Hope you’re enjoying the sunshine and thanks to all who have come to see my gigs this year so far.
It’s been a bit of a hectic time so I’ve got some serious catching up to do, will try not to go on too for long… maybe get yourself a cup of tea!
So I should start with the very first gig of the year which was an appearance with some of the musicians from last year’s ‘Folk Nations’ residency in Calcutta at Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow. We had a couple of days to remember what we’d done in india and try to rearrange it for six musicians. It worked brilliantly and was one of my favourite gigs ever… more on that later!
The next big thing was a tour with Lady Maisery in March which was great, we did quite a few gigs through the Live and Local scheme which we love doing. We’ll be working on some new material in to coming months and touring again in November this year. Rowan has even passed her driving test now! She didn’t do any on the tour but it was nice to have another driver in the car nonetheless.
The morning after the last Lady Maisery gig near Bromyard I drove straight to a big posh house in Herefordshire to start the Elizabethan session and what a time was had! It was one of the most productive and creative environments I’ve ever been. A joy and a privilege to work with all the other artists involved. The album is in it’s final stages now and will be released at Folk By the Oak festival this July there might also be talk of a gig or two more next year but that’s all I can say at the moment!
Home for a few days and the back on the road again with Maddy Prior and Giles Lewin which was a complete hoot as ever. Maddy has had a huge influence on my music making over the past few years and her fearlessness to try new things is admirable and infectious! it’s her fault that I’ve started yodelling in public! We’re planning to tour again next year so keep your eye on the website for news of that.
Then at the end of April Sam Sweeney and I set out on out ‘Farewell For Now’ tour. After playing together for 13 years we’ve decided to have a bit of breathing space so we can both concentrate on other things. It was a fantastic tour and ended in Sheffield on a real high. Do go and see his Made In the Great War project which is touring in September. It will be magical.
With no time to dwell, the next morning I headed straight down to London for the next gig with the ‘Folk Nations’ group. We performed at the SouthBank Centre as part of their South Asian Arts festival, Alchemy and again there was definitely was definitely something special going on! We’re all in agreement that we want to carry on working together so watch out for news of that.
So what else is next?
There are a few new projects coming up;
We will be playing a number of festivals this Summer and touring again in November.
Joint tour with Marja Nuut
After a few solo gigs supporting Steeleye Span at the end of last year I have decided I would like to do some more but to ease myself in I’m doing a few double headline gigs with a fantastic Estonian fiddle player caller Maarja Nuut. She’s just released the most fantastic album and is causing quite a stir. Check her website out here
We’re doing four gigs together in October
8th Realtime Music, Chesterfield
9th The Globe, Glossop
(11th house concert Essex)
12th London (venue tbc)
Last year I was asked to appear on an album of compositions of Chris Ferebee, Guitarist and composer, Alastair Anderson, concertina legend and composer and Andrew Arceci, phenomenal viol da gamba player and composer. It was a fantastic day in the recording studio and the album is sounding great. We enjoyed working to ether so much that we’ve decided to work on another project that I will be involved in from the beginning this time. Watch this space and check out the Facebook page in the mean time
Alastair and I are still playing as a duo. We had a lovely gig in February this year and have a couple more coming up; Ramsbottom Folk Club on July 9th and London Folk Fayre on October 4th.
This Project has been a slow burner due to our other commitments but we are planning to do more in 2015. See our website for recordings.
Accordion Duo with Tuulikki Bartosik
After writing this today I’ll be heading down to the Gower Folk Festival for a debut performance with one of my favourite accordionists ever! We’ve been threatening to play together since meeting at a festival four years ago and then were asked out of the blue if we’d like to play a gig at the Gower by the lovely Joy. We nearly snapped her hand off! Tuulikki came over for a few days earlier this month and playing together was as fun and easy as we’d hoped. We also both enjoyed being able to play as loud as we liked without being told off…. the usual perils of an accordion player! We definitely want to do more together after tomorrow’s gig so there’s another space to watch.
As you can see there are a lot of new things brewing under the surface, it’s an exciting time.
Lastly, Ben and I are getting married on the solstice. We’re hoping it will be a lovely hippy outdoorsy affair so fingers crossed for good weather for us please!
Thanks for reading and enjoy the rest of the summer.