Tag Archives: ACE

Old Dog New Tricks at Bridlington Contemporary Art Gallery

Friday 13th March 2020 Bridlington Contemporary Art Gallery

Rebecca Folds Gallery Programmer:

‘On Friday evening the gallery space at Bridlington Contemporary was packed with an expectant audience, eager to hear the renowned hurdy-gurdy player, Quentin Budworth. We had seen Quentin before at the Hull Folk Festival with the band Celtarabia. That was a massively amplified, foot-stomping, head-banging, stadium rock performance on an outdoor stage with a huge crowd of festival goers dancing their socks off.
It was a surprise and delight to see him in this more intimate setting, transformed from rock god into an entertaining and informative raconteur showing us the more subtle and thoughtful side of his musicianship.
With the help of an Arts Council Grant, Quentin had spent 2019 travelling through the UK and Europe visiting centres of musical excellence, meeting and playing with and learning from the best musicians, composers and instrument makers who form a quite remarkable international community.
Quentin’s account of his year of travel took us from this country to various festivals, gatherings and musical schools throughout Europe. We heard about the different traditions, styles, and approaches in different parts of the continent. It was good to know that these were being shared and adapted, keeping the tradition alive and of course Quentin was able to demonstrate all this on the two beautiful instruments he had with him. The were plenty of questions from the enthusiastic audience in the final part of the evening and I think everyone learnt a lot – from the history of the hurdy-gurdy since the 11th century to the response of contemporary composers to the instrument. And of course a whole load of cracking tunes – all in all a fantastic evening’.

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‘Old Dog New Tricks’ Live at Upstairs at Monks

Quentin Upstairs at Monks

Quentin Budworth is a Hurdy-gurdy player and composer on a quest. For the last year he has travelled across Europe learning from master Hurdy-Gurdy players from different traditions.

Supported by an Arts Council Develop Your Creative Practice Grant his travels have taken him to France, Spain, Crete, Germany and Holland.

In this unique event Quentin will share tunes , stories and insights about what he has learned on his musical odyssey. Featuring music from across Europe and newly composed tunes Quentin will give a rare insight into the world of an itinerant Hurdy-Gurdy Man and composer.

Reviews:

Sam Pirt  (Musician The Hut People)

‘We had a wonderful inspiring evening last night, upstairs at the Monks Walk in Beverley, watching The Hurdy Gurdy Man ‘Old Dog New Tricks’ one man show.It was all about Quentin Budworth travels, stories and tunes he picked up along the way.The show is on again so keep an eye out for it.What a great evening it was and also what a wonderfully atmospheric venue it was too!A great night by a great musician with some great stories and tunes!’ #hurdygurdymaster

Gordon Meredith

‘What a wonderful evening spent in the company of the lovely Quentin Budworth and his Hurdy Gurdies as well as lots of good friends in the audience. Quentin treated us to lots of tunes from around Europe, each accompanied with its own anecdote of his many travels. Plus great pub and great beer. What a combination!’

Lou Loudhailer

‘Totally fab night, really enjoyed it!’

Mark Kelly Organiser upstairs at Monks

3 years ago we started putting completely unplugged, or acoustic nights on in the only remaining room upstairs in Monks Walk in Beverley, a room haunted by the ghost of a local blacksmith who many moons ago hung himself downstairs after falling on hard times, and a room with a 13th Century wall as a backdrop. It’s a unique, medieval, and intimate space, and Quentin Budworth’s ‘Old Dog New Tricks’ Hurdy Gurdy couldn’t be better suited to our little room.

A 90 minute journey through the differing hurdy gurdy techniques used to play this unusual instrument around the World. A confident raconteur, and a man who knows his Hurdy Gurdy, we were treated to French, German, and Scandinavian compositions as Quentin swapped from one Hurdy Gurdy to another.

Our room was filled with sounds like we’ve never heard before, and the audience were captivated, if a pin had dropped it would have disturbed us!

Afterwards Quentin opened up the room and took a Q&A session, covering the history of “the hardest instrument to play in the World”, explanations of where all the different sounds where coming from, different playing techniques, and at one point even dismantling one of his Gurdy’s to explain his point! ~ a charming fellow, and a mesmerising show, it would make a great Festival workshop, but for anyone who wants an introduction to this amazing instrument, Quentin’s night is a must’.

To book ‘Old Dog, New Tricks’ call Quentin on 07877434739

 

 

National Lottery Big Thanks!

It’s the 25th anniversary of the #NationalLottery25 supporting the #arts in the UK. I’m so grateful for their support in funding my work as a multi-disciplinary artist and musician. This year through the Arts Council’s Develop Your Creative Practice funding I’ve been able to study Hurdy-Gurdy with some of the world’s greatest and most innovative players an old dog learning new tricks. I’ve attended workshops in Germany, Holland, France, Spain, England and Greece. I’ve met so many musicians from around the world and made many new friends along the way. The funding the Arts Council gives to artists is a game changer for Artists and Musicians and communities thank you, thank you, thank you. #arts #NationalLottery25

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Halsway European Music Weekend

I attended an extended weekend course for musicians to develop ensemble playing skills and make imaginative arrangements that are exciting to listen or dance to. Using music from European folk/traditional/popular music traditions as the raw material to make new arrangements that can go in any direction. The aim was to explore and combine all sorts of influences and ideas to make spine tingling music that is more than the sum of the parts.

The course was fairly intensive and included all day ensemble workshop sessions with the aim of performing all the pieces created together at a public concert on the Sunday night. The course was led by musician/composer/arranger Paul James – saxophones, border bagpipes (Blowzabella, Evening Star), Belgian diatonic accordion virtuoso and composer/arranger Anne Niepold and we are delighted to welcome German harpist, composer and teacher Merit Zloch to the team for the first time this year.

The Team

Paul James is a saxophonist, bagpiper, singer and composer from Newbury who writes, arranges and performs music influenced by English and other European folk traditions. Paul was composer for the critically acclaimed production of John Milton’s ‘Comus – A Masque in Honour of Chastity’ at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and has composed music for TV, documentaries, theatre and contemporary dance, as well as the bands he plays in. He has been a member of the hugely influential folk band Blowzabella since 1980, and plays with his pan-European band Evening Star and the folk dance band The Playford Liberation Front.

Anne Niepold studied in the jazz department of the Royal Conservatory of Brussels and attended many courses and masterclasses. As a performer she is a true force of nature – brash, adventurous and phenomenally skilled, she takes the humble accordion in startling directions. Beside her solo projects, she performs with numerous arts companies at home and abroad, and has numerous recordings to her name.

“(Anne) shows us the right way, that of intelligence, respect, emotion and heart. Run quickly listen to her and see her in concert!”
Richard Galliano, Accordionist

Merit Zloch is a harpist, composer and music teacher. She sees herself in the tradition of the itinerant harp players of the 19th and early 20th century, travelling with her harp throughout Europe charming people with her original compositions and arrangements of historical dance music.

She has played in bands almost as long as she has played the harp and is constantly fascinated by the interplay between musicians. She likes to arrange und develop pieces together with her band colleagues and to improvise.

Merit researches historical dance manuscripts and organises musicians meetings, bals and instrumental workshop weekends.

Queries?

If you have any queries about the course, have a chat with course leader Paul James 0788 794 8853 pauljames.eu@gmail.com

Meeting up with Peter Kanssen in London

It was really great to meet up with Peter Kanssen yesterday and have a good play through some tunes and have a delicious Parsnip Soup lunch (not pictured). I also got the chance to have a go on Peter’s Neil Brook 3d Gurdy (storming!) and his amazing Sam Palmer midi gurdy both of which I have to say are lovely instruments. As a few people have been in touch about my thoughts on Sam’s midi gurdy I’ll write a post about it in the not to distant future.

One thing that came up during the meeting was the variable length crank as a learning tool …. to develop articulation of the coups – (buzzes) of the Hurdy-Gurdy trompette.

Researching Hurdy Gurdy Playing at Cecil Sharp House

Yesterday I went to the fabulous The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library (VWML) England’s national folk music and dance archive, an essential resource for anybody interested in the folk arts.

The English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) is the library’s custodian. The Library is housed at the Society’s HQ, Cecil Sharp House in London. Here’s the link https://www.cecilsharphouse.org/library-and-archive

Many thanks to librarians Laura Smyth and Martin Nail for their help.

Benoit Roblin Hurdy Gurdy Workshop at the Winter School

Benoît Roblin has grown to the sound of the hurdy-gurdy at Vierzon in Berry. Formed by Laurent Bitaud then Alexis Vacher, Benoît obtains his DEM in traditional music in 2008 then embarks on the professional adventure accompanied by his old green wheel designed by Jean-Paul Dinota.

Benoît Roblin has developed his own game, inspired by viellists of different styles, working on energy and groove. He has always put traditional music to dance in the heart of his instrumental practice, those of Berry mainly with Decibal, the big trio,  the  Hervé duo  and now in solo ball  , through Poitou with  Son de bouc,  the  Roblin duo. Pacher,  the  duo Jagueneau-Roblin and Tord Boyaux,  Brittany and Vendée in the  Roblin-Evain-Badeau Trio,  and Gascony with Nòu.

Projects full head and fingers, Benedict continues to create over the meetings, always looking for new experiences.

Benoit Roblin : hurdy-gurdy, feet, singing.

 

Far From the Madding Crowd – eMade Kinnersley Castle – Music for dancing – Far From The Madding Crowd – Peak Dance

This was a really lovely full on learning experience as participants we were offered a very full programme of learning experiences with the opportunity to dance in the evening. APR2019 Workshop Timetable . I learnt about playing and singing for dancing in Breton, Poitou and Scandinavian folk music over four days. To say that the experience was intense would be an understatement – I learnt a lot about playing styles, singing, call and refrain, playing by ear and much more.

My Mousnier Tenor Hurdy Gurdy which had it’s first outing on this trip. It was a challenge using a new instrument in a workshop situation however people seem to really like it’s low sound and roar.

For more inf visit http://peakdance.org.uk

Master Class with German Diaz at the Spielkurs Mühlhausen

Course 5: Advanced hurdy gurdy g/c
Germán Díaz

The advanced course with Germán Díaz  focussed mainly on melodies and rhythms of the Iberian peninsula, which Germán can convey authentically firsthand: It is always about the transfer of what has been learned to one’s own music, ie the question of how the techniques can also be used in traditional European dance music. In addition to universally applicable techniques, Spanish melodies and a considerable portion of concentrated musicality, you will also receive rhythmic inputs for quaters, fives and six-shots.

Another part of the work will deal with approaches and techniques for modal improvisation on traditional music, which are universally applicable in the field of traditional music and demand in addition to your understanding of music and your technical skills.

Winter School at Gaunts House

I attended music workshops at the Gaunts House Winter School over 4 days with Benoit Roblin, Gilles Chabenat, Julien Barbances and Lyset i Forsen the groups were very small and this made the learning process very quick and in depth. I also learnt to dance Scottische, waltz and Mazurka (thank you Jean for your remarkable patience). The Winter School is a nine day event which brought  professional musicians, singers and dancers from all over Europe to provide a very rich and exciting program of dance and music workshops, concerts and bals. More info about the Emade organisation who put on the event can be found here http://www.emade.org.uk/winterschool.php the full programme is here programme winter school Gaunts House

 

I’ll provide details of the specific workshops and learnings in subsequent posts.

So far Hot GriseldaEelgrindersTondo (Gilles Chabenat, Maarten Decombel, Fred Pouget), Ciac BoumHRDLyset i forsentrio Roblin/Evain/BadeauNaragonia Benoit GuerbignyJulien BarbancesRémi GeffroyGabriel Lenoir have confirmed their coming.

Dance workshop teachers include : Leif & Margareta Virtanen (Swedish dances), Anne-Cécile Dubois (tango and more), Maria Guerbigny (Lindy hop), Mike &Heidi Gibbs (rueda), Gabriel Lenoir (Dances from Wallony) & more (polska, Poitou, Bretagne, French mazurka…

The Folk Ball events and concerts were fantastic seeing  top European Folk Musicians play in  a dance context was invaluable. Dancing to the tunes they played a profound and deep level physical understanding of the function and dynamics of the music – magic!