We are playing the Cambridge Folk Club Open Stage night tonight.
8pm (Doors open 7:30)
Entry: £4(door), £3(advance), £2(members), £1(performers).
The Golden Hind
355 Milton Road
Come along for some great tunes if you're free!
We had a great time playing at the Brighton Fringe despite a smattering of technical issues and a last minute venue change. It was so wonderful to play at such incredible venues as the Brighton Buddhist Centre and the Chapel Royal especially with one of our shows selling out and getting a standing ovation at our last show.
Amy Sutton from Fringe Review very kindly came to our final show and wrote us a lovely review which you can find here: http://fringereview.co.uk/review/brighton-fringe/2016/an-dha-urban-folk-music/
‘An Dha’ is Gaelic for ‘The Two’, and what a pair this musical duo make. Formed at the Trinity Laban College of Music and Dance, this violin and cello double act make for a deceptively simple powerhouse.
Coming in, the performance area is simply set with the two instruments, and the musicians Jaya and Sarah are there to greet us and chat, with all the ease and good humour of good friends sat around a pub table. There is none of the strict formality of a traditional classical performance, no distance between audience or performer, making the space feel easy and accessible regardless of age or musical experience. In an audience aged eight to eighty, all were welcome.
Every song is either an original composition from the pair or a delicious reimagining of a traditional tune, and each comes with their own inspiration and backstory from the musicians’ own personal experience. As Jaya and Sarah introduce each song and the history behind it – from the tune inspired by a friend entitled ‘Clogging Up the Hoover’, to an improv jazz set called ‘Procrastination’, to a jig born out of a wayward journey across late-night London – you get a real sense of the people behind the instruments, their lives and passions interwoven and inextricable from their music.
And then the music itself starts, and what these two create together is nothing short of alchemy. They play with bite, with craft, and with soul, the music coming from some vital wellspring within them. These are the songs of their lives – of places, people and moments that have impacted them, and the pair are moved by it, dancing and stamping along to the point where they are wiping the sweat from their brows at the end of each set. Here are two young performers with a wealth of talent, blending traditional Scottish and folk influences with jazz and contemporary flavours to impressive effect. With a flick of a bow we are transported to the wilds of the Scottish highlands or across cityscapes, moved to laughter, tears or great Ceilidh whoops. Particularly poignant was the final song, ‘Keep Going’, inspired by a life changing journey to the Isle of Skye, played with such joy and sadness that by the end I was wiping tears from my eyes.
I saw this performance at the beautiful Chapel Royal in Brighton, but I am confident this pair would be as happy in a concert hall as stomping on the grass of a festival field, and I urge you to see this spectacular pair wherever you can. Go if you appreciate music and be swept away by a rich and masterful performance. Go if you are a musician and learn about the creative process of two skilled contemporaries. Go if you are a human being and reconnect with your ability to feel, deeply and joyfully.
- Matt Tighe has very kindly sent us over his review of our album Skylines.
Here it is,
"The traditional music of Scotland is a well documented tradition and has withstood the test of time. Whether it is the fiddle playing of the Western Highlands, the North East, the Borders or the Islands, the Gaelic singing of Lewis or the iconic sound of the Great Highland Bagpipes, Scottish music is still a massive part of Scottish culture. Something that has been slightly lost in the ages is the fiddle and cello duo and the cello’s role in folk music in general. In recent years there have been many cellists that have started reviving the cello in folk music such as Mike Block, Rushad Eggleston and Tristan Clarridge but none has formidable as Natalie Haas and her fiddle playing partner in crime, Alasdair Fraser. An Dha, (Jaya Hanley and Sarah James), come directly from that fiddle and cello sound, (having attended the school on the Isle of Skye run by Fraser and Haas), however they put their own personality into the style.
On first listening to this album I could hear the classical training that Sarah James and Jaya Hanley have received in the tone of their playing as well as the neatness in the execution of the tunes. While their style of playing is distinctly Scottish in character there are other influences that shine through. The phrasing, feel and intricate bow ornaments suggest roots in Scotland’s tradition but the attention to the over all ensemble and to each others playing suggest classical and jazz influences. Something that also stood out to me is their ability to play both dance tunes and slower compositions equally excellently. Two stand out tracks are the opening and finale of the album. The first track entitled, “Night on the Town”, is a slower reel and a jig and are played with tremendous style and character. The last track is a slow air entitled, “Keep Going”, and is delivered with a great deal of spontaneity and genuine, “In the moment" emotion. The compositions on this album also suggest influence from classical and jazz musics, with tunes employing extended forms and harmonic progressions that are slightly more adventurous than the average set of reels that you might here in the pub.
On the whole, I feel that this is a very strong debut from An Dhá indeed and I predict big things to come for them in the future. If you are a lover of that traditional sound with a contemporary twist put on it then this is most certainly for you." Matt Tighe
Great concert last night at St Wulfram's in Grantham. Some really interesting music from some very talented people including arrangements of How to Train Your Dragon and Game of Thrones. We played some great new tunes with Matt Tighe, Penny James and Anna Bradley-Scott and the evening was finished off in style with Highland Cathedral played by piper extraordinaire Billy James.
We played some of our favourite tunes and used to opportunity to try out our brand new DPA Dvote 4099s (which sound excellent by the way!). Started off with Night on the Town followed by Keep Going and then finished with a set including Blackjack and a tune from Fairy Pools. Great night and hopefully a good taster for our Lincolnshire tour in March 2016!
Had a lovely morning chatting with Nicola Gilroy about music and our recent trip to the Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas fiddle course on the Isle of Skye and the concert we are playing in in aid of the Philip lank Trust on the 19th September at St Wulframs Church in Grantham. She also played one of our tunes 'Night on the Town' from SKYLINES on air.
Have a listen to the show if you're interested we are on at 1:36ish, enjoy :)
Watch out for us this morning on BBC Radio Lincolnshire. We will be talking about one of our upcoming concerts and playing one of our tunes 'Night on the Town'.
Should be on around 10.30am :)
If you know anyone with long hair, you'll sympathise with me... it just gets everywhere. Keep Going makes Jaya really sad, we really miss Skye. Not long now though!
Clogging Up the Hoover - The Sister-In-Law. A tune written for the infamous Penny James. It is an ode to her bountiful ginger-ness and the devastating effect it has on our hoover. Despite this I suppose she's alright really...
Keep Going - Named for a helpful sign at the ferry terminal on the Isle of Skye. It always holds more meaning for us, promising that we are almost there and telling us that it won't be long until we return. Wherever we go we take the passion and inspiration of Skye with us.
DOWNLOAD SKYLINES HERE.
Sarah really does look like a turtle when she's carrying her cello and we both feel odd when we haven't got our instruments with us.
Naked Turtle/Soggy Shoes - The first two tunes I wrote. The Naked Turtle was inspired by how naked musicians feel without the 'comfort' of their instruments on their backs. Soggy Shoes appeared in my head after a long wet walk across Greenwich Park where we discussed the impracticalities of high heels in some depth.
Skiing at Midnight - The inspiration for writing tunes comes at strange times. Sometimes the best inspiration is in the middle of the night, or after a disastrous experience skiing for the first time in the Alps.
Here's our video of a snippet of Blackjack and Petals from our album SKYLINES. This particular bit is the Petals tune written by Penny James.
Some more info about a couple of sets from SKYLINES. Jaya loves the waltzes because he get to improvise (and is a bit of a romantic).
The Fairy Pools - The last time we visited Skye we walked to a series of pools and waterfalls called the Fairy Pools. The Pools are connected but somehow each has their own character and when the sun comes out you can almost see the fairies dancing across the water.
The Tender Trout and the Lonely Daffodil - A portrait of a hopelessly romantic Trout who longs for the companionship of the Lonely Daffodil, just out of reach on the bank of the river. The Daffodil also longs for companionship but cannot see the Trout for it's own reflection until it droops forward in despair and is finally united with the Tender Trout.
DOWNLOAD SKYLINES HERE.