Guaranteed to be one of Halsway’s noisiest weekends, this popular Hurdy-Gurdy takeover is a brilliant opportunity to get together with some of the best of Europe’s players in an intensive learning weekend of masterclasses, workshops, sessions and a Saturday night concert/dance. This course runs alongside the Bagpipes Weekend, in a frenzy of reeds, drones and buzzing things! Early booking advised.
The weekend is hosted by Claire Dugué, hurdy-gurdy maker and repairer, and she’ll be available to help people get the most out of their instruments with tips for maintenance. She is joined by an elite, International tutor team of Johannes Geworkian Hellman from Sweden (Advanced Workshop), Cecile Delrue Birot from France (intermediate Workshops) and Scott Marshall from the UK (Elementary Workshop). As per last year, each tutor will dedicate themselves to a specific group (beginner, intermediate, advanced) for the full weekend allowing for maximum learning and progression. You will need to decide which level group you wish to join when booking; numbers in each group are limited. Important: This is always a very busy event and for this reason priority is given to those wishing to participate in workshops. Non-participants are however very welcome to attend when sharing a room with a participating partner / friend.
For an extra £40, participants can stay until Monday morning, including supper and B&B. Please enquire when booking.
Who’s it For?
This course will be for players of the hurdy-gurdy of all ages (under 16s must be accompanied by an adult) and abilities! You’ll join a tutor for music classes and workshops based on your level of musicianship – advanced, intermediate or beginner. There will be plenty of time to socialise with other participants on the Gurdy and Bagpipe weekend during breaks and in the evenings.
Advanced Class with Johannes: To take part in this workshop I recommend that you have a more or less good control regarding the maintenance of your instrument. The keyboard on your instrument shall be chromatic. Tuning shall be open G, C or D in melodies, and trompette/drones G, D or C. As a player you shall be able to play and feel comfortable with the “4-stroke” and parts of it with the crank, and be used to play melodies with your other hand. To read music helps, but it is not necessary if you can learn by ear. I will prepare and send you both recordings and scores.
I think that this workshop suits anyone who is interested in developing their hurdy-gurdy playing by getting new inspiration, new tools and exercises to work with. For me it is important that you during this workshop get inspired, that you get to try new things and that you learn some helpful exercises which you can continue to work on by yourself after the course. I will also teach some traditional folk-tunes from Sweden. Please if you have any questions about levels or the course, don’t hesitate to contact me. You are all very welcome! I look forward to meeting you!
Intermediate Class with Cecile: Intermediates students should be familiar with learning by ear. They need to theoretically know the coup de 4, but it’s okay for this class not to master the four of them. For the melodic hand, we will most likely play bourrées at a dance speed, so being able to play a bit quickly will be useful !
In this course, we will work on getting self sufficient in creating music for Hurdy Gurdy. By listening to old french recordings from collected tunes, we will search together how to find new coups de poignée, rhythmic units, and ornaments, and how listening to and playing with others instruments can enrich the way we play. And of course, we will spend a lot, lot, LOT of time on desynchronizing hands because c’est la vie.
Elementary Class with Scott Marshall: This workshop is for both complete day one beginners and for those who have been playing for sometime but want to brush up on their core techniques. Scott will tailor his workshop to the students.
You will work on good habits of posture and left hand fingering articulation. Regarding the rhythm and right hand technique, Scott will work through the basic useful buzzes and towards the “coup de quatre” level. Exercises will be linked to tune fragments and simple group pieces to make the workshop a more pleasant memorable experience.
Study material / videos should be available in December for this course, and later, recap videos will be made available for continued home study.
Claire Dugué, a native of France, encountered the hurdy-gurdy in London during her college training as an instrument maker. She was captivated by the instrument and has been making hurdy-gurdies ever since, producing quality instrument for amateur and professionals alike. Claire has become integral to the organisation of the weekend; she will be hosting the event and be also at hand to help with the technical aspects of setup and maintenance.
Johannes Geworkian Hellman (SE): With the hurdy-gurdy as his voice, Johannes has become known as a passionate musician and artist who loves to share his music with the audience. He is known for his emotional and captivating live performances whether playing solo or together with his ensembles Symbio and Garizim, among others.
Johannes studied at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm (SE) and at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki (FI). He studied the hurdy-gurdy together with Matthias Loibner, Valentin Clastrier and Romain Baudoin among others.
Cecile Delrue-Birot (France) began playing Hurdy Gurdy in 1998 with Patrice Gilbert in Cric Crac Compagnie. She also learned in many workshops with Gilles Chabenat, Grégory Jolivet, Anne-Lise Foy, Marc Anthony… In 2015 she was awarded a degree in musics from auvergne and limousin in the Conservatoire of Limoges, where she also studied violin with Philippe Ancelin. She continued her studies at the CEFEDEM of Lyon to qualify as a music teacher. She now plays in Maralha (violin and songs from auvergne-limousin), Bresièr (music from auvergne and brionnais), Torgnole (noise music), Les Sœurs Michel (« et Trululu voilà l’beau temps »), Tazon (chabrette and violin).
Scott Marshall (England) has been playing hurdy-gurdy since 2005. He has been a regular festival and workshop tutor for the last decade. In 2017 he recorded his first solo album Gurdymania, followed in 2018 by Gurdymania 2, using multiple hurdy-gurdies and effects units. He is currently recording the third and final Gurdymania album before moving onto new folk and metal projects. He will be teaching the beginners class at Halsway focusing on good habits, solid playing skills and creating musical exercises for practice.