DHM RECORD LABEL RADIO PRESS RELEASE For immediate release
Agent Starling release European Howl
Agent Starling’s debut album, European Howl releases on all the usual digital outlets on May 4th, 2021. The ten-track album is full of catchy hurdy-gurdy tunes, new songs, hypnotic drones, live bass grooves & strings, all with an experimental edge.
Agent Starling are Quentin Budworth hurdy-gurdy and Lou Loudhailer voices & other instruments. Recorded in the first three months of 2021, European Howl also features Dexter Duffy-Howard on violin and cello. Recorded in Yorkshire UK by Agent Starling, the album was mastered in Oregon by Kevin Carafa.
The album is influenced by musical traditions from nations across Europe. A mix of instrumental pieces, spoken word and songs, themes range from a miscellany of Greek Tales (Wine Dark Sea), an elegy by a dying lover (Requiem) to Helicopter Arms, inspired by the glorious gurdy tune at the heart of the song. Delores County Ride is a tribute to the women who hop trains in Arno Bitschy’s film This Train I Ride, and the album’s title track is an ode to being European, a call for connection in today’s isolationist climate.
Quentin and Lou both have strong musical provenance. Lou was originally in prophetic UK Indie band Red Guitars and has gigged and recorded ever since, heading up psychedelic rock band Loudhailer Electric Company. Originally part of Suns of Arqa, Quentin is the force behind world fusion medieval rave band Celtarabia, also featuring Lou on bass. He spent the year before lockdown touring Europe meeting with other top hurdy-gurdy players exchanging tunes, techniques and experiences. The band usually play the alternative festival circuit throughout the summer, but due to lockdown restrictions on live music, Lou and Quentin joined forces to create Agent Starling and record European Howl.
European Howl releases on all the usual digital outlets on May 4th, 2021 on the DHM record label, catalogue number DHM028, distributed by Label Worx.
Welcome to Agent Starling, Lou Loudhailer and Quentin Budworth’s new collaboration. Loudhailer Electric Company captain Lou has teamed up with Celtarabia chief Quentin who spent the year before lockdown touring Europe meeting with other top hurdy-gurdy players exchanging tunes, techniques and experiences. This is the first of the preview tracks, our arrangement of the French folk tune Il N’est Plus Temps composed by Michel Pichon. The video photography is by Richard Duffy-Howard. Lou Duffy-Howard 2021
Welcome to Lou Loudhailer and Quentin Budworth’s new collaboration. Agent Starling. This is our next album preview track, Drive the Cold Winter Away also featuring Dexter Duffy-Howard on violin & cello. Immerse yourself in the snow scenes of Quentin’s captivating video to illustrate the tune featured in Playford’s Dancing Master. Lou Loudhailer:
Playford’s winter tune is part of the new collaboration between Lou Loudhailer and Quentin Budworth. Loudhailer Electric Company captain Lou Duffy-Howard teams up with Celtarabia chief Quentin who spent the year before lockdown touring Europe meeting with other top hurdy-gurdy players exchanging tunes, techniques and experiences.
During the Lockdown of 2020 Paul Sherwood and I have led classes for D/G hurdy-gurdy players via Zoom and had a lot of fun doing them. Some players described it as the thing that they looked forward to the most during the week. Here are the tunes for you to download and a link to the Youtube playlist Lockdown-tunes All
If you have any questions about the tunes you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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’.
The Chance to get a couple of days studying Hurdy-Gurdy with Gilles Chabenat at Gaunts House was to good to miss. I learnt an incredible amount in the small group (there were 3 of us) and having the opportunity to see Gilles playing and inprovise on stage was certainly hugely beneficial.
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.
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.
If you have any queries about the course, have a chat with course leader Paul James 0788 794 8853 email@example.com
I met up with Sam ( Samuel Palmer ) in London last week and played some lovely traditional tunes and had a go on Sam’s lute backs and midi gurdies, – Sam gave my Gurdy the once over. Oh and there was cake (not pictured).
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.
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.
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.