that I'm going to need a visa and work permit to pop over in any future years I'm invited. Long live the free movement of fiddle tunes! I'll be at Harald's Fiddleschool again this year, 30 July - 5 August.
Pete and fellow European fiddlers, August 2016.
Photo: Nelly Eder
Coming up a lot sooner than that, however, is the 25th (yes, I said 25th) annual London Fiddle Convention at Cecil Sharp House on Sunday 26 February. At the evening concert Richard Bolton and I will be performing in a combined opening set with fiddlers Gundula Gruen, Chris Haigh and Sam Proctor (of London-Irish band Crossharbour), along with double bassist Ben Somers. The concert will also feature sarangi-player Nicolas Magriel, the Ben Somers Band and fiddle-cello duo Jaya Hanley and Sara James. It's an action-packed day for all players and lovers of fiddle music, with workshops starting at 12.45pm, a Tutors' Concert at 3.15pm, an Open Session from 5.30 and the Fiddle Contest at 6.00pm. There's no pre-booking, so just turn up.
See you later,
Richard Bolton and Pete Cooper at Islington Folk Club, November 2016
(photos - Sue Lee)
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