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Archived News August 2012

As I write, the sun has shone for five days in succession here in pre-Olympics London, and it's hot - proper summer weather after long months of record-breaking rainfall. Will the sunshine last? Don't think about it. I'm about to set off for Harald Haugaard's fiddle school in north Germany, near the Danish border at Breklum, Nordfriesland. Harald is truly an amazing fiddle player. I met him ten years ago at the Folkworks summer school and for the 110 participants at Christian Jensen Kolleg he's put together a mighty tutor team including fiddlers Kevin Henderson, Antti Järvelä and Hanneke Cassel.

PC & Richard (from YouTube)

Straight after that I'll head down to Dartington Hall, Devon, for a week of fiddle & cello workshops with Richard Bolton and a concert in the Great Hall - see Workshops for details. We were very chuffed with a positive Live! review in the June issue of fRoots magazine for a show back in March at Tabernacle Folk, Notting Hill:

'The second concert was opened by Pete Cooper and Richard Bolton on fiddle and cello respectively. I already knew Pete was a good violinist, but this collaboration deserves to have the pair hoisted into the top rank of folk duos… Cello and fiddle really do combine well, giving a tender, atmospheric sound… Pete has a firm, measured voice that serves the songs well...'
- Christopher Conder.

Sunara Begum's has a film clip of Richard and me playing one of my tunes, The Sleeper

There is also a version of the English traditional Wednesday Night Reels, with Richard on guitar:
There are even more clips, too, if you're inclined…

The London Fiddle School's summer course, April-July, was called Fiddles in Performance, and more than twenty of us performed at Islington folk club in June, sharing the bill in a 'three-way split' with singers James McDonald and Marianne Neary. The audience loved it and we even got paid, which happily covered the bar bill at our end-of-term session at Cecil Sharp House. The group also performed at the Still Growing concert in Kennedy Hall, excelling themselves despite the absence (in Derry, Northern Ireland) of their esteemed teacher. Well done, class. You can check out the Islington Folk Club and Cecil Sharp House recordings on Soundcloud.

Next term kicks off on 12 September, with two exciting courses, one specifically for 'basic level' players, Fiddle Music of Britain and Ireland, and the other 'intermediate/ advanced' on Eastern European Fiddle Tunes - see Workshops for details.

18 July Fiddle session at Cecil Sharp House,
Richard Leskin, Paul Robson and Paul Goodaker.



18 July Fiddle session 2:
Maeve McKeown and Helen Fuller




18 July Fiddle session 3:
Isabel Bedford and Ben Bazell.




18 July Fiddle session 4:
Sophie McIlwain, Adrian Koval,
David Prothero and John Hannah.



Yes, at the end of June I was in Derry, Northern Ireland (City of Culture 2013) and over the border in Buncrana, Co. Donegal, for the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention, 'The Ultimate Fiddle Fleadh', with Dr Liz Doherty at the helm. It was an amazing event, comprising two academic conferences, an international youth camp (I gave some classes), talks, recitals and concerts, with line-ups including The Chieftains, String Sisters, Martin Hayes & Denis Cahill, Four Men and a Dog, Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas… Some jaw-droppingly good fiddling and dancing altogether, and lots of social catching up.


Dave Arthur

The name A.L. Lloyd, or Bert Lloyd, may or may not be familiar to you, but his seminal book Folk Song in England was a huge inspiration back in the 1970s, and The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs, which he co-edited with Ralph Vaughan Williams, was - and remains - a wonderful source of material. I got a copy on my 21st birthday. Bert was a principal architect of the British post-war folk revival, and Dave Arthur's outstanding new biography, Bert, the Life and Times of A.L. Lloyd (Pluto Press) was launched at Cecil Sharp House on 31 May. Rattle on the Stovepipe, perhaps not surprisingly, have developed something of a Bert repertoire of late, and Dan Stewart and I joined Dave to play some songs and tunes learned from the great man.



Shirley Collins (with fan), Tina and Vic Smith
and The Copper Family, Royal Oak, Lewes


Rattle on the Stovepipe played at the Royal Oak, Lewes on 5 July at a kind of royal command performance for Shirley Collins's birthday, with Martyn Wyndham-Read, the Copper Family and others. A great evening. We've also played a few seaside gigs this 'summer', including the Leigh Folk Festival and the remarkable Tom Thumb Theatre, Margate on their Little Opry night. Here's a clip of us performing the seasonally appropriate Waterbound:

We'll be back at the Royal Oak on 6 September, at Dartford Folk Club on the 11 September, at Islington Folk Club on 20 September and in De la Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea on the 23 September. I hope you can come.

See you later,




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