Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Into the New Year

So here we are - 2014. January, not exactly as cold as perhaps it should be but pretty miserable and wet. We were supposed to be dancing out (Heb Enw Morris) on New Years Day at Tafarn Sinc in Rosebush, but had to cancel when the weather forecast changed from showery to steady rain. Not much joy Morris dancing on a wet January afternoon anywhere, and definitely not 600 plus feet up a Welsh mountainside. The weather had at least been kinder on Boxing day when we danced at the Bristol Trader in Haverfordwest, down by the riverside.

And it was just as well we'd organised the gigs this way round as the Bristol Trader was flooded out by New Years day...

More Morris dancing on the 18th of January when we once again took the team to Chepstow for their annual Wassail and Mari Lwyd. This time I shared the horse-head carrying duties with Sheila as the Widders Border Morris who organise it had loads more to do with the Maris than they've had in previous years.

Here we are in the Three Tuns during the sing-song. It was good too to see Micky and Danny again even though it was only a couple of weeks since we took them back to Uni.

Danny's piping has been coming on great. We only had one `Estron' rehearsal over Christmas but her playing has stepped up a league since she switched from my old set of pibau cyrn to the set she and I made together.

And having mentioned Estron - we have a new member of the band - Jess Ward, a harpist from Pembroke. Rehearsals have been going well so far - looking forward to doing a few gigs as the year progresses.

Meanwhile on the instrument making front, I spent a couple of days knocking up a new dulcimer. Well not so much an Appalachian Mountain version as its fore-runner - a European Hummel. Roughly styled after the German Scheitholt illustrated by Praetorius in 1620, but fretted with a pattern of frets equivalent to the scale for the Swedish sackpipa.

Here it is in the video below, accompanied by the sackpipa. The pictures are from a touring holiday me and Sheila took in Norway back in 1986 or thereabouts.

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