The Dutch association for hurdy-gurdies and bagpipes has announced the next series of Saturday courses for the hurdy-gurdy and bagpipes, running from November through to next May. Courses are available for beginners and advanced players of both instruments, as well as joint sessions. Beginner’s instruments are available to hire.
Hurdy-gurdy beginners: Joop Aalbers. Discover the possibilities of the instrument and experience the fun.
Hurdy-gurdy advanced: Roald Keuning. Elaboration and refinement of melodic and rhythmic techniques.
Drone Music in bandstands: Ine Blom. Development of a joint repertoire to be played at the end of the course at a number of bandstands.
Bourbonnais Revival: drone with a capital D: Jonneke Jorissen and Cor Westbroek. Joint course for D-tuned hurdy gurdies and bagpipes.
On 31 August, Dutch streaming music site, Concertzender, had an hour-long show devoted to hurdy-gurdy music. An archived recording of the show is available on their site here (click the small speaker link towards the top of the page).
They say “This episode of Metamorphoses about unusual instruments is an hour long focus on the hurdy-gurdy. Often the instrument has been maligned as a simple melody instrument that was merely suitable to accompany dancing. However, the instrument was in the distant past used by the troubadours to accompany their songs and classical works were composed for it. The hurdy largely disappeared from the stage, afterwards remaining only in some countries like France. In recent decades there has been a revival, in which the construction of the instrument, the playing technique and repertoire went through a revolution.”
The show features the following set:
Malicorne - Le Branle des Chevaux (trad) Le Bestiaire - Ballon Noir 082303
Blowzabella - The New Hornpipes (D Shepherd) A richer dust - Osmosys OSMOCD010
Emilio Cao - Estreaba o horizonte (Coa) Cartas Marinas - BOA Do FolDF005
La Ciapa Rusa - Suite di Monferrine (trad, Martinotti) Antologia - Robi Droli RDC015
Vizöntö - Springdance (Kiss) Best - Pan Records 145 CD
“We have had this Hurdy Gurdy in a cupboard gathering dust for 20 years. We are having a clear out and decided to offer it and see if anyone is interested in acquiring it. It looks nice, but doesn’t work, and is in need of total restoration, if indeed it is restorable. “Ludovicus Guersan propè Comoediam Gallicam Lutetiae Anno 1761” Ludovicus Guersan was a musical instrument maker from Paris whose instruments are now quite valuable. Anyway, it is broken, but looks nice. If anyone likes the look of it, happy bidding.”
One for the diary - Halsway Manor hurdy-gurdy weekend, 8-10 Feb 2013
Advanced warning of the Halsway Manor Hurdy-Gurdy Weekend to be held at Halsway Manor, near Crowcombe in Somerset, from Friday 8th February to Sunday 10th February 2013. Teachers already booked include Gregory Jolivet, Steve Tyler and Claire Dugue. This runs in parallel with the John Swayne Bagpipe Workshop Weekend and features a Hurdy-Gurdy and Bagpipe Concert on the Saturday evening with Gregory Jolivet, Steve Tyler, Katy Marchant and Jon Swayne.
Nice blog here, capturing hundreds of traditional and contemporary English and French tunes, categorized by type and also by artist. Nice collection and worth a look. The author writes:
Over the past few years, I have collected many tunes, mostly English and French, from a number of wonderful players. This website is a constantly evolving 21st century manuscript in the spirit of the great tune books of the past. If you happen to know the composer of a specific tune, please let me know, so that they can be credited. In the event of anyone being unhappy about their own music being shared in this way, I will, of course, remove relevant items. I hope you enjoy playing them!
Altarwind Music, Oregon-based maker of hurdy-gurdies, has announced that it is now offering a third-row of keys on many of its instruments to allow the playing of harmonies. This is a feature that was pioneered by British maker Chris Eaton and which appears to have inspired Altarwind’s design.
Renowned Austrian hurdy-gurdy player Matthias Loibner is set to perform at the Bray Jazz Festival 2012 in Co Wicklow, Ireland. The performance takes place at 1830 on Sunday 6th May 2012 in the Bray Town Hall. More information and tickets here.
Graeme McCormack of Antiquated Strings has uploaded another of his fabulous hurdy-gurdy construction plans. Ideal for the home builder, or simply as a beautiful poster for your wall. He writes:
I have just finished Drawing up the Henri 111 Renaissance Hurdy Gurdy. I have modelled it on an existing instrument from Paris circa 1750. The main deviation from the original is that it can play a chromatic 2 octaves, has adjustable bridges and string lifting mechanisms. I have also changed the internal frame to use smaller wood stock. The original has solid end blocks that needed large wood stock to cut them from. There are 9 x A1 size sheets to this plan. I will add more written information as I make this gurdy.
Full size PDF versions of the plans in 9 parts available on his website here.