Anne-Marie Sanderson & Germa Adan

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We’d been trying to find a date that both these very talented and very different solo singer-songwriters could make for quite a while but it was worth the wait.

Since seeing Anne-Marie at Shirley Folk last winter she has done hundreds of gigs around the UK and across Europe. It’s given her a a growing confidence to talk about her songs and she is a consummate performer. Her guitar work is very accomplished and she has the most amazing voice that coaxes out beautiful melodies. She performed works from across her three excellent recorded EPs as well as a couple of newer songs.

This recording of Poisonwood from her most recent Book Songs EP shows her in full flight. Apologies for the quality of the video but you’ll certainly get a sense of what a talent Anne-Marie is.

I never usually think to ask for a set list….I could see Anne-Marie’s orange one all the way through the set. But still forgot to ask for it. She kindly emailed it to me later:

Lilac Time
Sweet Tooth
Endless Eyes
Two Tall Mountains (Connie Converse)
Knipe Point
Poisonwood
Holloway
Postcards
Talking to You
—–
Who Knows Where the Time Goes (Sandy Denny)

Before Anne-Marie we had been treated to Haiti born American citizen Germa who has been living and working in Birmingham for a while. She brought stories from Haiti and sang in a mixture of Creole and English with violin and guitar accompaniments that had echoes of Malian music or even modern minimalists like Steve Reich.

Germa’s introductions and story telling between songs was very softly spoken. You could hear a pin drop as everyone lent forward slightly to catch her every word. But despite the fragility of her spoken words the songs had strong rhythms and there were plenty of opportunities for audience participation. Someone was even adding harmony vocals. It was a beautiful sound anyway.

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Laura Moody

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We had sold out for the second time running tonight but despite putting warnings on the poster and website about Laura being an ‘avant-singer’ I don’t think anyone was ready for what hit them!

Laura was immaculately turned out. She was sat serenely with her lovely old cello on the small stage. Simon introduced her and she then started to talk in a soft, well spoken voice. Everything may have seemed suitably safe and serene. She started by apologising for what was to come. She said that rather like the best way to swim in cold water is just to dive in, maybe the best thing for everyone was if she didn’t try to ease us in to her music but just start with something rather extreme……

We don’t have any video of the night but this recording of her opening song…Turn Away…recorded at Wilton’s Music Hall…will give you the idea. (You have to imagine you are sat on a sofa, about 2 feet away from the cello, when it starts!)

It was a joy to see the looks on people’s faces.

Shock…delight…hilarity…disbelief.

Laura worked her way through the whole of her fantastic debut album, Acrobats, as she plucked, slapped, stroked, bowed and tapped every part of her beautiful (and as it turned out very old) cello. The sounds she made with her voice were just as extraordinary. We hadn’t managed to secure a PA for the night and I was a little worried it might limit the sounds Laura could make. I needn’t have worried. She was extra-ordinary.

It was much more than a musical performance. I don’t think any of us had seen or heard anything quite like it before…and to have it happening in our little house concert was an real treat.

The final piece, Satellites, had us all following Laura’s eyes as she watched an imaginary satellite slowing moving across the room…while a very satellite like sound somehow emanated from her…mouth?

There were only a few vinyl copies of her album left now, there’s no signs of any new recording on the horizon and her website needs…er…updating. But that’s because she is so busy writing music for the theatre, collaborating with all sorts of people – live and in the studio.

We’ve never had anyone quite like Laura Moody before…and I’m not sure we ever will again. If you get the chance to experience her live don’t miss it whatever you do.

Kit Hawes & Aaron Catlow

18th May 2018

Well you never know what lies just around the corner.

When Simon said there was a conference at Ettington Chase for people who organise festivals and that in the evening it had a concert and that it was free. Well, to be honest I thought he’d lost the plot. But one dank evening in November 2017 a few of us ventured over to the Chase to explore. We’d missed all the talks about portaloo hire and public liability insurance but we did see some pretty amazing musicians. They all got to play 4 songs to the audience of bearded festival organisers. We saw four acts and could have booked them all for Ryepiece. But the one that stood out was Kit and Aaron. They’re playing was incredible and they seemed like nice blokes too when we spoke to them in the lobby after their 15 minute set.

I booked them to play for us a few days later.

Then the months went by and as the date of the concert loomed I started to wonder if I’d done the right thing. Would they work at Ryepiece? Were they as good as I remembered them? Would our crowd connect with them?

Well as soon as they arrived and started sound checking I knew it was going to be a good night….

Bev, our usual cook, was away so we had Ryepiece newbie Steve and he did us proud

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After the long dreary winter and early spring the weather was glorious and the courtyard garden was looking wonderful. It was a sell out night…we actually had to turn people away for the first time ever. The barn and the garden were crowded with people eating, chatting, drinking. There was a really buzzy atmosphere. And then the concert started….

It was a very special night. Everything just seemed to click in to place. Kit and Aaron worked their way through pretty much the whole of their excellent album The Fox (and if you bought yourself a copy then check out the price now on Amazon and feel smug!)

There were no low points. Every song, every tune, every performance seemed to top the last. Aaron’s mellifluous fiddle work fitted perfectly with Kit’s guitar – that could move from a gentle strum to a muscular chop at the drop of a hat. Kit’s singing wasn’t too shabby either.  This video taken between the shimmering locks of Messrs Coley and Ingham gives you a little of what it was like….and just listen to that response from a captivated audience at the end.

And then all too quickly it was over. Kit and Aaron seemed to have had a ball too which was great.

They sold a pile of CDs, we chatted, packed up their gear and headed off into the night on their way back to (a very expensive) Bristol.

And another Ryepiece season was over.

 

[Since then Kit and Aaron have been very very busy playing festivals all over the UK and then heading to Switzerland to play 9 gigs at the Buskersbern street festival. Hopefully they will now do some writing and recording and get ready to do it all over again…]

Sauna

 

Ben Maggs

20th April 2018

Ben played at The Tree House Bookshop in Kenilworth about 18 months ago and host Victoria told us that he was a big hit with her loyal audience. So we’ve been trying to fix up a date ever since then and finally we did it. It was a glorious sunny day…after the dreariest of springs…and as soon as Ben arrived to set up we knew it was going to be a good night.

We had lots of our regulars for the concert but also a number of Ben’s own followers who helped make it a sell out concert. It meant there was a fantastic atmosphere.

Fabulous food as ever from Bev and sister Georgie. They’d made up the recipe and hadn’t named it yet…it tasted even better than it looked.

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After such a long, dreary winter and early spring we were blessed with a burst of warmth and sunshine so many people made the most of it and ate outside in Ant’s beautiful courtyard garden.

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Ben had set up and sound checked in the afternoon and sounded great. We discovered that he studied Philosophy at Warwick back in the day…which explains why he’s such a thinker.

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Ben performed songs from both his albums and a few newer ones too. His voice sends tingles down your spine and his guitar work is beautiful. He added texture to a number of songs by using loops of his own voice and guitar to create a warm, full sound.

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(Thanks to Russ Inman for this lovely photo of Ben in full flight).

Two or was it three encores and we eventually let him go.

If you fancy seeing him again or want to keep up with any future CD releases then he has a really good website which you can find here.

The Phil Bawn Quartet

Friday 9th March 2018

What a great night of old school jazz…

Phil Bawn

Phil Bawn (tenor sax)

Dave Prickit (keyboards)

Tony Morris (guitar)

Geoff Holtom (bass)

…plus plenty of bad jokes and band banter in between each tune.

The band had only managed one short rehearsal as a quartet before this gig and to be fair they were a bit raggedy at the start…each member of the band had sourced music for their set…just not always in the same key. But their collective experience and talent soon shone through. One member or other would listen to the others for a few bars, pick up the tune and then join in seamlessly.

The longer they played, the tighter they got. They looked the part too…all dressed in black.

Band leader Phil Bawn seemed to have an endless supply of the sort of jokes and shaggy dog stories that fans of Humphrey Lyttelton will know and love.

The two 45 minute sets were full of swing jazz classics as well as some lesser known tunes; mostly instrumentals but with Phil and bass player Geoff Holtom each putting in a shift on vocals.

Geoff’s daughter and three granddaughters were in the audience which added an extra emotional layer to the evening.

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A fantastic curry from Bev and a packed house all contributed to an excellent first concert of 2018.

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Jody Kruskal

Friday 24th November 2017

Simon met Jody when he needed somewhere to stay whilst performing at a folk festival in New York several years ago. They’ve remained friends ever since and although Jody has been touring England every November for several years now we’ve somehow never managed to find a date that’s worked for both of us. We went to see Jody play in Warwick last November and finally nailed a date.

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Jody plays a number of different concertinas and sings songs from the US that have often been adapted and had the words changed as they have been passed between performers. He’s very engaging and really brings the stories alive.

“[Jody] really swings. You’ve got to be a truly great…concertina player to….get music like that out of the squeezebox. Great stuff” – Mike Harding

If you only see one concertina player this year, make sure it’s Jody Kruskal.

Tickets are just £10 and as always include one of Bev’s delicious suppers. You can buy tickets at Ettington Stores or via WeGotTickets.com here. Bring a bottle of your favourite tipple and a glass to drink it from. It’ll be a great night.

You can find out more about Jody here.

Gerry Colvin

Gerry Colvin and his band

Friday 13th October 2017

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Gerry Colvin is less a musician and more a force of nature. He has made some great recordings over the years as The Man Upstairs, Terry and Gerry, Colvin Quarmby and as his namesake…but there is nothing like experiencing Gerry live. He always surrounds himself with a gang of wonderful musicians…has decades worth of fantastic songs to choose from…but best of all he throws himself into every performance. There are happy songs, sad songs, political songs and songs about sheds but in between Gerry will have you laughing and smiling with his irreverent humour and lovely heartfelt stories. No one goes to see Gerry Colvin once. We promise you that after tonight you’ll want more!

Read more about Gerry here.

Lynn Arnold & Charles Matthews

This promises to be something few of us will have seen before…two wonderful pianists performing on one piano! They’ll play a varied repertoire of music arranged for the piano and Ant and Simon have had their lovely old piano tuned specially for the occasion.

Here’s what Lynn and Charles will be playing:

York Bowen Four Pieces Op 90
1) Prelude
2) Humoresque
3) Serenade
4) Dance-Tune

Faure “Dolly” Suite Op 56
1) Berceuse
2) Kitty Valse
3) Le pas espagnole

Gustav Holst – “The Planets”
Mars – The Bringer of War
Uranus – The Magician
Jupiter – The Bringer of Joy

INTERVAL

During which some sort of sweet delicacy will be served

Beethoven’s 5th Symphony arr. piano duet Hugo Ulrich
1) Allegro Con Brio
2) Andante con moto
3) Scherzo: Allegro
4) Allegro

You can learn a bit more about Lynn and Charles here:

Lynn

Lynn Arnold

Lynn is delighted to be carving out her career as both a performing pianist, in solo and chamber capacities, and as a highly sought-after teacher of piano in Warwickshire and London.  Having read Music at Selwyn College, Cambridge where she held a University Instrumental Award, Lynn gained a distinction in postgraduate performance and an LRAM in teaching from the Royal Academy of Music.  A former Park Lane Group Young Artist, Lynn was delighted to receive a major scholarship from the Musicians Benevolent Fund whilst achieving recognition in various competitions at the Royal Academy of Music. 

Lynn frequently performs with her various duo partners and as a guest pianist in ensembles for concert societies and festivals both at home and abroad.  Festival appearances include those in Stratford-upon-Avon, the Two Moors Festival and the Three Choirs Festival; other recital venues include the Warwick Arts Centre, the Purcell Room at the South Bank Centre, Brecon Cathedral, Tampere in Finland and the Esplanade in Singapore.  

Charles Matthews

Charles Matthews

Born in 1966, Charles Matthews studied at the Royal College of Music, London, and was an organ scholar at Trinity College, Cambridge.  His teachers have included Beryl Tichbon, Gwilym Isaac, David Pettit, Patricia Carroll, Nicholas Danby, Charles Spinks and Dr Richard Marlow.

Charles has won numerous awards, perhaps most notably first prize in the 1999 Franz Liszt Interpretation Competition in Budapest.  His most recent solo recording is of Francis Routh’s cycle The Well-Tempered Pianist; some tracks from this CD can be heard free of charge at the Redcliffe Recordings website.

Recent engagements include solo performances in the UK and Spain, as well as duo recitals with flute, recorder, ‘cello and voice.  Performances this year include premières of new works by Susan Howley, Rob Jones and Andrew Glover.

Charles is organist of St Catharine’s Church, Chipping Campden, and also contributes to the Spire organ and electronics project.  He works extensively with children, teaches piano at King’s High School, Warwick, acts as piano accompanist and organ tutor at the Birmingham Conservatoire, and works as conductor and contemporary music coach for the annual Curso Internacional Matisse at San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Spain, where he runs the Ensemble Postante.

Methera

Well that was another fabulous evening. Maybe all string quartets develop the sort of chemistry that Methera have but as someone who hasn’t seen many other quartets it feels like there is definitely something special about the way Methera watch each other, move and play.

Simon (mostly) lugged 8 of the stage blocks over from the Community Centre so we had a proper raised stage for them to sit on. They brought their own fairy lights and the scene was beautifully set.

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As usual each of the band members took it in turns to tell us about the pieces they were about to play and at the end of each trio of tunes all four members would stand up and move round a place. We had a varied set, from traditional tunes, Swedish tunes, flute pieces transcribed for strings, band compositions and reinterpretations of old tunes.

The curry made by absentee chef Bev was delicious and the brownies in the interval were lovely and bountiful.

All in all another fantastic house concert.

We’re delighted to welcome Methera back for their third visit to Ryepiece Barn on Friday March 17th. Methera are four individually wonderful musicians who come together all too rarely to create something truly magical. They sit in tight circle watching each other’s every move and spark of each other’s playing to take the string quartet into a whole new place.

If you’ve not seem them before then here they are performing at a house concert last year:

Since they were last with us they’ve recorded a new album – Vortex – which has had great reviews.

fRoots magazine said:

Never a dull tune, never repetitive, constantly interesting and most melodious, Methera is to be celebrated in both folk and classical music worlds.

While Songlines was even more gushing:

The invention and interplay throughout is breathtaking, and sets Methera beside the very best instrumental groups of the decade.

The quartet are:

Lucy Deakin * Cello

John Dipper * Fiddle

Emma Reid * Fiddle

Miranda Rutter * Viola

Tickets are £12 and as always include one of Bev’s delicious suppers. You can buy tickets at Ettington Stores or via WeGotTickets.com here. Bring a bottle of your favourite tipple and a glass to drink it from. It’ll be a great night.

Duotone

Friday 10th February was the first concert of the year and it started quietly with the whispered hello of Barney Morse-Brown who is (currently) Duotone. Barney is a classically trained cellist who writes his own songs and then weaves them into beautiful soundscapes with guitar, cello, his lovely voice, hand claps and electronics.

Our audience likes to connect with artists and find out more about the music and the performer. So even the normally very quiet Barney was drawn into fascinating stories of touring in Berlin, his milliner father, his tiny white caravan and beards.

The music gradually drew everyone in and the belting version of ‘Greetings Hello’ that closed the first set took everyone by surprise and  created a real buzz.

Barney is working on new material inspired by the work of an artist (who’s name I can’t remember!) who has in tern been slightly obsessed with a a Scottish sheep farmer (the subject of James Rebanks’ book ‘The Shepherd’s Life’). This wonderful new piece ‘Martha’ is the first fruits of this new material which will be out on an EP soon.

Duotone are appearing at interesting venues across the land and you can find out more on the website here and on twitter here.