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.