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News

 

 

R.I.P.

 

Reg Reader

 

Volunteering Opportunities

 

Melodeons and More 2014

 

Walter Pardon Centenary Celebration

 

Full English Open Archive Day

 

Cyril Barber: Personal Portrait

 

New Norfolk Dulcimers

 

Cambridgeshire Capers

 

Melodeon Makers

 

Melodeon Evening classes

 

 

 

Older News

 

Traditional Music Day 2013

 

Stepdance Day 2013

 

Bobby Ritchie

 

Alan Waller

 

Two Singers from the Stour Valley

 

John Clare - traditional musician

 

200 year old tunes and dances from Bury St Edmunds

 

Investigating Traditional culture and Folklore

 

Managing a Masterpiece - Stour Valley schools project 2011-13

 

Instruments for hire and for sale

 

Volunteers welcome

 

East Anglian traditions on TV

 

News Archive

 

 

 

Latest news

 

 R.I.P.

 

We're sorry to report the deaths of several EATMT stalwarts recently. Earlier in the year we lost one of our regular volunteers, Ray Dunnett, who, with his wife June, was one of our very first envelope-stuffers ten years ago, and they also helped out at our events until health problems made it difficult. We're very glad that Ray was able to come to last year's Traditional Music Day.

 

We were shocked to hear of the sudden death of Paul Johnson, melodeon tutor for EATMT and morris musician on Saturday 12th April, whilst sailing.

 

Only a week before that, dulcimer player extraordinaire Reg Reader passed away (see below). Sad days for the traditional music world.

 Reg Reader

It is with a heavy heart that we announce the very sad news that Reg Reader, dulcimer player and personal friend, passed away on Sunday 6th April 2014 after being gravely ill for several months.

His dulcimer had been inherited from his great grandfather, and his grandson Thomas, now nearly 21, took up the instrument when still at primary school. John and I first met Reg in 1977 and made a bee-line to his door immediately after moving to Suffolk a year later. He was a founder member, with us, of all the various Old Hat incarnations and dance bands Flashing Heels and Katie’s Quartet. He retired from band membership a few years ago but continued to play regularly in lots of local sessions, inspiring many other musicians, until his health began to fail.

We know there are many of you who will share in sending our deepest condolences to Reg's family.

A full tribute to Reg will be posted here in due course.

The funeral is on Wednesday 16th April at 1pm in Yoxford Church, followed by tea, sandwiches & music in the village hall. Family flowers only but donations to British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research via Tony Brown's Funeral Service, New Cut, Saxmundham, Suffolk IP17 1EH.

Katie Howson

The photograph above shows Reg playing in the King's Arms Haughley, with friend and singer Ted Chaplin looking on circa 1985. In the photograph to the right, Reg is playing at the re-opening of the British Galleries at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2008.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Volunteering Opportunities

 

During 2014 we're trying to open up some more opportunities for people to get involved in a variety of ways.

 

We have just completed the first of our training sessions for people who would like to take our jig dolls out to various community event and show others how to operate them. We have several dates over the summer where we have been invited to bring the jig dolls along to let members of the public have a go, so we need people willing and able to do this, plus a musician or two. So far we've got about half-a-dozen people interested, but there's room for more, so get in touch if you're interested and we can arrange some more training sessions in April / May.

 

We’re always pleased to welcome new people to the friendly and hard-working team of volunteers who help us out in a wide variety of ways. Volunteers help with mailouts and other office-based tasks, and with stewarding and helping at events, checking tickets, making refreshments, putting up signs, taking photographs, helping with equipment and transport. Please email us or give us a ring on 01449 771090 if you would like to help out in any way.

 

We'd also like to hear from anyone with First Aid qualifications who might be prepared to help out occasionally at our events.

 

   

 

Above and centre: Jig dolls in action with volunteers and public; right: volunteers in action at Traditional Music Day.

 

 

 Melodeons and More 2014

 

Our brilliant and talented tutors for Melodeons and More 2014 on Saturday 22nd March are: Tony Hall, Brian Peters, Andy Turner, Alex Goldsmith, Steve Dumpleton, Owen Woods, Terry Mann, Katie Howson, Rees Wesson, Paul Johnson and Alan Wood.

 

The Squeezebox Special concert will feature Tony Hall, Brian Peters, Andy Turner, Owen Woods and a rare duo performance from Rees Wesson and Steve Dumpleton.

 

Full details of the day including the workshop programme, tutors and concert are now available on the Melodeons and More page.

 

During the day there is also a Music Market with instrument sales, CDs and books etc. Stalls include Veteran CDs, Wesson Accordions, Black Diamond Accordions, Hobgoblin, Pete Grassby ("The Melodeon Repairer") and Hedingham Fair. This is open to people not attending workshops, from 10.45 to 3.45pm.

 

Melodeons and More is followed in 2014 by a Maintenance Day on 23rd March, with Rees Wesson and Martyn White. Click here for details.

 

 

 Walter Pardon Centenary Celebration

 

 

A weekend of events is being held to celebrate the life and songs of Walter Pardon, one of the greatest of all English traditional singers, who lived in Knapton in north Norfolk.

 

Walter was born in 1914, but rarely sang outside his family circle until his “discovery” by the folk scene in 1974. He recorded several albums, received the Gold Badge award from the EFDSS and once travelled to the USA to sing.

Brian Gaudet is organising a programme of talks, films and singing sessions in North Walsham from 28th February to 2nd March.


Saturday 1st March is the main day for events, including a concert at the Atrium with Martin Carthy, Damien Barber and Tim Laycock.


For further details, contact Brian Gaudet.

For more information about Walter Pardon, see EATMT Personal Portrait No. 2, published in 2003.

 

Left: Walter Pardon with one of the jig dolls he made himself. Photo by Mike Yates.

 

Please note that the 1975 newspaper article posted on this page in early 2014 has been permanently moved to Walter's "Personal Portrait" page - click on the link above to read it.

 

 

 

 EFDSS Open Archive Day

 

 

 

 

Malcolm Taylor OBE and Steve Roud from the English Folk Dance & Song Society will be discussing and demonstrating the new Full English digital archive.

 

 Included in this are Cecil Sharp's notebooks, which are housed at Clare College, and which will be on display during this event. There is no charge but advance booking is recommended.

 

The open day is at Clare College, Cambridge on Saturday 8th March, from 10am to 12.30pm.

 

For further details of the day, visit the EFDSS website.

 

The photo, left, shows people at the Full English Study Day at Clare College inNovember 2013, looking at the Cecil Sharp manuscripts. Photo by EATMT.

 

 

 

 

 Cyril Barber: Personal Portrait

 

 

 

We've recently added a profile of Cyril Barber to our Personal Portraits webpage.

 

Cyril - now in his nineties - has been a much loved figure in Suffolk traditional music for many years, renowned for his stepping, singing and story telling as well as being a handy melodeon player.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 New Norfolk Dulcimers 

 

Many of you will already know of Norfolk’s tradition of dulcimer playing, with legendary names such as Billy Bennington and Billy Cooper. EATMT has been researching the lesser known players of our region and also the dulcimer makers, such as Mark Widdows from Norwich and James Caston from Forncett St Peter. In 2013 the name of Richard Blake has been added to that list.

 

Richard Blake has lived in Melton Constable for many years, and has finally combined his skills of playing the dulcimer and cabinet-making to design a new Norfolk-style dulcimer which is now being produced professionally at Marcus Ashby’s workshop in Norwich. Here is Richard’s story:

 

 

 

‘Sometime last year, my brother, who is much more knowledgeable with computers than I am, suggested that he could turn the measurements that I had made, some ten years ago, of the dulcimer at Gressenhall Museum, into full size working plans that could be used by any cabinet maker. At about the same time I found Paul Hasluck's 'Violins and Other Stringed Instruments' * (published 1907) on the internet, this gave an accurate description of how dulcimers used to be made. Putting the measurements that I had made together with Hasluck's description we were able to take the plans to Marcus Ashby in Norwich who had the machinery to make the first prototype. This looked good and, when strung and tuned, played well. Most importantly it sounds like the real thing! Satisfied that the whole thing works, I have had the first batch of six made, which I am now fitting with strings and chessman bridges. I insist on tuning them the 'Norfolk' way: if, like me, you wish to play like Billy Bennington or Billy Cooper*, then you really do need those chromatic notes that the old tuning provides. As well as being essential for the two Billys' repertoire or the music from the Watson* manuscript, it means that the rare classical dulcimer repertoire is also playable. The dulcimers cost £700 each with an extra £50 for a soft case. I will also supply cane beaters in the traditional style.’

It would be great to see more people playing the wonderful local style of dulcimer, and the production of this new model makes that more possible! The dulcimers can be obtained from Richard at 26, Church Lane, Hindolveston, Dereham, Norfolk NR20 5BT, or talk to him on 01363 860100 or 07717 671946 or email at blakedulcimist@gmail.com

 

For further information about dulcimers in East Anglia, click here.

 

 

 

*Further information on sources referred to above:


Paul Hasluck's 'Violins and Other Stringed Instruments’ - www.wkfinetools.com in the ‘Masters Library’ section.


Billy Bennington - click here for a biography and here for details of the CD The Barford Angel.


Billy Cooper - click here for a biography and here for details of the CD English Country Music.


George Watson (1860-1944) lived in Skeyton near North Walsham. 80 tunes from his hand-written tune book are in ABC format in the manuscript room at www.village-music-project.org.uk If you would prefer to see these tunes in conventional format, Norfolk researcher Alan Helsdon will send you a copy at a very reasonable price.

 

 

 

 

 

 Cambridgeshire Capers

 

Cambridgeshire is positively buzzing with folk development projects for youngsters at the moment!


First there’s a project being delivered by Gordon Philips and Mary Humphreys, working from note-books written by the folklorist Enid Porter, which are providing a wealth of inspiration for schools across the county.

 

Mary is also involved in the EFDSS ‘Full English’ project in Berwick Primary School, together with storyteller Debs Newbold. The aim of this project is to use local material from recently digitised archives to wider attention, and there are projects in primary and high schools across the country. The high school from our region is Impington Village College, where Kerry Fletcher is leading a dance project, together with musicians Katie Howson and Paul Scourfield, with sixth formers studying for an International Baccalaureate in dance. This is a groundbreaking project combining traditional dance with the ballad Lucy Wan and contemporary dance elements. Exciting stuff! Both these projects will be part of The Full English national showcase at Birmingham Town Hall on Wednesday 25th June 2014.

 

Impington Village College is also hosting a ceilidh band project over the next year.

 

Well done to Cambridgeshire County Council, Cambridge Folk Museum and Cambridgeshire Music Services for making these exciting initiatives happen.

 

 

 

 Melodeon Makers

 

On Saturday 2nd November 2013, ten very proud people left Stowmarket, each with an instrument they had constructed themselves over the preceding week under the maverick leadership of Emmanuel Pariselle. The instruments are superb quality and the course proved to be very companionable as well as instructive. During the week we had some visitors and it's hard to say which was more popular: local council representatives or Andy Cutting! We hope to arrange for some of the participants who live locally to visit local schools to demonstrate what they achieved.

 

We will be running another one-row building course in October 2014. Please email us if you are interested.

 

The instruments are of a really good quality and are tuned to individual requirements. As well as having a wonderful instrument, participants also benefited from the inestimable experience of working with a master craftsman and learning techniques for construction, maintenance and repair in the future. Components are of the highest quality: the bellows come from Italy and are superb, and the reeds are also Italian, made by Binci, in Castelfidardo. The wood this year was French walnut or bird's eye maple, but in previous years there has been American walnut, pear and cherry wood, according to what Emmanuel can source. Emmanuel, whilst having a great sense of humour (and extremely good English) is also a demanding task master and makes sure all instruments made are of the highest possible calibre.

 

Click here to see more about our courses.

 

 

 

 Melodeon evening classes

 

Our evening classes for melodeon players started again in October. They run fortnightly for four sessions on a Tuesday night (7.30-9pm) in Stowmarket. This year we have had to extend to THREE levels in order to accommodate all the enthusiastic learners around at the moment!

 

The beginners class is taught by Paul Johnson and is open to complete beginners and people in the early stages of learning to play the instrument. We usually have some instruments to hire for beginners, although currently they are all in use.

 

The improvers level 1 class is taught by Ron Ross and Improvers level 2 by Katie Howson. These are suitable for anyone with a good basic grasp of the instrument who'd like to take things a bit further and look at how to improve and refine their playing. Classes cost £46 per term (4 classes, at fortnightly intervals) and are taught using a D/G melodeon.

 

The next series of classes runs from late May onwards. Please give us a ring or email us if you're interested.

 

 

 

Older News

 

 

 Traditional Music Day 2013

 

31st August was a beautiful bright day for our 12th Traditional Music Day, imparting a sunny mood to the proceedings from dawn till well after dark! We sold more advance tickets than ever before, so we arranged some extra events to make sure there’d be room for everyone, as the venues at the Museum of East Anglian Life are small and intimate. There were many highlights, with perhaps the surprise hit of the day being ‘Tales from Shakespeare’ which featured condensed stories, in song, from Martin Carthy, Con O’Drisceoil and others. The evening concert also held some surprises for the audience, as sitting amongst them were Mick Groves (The Spinners) and Dave Peacock (Chas’n’Dave) who each kindly agreed to sing a couple of songs. The whole day was one of great enjoyment with lots of opportunities to get involved: many people doing so for the first time, but not, we trust, the last!

 

   

 

Above: Ray Hubbard with models of his musical life, Debs Newbold in the Story Hut, Reg Reader (tight) in the session, Vic Ellis's one man band.

 

 

 Stepdance Day 2013

 

There was a good turnout of dancers and audiences once again for our annual Stepdance Day at the Worlingworth Swan in July. Ella Beal won the Steve Monk memorial tankard for the second time - at the age of only 13 (below, left) Meanwhile, Lenny Whiting, with a few more years behind him, won the Font Whatling Traditional Stepdance Trophy. 15 year old Dominic Smith was a close runner-up in both competitions and Robert Hunt, with two hip replacements won the award for the best newcomer. Even 17 month old Keeley-Sophia Love (see below, centre) was inspired to have a go! Perhaps Percy West’s shoes (below right) caused him a problem this year! Many thanks to all who took part or helped out on the day.

 

Click here for more details.

 

 

 

 Bobby Ritchie

 

Many people who have been to our events will know of Bobby Ritchie. We are very sad to report that Bobby passed away on 21st August 2013 after a short illness. She was a dear friend, a smiling presence at most of our events, and apart from singing, playing and calling, a totally reliable helper. Words can't say enough to express how much she will be missed by so many people. We know you will join us in thinking of Simon and Will (pictured at the top of this page) and the rest of her family at this time.

 

 

 Alan Waller

 

We're also sad to tell you that Norfolk fiddle player Alan Waller died in early November after a protracted period of ill health. He knew many of the old traditional players and was a real link with earlier times and characters, with a wide and deep knowledge of various musical forms. Our heartfelt sympathies got to Margaret and family.

 

 

 Two singers from the Stour Valley

 

This article is about William Sparkes and Maurice Cardy, from whom Thomas Wood collected some songs in 1929. Click here to read the article. It came out of the "Managing a Masterpiece" project which we have been involved with for the past three years. (See below for more details about the project.)

 

 

 John Clare - traditional musician

 

Our February 2013 newsletter contained an article about the music of John Clare, better known as the "Peasant Poet". Click here to read the article and see a lovely tune called Bedford Races.

 

Other articles from the newsletters, now on the website

 

Profiles of traditional musicians More than 30 portraits of traditional singers written by those who knew them.

 

Village Portraits Village Portrait No.1 is about Mendlesham.

 

Tracing a Tune.  Tracing a Tune No.1 is about The Perfect Cure and No. 2 is about Starry Night for a Ramble.

 

Behind the Song  Behind the Song No. 1 is about Peter the Paynter and No. 2 is about The Captain's Apprentice.

 

There is also a section about a 200 year-old book of tunes from Bury St Edmunds and tunes and songs collected by John Clare in Cambridgeshire.

 

 

200 year old tunes and dances from Bury St Edmunds

 

 

 

It is two hundred years since a small booklet was printed and sold in Bury St Edmunds, called “Twenty Four Dances for the Year 1812”.

 

We are now making this collection available online and hope some of you will choose to play the tunes or dance the dances!

 

To see the tunes and dance instructions and to read more about the background, click here.

 

 

 Investigating Traditional Culture and Folklore

 

As part of the "Managing a Masterpiece" project  in the Stour Valley on the Essex / Suffolk border, the East Anglian Traditional Music Trust was commissioned to run two lecture days for adults, about local folklore and customs, with the aim of equipping people to find out more themselves. The first of these took place in Bures on Saturday 14th April and the second was in Clare on Saturday 10th November.

 

The line-up of speakers included Steve Roud, founder of the Roud Folk Song Index and expert on folklore, superstition and calendar customs, John Howson, co-director of EATMT, folk-song collector, photographer and recording engineer and Clive Paine, expert on all things to do with Suffolk history, plus exhibitions and an information pack.

 

More details about the wider project, including archaeology, traditional river boats, etc, may be found on the "Managing a Masterpiece" website. "Managing a Masterpiece" is a wide-ranging three year project funded by the Heritage Lottery Landscape Partnership Scheme.

 

 

 "Managing a Masterpiece" - Stour Valley schools project 2011-13

 

 

As part of the "Managing a Masterpiece" project,  the East Anglian Traditional Music Trust is involving local primary

schools and community groups in learning about folk song and local musical traditions.

 

In 2011 we worked in Essex with Ridgewell Primary School and in Suffolk with Great Waldingfield and Bures St Mary

primary schools and Clare Middle School. Our early work was so successful that the funding has been extended to

take in more schools and in 2012 we are working with Wood Hall (Sudbury) and Stratford St Mary primaries and in

Spring 2013 with Stoke-by-Nayland primary school.

 

 

Right: Rob Neal and children from Great Waldingfield Primary School in full voice, singing "Donnybrook Fair",

a folksong collected from William Sparkes of Bures, Suffolk.

 

 

 Instruments for hire and for sale

 

We have a number of melodeons available for hire by the month (within Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex), and many people who do this also attend evening classes run by EATMT. They include two-row models in the keys of D and G, and also one-row models in the key of C. We also have some anglo-concertinas for hire as well. If you’re interested in hiring an instrument, please give us a ring and see when there is one available.

 

We are quite often contacted by people with melodeons for sale, so it's worth giving us a ring, if you're in the Suffolk area.

All come with original case. Prices are approximately 50% of new prices, so you can grab a real bargain!

 

Make & Model

Key

EATMT price

Hohner Unsere Liebling (40)

C (1)

£25

Hohner Tremelo (48)

C (1)

£20

 

If you are interested in any of these instruments, please email us to arrange pick-up / postage (not included in price).

 

We have been given a dulcimer to offer for use. It’s a modern instrument, with continuous bridges, and therefore not in East Anglian tuning, but more in line with other recently made dulcimers. Get in touch with us if you're interested in either hiring or buying this instrument.

 

 

East Anglian traditions on TV

 

Over the past couple of years we have been very pleased to be featured on a couple of nation-wide mainstream television programmes. Both the series have extremely high viewing figures, so we know that millions of people now know a bit more about our regional traditions as a result!

 

Our episode of Ade Edmondson's new series, “Ade in Britain” was first shown on ITV1 in Autumn 2011, and was repeated regularly in 2012. Each programme in the series covered a different region and usually included local food and music.

 

We also recorded a feature for the BBC series “Escape to the Country” which was first shown on 11th May 2012. This is a property hunt show featuring people wanting to move to a rural area, and each programme includes some items of “local colour”. That’s us, folks! Our episode was presented by Jonnie Irwin, who really enjoyed himself - having a go with a jig doll and even borrowing Percy West’s shoes and making a good stab at stepping under Doreen West’s helpful tuition. The programme is no. 69 in series 12, and will no doubt be repeated.

 

If you're a film or programme maker or researcher, do get in touch. A press section of this website is in development. In the meantime, you're welcome to talk to us on 01449 771090 or email us at info@eatmt.fsnet.co.uk

 

 

 

Do you like what we do?
Now would be a really good time to show your support and join the Friends of EATMT.

 

We’d like to encourage everyone who appreciates the work we do - whether it be this website, the events, the research and publications, the schools

and community projects, the exhibitions, the workshops and classes ... to join the Friends of EATMT and support our work into the future.


If you sing or listen to a local song, play or hear a local tune, dance or watch or stepdancing, at least part of that is probably down to the work of EATMT, which has been working to keep our local traditions alive and kicking into the twenty first century. If you receive a printed copy or an email version of this newsletter, it’s down to the hard work of our part-time staff and volunteers - and the same goes if you are reading this on the website now!


We are a small organisation but with a serious reputation for delivering professional projects and “punching above our weight”. We became a registered charity in 2000 and are governed by a board of trustees. Membership starts at £15 per year. Donations are always very welcome, a Gift Aid declaration helps it go even further, and we also welcome longer-term enquiries about legacies etc.


Please visit our
membership page to download a form. Thank you.

 

 

 

News Archive

 

English Country Music Weekend in the East

EFDSS gold badge awards for EATMT directors (including full citation)

Norris Winstone obituary

Suffolk magazine article 2011

East Anglian Traditional Music on Facebook

Richard Davies - obituary 2010

Profiles of Traditional Singers & musicians

EATMT online shop for CDs & books

 

Have I got Old News for You! (News Archive to December 2009)

 

 

 English Country Music Weekend in the East

 

The 2012 English Country Music Weekend took place in Brightlingsea near Clacton in Essex for the second year running, on  22nd - 24th June 2012. For more information visit the Brightlingsea ECMW website.

 

The event was organised  (as in 2011) by concertina player Roger Digby, fiddler Liz Giddings and melodeonists Celia Kemp and Jon Naunton - this gives you a bit of a clue that the weekend is based around music! As Roger Digby writes: “It's worth making clear what the weekend is NOT. It's not a Folk Festival. There are no concerts, crèches and craft stalls; no big tops, big names and big egos. The great majority of the people who attend the ECMW are musicians who gather to play together with old and new friends.” There are several session venues and a programme of talks etc. You really do need to buy a ticket and not just drop in for the pub sessions without one, or it could be swamped. It's also nothing to do with country'n'western music, it's very much about traditional English music as played by country (as in RURAL!) musicians in the past, such as Suffolk's Oscar Woods and Norfolk's Billy Bennington - amongst many others, of course!

 

The English Country Music Weekend first came to Essex in 2011 - and was by the seaside for the first time too! Prior to this, the last time it was in the eastern region was in 2001, when we organised it at the Museum of East Anglian Life - we liked it so much there that we then started Traditional Music Day. Those of you have been involved for a long time may also recall teh 1981 ECMW at Snape and the 1984 ECME at Mendlesham, both organised by John & Katie Howson.

 

In 2013 it moved to Winster in Derbsyshire, where it will be held again in June 2014.

 

 

 

 EFDSS gold badge awards for EATMT directors

 

EATMT directors John and Katie Howson received Gold Badge Awards from the English Folk Dance and Song Society on 16th April 2011. The awards and citations were presented at a special event at Cecil Sharp House in London called "It's Just What We Do", curated by John and Katie Howson in aid of the EFDSS Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. The citation was read by EATMT trustee and EFDSS Library Director, Malcolm Taylor, and the badges were presented by EFDSS president, Shirley Collins.

 

 

 

The Gold Badge Award is one of the highest accolades

in the folk music world and nearly 150 awards have been

made since the first one in 1922. Many are or were

household names in the folk world as performers,

teachers or writers such as the Waterson and Copper

families, John Kirkpatrick and Shirley Collins. Others

are less well known as they have worked behind the

scenes, running events or researching songs and

customs; the latter category includes Cecil Sharp and

Ralph Vaughan Williams of course and, more recently,

Mike Yates and Reg Hall. There are not too many names

from the eastern counties, but they include Alec Hunter

(Thaxted Morris), Russell Wortley and traditional singers

Harry Cox and Walter Pardon. Full details of previous

award holders, visit the EFDSS website.

 

 

 

 

 

Katie and John were awarded the Gold Badge for their work with the Trust, fieldwork and collecting, the Veteran recording label and the many other contributions they have made to the development of folksong, music and dance over the last thirty years. Click here to read the full citation.
 

 

 Norris Winstone obituary

 

Norris “Win” Winstone died recently aged 98. Win was a founder member of Norwich-based morris team Kemp’s Men and an influential figure on local country dance and music. Fellow Kemp's Men Peter Mayne and David Robertson sent the following obituary.

 

Norris 'Win' Winstone MBE, 1913-2011

Most of you reading this will already be aware, I’m sure, of the sad passing of Norris Winstone at the age of 98. Though when I say ‘sad’, I should add that the funeral was as jolly an event as possible under the circumstances, enlivened (if that’s the word I’m groping for, given the depredations of age, infirmity and alcohol) by the dancing of Kemp’s Men, the side which Win helped to form in 1953. Nor were they alone; over the years, Win had been connected with many other sides in one way or another, and men came from all corners of the country to help us celebrate his long and full life.

For those who did not know him, let me try, briefly, to paint a picture. Physically, he was not an imposing figure: imagine, if you will, Winnie the Pooh pumping away at a somewhat battered melodeon. But his stature was measured in more than feet and inches. Take into account his contribution to music and dance in Norfolk, and he was a towering figure indeed. In fact, English music and the Morris were his abiding passions (though he also harboured an unaccountable enthusiasm for the Hawaiian steel guitar, which he played in a wartime trio - whether to entertain the troops or to deter the invader remains a matter for learned debate).

When I first joined Kemp’s Men of Norwich in the mid-70’s, he had already retired from the teaching profession. But I soon came to realise that he had not given up teaching, and probably never would. Like any good teacher, he had an encyclopaedic knowledge of his subject, and a complete readiness to share it – though he was always receptive to different interpretations of the Morris, and supportive of those who, like me, tried to lead Kemp’s Men in new and occasionally ill-judged directions.

He also had a prodigious memory. Wherever we danced in Norfolk, he would be approached by one ex-pupil or another, with a hesitant “Do you remember me, Mr Winstone?” – and I don’t remember seeing him stumped. What’s more, I have rarely met anyone who carried so many tunes in his head, while still finding room for an impressive collection of dreadful jokes, not always as politically correct as we would consider necessary today.

For more than half a century, Win was a mainstay of the team, hardly missing a summer performance or winter practice session, and apparently as enduring as the tradition itself. Well into his 80’s, he continued to accompany the team on strenuous 3-day Whitsuntide tours, sleeping on village hall floors with the rest of us. The club’s AGMs were also illuminated by what became known as the ‘Winterval’, when he would distribute a selection of  small, and sometimes slightly barbed presents, along with his genial observations on the year gone past.

His contribution, however, was not restricted to the side of which he was a founder member. Several others in the area benefited from his knowledge, his playing and his time. All three were given generously, and for no reward other than to see English traditional music and dance survive and flourish. I should add that Win’s enthusiasm encompassed social as well as ritual dance, teaching and playing for a country dance group on a weekly basis, providing one-to-one tuition for a number of aspiring musicians, and sharing his immense repertoire with anyone who cared to ask.

In short, it is hard to think of anyone who has contributed so much, so generously, so consistently, and over such a long period of time to the enjoyment of English music and dance in our region – and even harder to imagine anyone making such a major contribution in such a modest and self-effacing way.

David Robertson

Sometime dancer and foreman, Kemps Men of Norwich

 

 "Suffolk" magazine article

 

In 2011, EATMT co-directors John and Katie Howson were featured in a "Question and Answer" style article in the "Suffolk" magazine. Click here to read the online version of the article.

 

 

 East Anglian traditional music on Facebook!

 

EATMT member and photographer John Halliday has kindly provided an opportunity for you to see more of his photos from EATMT events, and to make links with other enthusiasts. You don't have to belong to Facebook to see the photographs, but you do if you want to post information about events, or your own photos etc. If you want to join the Facebook group, it's called Traditional Music of East Anglia. If you just want to look at the photos, follow the appropriate link here:

 

Melodeons and More 2010

Traditional Music Day 2009

Stepdance Day 2009

Melodeons and More 2009

Traditional Music Day 2008

Stepdance Day 2008

Sam Larner plaque 2008

Traditional Music Day 2007

Stepdance Day 2007

Melodeons and More 2007

 

There are, of course, photos of most of these events on our website too, from several different photographers who work with us on our events - many thanks to all of them! Various people also posted photos from the 2010 and 2008 Melodeon Makers courses: click here and follow the links at the bottom of the page.

 

 

 Richard Davies

 

We were very sad indeed to report the death in May 2010 of Richard Davies, stepdancer and singer from Cromer on the Norfolk coast, and known by thousands of people as the former coxswain of the lifeboat there and a huge part of the local community.

 

Richard came from a fishing family and was the seventh generation to serve on the Cromer lifeboat, succeeding his uncle, Henry 'Shrimp' Davies, as coxswain in 1976 and retiring in December 1999. His son John is the current coxswain, having taken over in 2003. Richard joined the lifeboat in 1960 and received several awards for gallantry during his lifeboat career.

 

We first met Richard nearly thirty years ago, introduced by Ann-Marie Hulme and Peter Clifton, who had been researching stepdancing in Norfolk. He made an immediate impact with his ruddy face and initial reserve giving way quickly to engaging sociability and enthusiasm. At the time (early 1980s) it seemed that stepdancing was on the wane, and for a lot of years Richard felt himself to be one of the last: when we met up he was sometimes reluctant to dance, saying that people expected to see “Riverdance” style stuff now. However, he still enjoyed a waltz or polka with wife Julie and he taught his daughter Fiona and grandchildren Ben and Emily to step. This encouraged a resurgence of interest helped along by the presence of other enthusiasts nearby such as Chris Holderness and Richard and Monica Blake. Richard’s dance style was very much in the Cromer tradition, and his singing repertoire also reflected his fishing life.

 

Richard was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour in May 2009, and was active for much of the last twelve months with the things that he loved – singing until only a few weeks before his death on 5th May 2010.

 

His funeral was held in Cromer Parish Church on 19th May and was attended by over a thousand people. There were pews full of lifeboatmen, the local fire crew, freemasons, fishermen, and fellow pony-and-trap owners and hare-coursing enthusiasts. The tributes described different aspects of Richard’s larger-than-life character and many tales were told reflecting his ebullient nature: when asked why he wanted to buy a mule, he answered “So that there’s someone in this family more obstinate than me!” As his coffin was carried out of the church, his favourite stepdance tune “Pigeon on the Gate” or “Yarmouth Hornpipe” was played by myself, John Howson, Chris Holderness and Richard Blake, as Richard himself had requested. At the gathering afterwards, where there were hundreds of people, Percy and Doreen West, Leo Baker, Lenny Whiting and others paid further tribute to Richard with some stepdancing and lively music.

 

   

 

Photos from left to right: Richard dancing outside Sam Larner's cottage in Winterton, 2008; Richard with fellow steppers Percy West and Lenny Whiting, Hingham, 2005 (both John Halliday) ; Richard dancing at Traditional Music Day (Chris Gill), 2005.

 

 

 Profiles of Traditional Singers and Musicians

 

There are now over 30short articles in our series of "Personal Portraits" of traditional singers and musicians from East Anglia. These are all written by people who knew the performers, and contain a mixture of analysis and anecdote. Contributors to the series include Martin Carthy, Shirley Collins, Reg Hall, Roger Digby and Keith Summers, alongside EATMT directors John and Katie Howson. The latest article in the series is about Cyril Barber, and there are others about the Old Hat Concert Party, legendary musicians Oscar Woods, Billy Bennington and Billy Cooper, singers Harry Cox, Sam Larner and Walter Pardon and many lesser-known people. Each article also contains a discography so you can find recordings of them too. Follow the link at the top or the bottom of each page, or click here to reach the index page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Left to right: Harkie Nesling, Tony Harvey, Oscar Woods & Billy Bennington

 

 

 

 Online shop for East Anglian Traditional Music

 

Our website is absolutely the best place to find a huge range of recordings of traditional singers and musicians from East Anglia all in one place. There are also books and other resources and full track listings for all the CDs. The site offers a secure online payment system. New additions are detailed below, or click here to see what else is on offer:

    94-page book containing original research on the history of this instrument, plus photographs and profiles of a number of players such as

    Mary Bergin, Micho Russell and, amazingly, the author Arthur Ransome! (£7.99 + £2.00 p&p)

 

    Robert Clarke, the inventor of this instrument, was born and brought up in Coney Weston in Suffolk, hence our interest in the instrument!

   

    This collection tracks John Howson's survey of traditional music making in Mid-Suffolk and includes not only his

    contemporary recordings, but also fascinating archival recordings made by the few other collectors who ventured

    into the area. In 1993 these recordings were released as a double cassette. The original recordings, some made

    as early as 1958, are now housed in the National Sound Archive at the British Library in London so that they are

    archived for the future. They have now also been digitally edited and enhanced, using modern technology, and are

    now available for the first time as a double CD which consists of two 39 track CDs each lasting 75 minutes, giving

    a total running time of two-and-a-half hours. It also comes with a new 32-page booklet, which includes biographies

    and photographs of each of the performers, as well as extensive notes about the songs and tunes. To order a copy

    via our online shop (price £16.99 inc p&p), click here.

 

Don't forget our own publications:

 

Blyth Voices song book (2003, republished 2008): 48-page book containing songs collected by the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams in the town of Southwold on the Suffolk coast in 1910. It is also of interest to social historians, the local community and the many people who visit and love Southwold, as it includes original research into the singers, and descriptions of traditional music-making in the town throughout the twentieth century, together with a number of fascinating old photos. To order a copy via our online shop (price £6.75 inc p&p), click here.
 

 

 

 

 

 

Before the Night Was Out ... East Anglian music book (published 2007)

 

Through the twentieth century, music has been recorded from traditional musicians in Suffolk and Norfolk, and this book gathers together many of the most important and unusual of these lively dance tunes in a printed collection.

Before the Night Was Out aims to shed light on the way in which traditional music in Suffolk and Norfolk has thrived and mutated during the twentieth century, as well as providing a resource for practising musicians. "This outstanding book is … your best purchase of 2008, so far.” Rod Stradling, Musical Traditions magazine. For more details, click here.

 

 

 

 

And also:

 

 

EATMT director and leading melodeon player in the East Anglian style, Katie Howson,

has a new CD available. This is not available on the EATMT website: click here

(this takes you to the Veteran website) and then click on the News link on

the left-hand side for more details and to place your order. It's a solo venture, with

24 diverse and interesting tunes played on a D/G box hand-made by Eric Martin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you like what we do?
Now would be a really good time to show your support and join the Friends of EATMT.

 

We’d like to encourage everyone who appreciates the work we do - whether it be this website, the events, the research and publications, the schools

and community projects, the exhibitions, the workshops and classes ... to join the Friends of EATMT and support our work into the future.


If you sing or listen to a local song, play or hear a local tune, dance or watch or stepdancing, at least part of that is probably down to the work of EATMT, which has been working to keep our local traditions alive and kicking into the twenty first century. If you receive a printed copy or an email version of this newsletter, it’s down to the hard work of our part-time staff and volunteers - and the same goes if you are reading this on the website now!


We are a small organisation but with a serious reputation for delivering professional projects and “punching above our weight”. We became a registered charity in 2000 and are governed by a board of trustees. Membership starts at £15 per year. Donations are always very welcome, a Gift Aid declaration helps it go even further, and we also welcome longer-term enquiries about legacies etc.


Please visit our
membership page to download a form. Thank you.


 

 

This page is updated regularly, and older news items are now archived on a separate webpage - click here.

 

Page last updated 14 April 2014

 


 

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