An informal concert by our three Spring Fiddle Weekend tutors: Tom Kitching, Ben Paley and Becki Driscoll.
In a change to the original line up Ben Paley is replacing Rowan Rheingans as this year’s co-tutor on Fiddle Weekend. So we are delighted he will perform with Tom Kitching and Becki Driscoll tonight.
Tom Kitching: Fiddle player and author of the book ‘Seasons of Change’, Tom Kitching has worked with numerous singers and bands, including Pilgrims’ Way, Gavin Davenport, Jon Loomes, Gren Bartley, Zoe Mulford, and Albireo. He has tutored at several Summer Schools, and has led numerous workshops around the country. Heavily involved in the dance scene, and veteran of over 1500 gigs, he stands at the leading edge of the English folk scene. His style is English at heart, whilst encompassing elements of many other traditions. It is a unique, vibrant style full of exuberance, energy and wit, yet capable of expressing extraordinary emotional depth.
In March 2015, he released his first solo album, ‘Interloper’, a deeply personal project to capture the state of the English instrumental tradition and define the role of the fiddle within it.
In March 2020, he released ‘Seasons of Change‘ a book and an album capturing a moment in time in the streets of England.
“the pinnacle of her musical journey to date” – Folk Radio UK on new album ‘The Lines we Draw Together’
Ben Paley is both an exceptional performer and teacher of traditional fiddle music and song.
He has been surrounded by traditional music since birth – his father (Tom Paley, a great figure of the American folk revival), mother (singer Claudia Gould) and step-father (Ron Gould, writer on jazz, country and folk music). Ben began playing the fiddle at the age of 6 and cut his teeth in North Carolina USA learning harmony, improvisation, and playing with others, studying with renowned Nashville session musician Jim Buchanan (who’s played with everyone from Jim & Jesse to The Doors). His influences are diverse, aside from forays into Irish music and punk Ben has also authored “Swedish Fiddle Music: An Anthology” now in its second edition.
Ben has played for more bands than he can possibly remember, including buskers Anton the Aardvark’s, Hot Knives, Damon Albarn, Michael Nyman, The Levellers, Fay Hield, Jeff Warner, US legend Jim Kweskin, and Bonnie Dobson, Mandragora, and the infamous death-metal-bluegrass outfit and festival favourites The Wild Turkey Brothers!
His current projects include The Long Hill Ramblers alongside Laura Hockenhull and Dan Stewart, English folk supergroup The Servants’ Ball; the New Deal String Band with Joe Locker and Sara Grey; with Belfast-born singer-songwriter Dan Donnelly; and in English dance band The Sussex Pistols, amongst other things.
Becki Driscoll is a musician, singer, composer and educator with many years’ experience. Based in the heart of the West Country she has a deep knowledge on love of our local – and wider – folk traditions.
As a performer Becki is well known for her celebrated musical partnership with Nick Wyke; two of the UK’s finest fiddle-players, together they give a playful and innovative take on English traditional music and song. They first collaborated as a fiddle duo on a busking trip around Spain and Portugal, and in the years since have worked with some of the leading lights of the English folk scene, always pushing the boundaries and developing new and inventive music. The duo’s compositions and interpretations of traditional songs are influenced by a wide range of musical cultures: “We are inspired by the people we meet and the places we’ve been. We like the idea of a global approach to the English tradition.”
“…lovely, inventive playing” – fRoots
Becki leads educational projects and workshops for festivals and specialist courses, ranging from beginners fiddle sessions, to mixed-instrument folk ensembles. She leads the prestigious English Fiddle Weekend at Halsway (together with Nick Wyke), and runs RootNotes, a community music company that provides participatory music workshops for people of all ages in North Devon, including a weekly folk ensemble (featured on BBC Spotlight!) and regular music sessions for young people and families. Becki firmly believes that music is something that anyone can enjoy and everyone can take part in. Music brings people together. The shared experience of playing and singing in a group setting is a wonderful way of building confidence, well-being and friendship.