“How the two halves meet” is the theme for this immersive weekend for musicians of an Intermediate level and above. Jo & Andy will draw on their considerable experience to demonstrate and explore with you how tune and accompaniment combine into exciting musical arrangements, using their own new compositions as source material for the weekend, in addition to some old favourites.
With players of all instruments welcome, we’ll be looking at the different roles that musicians can play within a band, and how these communicate, crossover and separate. We’ll work on tunes together to see how they might develop, tapping into your creativity and lateral thinking.
It’ll be fun and challenging in a joyful way.
Who’s it For?
We’re sorry, but this course isn’t suitable for beginners. You’ll need to be of an intermediate level or above in order to keep up and get involved. All instruments are welcome; tune, rhythm, countermelodies and riffs all have a role to play! The course will be taught predominantly by ear, so you’ll need the confidence and ability to pick up tunes at a fair pace. Scores will be available afterwards.
Andy Cutting (Blowzabella, Leveret, Topette and more) and Jo Freya (Blowzabella, Token Women, Old Swan Band and more) are leading lights of the UK folk scene, who’s reputations extend far beyond these shores. Both are experienced tutors and certainly no stranger to visitors to Halsway, having each taught many times at the Manor.
Andy Cutting is a rarity. A musician’s musician: a soulful and technically outstanding melodeon practitioner with an ear for a fine tune. Many of his tunes have been purloined along the way: some considered contemporary classics on the folk scene. But then, Andy is also a warm and emotive performer, modestly engaging his audiences with his self-deprecating wit and then flooring them with downright staggering musicianship. There are few melodeon players who put so much feeling into their playing, whether it be a set of dance tunes, or accompaniment to a slow English ballad.
Andy has been a consistent musical force since he came swiftly to prominence with the innovative Blowzabella. As well as a thorough grounding in the English tradition, Andy’s influences extend way beyond these isles, particularly to the music of Central France and to the storming Quebecois tradition. These influences will be well-known to all those familiar with Andy’s duo with English fiddle player, guitarist and singer, Chris Wood. Wood & Cutting became one of the most influential, and enduring duos on the scene; paving the way for the explosion of many of today’s thrusting young newcomers.
Andy’s commitment to, and sense of pride in traditional music, as well as his sensitivity and understanding of the form, has made him one of the folk scene’s most wanted, playing for many years with Kate Rusby, June Tabor, John McCusker and Under One Sky to name but a few. There is also a growing demand for him to play outside this genre. He has recorded with Sting, John Illsley (Dire Straits), Roger Daltry and was asked to join The Who for an acoustic concert in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust at the Royal Albert Hall. As well as his ongoing solo work, Andy is currently working with Leveret, Topette, Martin Simpson, Anne Niepold, Blowzabella, Roger Daltry (playing various charity gigs), and is a regular tutor for the National Youth Folk Ensemble.
He has been awarded the BBC Radio 2 Folk Musician of the year an unprecedented three times, 2008, 2011 and 2016.
Jo Freya plays and sings in the iconic band Blowzabella amongst others. Her instruments include soprano and tenor sax, clarinet, bass clarinet and whistles. A maverique instrumentalist in the folk world, she is passionate about the music she plays and loves to share that whether that’s on a concert stage or in a workshop setting.
She is a highly experienced workshop tutor running workshops in mixed instruments, harmony singing and European dance. Jo loves the folk music that she plays and likes nothing better than to help spread the news about this wonderful art form regardless of the instrument you choose to play it on. She teaches musicians and singers of all levels and has a highly inclusive style with a great deal of hilarity and laughter thrown in. Her natural wit and charm mean that in whatever way you engage with her you are in for a great time musically and socially.
Jo can also be seen performing with Narthen, Moirai, Token Women and The Old Swan Band as well as running her own boundary-breaking young composers project through her organisation Komposit. She also mentors other musicians, runs HareMusic Agency and produces albums.