Blowzabella in concert. Starts at 7:30pm.
Paul James is a saxophonist, bagpiper, singer and composer from Newbury, England, who makes music influenced by English and other European folk traditions.
His latest album The Drowned Lover & Other Dark Tales is available now REVIEW-Editor's pick FOLK RADIO UK REVIEW-fROOTS
Paul is a member of the band Blowzabella, and plays with his pan-European band Evening Star and the folk dance band The Playford Liberation Front. He composes and arranges music for theatre and TV and leads band workshops designed to get groups of people playing spine-tingling arrangements of traditional and contemporary folk tunes. Paul was composer and musician for the critically acclaimed production of John Milton’s Comus - A Masque in Honour of Chastity by John Milton and Patrick Barlow directed by Lucy Bailey at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, London in October/November 2016. Reviews Independent Telegraph The Stage Evening Standard .
Blowzabella in concert. Starts at 7:30pm.
Halsway Manor European Music Weekend
With Paul James, Anne Niepold and Gigi Biolcati, an extended weekend course for musicians to develop ensemble playing skills and make imaginative arrangements that are exciting to listen and dance to. We’ll be using music from European folk/traditional/popular music traditions as the raw material to make new arrangements that can go in any direction. The aim is to explore and combine all sorts of influences and ideas to make spine tingling music that is more than the sum of the parts.
The course includes all day ensemble workshop sessions – and some short workshops on a range of topics in the early evening – with the aim of performing all the pieces we create together at a concert on the Sunday night.
“One of the best workshop weekends I have ever been on, superb in every way. Again please!” 2017 Participant
The course is led by composer/arranger Paul James – saxophones, border bagpipes (Blowzabella, Evening Star), Belgian diatonic accordion virtuoso and composer/arranger Anne Niepold and Italian drums/percussion maestro, composer and singer Gigi Biolcati (Riccardo Tesi / Banditaliana).
Arrive in time for lunch (1pm) on Friday, and depart after lunch on Monday.
Who’s it For? This is an advanced/intermediate level course suitable for musicians of all ages (including 16-18 year olds), any instrument (acoustic, electric, ancient, modern) from any musical background (folk, jazz, rock, classical, early music). You’ll need to be able to read music or play well by ear.
If you play more than one instrument we advise you to bring it/them as this will help you to get the most from the course in terms of playing easily in different keys/modes, and also to be able to contribute in a way that is sympathetic to the style of the piece (bagpipes don’t sound great on everything!). During the course we will provide any music manuscript you need written out in Bflat/Eflat (for brass and saxes) as well as “concert”.
To get the most from this course you don’t need to be the greatest musician but you do need to be able to play confidently and be positive, flexible minded and a team player prepared to try things outside your comfort zone – and have the energy for quite long intensive days of music making.
You will be in safe hands with a very experienced tutor team in a mutually supportive atmosphere. We’ll have a lot of fun too with time for relaxation and informal music making.
“Amazing, inspiring and inventive tutors who were very dynamic in the way they led each session and gave everyone the confidence to step outside of their comfort zone and create something that was so much greater than the sum of its parts!” 2017 Participant
Blowzabella Festival with guests Naragonia (Belgium)
A weekend of workshops, dances, concerts and informal music sessions. See Halsway Manor website for details.
Weekend tickets are SOLD OUT. Tickets are available for the Saturday night dance with or without overnight camping and breakfast.
Paul James @ klangrauschtreffen
Folk Ensemble Workshop – All Ages, All Abilities, Any Instrument.
Paul has been teaching people of all ages and abilities, in many different countries, to play and arrange folk music in ensembles for 30 years.
Using simple, catchy folk dance tunes as a starting point, Paul’s Folk Big Band Workshop is about working together as a team to make a big band noise that is more than the sum of its parts. Suitable for all ages, all 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.
Participants need to be of a standard where they can play a simple folk tune through at the right tempo, either by ear or by reading music.
Blowzabella @ Gran Bal Trad
International festival of traditional dance and music in NW Italy. Workshops, dances with Blowzabella and many other musicians and workshop leaders. See their website for programme and full details.