It's now only five weeks until the Halsway Manor extravaganza and there is so much to do! Ensemble music to write, the schedule to finish, a concert to put together, tunes to put together. This would keep me busy as it is, but we're out on the road most of August, so it's all a bit hectic.
The biggest news for July, slightly non-nyckelharpa related, but Swedish music related is that we went off to play infront of the Zorn Jury this month.
Wikipedia explains much better who, what and why we played for. I played on my Swedish bagpipes and was awarded the bronze award and Jonny on the cowhorn and was awarded the diplom (one below bronze). You can read our interview with one of the Zorn representatives on their website, but as it's all in Swedish you might want to read my English translation:
Victoria and Jonathan Dyer are full-time freelance musicians who play a lot at medieval events in different castles over the whole of England and also a little in Wales and Scotland. But it is folk music that is closest to their hearts.
At home in England Victoria plays a lot on her chromatic nyckelharpa, both English and Swedish music and she organises course on the nyckelharpa with invited tutors. In addition she plays different sorts of bagpipes, both Swedish and English and also the Scottish small pipes. None of the them are as loud as the Great Highland Bagpipe - which is more widely known by the general public, but work extremely well played along side other instruments.
Jonathan alternates between guitar, mandola, accordion, singing and piano and got a cowhorn a couple of years ago, that he has now played for the Zorn jury and received the diplom.
- It's such an awesome sound that the cowhorn gives, says Jonathan, who in the past has played the trumpet.
With roots in Jönköping and a sister in Stockholm there are many reasons for Victoria to come to Sweden, but these have to be planned in advance to fit in with her and Jonathans playing back at home. This year they have chosen to go to the beautiful Korrö, where, parallel with the Korrö Folk Festival, performers are playing for the Zorn badge. Victoria's performance gained her the bronze badge on her Swedish säckpipa. [bagpipes].
The awards are given out on Saturday and we will be able to hear the new riksspelmän from this week. In addition the recipients of the gold award will be revealed.
We're off to play again for the jury again next year - so you'll probably be hearing a lot about the säckpipa (or swöö-pööps as they're now affectionately known).
Whilst we were in Sweden we went to Jönköping to see family and went to the village of Taberg where Vicki played a couple of tunes at the places that they're about - Gruvan and Toppen. (They're both in the Scandinavian Fiddle Tunes book) Here is the video. I promised to put it on the website for the lovely couple that we keep meeting on the mountain as we were playing and videoing the tunes. (We recorded four tunes, but only two were worth putting up). I've also posted an instagram clip of Jonny practising in the forest outside Jönköping before heading off to play for the jury - who knew the acoustics in forests were so wonderful!
This has been a long entry, so I'd best get back to planning for Halsway!