COVID-19 Note: We’re are hoping to run this course as planned, and currently there are no travel restrictions in place that would rule-out Naragonia’s visit. However student numbers in each group will be reduced so please book your place early! Click here for Halsway’s COVID-19 Guidance for your visit.
Following their visit as special guests of Blowzabella two years ago, we are delighted to welcome back in their own right Naragonia – Toon Van Mierlo & Pascale Rubens – to lead an intensive music workshop weekend. The weekend will focus on ensemble playing (Toon) and diatonic accordion (Pascale) plus a chance to see the duo in action in a Saturday evening concert / bal. Please tell us which workshop you are planning to follow when making a booking enquiry.
“Naragonia is one of Belgium’s best kept secrets, time to conquer the world !” Eelco Schilder (www.folkworld.de)
Toon’s Ensemble Workshop: Welcome for a new experiment! Sorry, there will be no melodies this time. We will create together a long music story around a tale. We will work together as an orchestra with many parallel lines playing together. You can’t prepare yourself for this but you will need a happy open mind and good concentration, because we will be playing nearly all the time. The good news is that everyone will play and be challenged on his or her own level because of the parallel lines. We will combine basic lines with very odd and difficult lines and put them together to get a interesting movie sounding musical story. So please join us and enjoy the trip!
Level: you have to know the good basics of your instrument and be able to keep at the rhythm.
Pascale’s Diatonic Accordion Workshop: Welcome for this workshop! You will receive beforehand the sheet music and you will have to prepare yourself a little bit, so we can fully focus on the music during the workshop and not on learning tunes. You will meet lots of new stuff about chords, left hand rhythm, variations in melody…. You will be challenged to discover your instrument in a different way with lots of left and right hand separate exercises.
Level: intermediate level.
Who’s it For?
For Toon’s workshop: players of all instruments, please tell us what you plan as you book. You’ll need a good basic foundation to playing your instrument and the ability to keep to a rhythm. the music will be constructed with simpler and more complex parts as a way to include and stretch everybody. You’ll need an open mind and to be willing to play by ear.
For Pascale’s workshop: players of DG melodeon (2 row, 8 bass minimum) of an intermediate standard and above. By this we mean you’ll be confidently playing simple tunes up to speed with both hands together. You’ll be familiar in playing in a variety of keys (eg. D, G, Em) and be crossing rows in your right hand; you’ll know where to find your basses and chords in the left hand and be secure in a variety of left-hand rhythms. If you read our Melodeon Playing Levels, we mean level 3 and above.
Neither workshop is suitable for beginners.
Naragonia play original, beautiful folk-inspired dance music with a refined, strong energy; their music is as much a pleasure to listen to as to dance to. The duo came into existence spontaneously in the summer of 2003 at the Andanças festival in Portugal; since then they have gained popularity across the folk world at home and abroad with 7 very well received albums and two tune books to their name. Naragonia are much in demand for concerts and bals in Belgium, France, Germany, Portugal and Italy, and have also played in Poland, Great Britain, Spain, Croatia, Switzerland and Ireland.
Toon Van Mierlo (bagpipes, diatonic accordion) studied oboe for several years as a child at the music academy in Turnhout. Ten years later at twenty-one, Toon fell head-over-heels for uillean pipes (Irish bagpipes), French pipes, clarinet, soprano sax, and button accordion soon followed. In 2003, Toon joined the band Fluxus and after that was soon asked to join Floes, Embrun, Harakiwi, Manimoen, and other bands. Today he plays with Naragonia, Naragonia Quartet, Hot Griselda, Novar and in duo with Olle Geris. Toon has recorded many albums with these groups and played as a guest artist on many more and he loves people and nature 🙂
Pascale Rubens (diatonic accordion, violin) began playing classical violin when she was only nine years old but at eighteen fell in love with the button accordion. In 1999 she began the duo Musaraigne with cellist Hannes Pouseele. In 2005, the duo released their first album, “Convoi exceptional”, and represented Belgium in the International Radio Festival in Gdansk. In 2002, Pascale became the box player for the band Griff, who also released a debut album in 2005. In 2003 Pascale and Toon formed their duo.