Our June Concert

Our June concert started with myself playing Triste Sourire, Oslo Waltz and Whispering Hope. David Rigby was our next player, he gave us great renditions of Spinning Wheel, Snow Waltz, Daisy, Dark Island, Loveliest Night Of The Year, Amazing Grace, In The Good Old Summertime and Highland Cathedral. Albert Draper Made his Debut at the club as a monologue reader, he recited Last Waltz, Polish Remover and Four Husbands. Bernard Bamber then took to the stage and played Leaving Of Liverpool, In My Liverpool Home, Liverpool Lou, Irish Rover, I Belong To Glasgow and Maggie. Bill Agnew played Let Him Go Let Him Tarry, McNamara’s Band, Wild Rover, Cuckoo Waltz, Blueberry Hill, Oh Boy, Dambusters, Stop Your Ticklin Jock, Goodnight Irene, Teddy Bears Picnic, Oh Johnny, Yellow Bird and South Of The Border. After the break we started the second part of the night with Colin Ensor playing Reine De Musette, We Just Couldn’t Say Goonight, Charmaine, Freight Train, Folsom Prison Blues, Leaving Lerwick Harbour, You’ll Never Know, May You Always, Sunshine Of Your Smile and Someday. Graham Driver then took to the stage and played Portobello Road, Jaqueline Watlz, Vannitaise, Lovely Nancy, Upton On Severn Stick Dance, Much Wenlock, Weasels Revenge, Rochdale Coconut Dance, Jump At The Sun and The Pullet. After the second break of the night we started the third section with Bernard Bamber playing I Have A Dream, Waltzing Matilda, Down By The Riverside, Tennessee Waltz, Caroline Moon and Missouri Waltz. It was now almost 11pm so we finished the night with the talented Bill Agnew playing a Medley consisting of Campton Races, La Vie En Rose, Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You, Happy Days And Lonley Nights, You’re No One Till Somebody Loves You and Harvest Home. We had been so busy this evening that we only got to have the second break late, at the end of the night there was the usual chat until around 11.30pm when we eventually left the club. Once again it had been another good night thanks to everyone who played and to everyone who was a superb audience member.

David Batty


This Wednesday

This Wednesday is one of our guest artist concerts featuring Tom Cowing and Cynthia Mackenzie. Tom has played at the club several times before but never as a solo artist. He normally provides accompaniment for Walter Perrie and plays second accordion and harmonies to Walter, the ability to do this is a great skill and is one which has hidden Toms talent as a solo artist from us. I was pleased when Tom agreed to play as lead accordionist this month, I am certainly looking forward to it. Please bring along a friend to the concert, remember, the club is not just about a musical instrument, it is a social club based around a musical instrument, so come along on Wednesday for a great concert from Tom Cowing & Cynthia Mackenzie, and for some great socialising. If you see a new visitor to the club, please go along and say hello, I am sure they will be pleased to see a friendly face. The doors open at 7.30pm for an 8pm start.


Cambridge Folk Festival

The Cambridge Folk Festival 2010 is on Sky Arts 1 (Sky Channel 256) on Saturday 21st August 2010 from 21:00 to 23:00. This 2 hour long concert is in Dolby Stereo and Widescreen.


Accordion Orchestra Workshop

On Sunday 31st October 2010 at Ripley Village Hall, Nr. Guildford, Surrey, a Special “All Day” Accordion Orchestra Workshop is being held from 9.00am to 5.00pm (possible later). The estimated cost of attending this Accordion Orchestra Workshop will be in the region of just £5.00 per person. The Orchestra will be conducted by John Leslie from Accordions Of London. This event is organised by: The Tillingbourne Accordion Orchestra & The Guildford Accordion Club The Postcode for this event is GU23 6AJ.


Accordion Stolen in Evesham

Richard Adey was setting up to play in Evesham when his Scandalli Super L Accordion Was Stolen. To the right is a picture of the stolen Accordion which has the grill missing. If you have any information please contact Richard Adey on 07944571702 or richard.adey@btinternet.com.


Interview with Phil Cunningham

This is a newspaper article that was written by Jennifer Cunningham.
Phil Cunningham admits that three days ago he was hanging out of a window with his girlfriend at three in the morning.This is not a return by Scotland’s best-known accordionist to his legendary wild days in the band Silly Wizard. At 50, he pursues the wildlife with a camera and his companions in the wee sma hours were a family of badgers. “They’d decided to come in and raid our bird feeders and they were so keen on eating that we were within three feet of them,” he recalls, enthusiastically displaying the images on his iPhone. He’s a gadget collector and says he’d be in the queue for the new version of the mobile phone if he hadn’t agreed to this interview. This natural enthusiasm and an engaging curiosity have become the hallmarks of the musician and composer’s new career as a television presenter. It’s a role that he’s taken to like a duck to water. He’s currently filming an ambitious new series following the success of the Scotland’s Music series and Grace Notes on sacred music. We meet as he’s about to rehearse with students at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, where he’s been made professor of traditional music and his inaugural address is taking the form of a performance, involving fellow professor, John Undwerwood of the opera school. “It’ll be great fun,” he says, grinning. There is another pressing task to fit into this whirlwind of activity. The reason for our meeting is to talk about his new composition to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Lady of the Lake, Walter Scott’s dramatic narrative poem which made Loch Katrine and the Trossachs the top tourist destination of the early 19th century. When the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park approached him with the idea, Cunningham was a little cynical. “My last involvement with Sir Walter Scott was when I was 12. I did a school project on Duddingston Kirk and Scott wrote some of his work in the manse gardens there and my granny took me to visit the Scott Monument.” His curiosity was piqued by the enthusiasm of Elspeth McLachlan, director of the Scottsland project to celebrate the writer and influence Scott had on popular culture. “My original idea was to write a musical riposte but that has evolved into writing something about where the Lady of the Lake was set. Landscape is something I totally engage with as a composer. As a touring musician you spend your days travelling around the world and driving from A to B and the main thing is what you see out of the window.” During his long musical partnership with the Shetland fiddle player Aly Bain they found they both enjoyed “a good look” at the countryside and have agreed a favourite road is from Dornoch to Ullapool – by the southern route. “I lived at the north end of Skye for a long time where the landscape changes every time you look at it because of the shifting light and I was never more inspired in my life. It’s not so much the landscape itself that inspires you as that it puts you in a place where the troubles of the day will leave you for a minute,” he adds. Although he has a main theme for the Trossachs Suite, he plans to “hang out for a few days in the Trossachs, myself, my girlfriend, the dog … to see what comes up”. The dog is Crombie, a Spinone, a breed of Italian terrier, mention of whom produces another photograph on the iPhone. He’s more bashful about the girlfriend, Annie Tuitt, his partner of six years, Their transatlantic relationship had got to the stage where he was considering leaving Scotland to join her in New York when she announced she was exchanging a high-powered career in advertising for life in the Scottish country-side outside Edinburgh. It’s a partnership cemented by shared interests in photography, dogs and wildlife and in which the traditional domestic roles are often happily reversed. “She’ll be mending the roof while I’m doing the cooking,” says the musician who cheerfully describes himself as a foodie. About to set off for America’s southern states of Texas and Louisiana as well as Argentina and Brazil, he’s already selected the restaurants where he’s going to eat. “I love Tex-Mex and I love real Mexican food.” This itinerary is to film a documentary for the BBC on the way the accordion moved around the world. It involves a travelling schedule that he describes as mad, reeling off China, the Czech Republic, Romania, Russia, Spain and France as places he’s been in the last couple of months. “We are looking at the fact that the accordion really only appeared in the 19th century and in that short time it’s managed to squeeze its way into every culture you can imagine. The eskimos play it, the Zulus play it. Throughout our travels the thing that keeps coming out is that it’s the poor man’s piano but it was on the ship’s manifest of nearly every ship. It was used to alleviate tension on board.” This prompts the question of whether he was inspired by Accordion Crimes, the novel by Annie Proulx which tells the story of an accordion as it passes from one person to another. The first part of the answer is straightforward: “I loved that book and in a way it prompted the original notion of the series to use the accordion as a foil to get to people but it has now become more of a documentary.” The second part provokes a wry laugh. “I have heart disease and when I was in hospital having tests after a heart attack in 1997 I got 13 copies of it. Everyone thought: I know, I’ll send him that,” he says, Despite the multiple copies, it’s on the phone, too. Now it’s been joined by the Lady of the Lake. Getting to grips with the poem has been “quite a task” but he now scrolls through to find passages describing the landscape. The multiple activities and the hectic travelling do not distract him from writing music. “I write on a daily basis. Anything that has a wee bit of stress attached to it, like waiting for a plane to take off or sitting in a doctor’s surgery, I tend to write, so that I can pretend it’s not happening. There’s stuff I compose because it’s inside me and I really have to get it out but there’s also writing to order.” Writing to order is a relatively new pleasure, particularly a commission for BBC Bristol’s Natural World series filmed at the Beinn Eighe nature reserve. “I got the job of writing the score for the black-throated divers and eagles. It was wonderful because there was a real story of survival. My first love was zoology so it was a perfect match for me.” The Trossachs Suite, to be premiered at Celtic Connections in Glasgow in January, will be a crossover piece. “I live in the traditional world so I write that kind of music but deep down I’ve always aspired to be Ennio Morricone because he writes beautiful things. I am going to base it around a band of about eight people who will cover all the ground in terms of the traditional element and I will work with an orchestral string section of 12. It will be between 30 and 40 minutes and we’ll combine it with some visuals.” He’s sufficiently happy with his main theme to have played the embryonic version over the phone to Elspeth McLachlan: something he’s never done before. Cunningham is pretty content with life at the moment. “It’s not just about performing and it’s not just about writing. I love the television work. I love presenting because I am getting the chance to go out, meet people and be informed.” Along with the food, he’s determined that his trip to Louisiana will include a sighting of a nutria, a beaver-like American rodent. No doubt it will join the badgers and the dog on his phone. He has a bigger ambition, too. “The one thing I would like to do is a layman’s wildlife documentary, talking to people who really know the subject. Recently I was allowed to dabble in wildlife presenting by doing some three-minute inserts for Landward on toads, ravens and bats. It’s not surprising that he nominates David Attenborough, Willie Nelson and Bonnie Raitt as his perfect dinner guests. He’d cook, of course, and if the after-dinner concert didn’t scare off the badgers it would be rounded off with a bit of wildlife watching.

Accordion Wars

On BBC Radio Scotland Julie Fowlis presents a programme on the Accordion in Scottish Folk Music and the rivalries that have existed between Folk and the Scottish Country Dance Music participants.
In the world of folk music these days the accordion is everywhere. This presence has not always been the case. In fact, it is relatively recent. We will hear from many participants and contributors including Jimmie Macgregor, Donald Shaw and Emily Smith to get to the real story. It will be broadcast on 17th July at 6.00am but it will be available on the BBC Iplayer website for 7 days so you can listen to it anytime up to the 24th of July.