The north east weather returned to it’s normal self for our last ‘residency’ appearance at Bede’s World on Saturday 24th May. Gone was the Tuscan sunshine of the previous weekend, but the museum was still choca, with visitors enjoying the many unique craft stalls, storytelling and rune readings galore. We had two 40 minute slots to fill in the wonderful acoustics of ‘Bede’s Heed’, and did our best with our usual mix of Tyneside songs and Northumbrian dancey stuff. Not having anything particularly ‘mythic’ or ‘legendary’ in our repertoire, out came a trusty old copy of Bruce & Stokoe a couple of weeks beforehand and we quickly worked up an epic version of ‘The Laidly Worm of Spindlestone Heugh’. Despite our misgivings after only a couple of hours rehearsing it, the song went down a treat and drew some nice compliments afterwards.
Iain put in a brief appearance at Souter Lighthouse on Bank Holiday Monday for South Shields FCs Cultural Spring event, but next up on the agenda for the band is likely to be an appearance at the Banner of the North Festival, 18th – 20th July.
Last weekend saw Lowp play three days on the trot in celebration of the return to Jarrow of the Codex Amiatinus after a 1300 year sojourn in Italy. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of Profs. Rosemary Cramp & Manuela Vestri, the replica of the first complete Bible came back to it’s roots at St. Paul’s and Bede’s World. It was fitting that the event was accompanied by medieval Tuscan music and the strains of classic Northumbrian tunes.
The weekend kicked off with a slightly subdued Hive Live Lounge on Friday night, as sadly Cath & Phil Tyler had to pull out of performing. However, the brilliant fiddle playing of Malcolm Bushby quickly got toes tapping, Leo Connolly provided us with some classic Tyneside Irish club singing, and Lowp did their thing despite some PA issues. The wit and banter of Mr Welch shone through for a finale, as George and Christine did what they do best – a selection of the most beautifully performed songs in the folk world.
The highlight of the weekend came on the Saturday evening, with a talk and traditional meal provided by the people of Abbadia San Salvatore. Several courses of Tuscan food and wine were served for the gathered guests (council big wigs, sponsors Port of Tyne & Fenwicks etc) accompanied by the Tuscan Musicians. The Codex was given a drum accompaniment through the museum to it’s exhibition space, and then Lowp played a short and excellently received set to a fantastic audience. The evening was rounded off with a fire display in the farm by the Tuscan contingent, in full medieval costume. The emotion from Manuela, Rosemary and Bede’s World director Mike Benson was there for all to see, as a 10 year dream was realised. What a night! It was an absolute privelege and honour to have been part of it.
The sun was still shining on Sunday morning, as the band gathered back at the museum for the public opening of the Codex exhibition. In a wonderfully peaceful early summer morning atmsophere the first visitors to the exhibition were given a selection of Northumbrian tunes in the amazing acoustic space of the atrium. A blissed out end to a fantastic weekend.
… and we’ll be back on the 24th May to do it all again for the Myths, Legends & Folklore weekend with a rarely heard Northumbrian ballad getting it’s first Lowp airing.
Lowp will be playing at the Hive Live Lounge on Friday 16th May, alongside the wonderfully talented George Welch & Christine Jeans. Other acts to be confirmed, and it only costs a couple of quid to get in. Doors generally open at 6.30 for a 7.30 start at Bede’s World, Jarrow.
UPDATE: Cath and Phil Tyler, Malcolm Bushby and Leo Connolly added to the bill – a grand night out with some fantastically talented musicians.
Our esteemed songster, Ben Hudson, is currently presenting a fortnightly folk show on Hive Radio. The first edition went out last weekend and was a bagpipes special. The show is still available as a podcast on mixcloud for any who missed it. The next show goes out on Saturday 1st March, and will be based around the songs and work of Ed Pickford, with a special treat for any fans of the great man himself.
Well, it’s been a while since we updated this site, but just to let anyone know we are still around. Since last February we’ve been doing the odd folk club appearance here and there, both together and individually, and the usual sessions around Tyneside. We’ve also done a fair bit of work with Bede’s World and Hive Studios in Jarrow, appearing at a number of their events. This year Ben is doing a folk show for Hive Radio and will be heavily involved with the second folk festival at Bede’s World. Although we were booked to play last year we sadly missed it due to a few health hiccups, the biggest of which was Pete breaking his left wrist… a bit of a bugger for a fiddler. He was given the option of playing a shaky egg in the band instead but for some reason declined. Pete is slowly getting back to playing, and we should have a few bits and pieces lined up for Spring and early Summer this year, notably a performance at Bede’s World Myths and Legends weekend on the 24th May, and before then we will be playing for some Maypole dancers in Jarrow on the May Bank Holiday. I’m sure it will be nothing like The Wicker Man!!!
Well, we didn’t win Best Band at the BBC Folk Awards but we did manage to get a play and some very nice praise on Mike Harding’s new folk show. Mike has continued where he left off with Radio 2 in producing a top class programme showcasing the best in folk music, past and present. It was a real privilege for us to hear our version of Ed Pickford’s ‘Farewell Johnny Miner’ played alongside such legends Bandoggs, Leadbelly and Dick Gaughan. We are, not surprisingly, geet chuffed!
To top it off we have been rising up the Reverbnation regional folk charts and finished the week at #8. And then Le Toon decided they better up their game if they wanted to stay in the same league as us, and went and beat Chelsea.
What a week!!!