One of my many musical projects is a group called Boxtet. We are four melodeon players – Ollie King, Matt Quinn, Mel Biggs and myself. Several years ago I had the idea that it would be fun to play together. We are gradually building ourselves up as a band and our first public gig (at the East Anglian Traditional Music Trust’s “Melodeons and More” event this March) went very well. We now have an active facebook page, where as well as posting news about the group we are trying to engage with our followers and encourage a greater appreciation of our instrument. This is where our #7daysofbox challenge came in. The idea was that we would all pick seven melodeon players who meant a great deal to us and post a sound file of them playing. This series of posts brings all of that music together – I hope you enjoy listening to them!
Week 3 – Mel Biggs – http://www.melodemon.co.uk/
Hi y’all! Mel here with the first of her #7daysofbox posts.
The incomparable “Squeezy” John Spiers with two of his tunes (my nemesis tunes) Ewan Mac’s Export and Autumn Hornpipe (aka ‘Hyena’ because of the high E at the beginning… Uhuhuhuh). I first saw Spiers & Boden in 2001 in a tiny village pub gig. I was fresh to folk and the two of them had a massive influence on my early folk years. I was obsessed with their ‘Tunes’ album and pretty much wore it out! John is the reason I started playing melodeon in the first place (although it wasn’t until 5 years later I actually tried one!)
Anyway, here’s John at Shrewsbury Folk Festival 2011 holding it all together and getting through like a true pro!
Tuesday’s #7daysofbox comes in the form of Mr Frédéric Paris. I was at this workshop. I was sat squarely in front of him for the duration. It was like bathing in the music of the Gods. All of his playing, to my knowledge, has always been on 2 row 8 bass boxes. He’s a real inspiration for my own playing style.
You might know his tune Le Canal en Octobre? He has plenty of others out there. I can heartily recommend his Rue d’Oiseau album, where he plays practically every instrument you can hear!
Day 3 of Mel’s #7daysofbox and its Saul Rose in collaboration with Eliza Carthy. Not the tune set I wanted to share, but a blinder anyways (my all time fave is the London Pride set from Ashley Hutchings’ and Simon Care’s Mother Of All Morris album).
Its the infectious rhythm of these two together, and their stage banter, that really does float my boat. Also, how Saul throws that Handry 18 about as if it were light as air… mind boggling!
Day 4 #7daysofbox and its my mentor and friend Andy Cutting with a homemade recording of mine. This was recorded during the evening session of a workshop in Wantage where I first met Andy.
The girlish excitement of playing music with my musical hero was almost too much to handle. Luckily I’m over that now and can have a conversation with him without too much squirming.
Day 5 of my #7daysofbox! Here are two of my favourite dance musicians, Derek Tarrant and Jim Sawyer. I’ll always make time to stop and watch them and whichever team they’re playing with that day (they play with many!)
I used to be obsessed with this video, and others by DTN. Take a look through his channel. It’s well good.
Day 6 #7daysofbox and I’m at a Harlequin Morris practice all weekend. So naturally I’m drawn to share with you a Morris musician who’s had a massive influence on my style. Ian from Carreg Las Border Morris over in Pembrokeshire. Sadly, there aren’t any good quality videos of them on YouTube, but I can assure you they’re worth stopping to see if ever you see them out!
Here they are in Chepstow during a Widders weekend of dance (one of my former teams…very fond memories of Wids)
The last of Mel’s #7daysofbox. My last offering is Emmanuel Pariselle. I’ve never had the chance to meet him but one day I’d like to share music with him. Maybe even on a boat in France like in this video. That’d be cool.