A Busy AugustWe went to the Mill Race Festival of Traditional Music in Cambridge, Ontario again, and the following Saturday went to Port Dover on the North Shore of Lake Erie where local musician Ian Bell has invited us to take part in a concert to commemorate Barclay's Ball - an odd episode in Canadian history in 1813 where they suffered a military defeat by America because the generals were all away at a big party. There was a concert in the afternoon, where we played songs and tunes from England around the same period (Napoleonic wars), and local band Muddy York played more local material. In the evening we had a song swap followed by a contra dance, where we joined Muddy York as a big band.
The Band. Front: Anahata, Mary, Ian Bell, Anne Lederman
Back: Tom Leighton, Jeff Bird
The Dancers. Behind is the river flowing into Lake ErieA week later we were at Whitby Folk Week, where amongst other things we played the Monday evening dance/ceilidh with English Rebellion. Returning on Thursday were were at Folk East on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, squeezing in evening ceilidhs elsewhere with Fendragon on both Saturday and Sunday nights. Both festivals featured several songspots and a workshop or two in our schedule.
New Album ReleasedJuly 20
Actually the new album A Baker's Dozen arrived on June 6th. It's done well on sales both locally and internationally, with orders coming in from Canada, the USA and Australia among others. The downloads on Bandcamp are also selling and should prove to be a useful promotional tool. Genevieve Tudor has played a couple of tracks on her folk show on BBC radio Shropshire. You'll be able to get it at Sidmouth Folk week, where we are doing a handful of concert spots. We're also doing an illustrated talk on the song collecting activities of Vaughan Williams and others in Cambridgeshire, which are the source of five songs on the album.
Mill Race Festival, Cambridge, OntarioJuly 29-31
We had a terrific 10 days in Canada, ending with the Mill Race festival at Cambridge, and made some great friends.
There's a big picture show HERE
Here's a youtube video of Mary singing Lord Lovell at what was described
as a "Skinheads Concert" and turned out to be a banjo showcase.
Gleanings Course CancelledMay 20, 2011
We're sorry to announce that our weekend course at Gleanings in Shropshire is cancelled. There had been very little in the way of bookings, and we noticed that the annual English Country Music Weekend is scheduled for the same dates, and is likely to attract the same people who might have come to Gleanings, so it's not likely that many more would have booked. If we do it again next year, we'll avoid the last weekend of June...
Other NewsThere are now over 60 videos on Anahata's YouTube Channel.
Our MySpace account is still there despite my attempts to delete it. I might have to edit it to make it clear that it is no longer being maintained.
Bye Bye MySpaceIf you are on MySpace and we have mysteriously vanished from your friends list, don't take it personally! I've deleted our profile on MySpace (also that for Fendragon) because MySpace has become too like Facebook - impossible to find anything useful, you are bombarded with endless updates, adverts and links about useless trivia, you get friends added who you don't know (unless you're careful) and anyway I wasn't updating it enough to be useful.
10 December - More YouTube Video- only this time we've done it ourselves at home... Here's the two of us playing "A Northern Lass" and "A Northern Frisk":
And one of Anahata on his own playing a couple of hornpipes:
27 August - English Rebellion CD "Four Across"It's here! 15 tracks, mostly dance tunes but including two songs. Recorded at Wild Goose Studios by Doug Bailey. It isn't on the WildGoose label, not because it isn't good enough but because of an administrative misunderstanding. So you won't find in in HMV, Tescos and Amazon online but you can get it from us and it's only a few clicks away - details HERE. A nice album too - Doug says he was playing it at Sidmouth Folk festival as pre-concert background music at venues where he was in charge of the sound.
22 Aug - CD Sales PagesI've rewritten the CD sales pages and put back the PayPal option. Now with either Nochex or Paypal you can create a list of what you want and the totals are calculated for you. We have decided to add £ postage/packing charge to all UK orders (used to be post free) but the discount for £12 CDs (only £10 if you buy more than 1 CD in the same order) still applies.
The New English Rebellion CD "Four Across" is listed there. At the time of writing the CDs are on their way from the pressing plant in Germany but they should be with us in a few days. There'll be a full announcement when we have then with us.
31 JulyThere's a new petition to ask the government to decriminalise small live music events such as the sort that we mostly play at - see Licensing Act Petition - this is a new one started in July 2009. Please read and sign.
Colin Cater's book and CD (see below, 8 April) will be ready for Sidmouth Folk festival, we're told, though we haven't seen it yet. The CD we recorded in February with English Rebellion is at last off to the pressing plant and will be with us in a couple of weeks.
We're going to make a short demo CD of Ethel's Cats next week and will be promoting that, and also in August hope to do a few tracks for a new version of the Pig Dyke Molly CD we made last year, as we have five new tunes, including on e for a new dance, and two of which were written by Anahata.
Please note the Folk Against Fascism page and visit the sites linked there.
8 April - More recording and some good gigs coming upAnahata's been recording Colin and Karen Cater who run Hedingham Fair. Over the years Colin has written some great songs, mainly adaptations of traditional material with either new tunes or new words, and some dance tunes. They will soon be publishing a book of these songs, accompanied by a CD, and we're producing the CD. Some was recorded at the Three Horseshoes, Duton Hill with rousing choruses provided by an invited audience, the rest in Anahata's studio at home. You'll get the official announcement on the Hedingham Fair web site when it's ready (not for a month or two yet, don't hold your breath...)
Meanwhile we're absolutely delighted to have got booked for the Friday night concert at the Whittlesea Straw Bear Festival an event that we've enjoyed several years either as spectators or playing for Gog Magog Molly (a few years ago) and Pig Dyke Molly (this year and probably next).
The Sutton Folk club in Bedfordshire is under new management after the Summer, and we're opening the new season on September 9th. The web site is currently here: Sutton Folk Club but that will probably move and Anahata (with his webmaster's hat on) has offered to set up a new site and domain name for the club.
7 March - New Album "Cold Fen" arrivesthis was sent to our mailing list, but has been added here much later The album features songs collected by Ralph Vaughan Williams in the Cambridge area, with tunes previously unpublished. These are wonderful song melodies that we're sure haven't been heard for 100 years, because RVW didn't often bother with words so Mary has had to do a fair amount of research to match up likely texts with the tunes. So not for the first time we have an album of songs that were nearly lost, yet some have familiar titles.
There are also instrumental arrangements of some of the dance tunes from the manuscript of William Clarke of Feltwell in Norfolk, unpublished so far, and one or two tunes from other sources.
22 Feb - more Recording NewsJust back from a week with English Rebellion (ourselves + Nick & Mary Barber), first playing a ceilidh for a clog dancing weekend in Leyland, Lancs, then down to Wild Goose again to record an album with the band, and thence to Suffolk Folk's "Folk at the Riverside" day where we (mostly Nick and Mary Barber) ran a musicians' workshop in the morning, took part in a concert in the afternoon, and were the band for the evening ceilidh. John Kirkpatrick was among the guest performers for the day including a song spot at the ceilidh, and was visibly delighted to hear us playing one of his tunes for a dance.
The Cold Fen CD is in the works, and we're expecting it next week...
19 Nov - New Album is RecordedWe went down to Wild Goose in Hampshire a couple of weeks ago and recorded more than enough material for a new album. Unusually we've not called on the services of any other musicians, except for Doug Bailey stepping out from behind the mixing desk to add some chorus harmony in one song - but two sets of bagpipes make a brief appearance, as well as the usual assortment of squeezeboxes, banjo and cello. Like Fenlandia, this album will have a number of songs and tunes from the Cambridgeshire area - the songs collected by Ralph Vaugham Williams when he visited Cambridge in 1906 and 1907, and tunes from the unpublished manuscript of William Clarke of Feltwell (in Norfolk, but on the edge of the fens). The album should be released in January.
27 July - we're on YouTube!We're on Youtube! Many thanks to Hamish Currie for shooting some video of part of a concert at Saddleworth Folk Festival last week and putting it on YouTube.
The Nutting Song
Dennington Bell/March of the Men of Devon
We've just returned from Warwick Folk Festival where we've had a very successful weekend with Pig Dyke Molly. No singing, no performing in concerts, no worrying about set lists and instruments, just standing out in the sun playing for a great dance team! Hopefullly there will be photos soon...
19 JuneAbout time for an update, and I haven't even mentioned Pig Dyke Molly yet. A molly dance team based in Peterborough, memorable for their startling black and white kit, band featuring a sousaphone and until recently, using their own unique tunes... Toward the end of last year Anahata was approached by Pig Dyke boss Tony Forster about joining the music team. Robin Griggs, their melodeon player and music composer of many years standing was suffering from severe health problems, they had another musician who was busy with many other committments and therefore not always available, and could we help?
Well, long story short - we've joined the team and have rarely met such a fun and friendly (and quite mad of course) bunch of people and we're loving it. Currently we've played for several pub nights and other outings and we'll be with the team at Warwick Folk Festival. Rob died in January and we never actually met him, so it's a strange journey into the unknown for al of us. We have been introducing new music for some of the dances, carefully choosing tunes that fit but aren't too well known and obvious, and so far it's proved very rewarding for us and (by all accounts, but they're being very kind to us) for the rest of the team too. Rob also created and maintained the original Pig Dyke web site and the first thing Anahata had to do was to take that over, and started afresh with a new design that was more amenable to easy and quick updates, though Robin's graphic design talents, like his music, were a hard act to follow.
Apart from all that, the festival season is well under way now. We've alread been to Loughborough, Chester and Gower festivals, and now we're looking forward to Saddleworth, Shrewsbury and Bromyard, and next year, rumour has it we'll be at Cheltenham Folk Festival, possibly with Pig Dyke Molly as well, which will keep us busy.
On top of that, Anahata is now officially editor of Suffolk Folk's Mardles magazine and well as the Suffolk Folk webmaster, and Mary continues as the organisation's treasurer.
13 MarchWe've had a weekend at WildGoose Studios adding instrumental accompaniments to an album Jack Crawford is recording. It's the first time we've been asked to do all the instrumental bits for someone else's album, and with cello, several melodeons, concertinas, banjo and one or two vocal harmonies I think we've created some quite satisfying variety that will break up a recording of otherwise unaccompanied singing. Look out for Jack - lovely voice and great songs!
We've just had a last-minute booking for Court Sessions Traditional music Club which has been out of action for a couple of months. Now they've found a new venue (actually one they've used before but the pub's been refurbished) and they're doing their best to hit the ground running. If you're within reach of South London do come along and support a good club. It's every Friday at the Selkirk, Selkirk Road, Tooting, London SE17 0ES. We're there on March 28.
We're ploughing though an old manuscript book of tunes - William Clark of Feltwell - trying to decipher them, find some interesting tunes andf transcribe them in ABC. There's a few goodies there and we'll be using them in festival tune workshops and our day of workshops at Lewes on September 20.
9 January 2008 - Belated New Year Greetings and a Mailing ListA happy new year (what's left of it...) to all our readers.
We've just sent off our first email newsletter. Some of you have subscribed to our list by filling in a form at a club or festival, others got put on automatically if you ordered a CD from us, and now you can also subscribe on line. See the new mailing list page for the subscription form and to find out what's involved. Very simple and safe - you can get taken off again if you change your mind, we don't give your email address away and we will rarely mail you more often than every three months!
We're just about to embark on our most organised tour yet:
Links on this year's gigs page.
7 September - Post-Festival RecoveryI'm pleased to report that we've survived playing far more festivals in a short space of time than we've ever done before. It only took about a week to recover...
Recently we spotted a brilliant quote from Nigel Spencer, posted on the fRoots board, under the unlikely topic of "Acid Folk":
"the three CDs by Mary Humphreys and Anahata are about the most exciting thing I've heard since I discovered the Velvet Underground..."
Also Anahata is pleased to have got a favourable mention in Andy Turner's review of the EFDSS Hard Core English CD set. We have copies of both the book and CDs for sale, and many have gone, especially when we've run tune workshops at festivals.
2 July - We're on MySpaceWe finally got around to putting up a MySpace profile on http://www.myspace.com/maryanahata with 4 full streaming music tracks (currently all from Fenlandia) and a gradually expanding clutch of friends. We're already getting surprise visitors making nice comments about the music so it must be worth it.
We're also busy putting together Mary's presentation on song collecting in Cambridgeshire, which she'll be doing at Whitby Folk Week and hopefully elsewhere. This will be a laptop-and-projector total multimedia experience with live performances of songs too.
Also in the works is a book of tunes to go with various workshops we'll be doing at festivals.
13 May - Radio BritfolkRadio Britfolk has some terrific folk programmes on it, available for you to play for free any time of the day. The station needs your support in order to remain self sufficient. You can help by
13 April - Taplas Review and ArticleAnother first for us - an article in Taplas magazine, and our names mentioned on the front cover! In it Anahata is quoted as saying that we are planning to make a CD of Welsh music. We'd better do something about it - there's always a few people who ask why we don't do more Welsh songs.
Also a very nice review of Fenlandia, from Mick Tems, with the inevitable emphasis on the small amount of Welsh material that found its way on to the CD, on a label that specializes in English music!
23 March - Airplay!Mary was interviewed on the phone for BBC Radio York on Monday, and Michael Brothwell played three tracks, two from Fenlandia and one from Floating Verses.
We've just heard from Verity Sharp that she's "very much enjoying" Fenlandia and will be playing The Nutting Song (a version of the Nutting Girl) on next Tuesday's Late Junction on BBC Radio 3.
7 March - Riverside FeedbackFeedback from the Suffolk Folk Riverside event: one couple who came to our workshop said it was "one of the best we've been to for a long time". More of the same at St Albans on the afternoon of Saturday 24th March. Several other enthusiastic emails from participants in the Riverside folk day, about the whole event.
5 MarchWe've just taken part in Suffolk Folk's day of folk music at the Riverside Centre, Stratford St Andrew. We ran a tunes workshop and did a spot in the afternoon concert. I've found that teaching tunes two bars at a time (with endless repetition of each 2 bar phrase, then 4 bar and 8 bar sections) seems to be a really good way of getting tunes to stick and developing some muscle memory. Several people came up afterwards to say they enjoyed it and found it a good format. This is very encouraging as we haven't done many workshops and we're never sure how well they go down. There'll be another at St. Albans on 24 March when we're there with CHARM. Note CHARM are doing concert performances on 23rd March at Halesworth New Cut Arts Centre and St Albans the next day, 24 March.