June marked the first tour of my new duo with Eva Väljaots. A highlight for us was arriving in Staffordshire to find Eva already featured on the front cover of The Leek Post. We had the pleasure of being on BBC Radio Stoke with Lillie-Mae Stubbs and BBC Radio Shropshire with Genevieve Tudor. You can now hear these recordings on our Soundcloud. A grand time was also had at The Great Get Together at the Foxlowe Arts Centre, Leek organised by Peace Through Folk as part of a nation-wide campaign aimed at bringing communities together inspired by the late Jo Cox. The trip was rounded off with a superb evening at Floodgate Ale House, Stafford. Our concert was sold out and the atmosphere was perfect, thanks to all who were there, especially Esther, Andrew for such a wonderful pub.
It went so well we’re now planning two UK tours, one in late December/ early January and another in late May/ early June.
In the summer of 2019, I raked in many miles, performing in Finland, Estonia, England, and Germany.
I was glad to return to Germany, this time at Rudolstadt Festival with Sibelius Academy Folk Big Band. We played main stage streamed on NRK Radio as well as multiple performances in the packed dance tent. I found helping teach at our dance workshop especially fun!
Our next gig was Main stage Saturday night at Kaustinen Folk Music Festival. It was my first time at the festival following a wish to go for many years. I also played in semi-finals of the Konsta Jylha competition with Eva Valjaots. The theme was to play traditional tunes played or written by Konsta Jylha a great fiddler and leader of Purppuripelimannit from Kaustinen. After studying pelimanni music from the area with Esko Jarvela, it was a great feeling to be a semi-finalists despite being both being foreigners.
Folk Big Band performing at Kaustinen Folk Music Festival.
This year also marked my first Viljandi Folk Music Festival, Estonia, where I performed with Eva Väljaots. The festival site was spectacular and our performances were on Viljandi’s Song Festival Grounds where there was plenty of space for dancing in the sunshine. A few weeks later we were back in Helsinki performing in Musiikkitalo’s Summer Concert series.
The summer also brought journeys around Finland including two weddings in Porvoo and Nurmes whereat I played for ceilidh dancing. The first was with guitarist Sakari Keipi from Luomaduo and the second with Helsinki Ceilidh band. Both were great fun and best wishes to both families! My next booking with the Helsinki Ceilidh Band is for the already sold out Finnish Scottish Society St Andrew’s day ceilidh.
Eva Väljaots & Robbie Sherratt performing at Viljandi Folk Music Festival.
I’m proud to announce the creation of Helsinki Ceilidh Band. The line-up is flexible, always performing with two melody players and two backers, though chief members are myself (fiddle), Hugh Sheehan (2-row button accordion), Tommie Bläkroff (piano accordion), Michael Ferrie (guitar), and Oskari Lehtonen (percussion).
Sound recordings will soon follow!
For enquires email Michael Ferrie – email@example.com or myself through the contact form here.
I was recently kindly contacted by James Tugwell from British Library Sound Archive enquiring about entering my album ‘Provenance’ into the National Collection. It fills me with pride to send a copy off to what is for me such an important resource.
Thanks also to Wil Walker for the wonderful introduction and playing of track 5 ‘The Staffordshire Hornpipe’ from my album on Exile FM. Click here to go to the podcast.
Currently, I’m working on editing and arranging a selection of folk songs for community choir, mixed voices. They’ll be available for no charge from my website. Included so far are: Bonny at Morn, Young Banker, The Female Highwayman, and Freshwater Bay. So if you’re interested in singing these with your choir, send me a message via the contact form and I’ll email them to you when they’re ready!
Those of you who frequent my website may have noticed a new page – ‘Ivor Makes Tea Quartet’. This project follows on from the work on my album ‘Provenance’, stay tuned for gig announcements and check out our videos on youtube:
Another addition to my youtube are recordings from my concert at the Sage last year kindly filmed and sent to me by Fred Hollingworth. Featuring Niles Krieger & Sam Partridge you can check them out here:
I thought I’d also share with you a clip from the Folklandia Festival Afterparty which I performed with at in SibA Folk Big Band. The gig was superb and great fun – the audiences’ dancing made it for me!
The rest of my summer flew by, with a Cuckoo’s Nest house band support slot for Kevin Dempsey in Leek, North Staffordshire; two wedding ceilidhs – one subbing with The Monster Ceilidh Band; a few sessions and pub performances – including subbing with The Boat Band; Berg Herzberg Festival, Germany performing with Mitigation and leading a fiddle workshop at Glebe Farm Bluegrass and Beyond Camp. Then on 19 August, I was off to Helsinki pursuing my dream as a new entrant studying for a folk music masters degree at Sibelius Academy. (I’ve included a video of the Sibelius Academy Folk Big Band below.)
Now settled in and really enjoying the course, I am especially excited about a new band, performing music from my Provenance album. More news to follow shortly…
In the meantime I would like to thank everyone who has purchased a copy of Provenance so far. Your support is greatly appreciated and whilst I’m a long way off covering costs, the income is helping me with everyday outgoings in Helsinki. Thank you and I hope you are enjoying my music! 🙂
Now back in the North East I played at a wonderful bluegrass gig depping with Assembly Lane, and jamming on the train back from Hexham as well as playing a ceilidh and pop set with Elliot & The Rush Hour for a wedding in Cornhill Castle (pictured below).
All 11 samples of Provenance are now on soundcloud so you can have a sneak peak before the release on Friday 6th July:
To kick off the release I’ll be playing some of the album with Michael Biggins around noon, 6th July!
This will be on my facebook page.
The latest samples of ‘Provenance’ are up on SoundCloud featuring the mighty Sam Partridge on Bassoon.
More exciting news – I’ve been accepted on the Folk masters programme at Sibelius Academy, Finland, where I can’t wait to continue my studies, after having a wonderful time there on Erasmus 2016-2017!
I’ve been enjoying the last couple of days at Emma Bridgewater Factory for Festival in a Factory playing around the site and welcoming audiences to their seats before the speakers. As I’ve only just got back to North Staffordshire playing in a pottery factory seemed like an apt return gig.
They also generously gave me my own personalised mug!