Arts

What did YOU do on Tuesday evening?

Some bizarre ancient ritual that takes place in the last week of March? No, it’s Mano Panforreteiro playing his Gaita bagpipes in Oxford. With help from some pipes of another kind.

Read more →

Mucking about in the Umeå snow

When visiting Umefolk recently we came across a snow castle in the city centre. It would have been impossible not to have a go…

Read more →

The end of Umefolk 2012

Play the MP3 and imagine this. I recorded it walking through the musicians.

A weekend festival, with a 25 year heritage and massive following, is drawing to a close. Hundreds and hundreds of people must have passed through its doors. Headliners such as Garmana and Hoven Droven have drawn in crowds, impromptu sessions have brought out nyckelharpa players, and a large variety of players from all over north-east Europe have entertained and captivated. The event is winding up, and on the dance floor Anton and about 30 young people are playing for the final dance…

Read more →

Umea and Umefolk

I spent the last week at Umefolk, a folk music festival in Umeå in the north of Sweden. We met Anton Teljebäck, who runs the festival, at a small festival in the UK and he invited us. Umefolk is well established (the first was in 1986), and Anton was keen to spread the word further afield. We are no strangers to Scandanavian music in Oxford. There is a budding session which has found its feet in the last few months, run by Ed Pritchard, who plays a nyckelharpa amongst other things.

Read more →

A snowy journey to work

I’m not normally given to taking photos of my commute, but in the case of the snow I made an exception.

Read more →

Old entries from simpler times: Busking

Whilst going over (and deleting) unwanted content on Facebook, I came across a few bits and pieces. I miss busking. Found this old post from 4th August 2007. Day five of ‘my’ Fringe, and the thought police are out in force. It feels like day two to me, but a lot has happened (including a technical rehearsal that finished at midnight, a street urchin and a stand-up routine about health and safety).

Read more →

From La Mantovana to the Moldau. Musical similarity in the absence of rhythm and what it means to FolkTuneFinder

Má Vlast is a set of pieces written by the composer Smetana in the late 1800s about his homeland, Czechoslovakia. One of the pieces in the set, The Moldau (Vltava in Czech) is one of my favourite symphonies of all time ever. It could be something in my partially Czech blood, it could be the fact that I’m soppy about Romantic-period orchestral music, whatever it is, I love this piece of music and know it intimately.

Read more →

The Rime of the Housemate

This was a facebook comment that got out of hand. If this isn’t the kind of pointless string of words that belongs in a blog, I don’t know what is. The first part follows the Rime of the Ancient Mariner reasonably closely. The rest correlates with the worst excesses of Roald Dahl at his most metrically depraved. It is an ancient housemate, And he washeth one of three. ‘By thy long grey beard and glittering eye

Read more →

FolkTuneFinder: Why are the search results so different to what I typed?

When searching FolkTuneFinder, you may find search results that you don’t agree with or can’t understand. You may think tune has nothing to do with your query, or the highlighted notes bear no relevance to what you typed. Here’s why. The thing about folk tunes is that they’ve survived in the aural tradition, in many cases for quite a long time. A good tune spreads because people like it, and different parts of a tune may appeal to different people.

Read more →

Recent downtime on FolkTuneFinder.com

I started FolkTuneFinder as a student project back in 2008. I’d done websites for a few years before, but this was the first serious one with any kind of heavy lifting or interesting behaviour. Over the years I added features that allowed people to interact, such as the commenting and FolkTuneFinder blogs, which has been surprisingly popular. I have always had a very small problem with spam: I received perhaps a small handful of blog posts a month, which was fine to deal with.

Read more →