As a celebration of the year, or indeed in an effort to focus on the positive in these current ‘interesting times’, I’d like to offer four tunes, free to download for a limited period, that came too late to be included in my 30 Years Collection. Links to the audio, notation and the zip files (containing steady and full speed versions, in both mp3 and m4a formats) of the individual tunes are provided below. Or to download absolutely everything, use this link!

The Says of Wall are Ali, Rob and Oscar – good friends of the family and invaluable colleagues. This is a finger-twisting reel full of positive energy!

Graham’s Trip to Glenties remembers a wonderful trip to Donegal with the inestimable Graham Dixon in a James Hill style hornpipe.

The Gentle Man’s Hornpipe is for the lovely Tom McConville, my colleague in ‘Jimmy’s Fiddle’ and fellow James Hill obsessive.

Jimmy Smith’s Two Step is a big thank you to a wonderful character and a great friend. It is a privilege to be able to continue the JSArts courses that Jimmy and Jo began all those years ago and we have two cracking courses at the beginning of the year to tell you about below…

February 28th – March 1st: Arrangement Techniques for Mixed Instruments
In February 2020 the doors of Ushaw College will be thrown open to players of any instrument. The Arrangement Techniques courses look at methods of arranging folk tunes for mixed ensembles. This course will focus on the use of harmonic structures in building a musical narrative. We will study chord progressions and harmony lines within simple folk tunes, exploring pre-existing examples to develop an understanding of the processes involved and creating our own versions. Come and join us for an exciting and enjoyable weekend: expand your musical horizons and acquire skills to take back to your own groups and ensembles.

March 20th – 22nd: Fiddle Technique
March sees the standard Fiddle Technique course back in the beautiful surroundings of Rydal Hall. This course will focus on the distinctive sounds of the most common modes found in fiddle tunes and how using hand frames can help us secure our intonation and capture the individual beauty of each mode. Are you frustrated by the confines of inadequate descriptions of ‘major’ and ‘minor’? Do you have trouble telling your dorian from your aeolian? Even if you don’t, come and learn some great tunes and the techniques behind them!

Hope to see some of you at these courses, enjoy the new tunes!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,