All posts by Quentin Budworth

Lens Based Artist and Musician

Learn the hurdy-gurdy in 4 days

I had the privilege of being able to teach a musician from the Far East who has never touched a hurdy-gurdy before how to play the hurdy-gurdy, to play tunes and set-up the instrument for optimal play.

This is a huge learning curve and I can report that my student has done very well and also that they are in possession of a very fine instrument made by Neil Brook without the hassle of 1-6 year wait for a new professional instrument.

What did we look at:

Good posture, ergonomics, safe practice.

Playing in a relaxed and attentive way with focus and purpose.

What did we study well all the trompette coups relating to the following time signatures:

2/2

3/4

6/8

12/8

2/4

4/4

Some simple and more complicated tunes

Major and Minor Keys and Modes for G/C instrument

History of the instrument.

Different approaches to fingering on the keyboard

Youtube and Spotify viewing and listening lists.

Identifying, next steps, things to work on and develop over the next few months.

Five hours a day for four days is an intense learning experience and regular cups of tea, biscuits and meals out really helped to keep energy and attention high.

If this sounds like something that is of interest to you email me at: quentinbudworth@yahoo.com

I registered a 4-day intensive course from Quentin and it’s super comprehensive! The course started with history, developments and innovations, then recent community moves, famous hurdy-gurdy players, CDs and concerts – it’s not a small world and it keeps on evolving!

Then getting to know the instrument – different strings, the chien, the crank and most excitingly, how it buzzes and works with the rhythm! Then I started to learn the notes, basic music theory, fingering, the rhythms on cranking moves – from beginning to picotage… and that’s how the beat got started! It’s gonna be an exciting journey ahead!
J W.

Drone Theory

The drone is a constant it’s one of the  main things that drew me to the hurdy-gurdy. Here is a list of words that I associate with the drone:

sacred, eternal, infinite, spiritual, ancient, transcendent, universal, constant, meditative, sinister, comforting, home, calmness, fear, worldly, other worldly, stillness, continuum, source, universe, God, ritual, trance, dream, oneness, wholeness, completion

The drone has meaning changes as a direct result of my mood and the context in which I hear and understand it.

Some wider context before delving into the music, drones have existed and continue to exist in many corners of the world. The systematic use of drones originated in instrumental music of ancient Southwest Asia, and spread north and west to Europe and south to Africa. They seldom resonated on their own but for the most part they were embedded into instrumental arrangements. The drone or “burden tone” (Bourdon) has served as the backbone to many folk music traditions, from Southern Italy to Scandinavia. Most bagpipes have up to three drones, in America, most forms of the African-influenced banjo contain a drone string. Since the 1960s, the drone has become a prominent feature in avant-garde and film music.

In the Middle Ages, Europe and Byzantium sang over a foundation of drones. Back then, larger cities in the Christian world hosted huge entertainment venues called cathedrals that showcased psychedelic light shows backed by endless drones and aesthetic semi-narcotic heady incense fog: cathedrals, where choirs and organ players pushed their audience into ecstasy with what was then the loudest music imaginable, resonating from the walls with lots of heavy overtones bringing heaven to earth with a lot of help from the drone. So even in their purest form, drones connected people with a vibrating universe from early on.

Drones change the original piece of music fundamentally as the melody plays against the drone. They also change so much more in terms of the audience’s actual act of listening and experience of the music. The sound world created by the drone and its interplay with the tune adds a dynamic a constant, a pull towards or away from the home tone. Each note has its own special relation to the drone creating a dyadic cadence  ( a two-tone musical interval). The drone is the essence of life itself in its most primitive state the point from which all melody stems from, is related to, understood by and must return to.

Human beings are wired to respond viscerally to the drone it embodies our sense of the infinite and  eternity it is a heady and powerful sonic form that is very much a part of our spiritual DNA connecting us to the one, the eternal life force. It embodies the understanding that “God is Sound,” and “Sound is God.” The drone is eternal and takes us to a deeply spiritual place within a few seconds.

The drone sets up a ritual, a play space where magic can happen and this feels strangely comforting to me, like home and yet a sustained tone to evoke disquiet, a sense of lifting the curtain of the everyday. A place where Mystery and magic live. Here be dragons!

The drone harnesses time in an unmarked, uninterrupted spiritual ritual, an audio element within music that transcends borders and stretches back millennia. The drone creates a sacred sonic space it entranses us .

When we play the hurdy-gurdy we create a sound world in which we can dream, drift and explore. The instrument powers up the synapses and feeds the soul. It really is a magical thing. It takes us back to our ancient past; it takes to everywhere and nowhere. When we play the instrument runs deep into our psyche, it’s like free basing history and universal geography. The drone comes from a place of resonance and intuition, something primal that exists within everything and is everywhere.

With the drone you can enter a trance state if you’re luck you’ll be able to leave your body and become the spirit of the music. It can be a full on psychedelically revelatory out of body experience through music. That is what I’m aiming for when I play with Celtarabia.

Often with the drone in the hurdy-gurdy, it’s about playing the silences, especially with melody strings  and the trompettes. It’s finding those moments, those punctuations, pauses and silences.

I think of the drone as like ‘the universal one’ of God it’s the home tone. Each note played melodically is one step away from or towards home and this is where the musical tension and meaning resides in the relationships between melody and drone.

The drone exists outside of us and deep within us. It is an oral expression of a universal hum we can only hope to fleetingly channel when we play. 

When we play the drone we are also played by it. It changes our psychological state by facilitating a focus on the present by limiting our experience of the constant of change. Putting us in the moment for a continuous period of time.

The drone allows us to take control of time by releasing us from our need to mark time. It takes us away from the mundane in every way and allows us to enter a sacred space dream and just let go. To be in the moment for as long as we choose.

In a way, the drone represents the ultimate folk music a powerful tool of personal liberation. The drone unites us as a feeling of togetherness by dint of communal or and shared wonder and allows us the freedom from the tyranny of time and the now normalised imperatives of human achievement and digital social validation.

The drone is the sound of a free universe in which anything is possible.

This is a short except from my forthcoming book ‘The Secret Life of the hurdy-gurdy’ Field notes on playing the hurdy-gurdy from the world’s most respected players.

EFDSS Monday Singers ‘Cos Group’ (Carry on singing)

Here’s a song taught to me by Lisa Knapp but originally by The Copper Family and sung by some of the wonderful Monday Folk Singers ‘COS GROUP’ from the EFDSS Zoom class. It’s a wonderful song that I’ll be recording soon. Thousands or More (Sorrows Away) The Copper Family All recorded remotely and co-ordinated and mixed by Andrew Cheal.

I’ve been exploring traditional folk singing mainly through the Monday Night Folk Singers class organised by the EFDSS and have had the delightful experience of being taught by Emily Portman (Furrow Collective) and Lisa Knapp this term I’ll be in the esteemed company of Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne from ‘Granny’s Attic’

Each term I’ve had the opportunity to learn repertoire, arrangements and folk style singing from an established folk singer and educator. All material is taught by ear.

I’ve learnt some great songs from Emily and Lisa’s repertoires as well as harmony singing but the focus is definitely more on developing as folk singers in a supportive environment. I’ve been able to listen to different interpretations of songs, see examples from archives and field recordings and learn about the tutors’ approach to their singing and folk songs which has been amazing.

It’s been a fantastic experience and I’ve learnt so many songs! I can highly recommend the sessions. More info here: https://www.efdss.org/learning/adults/monday-folk-singers

And here’s a quick video ‘warts and all’ of me singing it unaccompanied.

Agent Starling’s ‘Constellation of Birds’ available on all major streaming platforms

Agent Starling’s ‘Constellation of Birds’ is released on all the usual digital platforms, distributed by Label Worx. To coincide with this major release, here is the new video of the opening track, evoking birds in flight, a celebration of the beauty of nature. The album has been getting great reviews in the press and loads of air play. Take a moment and have a listen.

#hurdygurdy#spring#folkmusic#folksyshop#folksy#dronemusic#worldmusic#rootsmusic#folkfestival#hurdy

Hull Papers – local news – deep roots

We’ve been in the local press this week with appearance in 4 local papers and a forthcoming feature in the Yorkshire post. Big thanks to Phil Ascough for writing the article.

Holderness Gazette March 2022

https://www.hulldailymail.co.uk/whats-on/music-nightlife/east-yorkshire-musical-duo-emerge-6801090

https://www.bw-magazine.co.uk/from-landlines-to-lockdowns/

Agent Starling Reviews

CONSTELLATION OF BIRDS

To buy any album click on the image to arrive at the Bandcamp page.

“…(Constellation of Birds) is compelling, demanding, progressive, and fuses a range of cross-cultural folk-based sounds and moods. The album challenges and stretches boundaries, and occasionally – in a good way – feels slightly unhinged, but I absolutely love it when musicians dare to tread forth where many would turn on their heels and run…” John Reed Fatea Magazine

“…an album that both respects and goes far beyond the traditions of Hurdy-Gurdy and European Folk, embracing genres and creating lovely textures. You will not hear another album like this in 2022.” Neil March Trust the Doc 

“… the disparate textures and threads they weave coalesce into a mesmerising tapestry of sound that is uniquely theirs.” Mike Davies, Folking

“Purveyors of hurdy-gurdy and weirdness” Andy Inns, Black Dog Radio 

EUROPEAN HOWL

Experimental hurdy-gurdy on duo’s impressive debut. European Howl is a complex, immersive and at times disorienting listening experience. Opening track ‘Helicopter Arms’ sets the tone – pulsating, intriguing, the distinctive droning, buzzing but melodic sound of the hurdy-gurdy and whispered spoken-word vocals … ‘Minor Surgery’ is a cyber-Morricone soundtrack with whipcrack noises and a splendid rumbling bassline. (SONGLINES July 2021)

In all the years since this podcast started I don’t think we’ve ever knowingly featured a hurdy-gurdy – but there’s a first time for everything thanks to Agent Starling. (Tom Robinson, BBC Radio 6 Music)

This is wonderful. It has a feeling of antiquity and a feeling of something new. The music is a blast and the images are a constant wow (Dan Kellaway – Luthier)

Its epic! Really well constructed, like reading a book. (Jim Mclaughlin Director Musicport Festival)

Very interesting instrumentation, textures and approach… ambient meets world. Very unique and enjoyable. (Kluane Takhini)

Both haunting and exhilarating at the same time. (Les Ray – Strummers and Dreamers Radio Show)

Such original use of a hurdy-gurdy (Readifolk Radio)

A multlayered varied thing, wonderful! (Rick Stuart, Roots & Fusion Radio)

This is wonderful. Love the fluid bass figures (Landi Michaels)

You went deep with this! Cool experimental track! (Minor Surgery) (Jaguar – BBC Introducing Dance)

There’s only room for the most fabulous music on the planet. We started our two-hour #681 sound journey from the UK with ′′ European Howl “, formidable debut album of the Agent Starling trio, training that breaks out strong in the landscape of traditional inspiration with a proposal that has its gravitational center in the zanfona. (Jordi Demésenllà Transglobal World Music Chart)

Very tasty mix of beats with the exotics. Great work! (Junkyard of Silenced Poets)

Brilliant again! If someone ever did a spaghetti western film in the graphic novel cinematic style of Sin City – this would be perfect music for it! Very tasty mix of beats with the exotics. Great work! (Junkyard of Silenced Poets)

Absolutely loving these tunes (Mark Whitby Dandelion Radio)

I love the sound of a hurdy-gurdy and this album’s wonderful arrangements of hurdy-gurdy, strings, percussion and softly spoken lyrics really hits the spot for me (Folk Roots News)

Lots of wonderful hurdy-gurdy, drones, bass experimentalism, and other worldly goodness. Recommended! (Ian Stacey)

I am listening to this as I write. I will certainly play something from the album in next week’s show. I am only halfway through listening but already this has gone on to my long list for Album of the Year 2021 … it’s up there with anything else I have received this year. (Ian Blues and Roots Radio) 

This stunning track is difficult to pigeon-hole since it is too organic to be considered electronic, too ambient to be considered anything to do with Rock but does verge on classical. Lou provides enigmatic story-telling spoken word while the music develops from long chords, tremolo violin and a host of other ideas and techniques to create a semi-meditative feel despite the busy activity continuously driving it along. Earthy but complex, this is an impressive demonstration of how they are able to combine such individual timbres to create such an uplifting atmosphere. (Trust the Doc Edition 54)

Congratulations on your new release! I really enjoyed listening to it today, there’s so much depth! Very interesting sounds too, it reminds me of Lithuanian folklore at some points. (Jonas Lapinas)

What a great song (Maija Handover Sound UK – Extraordinary musical encounters)

Great video and what a wonderful, unusual sound! (Aine Kennedy)

Agent Starling – I see the deserts of Mongolia and flags blowin’ in the wind (Cowboy DC)

Love this stuff soul-moving (Kelvin Richmond)

It’s a 21st century Van Der Graaf Generator (Andrew Lee)

What a wonderful album. It’s the kind of sound and complexity that I love to hear as well as play. (Cruise Cycle)

Beautiful in every way. The music, the playing and the photography are all amazing (Richard Harries)

This was a fascinating experience… Interesting, confusing, thought provoking, earie, troubling and hypnotic – all at the same time. I didn’t know what to make of it – but loved it! I think it’s more – a piece of art than it is music, it begs to be part of a larger physical experience within an art instillation or a maze or to be listened to while rotating in a gyroscope… All in all – very interesting! 

For once I am lost for words… In short, I think this is something with much greater potential than just the music on its own. It’s very clever and powerful – I hope you have plans for it. I’d be interested to know what happens next? Congratulations on creating something truly original and uniquely mystifying… (Trevor C. Krueger Founder Equal Ability Radio) 

Klasse!! (Merit Zloch)

Beautiful, and great production (Don V.Lax)

The album is freaking excellent! (Michael Hunter Roots and Branch Radio Australia)

NORTHERN LIGHTS TRILOGY EP

“I doubt very much that you will hear anything quite like this anywhere else in current music in 2021. Truly wondrous.” Neil March Trust the Doc Issue 62 

“Festive EP… features the self-penned, spoken poem title track with its tinkling icicle keyboards (and a snatch of Prokofiev’s ‘Troika’), shimmering melody lines and cascading chorus alongside new arrangements of traditional tunes ‘Stockport Polka’ and ‘The Cordwainer’s Lament’” Folking Magazine

“Something very different here, something quite addictive to listen to, from the Northern Lights EP I give you Agent Starling …” One World Music Radio

‘Wow what a track that is, absolutely awesome and compelling that was Agent Starling and Northern Light taken from their winter EP The Northern Lights Trilogy’. David Chamberlain-Acoustic Routes

“The Cordwainer’s Lament owes its unique sound to the Hurdy Gurdy, that strange medieval instrument that’s part hand-cranked organ, part bowed string instrument, but sounds equally like neither. Capable of producing eerie drones as well as bowed melodies, it infuses the track with an atmosphere of the distant past, with an almost Eastern quality in its texture.

And this track really does have texture. Images of moss-covered cliffs, lashed by storm waves and haunted by souls lost at sea instantly spring to mind; you can practically smell the sharpness of the salty mist in the air, as Gulls whirl daringly above the sea foam. This is perfect music for a BBC costume drama or a film soundtrack.” Andy Page Fresh on the Net moderator

“The Cordwainer’s Lament’ sounds like an atmospheric musical walk down a snowy country lane. ‘Northern Lights’ … mixes spoken-word with musical quotes from Prokofiev’s ‘Troika’ … It’s a joyful, wintry offering. Amid a soundscape of sleigh bells and church bells, Lou sings “I know you yearn for calm, long for night, but my heart dances with the Northern Lights.” Finally, we have the exuberant ‘Stockport Polka … “

“It’s all terrific fun and, for me, it’s the 2021 equivalent of the Cocteau Twins’ glorious 1993 Christmas EP Snow. If you’re short of Christmas cheer this year, you could do worse than to go to Bandcamp and get hold of the Northern Lights Trilogy.” Tony Gillam, Passengers in Time

New album ‘Constellation of Birds’ released by Agent Starling

Brand new album Constellation of Birds, download and limited edition CD now available from Bandcamp: 

https://loudhaileruk.bandcamp.com/album/constellation-of-birds

WHAT THE PAPERS SAY

CONSTELLATION OF BIRDS

“…(Constellation of Birds) is compelling, demanding, progressive, and fuses a range of cross-cultural folk-based sounds and moods. The album challenges and stretches boundaries, and occasionally – in a good way – feels slightly unhinged, but I absolutely love it when musicians dare to tread forth where many would turn on their heels and run…” John Reed Fatea Magazine

“…an album that both respects and goes far beyond the traditions of Hurdy-Gurdy and European Folk, embracing genres and creating lovely textures. You will not hear another album like this in 2022.” Neil March Trust the Doc 

“… the disparate textures and threads they weave coalesce into a mesmerising tapestry of sound that is uniquely theirs.” Mike Davies, Folking

“Purveyors of hurdy-gurdy and weirdness” Andy Inns, Black Dog Radio 

“wonderful gurdy-core” Ian Anderson Podwireless

ALAN JAMES CREATIVE BURSARY AND RESIDENCY PROGRAMME 2021-2022

Throughout this autumn I have been working on the Disconnect-Reconnect Show developing ideas and researching approaches to the project. From Nov 1st to 7th I was on a residency at Cecil Sharp House on a residency to develop my ideas further.

1. What did you use the bursary funding for?

I used the bursary funding to develop, refine, research and explore ideas for my new solo show Disconnect/Reconnect. I’ve been researching and developing a cross genre show in which story-telling, theatre and music are combined with new writing, digital media to create a unique folk gig that weaves immersive storytelling with live music inspired by music from the pan European and England’s traditional music repertoires using contemporary approaches to create a show that has broad popular appeal.
In financial terms I used the bursary to pay my expenses and wages whilst I worked on developing the Disconnect/Reconnect project at home and at Cecil Sharp House in London. I’ve invested some of the money on joining the Monday Singers at EFDSS to develop my singing.

2. Would you have been able to do this work if you did not have the bursary?

There is no way I would have been able to dedicate the concentrated effort, thought and experimentation on this project if the bursary had not been awarded.

As a full-time musician and artist my income is really quite low compared to the average wage so opportunities to travel and spend time in London researching ideas, new musical and performance concepts are relatively rare as the cost of accommodation, travel to from and around London are prohibitive.

Being on residency gave me a strong credible platform to conduct crowd-based research via social media. The ability to ask pertinent and impertinent questions yielded some great new ideas whilst confirming and challenging some deeply held personal beliefs.

The residency enabled me to broker relationships with potential participants for the project both in the UK, Europe and America.

Being able to discuss the ideas in the project with Nick and Malcolm in the library  and their miraculous ability to pull out fascinating resources that moved my thinking along was a joy.

I think one of the reasons I wanted to come to London was to meet and have conversations with staff at Cecil Sharp House to develop the ideas in the show. However remote working due to the coronavirus made this impossible. It would have been inspiring to have heard some stories about previous residencies and work developed as a result of them.

I used some of the money to pay for the EFDSS Monday Singers sessions with Emily Portman. This has been great fun and a tremendous learning experience, challenging me consistently to develop my skills as a singer and develop and learn new repertory. Work I will continue to focus on  over the next year as the show develops.

One of the intangible but valuable benefits of the residency is that I feel much more confident about the project and my own abilities as an artist and validated by the Alan James Creative Bursary Award as a musician. I know previous awardees have gone on to create wonderful things based on their research and I hope Disconnect-Reconnect will have a similar impact.

3. What future plans do you have to use and/or develop the work created?

I’ll be developing the work into a show and album that I hope to tour in autumn 2022

I’ll be working with my musical collaborators closely to develop and refine their  musical contributions to the show.

I’ll be writing more new tunes that respond to and develop the tunes shared with me.

I’ll be looking for additional funding to produce, rehearse and tour the show using Arts Council Project Funding Awards.

Using the insights, I gained on residency I will be developing the show further and challenging myself in new ways as a performer. By developing singing skills, mouth music skills and foot percussion skills.

I’ll be actively seeking out and developing my skills as a story-teller and raconteur. I’m hoping to spend some time with Taffy Thomas.

4. Any other things you would like to say or like us to know?

The show I’ve been working on whilst I’ve been here at Cecil sharp house is a solo show called ‘Disconnect-Reconnect’. It’s about how music allows us to cross borders without inhibition and connect people even when we’re really isolated. Underlying that it’s about creating and listening to music as a shared social experience.

The show involves storytelling digital media and of course tunes on the hurdy gurdy. It’s designed to be a lot of fun with plenty of laughs and heart. There will be  guest appearance by a number of musicians via video so that I can take all my friends on tour with me and navigate and share my musical world in an augmented concert experience using projections.

One thing that’s been particularly interesting while I’ve been here on residency, and caused me a lot of fascination is the archive resources and the library, which are just tremendous. I’d like to say a big thank you to Nick and Malcolm for finding and searching out some really great materials. Of particular interest are the photos from the pre-war international folk dance and song festival held in 1935 a few years before the start of the second world war which give us an extraordinary glimpse into another world whilst provoking deeper questions around national Identity and state.

The images from the 1935 Festival are a delight and I’m sure I will find a way of incorporating them into the final show.

Special thanks to Nick for introducing me to some new ways of thinking and understandings in this area.

I’ve also been using my time during the residency to engage in discussions with other musicians and artists around the country and indeed across Europe to find out what their feelings are on things like Brexit, the impact of COVID and the social nature and intangible benefits of playing music together and for audiences that go beyond the simple metric of ticket sales. I’ve been looking at like the spiritual emotional, and social dimension of making music together. So that’s been really interesting.

Here are some of the questions I asked on social media:
1.

It’s day one of my Alan James Creative Artist residency at Cecil Sharp House and I’m starting with a question to musicians in the UK. In one word (or more) describe your feelings about Brexit.

2.

It’s day two of my Alan James Creative Artist residency at Cecil Sharp House and I have another question to musicians in the UK.

‘Brexit has proved to be hugely divisive. What can we as musicians do to build bridges with Europe and re-establish cohesion within our own society?’

3.

It’s day three of my Alan James Creative Artist residency at Cecil Sharp House and I have another question to musicians in the UK.

‘The impact of the Covid pandemic and Brexit has been tremendously isolating for us all, what stories do you have of overcoming isolation and creating connection with other musicians and audiences during these challenging times?’

4.

It’s day four of my Alan James Creative Artist residency at Cecil Sharp House and I have another question to musicians in the UK.

‘What does the new normal look and sound like for you as a musician? What has changed, what has stayed the same, what is better, what is worse?’

5.

It’s day five of my Alan James Creative Artist residency at Cecil Sharp House and I have another question to musicians in the UK.

‘Playing together has a spiritual, social and emotional value beyond the economic drivers of ticket and album sales. How do you use music connect to others and what are the ‘intangible’ benefits you find in the act of making and sharing music?’

Participants took part in the discussions in quite large numbers and the answers given were thoughtful, funny and had heart-warming qualities I’d like to bring to the show. The answers to question five were particular insightful moving beyond anger to hope a central theme of the Disconnect-Reconnect show.

Here are some of them:

Music played with others, is a form of Esperanto; a second language, whereby you might communicate with others, where you may not have a common tongue.
Chris Tandy

It’s non-verbal communication. That’s a pretty amazing thing. I can’t put a specific value on it, but I know my live would be very dull without it.
Jane Bird

I met a very high proportion of my friends through music, some of which I’ve never physically met, but music provides a real connection between us. Making music with others ranks as one of the greatest pleasures in my life, it’s been like that since I started making music 58 years ago.

Plus, another of life’s greatest pleasures is seeing the emotions that you can bring out in the audience – happy, sad, remembering. Music has the power to make connections in so many ways.

For example, years ago I was busking in York City Centre. I was playing Whistling Rufus on my melodeon, when an elderly lady stopped, listened, and started crying. When I finished the tune, she came over, grasped my hands, and thanked me. It had been her late husband’s favorite tune. Remembering that musical moment still moves me
Kevin Holland

I am just heading out for a week-long Pagan retreat where we will connect with each other through instrumental music, chant, song, mantras, drumming etc. I could go on for pages and pages as music is integral to our Ritual and social interaction and is and social interaction and is also woven through our everyday interactions. It encompasses both solitary and group spiritual practices. And is used in many other ways that I am not sure I should share here. Blessings.
David Manley

The above, yes, especially Chris Tandy’s comment at the top. Playing for people to dance, whether or not we have many words in common, can be a deep, almost spiritual experience. Playing in public when a tiny toddler starts dancing along, and watchers share the joy is pretty good, too.
Richard York

Where playing with others becomes a communication of harmony, counter melody it’s an amazing level of communication. To know where they might go with the impro. It forms a relationship. Watching dancers physically respond to that key or tempo change is pretty amazing too.
 Janet Worrell

Worked abroad for four years and could settle, make friends and absorb local culture because I found local musicians playing local music, who shared music with me. Also met other folk musicians who were travelling and shared music. Wouldn’t have been happy without music then – might not have been able to cope.
Jo Drew

‘the musical human’ by Michael spitzer is an interesting book to read an ponder upon your questions… article about it here https://www.theguardian.com/…/the-musical-human-by…
Sian Phillips

Part of my work has involved liaising, gathering in and playing along to the videos from my fellow musicians and projecting them and then working out  and researching the logistics for how to back project and projection map elements of the show. As this will make for a much more interesting live experience for the audience.

One of the unexpected consequences of the residency is that something of the spirit of Cecil Sharp house has influenced my thinking and allowed me to take my ideas forward and provide really stimulating areas for further research. Being able to embark on one line of inquiry in the library, and then come across something else that’s really quite fascinating and takes you off on another tangent has been excellent.

So, it is the library I have to thank for developing my interest and being able to satisfy my curiosity about Puirt-a-Beul music, and mouth music making in England for dancing. Listening to the wax cylinder and field recordings at the listening post in the library was a direct window onto another world and something I will treasure for a very long time.

There is an element of my research that is definitely going into the show, which is the seated step dancing whilst doing mouth music  whilst playing the rhythm with your feet. Having read the description in one of the journals about this it’s just I have to do this this is really good useful inspiring knowledge.

One of the joys of being at Cecil sharp house on residency has been have access to these wonderful rehearsal rooms, and to just be able to sit in them and play and to think and to reflect and to develop ideas, having the space and the time set aside to just do this one thing without the distractions of normal life has been lovely. One of the unexpected outcomes of this is that I’ve written a couple of tunes for the project. I really wouldn’t have gotten around to doing had it not being a residency so that half hour 45 minutes in the morning, just practising warming up and playing around with ideas, has had some really lovely outcomes.

As an artist, it’s a rare privilege to be given the opportunity to have a residency to develop new creative ideas and I’d like to say a really big thank you to Cecil Sharp House the EFDSS and to the Alan  James Creative Bursary fund for allowing me the opportunity to explore and develop new ideas and create new work. It’s been fantastic.

Sitting and writing the evaluation and having a chance to reflect on the residency has been a particularly useful exercise as it has allowed me to draw together many of the learnings, reflections and most importantly the key next steps for the project.

It’s a  big heartfelt thank you from me.

Quentin Budworth
Musician and Artist.

I’m on The BBC Music Introducing Mixtape with Tom Robinson with Agent Starling

Here’s what BBC 6 Radio presenter Tom Robinson had to say about the Agent Starling track European Howl.

‘Now in all the years since this podcast started I don’t think we’ve ever knowingly featured a hurdy-gurdy but there’s a first time for everything thanks to Agent Starling.’

BBC Music Introducing Mixtape – The BBC Music Introducing Mixtape with Tom Robinson – BBC Sounds