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BLOWZABELLA Festival with guests Duo Rivaud Lacouchie

Friday 24 Jun 4pm — Sunday 26 Jun 4pm, 2022

To make a booking enquiry please complete the form below. We will contact you to confirm availability and complete your booking.

Course Enquiry

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Accommodation is at a premium for this week. Please consider camping, or sharing a dorm with family or friends if you can.

Full board per person (tuition, activities, all meals & accommodation):

  • £270– single ensuite room
  • £232– sharing an ensuite room
  • £232– single non-ensuite room
  • £185– sharing non-ensuite room

Camping per person (tuition, activities, all meals):

  • £175

Non Resident (tuition, activities, all meals except breakfast):

  • £165

Camping spaces currently available!

We are delighted to announce the return of International folk legends Blowzabella for a second festival weekend of workshops, sessions, concerts and dances at Halsway Manor. Sadly Les Poufs à Cordes are unavailable, but we are delighted to welcome Duo Rivaud Lacouchie as special guests in their place.

“If ever a band was overdue a lifetime achievement award it is Blowzabella. Not only have they written a stack of what have become standard tunes in sessions on both sides of the channel, but they have also been largely responsible for reviving English Bagpipes and hurdy-gurdy, instruments that played a foundational role in traditional music.” Andrew Letcher, SONGLINES.

An outline programme for the weekend includes:

  • Friday 24th June:
    Arrive from 4pm. Dinner 6.30pm.
    8.30pm: Evening concert with Blowzabella.
    Followed by Bal with Duo Rivaud Lacouchie & Musicians’ Session.
  • Saturday 25th June:
    Daytime: English & European dance workshops. Big band workshop. Guided walk.
    Bagpipe Ensemble. Violin, accordion & bagpipe workshops.
    8.00pm: Dance – Blowzabella, Duo Rivaud Lacouchie, Workshop Dance Orchestra.
  • Sunday 26th June:
    Morning: Workshops – Big band, singing, violin, diatonic accordion, beginner bagpipes.
    Afternoon: Bal – unplugged with Duo Rivaud Lacouchie & Blowzabella.
    Ends with a final gathering & the legendary Halsway cream tea at 5pm.
    Sunday evening music session in the bar for those who want to stay an extra night.

Programme available to download here.

All events take place in the Manor or on the Marquee Stage in the gardens. Camping is onsite in the water gardens. 

Who’s it For?

Blowzabella have been staging folk music and dance workshop events in Britain and abroad since 1984. The aim is to encourage people of abilities to participate at whatever level they are comfortable with. Many participants have gone on to form bands and dance groups as a result of attending Blowzabella workshops. All the members of the band are highly experienced at teaching people of all ages and abilities. The band are joined by their invited guests, the fiddle and cello duo Les Poufs à Cordes, who will both play for dancing and offer workshops too! Due to how busy this event is and with safety and well being in mind, participants must be 16+.

The Artists

Blowzabella is Andy Cutting – diatonic button accordion; Jo Freya – vocals, saxophones, clarinets, whistle; Paul James – vocals, border bagpipes, saxophones, whistle; David Shepherd – violin; Barn Stradling – bass guitar; Jon Swayne – border bagpipes, saxophones.

The band make an inimitable, driving, drone-based wall of sound, played with a fabulous sense of melody, rhythmic expertise and sheer feeling. They compose their own music which is influenced by English and European traditional dance music. Many of the tunes they’ve composed are “standards” in the modern British/European folk repertoire and are played by people all over the world. Bands across Europe who experiment with folk music often cite Blowzabella as a major influence.

Duo Rivaud Lacouchie is the story of Anne and Alexandra, it comes from the land of apples and Limousin cows where they first met and started playing together. They’ve developed their Bal around the repertoire collected in Limousin, featuring  a whole diversity of timbres and dances. From bourrées to polkas, from sautières to waltzes, they invite you to share the excitement of this music through their energetic playing.

In 2016, they released their first album Ordich!, AEPEM and in 2020 the second Zo!

They will teach dance and tune workshops in addition to playing for dancing.

Find them on Facebook.
Listen on Soundcloud

Une vidéo au festival du Son Continu:

For our European Friends

Blowzabella, c’est un son inimitable et immédiatement reconnaissable; une musique à bourdons toute en émotion portée par des mélodies envoûtantes et des rythmes terriblement efficaces ! Leur répertoire s’inspire des musiques traditionnelles à danser d’Europe et bien-sûr d’Angleterre. Nombre de leurs compositions originales sont d’ailleurs devenues des standards du répertoire folk actuel et sont jouées partout à travers le monde. Blowzabella est une influence majeure pour beaucoup de groupes folk à travers toute l’Europe.

Die Gruppe hat ihren ganz eigenen, mitreißenden, auf einem starken Bordun basierenden Sound mit sagenhaftem Gespür für Melodie und Rhythmus und mit viel Gefühl. Sie spielt Eigenkompositionen der verschiedenen Bandmitglieder, die von der englischen und europäischen traditionellen Tanzmusik inspiriert sind. Viele ihrer Stücke gehören mittlerweile zum Standardrepertoire der modernen britischen bzw. europäischen Folkmusik und werden weltweit nachgespielt. Viele progressivere Folkmusikgruppen in ganz Europa erklären, dass Blowzabella sie maßgeblich beeinflusst hat.

De band heeft een geheel eigen, opzwepende, van bourdons doordrongen klank gespeeld met een fantastisch gevoel voor melodie, ritmische expertise en pure feeling. Ze schrijven hun eigen muziek die beïnvloed wordt door Engelse en Europese traditionele dansmuziek. Alle bandleden componeren; veel van hun nummers zijn inmiddels “standards” in het moderne Engelse / Europese folkrepertoire en worden gespeeld door mensen over de hele wereld. Bands in heel Europa die experimenteren met volksmuziek noemen Blowzabella vaak als belangrijke inspiratiebron.

La banda tiene un inigualable sonido basado en los bordones de gaitas y zanfona, con un sentido del ritmo y de la melodía muy característico. Música original influenciada por la música de baile de tradición inglesa y europea. Todos los componentes escriben nuevos temas, considerados “standards” en el moderno repertorio del Folk Europeo y son interpretados por muchas otras bandas de folk en todo el mundo. Muchos de los grupos europeos de folk consideran a Blowzabella un referente y una de sus mayores influencias.

Blowzabella propongono un inimitabile sound basato sulle sonorità degli strumenti a bordone, realizzato con un fantastico gusto melodico, ritmicamente coinvolgente e di grande impatto emotivo. Il repertorio è formato da brani di nuova composizione del gruppo stesso, fortemente influenzati dalla tradizione Inglese ed Europea. Molti dei loro brani sono divenuti “standards” nel moderno repertorio folk e sono eseguiti da musicisti di diverse nazionalità in tutto il mondo. Blowzabella sono spesso citati dai gruppi di tutta Europa che sperimentano con la musica folk come un’importante fonte di ispirazione.