Early September means the annual Halsway nyckelharpa meeting. This year Marwyn attended as a non-participant (i.e. groupie!) and enjoyed the concert and sessions (and catching up with her Swedish). I enjoyed the workshops and wished I could have been at all of them – the guest musicians were Josefina Paulson and Torbjörn Näsbom, with Vicki Swan also teaching some fascinating stuff (as well as organising the whole thing).

Moraharpa – top view

One feature was the increased number of gammelharpor (old style instruments) and their relations – not from the original period, but built recently (including my kontrabasharpa). The photo of Vicki’s Moraharpa (I thought it was Scott’s – they come from the same maker!) is one of several (along with measurements) I took – now I wonder what a future project could possibly be?

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Musicians

A new venue for the Edinburgh Scandi Session today – the Boda Bar, just a block away from the Victoria where we have been so far. I missed last month’s as we were in Canada so it was great to be back. Lots of tunes played (a record number!), with quite a few new ones – details will be on the Scandi Session website soonish. Here are some blurry photos – I still haven’t got sorted with setting the right camera parameters for low light with the little camera. Sorry.

       

No harpacam photos this time, though the nyckelharpa had a great time.

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sound with mac

Well, there were lots of things – one great bit of the teaching involved playing movements from Jonny Dyer‘s new nyckelharpa suite. I wanted to have a go at recording some of it – and as it’s a trio it needs multi-track overdubs again.

I had a first go yesterday using the setup with the Raspberry Pi I have described before. However there were definitely problems. First, I have still not mastered playing a second time along whilst listening on the headphones to the previous track, and trying to keep exactly in time; the precision was definitely poor! Secondly, I wondered about some clicking and popping in later tracks. I sent the result to Vicki who gave me some advice and analysis. Then I had an idea …

Last year Marwyn got a new laptop which meant that her old Mac Mini was retired. Apple have stopped supporting the Mac Mini anyway, I could no longer update the operating system. However it still works – and it has a fan that’s pretty quiet. I installed Audacity on it and decided to give it a go today.

Here’s the result:

I made a lot of takes of each part to give the Mac a lot of work – 7 for part 1, 4 for part 2 and 3 for part 3. Basically I kept going until I had a take with hardly any fluffs that I could use in its entirity.

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Ratty

Back from a fun time at the Chester folk festival – the photo is definitely the best I took (though I didn’t take many as the music was too much fun). It’s Ratty of course 🙂  We only stayed overnight on the Saturday but still saw a lot. Very much enjoyed Les Barker on Saturday lunchtime, then the afternoon concert with 5 acts including Will Pound’s “Through the Seasons” which we had heard a lot about on several radio folk programmes so were interested to see it. It was good though I felt the story was a bit disconnected at times. Hannah James with her accordion was superb, as were The Trials of Cato (fantastic mandolin player), and of course Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer were well up to their usual fantastic standard.

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Thanks to Trevor Buck and Phil Lyon for alerting me to a house concert this evening – we went along to hear Ditte Andersson (nyckelharpa, fiddle, voice) together with Ewen MacPherson of Shooglenifty, Salt House … (guitar, voice) and Sarah Hoy (fiddle). A great evening. I’ve been very lucky to hear lots of nyckelharpa in the past few weeks – Peter Hedlund, Väsen, and now Ditte Andersson. Fantastic!

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fiddle and harpa

The Greenbank Buskers played a wee gig today in St Mary’s Kirk, Haddington, as part of their summer concert series. We normally play for dancing at ceilidhs (for charity), but today had been asked to do a performance – so our bandleader Hazel had finally got me to play the nyckelharpa (I don’t really do reels on it yet). We formed a trio from the band – Fiona on fiddle, Tom on guitar and self on nyckelharpa, and gave them three Swedish tunes. It meant that I had both fiddle and nyckelharpa there; the nyckelharpa seemed to go down well with the audience. Continue reading

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