LEARNING & TEACHING
Teaching music and dance to others is an important part of Blowzabella and something we have done regularly since our first Blowzabella Workshop Festival in Newbury in 1984. At that time there were almost no opportunities for people to participate in the things that interested the band and so we started to develop a range of instrument, voice, band and dance workshops aimed at anyone who wanted to have a go (all ages, all abilities). Over the years these have helped bring together all kinds of people who have gone on to form their own music and dance groups and stage workshop events of their own.
We stage our own BLOWZABELLA DAY (an intensive day of workshops and an evening dance/concert) and BLOWZABELLA WORKSHOP FESTIVAL (a weekend of workshops, dances, concerts and informal music sessions) events in different locations in England and Europe each year.
DANCE WORKSHOP: JO FREYA & DAVE SHEPHERD – with the rest of the band providing the music. Some great English traditional dances and some of the European couple dances that Blowzabella have popularised over the last 30+ years. The aim of the workshop is to help people get the most from a Blowzabella gig. All ages and abilities welcome. There’s plenty for experienced dancers to learn too.
FOLK BIG BAND: PAUL JAMES & BARNABY STRADLING. Using simple, catchy folk dance tunes as a starting point, this workshop is about working together as a team to make a mighty big band noise that is more than the sum of its parts. Suitable for all ages, abilities, any instrument. No prior knowledge of folk music necessary. The aim is to create imaginative arrangements – using harmonies and riffs, textures and dynamics – that are interesting and fun to play, dance and listen to. You need to be of a standard where you can play a simple folk tune through at the right tempo, either by ear or by reading music. The Folk Big Band will perform at the evening dance.
INSTRUMENT & SINGING WORKSHOPS
DIATONIC BUTTON ACCORDION & MELODEON (G/D). ANDY CUTTING. Suitable for intermediate and more advanced players. The basic standard required to get the most from this workshop is to be able to learn a simple folk dance tune by ear and play it at the right tempo with others.
BAGPIPE WORKSHOP (BAGPIPES IN G). JON SWAYNE. Introducing participants to English bagpipe repertoire, both traditional and recently composed, working mostly by ear, but music is available at the end. Work on technique and ornamentation relevant to that repertoire can be included. If time allows and the appropriate instruments are available, the workshop can enjoy playing polyphony with two, three or more lines, a form with which Jon has considerable experience. Suitable for conical bore mouth or bellows blown bagpipes in G (for example, border, Flemish and French pipes).
HURDY-GURDY. GREGORY JOLIVET. Gregory is an experienced hurdy-gurdy teacher both in the traditional techniques and repertoire of central France and in more contemporary and improvisational approaches to playing the instrument. The basic standard required to get the most from this workshop is to be able to learn a simple folk dance tune by ear and play it at the right tempo with others.
VIOLIN. DAVE SHEPHERD. Mostly English traditional tunes and tips on rhythm and style. The basic standard required to get the most from this workshop is to be able to learn a simple folk dance tune by ear and play it at the right tempo with others. Some music is available on the day.
SINGING. JO FREYA. Taking traditional songs and singing them in harmony as a group. All ages and abilities welcome. No need to be able to read music. The emphasis is on creating a great sound by arranging beautiful songs for the voices there.