It’s an awful long time since I updated this blog, so you might be forgiven for assuming I’d given it up altogether. However! I feel impelled to come back today and write an update about all the great musical stuff that’s been happening.
Ever fancied dressing up as Kate Bush and doing the dance to Wuthering Heights out in the open for all to see? These people did:
One drunken night, my mate Lucy and myself had an idea. “Let’s do this in Lancaster!” We said. “Only… we’d better get a load of other people to do it as well so we don’t end up looking like a right couple of nobs.”
With all kudos to Lucy’s amazing event management talents as one of the organisers of Lancaster Music Festival, we made it happen. The Bush Rush was born. Our very own Kate Bush flashmob, is due to take place at 5.00pm on Friday 6th March in Lancaster Market Square.
I am going to be playing Kate Bush covers on the flute and – of course! – dressing like Kate and dancing to Wuthering Heights. I cannot wait. Wear red and join us in the Bush Rush!
A big development since I last wrote in my blog is that I am now playing flute and whistle for the amazing Irish dance group, Absolutely Legless. Most of the members of AbLeg are based in Edinburgh, but there are a few, like myself, who are based further afield, and are only too happy to travel for the privilege of being part of this amazing group. I had the tremendous experience last year of playing at Festival RITE in the South of France with them, as well as doing theatre performances in Buckhaven and Berwick-on-Tweed. On Friday 13th March 2015 we will be performing at the Netherbow Theatre on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, and I am expecting to make my way to a few sessions in Edinburgh over the weekend also.
This summer Absolutely Legless are taking part in Rothbury Festival (17th – 19th July), then in August we are heading off to Switzerland for Celebrations Interculturelles de la Montagne in Evolene. It is all very exciting and lots of fun. In AbLeg I have found my kindred spirits, and collectively we knock back conventional spirits, wine and beer after each gig, for lo these people flippin’ well know how to party. I suppose the clue is in the name!
Bev Whelan Band
By dint of reasons it has come about that I have my own eponymous band. The name absolutely must change, but for now we are stuck with it, primarily because we are all crap at coming up with anything else we can live with!
The band consists some of my closest session mates in Lancaster, all of whom are members of the fabulous Balkanics: Joe Murphy (flute and whistle), Paul Ferguson (fiddle, guitar) and Roger Purves (mandolin, bouzouki and guitar), with myself on flute, whistle and low whistle. We have done a couple of gigs, one of which was a fundraiser for the New Fylde Folk and Roots festival . We will be playing at the Festival itself in September, where I will also be ensuring that Irish sessions happen, and will be giving classes on Irish Tin Whistle under the auspices of Folkus over the weekend.
Lancaster Irish Music Weekend
The next twice-yearly weekend of Irish sessions is coming up, scheduled for 27th to 29th March. Needless to say I will be out and about playing jigs and reels and quaffing a pint or two in exceedingly good company. The timetable is as follows (all venues are in Lancaster):
7.00pm – 1.00am Britannia
7.00pm – 4.00am Robert Gillow
Noon – 1.00am Britannia
Noon – 4.00am Robert Gillow
Noon – about 6.00pm Britannia
I’m not booked to play at my beloved Langdale Festival in May this year, but am planning to go nevertheless and help out however I can and probably play along with any band that’ll have me! I’m hugely looking forward to seeing all my lovely Langdale people again, and drinking fine ale whilst warbling folk songs into the early hours. The last time I was in Langdale was with a bunch of incredible musicians and friends to celebrate my mumble mumble significant birthday last August, and a fine old musical time was had by all.
So, in conclusion, you can see that I’ve been having (and continue to have) a busy musical time, engaged in actually playing more music than writing about it. My silence on this blog has therefore been for primarily positive reasons!