The Banners of the North Festival reached it’s climax last night (19th September) with a wonderful concert at Bede’s World. After a long day of workshops, dance displays & a marathon session with banjo maestro Paul Lucas, the packed out concert was a fitting end to the day. Fool’s Gold started the evening early with their fantastic self-penned songs and intricate instrumentation. The amazing talent of Chris Kelly followed them, again self-penned material was the order of the day, with some of the most brilliant songs you will ever hear – moving, emotional and witty, Chris does it all and he had the packed audience in the palm of his hand by the end of his 45 minute set. The inimitable George Welch & Christine Jeans need no introduction in the north-east, and they were on fine form. From the hilarious to the sublime, George’s wonderful voice took the crowd on a rollercoaster ride of beautiful music. Next up were Lowp – well, what can we say? We enjoyed ourselves & will leave it to others to comment, but the 45 minutes flew by as we showcased quite a selection of new and exciting material. Last up was some bloke in a stripey top called Jez Lowe. The packed hall was very much down to Jez’ powers of attraction, and after the blinder he played we can understand why. Consummately professional, with characteristic banter, some of the best songs around, and delivered by a fantastic musician and singer, this was a performance to savour, and the audience certainly did. Stunning does not even begin to describe it. In the words of Frankie Valli: “Oh, what a night”.
Lowp have a busy autumn this year –
- 18-20 Sept – The Banner of the North Folk Festival, Jarrow
- 3 Oct – Allen Valleys Folk Festival
- 10 Oct – Iain solo performance – Northumbrian Pipers’ Society Annual Concert, St Marys, Gateshead
- 13 Oct – 8th Northumbria Pipe Week, Whitley Bay
Lowp will be performing at the excellent Allen Valleys Folk Festival in October. With a fantastic line-up in it’s second year, this festival in the wonderful location of Allendale Town looks to be one of the highlights of the summer festival circuit.
We will be performing in the beautiful St Cuthbert’s Church in the centre of Allendale on Saturday 3rd October at 1.30pm. St Cuthbert’s will also play host to The Brothers Gillespie, Chris Meredith & Watchtone, Webster & Malkin, and the great Tom McConville for the Saturday afternoon.
The festival has concerts and workshops spread over different venues within the village of Allendale, as well as family ceilidhs, fantastic local catering, & a hog roast in the village square.
Set in the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Allen Valleys are the hidden part of England’s largest county, Northumberland.
There is a range of visitor accommodation, from basic campsites to five star luxury.
Iain will be playing at a special concert in Stamfordham, Northumberland, organised by The William Dixon Foundation and supported by The Northumbrian Pipers’ Society and Lowland & Border Pipers’ Society. Details can be found on the William Dixon Foundation facebook page.
Admission £10 Tickets / Bookings:
William Dixon Foundation c/o Matt Seattle Tel 01450 374081
Stamfordham Church c/o Peter Lombard Tel 01661 886 331
January 17th 2015 saw Lowp set off for a trip up the A1 to Alnwick – Destination the Muckle Lush Acoustic January Jamboree at the wonderful Tanner’s Arms.
Bill Read and the Lush Acoustic collective have some great music and a very welcoming attitude. The number of musicians/singers made for a long but hugely enjoyable night – everyone got a fair crack at the whip, unlike many an open-mic. Didn’t catch everyone’s name, but thoroughly enjoyed Bill’s set of angst ridden Geordie invective, Clifford Blakey’s flamenco wizardry and the excellent songs of Gary Steward and David Ainsworth, all ably supported by the mandolin of Eric Davison and multi-instrumentalism of Jamie Robb. Lowp took up the baton at just gone 10pm and played an hour or so to a packed (ok, it’s a sma’ pub) and lively audience. Loved it – one of the best nights we’ve played in a good while.
So get yourselves along to the next Lush Acoustic, a geet good night oot.
Last weekend saw us play the Yule Weekend at Bede’s World for the second year in a row – 2 sets on Sunday afternoon in the wonderful acoustics of the Bede’s Head dome, one of the many beautiful spots in a wonderful museum. The following Sunday saw us playing our annual gig at South Shields Folk Club, at the Customs House, Mill Dam. Despite the broken heating we managed to tame the struggling instruments and fingers and play two great sets with a few new songs and tunes in the mix. The nice thing about playing folk clubs is you never know who else will be on as floor spots, and SSFC threw up some brilliant singers and musicians on Sunday, including the visiting Northumberland fiddlers Rachael Hales & Robin Dunn.
Next up we are off to the Tanner’s Arms in Alnwick on the 17th January to play for Lush Acoustic – can’t wait, as long as it’s not snowing!!!
UPDATE: What a night at The Tanners’. Absolutely fantastic music from Bill Read and friends made for huge fun before we went on at 10.30pm – well past our bedtime but we played for an hour to a packed out pub and enjoyed it immensely. :)
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.