Monday, April 19, 2010

Traditional English pub folk music sessions, Herbaceous Border and Borderline Morris in the sun at Crediton Folk Festival, Cheriton Fitzpaine, Devon

In bright sunshine and under a clear sky in the idyllic rural Devon village setting of Cheriton Fitzpaine, pub folk music sessions rocked and Morris dancing sides pirouetted and pranced creating a wonderful community ambiance at the Crediton Folk Festival last weekend (16th - 18th April 2010).

Following my recent admission into the Exmoor Border Morris band, I had also agreed to support the 'open to all' Herbaceous Border Morris dancing side but was a little concerned it might impinge on my passion for playing traditional English folk tunes in the Ring o' Bells pub music sessions that have always been the mainstay of the Crediton folk music festival's attraction for me.

I shouldn't have worried because the community experience of watching the Morris dancers at the Half Moon pub and then standing in the square besides the Ring o' Bells pub in Cheriton Fitzpaine with the experienced band performers and dancers of Bordeline Morris swelling the ranks of Herbaceous Border Morris watching members of the public joining in the Morris dancing, with the bright colours of the Morris 'tatters' all around, created a community ambiance, unique to English village life, that I wouldn't have missed for the world.

Of course, my first love is the traditional English pub folk tune sessions and they lived up to my best expectations with fine leading performances from, amongst others, virtuoso folk musician and teacher Bill McKinnon and John and Wendy from Hips & Haws English Country Dance Band.

Needless to say, there was much chatting and catching up with the gossip and I was delighted to see Roger and Jo Quigley, mainstays of the excellent Wessex Folk Festival, enjoying the village and musical ambiance.

Were you at the Crediton Folk Festival 2010? Much more was going on than the Morris dancing and traditional English folk musician sessions that I have mentioned and your experiences of any activities you attended are welcomed. Just click on 'post a comment' below and share :-)


Bill said...

Hello Rob

How lovely it was to return to the wonderful Crediton folk festival again this year and meet all our old chums, including yourself, and crack a few tunes together.

As always the time went far too quickly but each moment was a jewel.

Love and Best Wishes
Bill and Joan

charlotte said...

It was a great weekend!! Look out for the Crediton newspaper at the end of the month for photos from the weekend.

vospey said...

Hi Rob, great festival, great music - thanks for the advice too!!

Hannah said...

more great folk in north devon...

Press Release
Harald Haugaard Quartet
with Helene Blum

A Danish violinist named as ‘one of the three best fiddlers in the world’ is bringing his Quartet to north Devon as part of the South West Baltic Roots tour.

International fiddle player Harald Haugaard and singer Helene Blum, both several times winners of the Danish Music Awards, visiting north Devon on their first rural tour in the UK.
"Harald is a brilliant fiddler, one of the very best in the world." fRoots

Two world-renowned musicians will be performing in two stunning north Devon settings, for the final dates in their first UK rural tour.

Husband and wife team Harald Haugaard and Helene Blum are two of Denmark’s most exported and multi award-winning musical names.

Harald is an inventive virtuoso fiddle player with a characteristic style which reflects contemporary Danish folk music deeply rooted in tradition. He has performed and taught all over the world, including the Royal Swedish Music Academy and the Royal Music Conservatory in Toronto.
His music is described on his website as “playful, light and elegant but also dramatic, melancholic and sometimes diabolic”.

He began playing violin at the age of seven. In 1994 he was accepted at the Carl Nielsen Academy of Music in Odense where he worked with both classical violin and traditional fiddle teachers. From 2000 to 2005 he became head of the folk music department.

Helene Blum also went to the Carl Nielsen Academy where she became its first singer to receive a degree in folk music. A year later, in 2005, her Christmas album won the Folk Debut of the Year award at the Danish Music Awards.

Like Harald, she started playing at an early age. She grew up playing piano, cello and violin and singing the ballads and hymns of her distinctive musical tradition.

Harald and Helene will be joined by percussionist Sune Rahbek and guitarist Rasmus Zeeberg on the tour.

Beaford Arts worked with its north Devon promoters to place the concerts in two stunning church venues, where the acoustics will naturally enhance the quartet’s beautiful sound. The first concert is at St Brannock’s Church in Braunton and the following day at Bishops Tawton Church, the first time this kind of event has been seen, and heard, at the stunning venue.

Beaford Arts’ promoter Paul Niemiec, who is organising the event at Bishops Tawton church, said: “I think this is going to be a very special concert. We sold a ticket this week to someone who said a friend in Worcester had seen Harald Haugaard perform. This friend had called up to say she must see him when he’s in north Devon. She said he was absolutely brilliant.”

Harald Haugaard Quartet performance details:
Saturday 22nd May, 7.30pm, St Brannock’s Church, Braunton: Tickets £8(ad)/£5(ch)/£24(fam). Available from Braunton Tourist Information Centre or Tel. 01271 814082.
Sunday 23rd May, 7.30pm, Bishops Tawton Church: Tickets £8(ad)/£5(ch)/£24(fam). Tel. 01271 376285.

Tickets can also be bought online at

charlotte said...

Hey, there's some photos from the festival on here

Rob Hopcott said...

They've come out well, haven't they :-)

Particularly the ones of the old man with the saxophone and the young lass with the violin :-)

charlotte said...

Sure did! Although I don't think they actually made it into the paper :)