A tune inspired by a place I've never been to

[soundcloud width="100%" height="81" params="" url="http://soundcloud.com/forfolkssake/portmeirion"] Portmeirion by forfolkssake

This is my first attempt at embedding a tune on Wordpress, so here goes!

Anyway, I was lucky enough to get to know Ric Sanders, fiddler extraordinaire with Fairport Convention, when I was a teenager and he taught me this tune he wrote. As tunes go, it's quite a simple ditty, but it's stuck with me ever since. And I've never even been to Portmeirion.

Chris and I recorded it in our flat - that's Chris on guitar. I was playing in the bathroom and I don't think it's too bad a sound, all things considered!

A folky few days

On Thursday, I had the joy of seeing PBS6 perform at Bury Met. OK, so I'm slightly biased - being involved in their PR, and all - but they were fantastic! It was so loud; far more like being in a club than at a gig. I think they should try getting some club and festival dance tent gigs - they'd go down a storm to folk and non-folk fans alike!

Then at the weekend, I took part in a fiddle weekend at Wilderhope Manor in Shropshire, courtesy of Fiddle On and in celebration of the magazine's tenth anniversary. I had a great workshop with Pete Cooper alongside 30 or so other fiddlers, and we went on walks and took part in sessions.

I must confess that Saturday night was my first ever session, despite playing the violin since I was 7 and loving folk music. Having very few folky friends, I've never summoned up the courage to go to a session by myself. I was hoping that I'd recognise a few tunes and quickly convert that to my fingers on the spot, but that didn't go quite to plan - I only knew a handful of tunes! But I really enjoyed myself nonetheless, and I've vowed to start going to the Jolly Angler and the Ducie in Manchester. eeek!

Folk isn't that scary - honest!

I like it when audience members at FFS don't quite know what to expect.

When audience members are pleasantly surprised (or perturbed and shocked). When audience members think that yes, they might listen to folk music again, or no, I won't always go outside for a fag when a spoken word artist is on.

I'm glad that audience members don't ever tend to feel indifferent to performers at FFS.

Here's a review of the most recent FFS from someone who wouldn't normally touch folk with a proverbial barge pole: bit.ly/bTJTa1

Red Shoes in the Birmingham Mail

And online it includes a video. Nice!


FFS is all booked up now until December!

I know, it's crazy!

Thank you all so much for getting in touch with requests for gigs. By all means, do still get in touch as it's always lovely to hear from interesting musicians and poets from all over - but we won't be looking to book anyone until February 2011 now.

Thanks again for your continued support. We'll release news of all forthcoming gigs asap.

And if you're in Manchester tonight, make sure you head down to Eighth Day from 7pm!

An egg-citing announcement

Yes, indeed. Though I think I've probably announced it before - I just wanted to get 'egg-citing' in there somehow.

Our May egg-stravaganza (sorry!) is booking now...

We're delighted to be hosting the Manchester leg of The Magpie's Nest's Two For Joy tour. In case you don't already know, the Magpie's Nest won Folk Club Of The Year at this year's BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and I see this tour as their celebratory lap of victory. Maybe I'm being over the top, but it's fantastic to see a folk club go on the road!

So on May 8th at Contact Theatre, The Long Notes and Plaster of Paris will perform, with our very own Twelfth Day opening. Tickets are £8/6 and you can get them in advance from here: http://www.contact-theatre.org/ For more details and to confirm your attendance, visit our event page on facebook: http://bit.ly/b9tQ0V

See you at Eighth Day cafe on Thursday!