Richard Bolton and I had a great time in the Czech Republic at the end of September, teaching an enthusiastic group of fiddlers in Ceska Lipa, a delightful town a couple of hours’ drive north of Prague. Old Time fiddler Radek Spindler (standing next to me in the photo) engineered our visit as part of the town’s arts festival. He has a teaching project called Fiddle Farm and is also a bit of a petrol head. En route to the airport, he took us to the Skoda museum - very interesting, though I’m still more of a Ford man, myself.
Radek Spindler and members of Fiddle Farm
A classic (pre-VW!) Skoda
In the summer my London Fiddle School ‘Fiddles in Performance’ class played a gig in a Community Garden in Whistler Street, N5, a charming oasis hidden away behind Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium.
At Olden Community Garden
l. to r. Helena, Ben, Pete,
Dave and Sue
(photo: Sue Lee)
We also played Islington Folk Club and - in conjunction with the Cecil Sharp House Community Choir, led by Sally Davies - at St Mary’s Church, Stoke Newington. See the video - shot by Pauline Calderato’s sister - of our Morris tunes William & Nancy/ The Queen’s Delight.
Video: L. to r. Dave, Richard, Adrian, Pete, Ed, Alison, Pauline, Sue (accordion), Richard, Helena, Nichola, Paul etc, at St Mary’s
Harald Haugaard’s International Fiddleschool in northern Germany at the end of July was an inspiring event, as in previous years, only marred for me by the fact that I developed a dodgy back. Fortunately the 130-strong student body included several medics and a couple of treatments from Frankfurt-based osteopath/ acupuncturist Rosi Hofem - thanks, Rosi - got me through the week. I got a lift back to Hamburg airport with pony-tailed writer, singer and cellist Jörn Ingwersen of the band One Trick Pony in his classic VW camper van. Peace and Love!
The Furry Freak Brothers.
Photo by Ray Wright.
Jörn’s classic VW
My bad back put me out of action for the month of August and I was sorry to have to miss Whitby Folk Week this year. Lying in a semi-supine position, I watched a fair amount of TV, including Family Guy, whose hero, Peter, played rock violin in one episode. His stage persona seemed to owe something to one Nigel Kennedy.
Family Guy’s Peter
I’m happy to report that my back is on the mend now and I’m looking forward to all the various gigs and workshops coming up over the winter - including the annual Fiddle Party at Cecil Sharp House on 5 December - and into the New Year. I’ll be up in Shropshire in March, for example, for an Irish Fiddle Day in Craven Arms on 5 March and a workshop with Newtown, Powys-based community band ffonic the following day.