October 2008

As usual I am a couple of months behind with what has been happening, it is now catch up time, and I think that this will be from when we left the just wonderful La Jeuss gathering up in sunny Dunoon Scotland. Sadly Dan, Iris, Angie and I had to leave on the Sunday, but leave we did knowing that all was in the very capable hands of Stan Graham, and the lovely Julie, along with Mike Silver, and the lovely Julie. Have I already said that ? The reason for our departure was to be at our very good and old friend Ian Mason Hillís funeral in Crawley, Sussex. Dan and I have known Ian and his wife Delysia for nearly forty years and we were extremely sad to hear of his passing. As funerals go this was a truly wonderful send off. Ian had requested a Brass Band to play in the church and they were magnificent. Iris and I played and sang Beyond The Distant Hills a particularly apt song for these occasions, written by Lawrence Dean. The Broadwood Morris Men were there in full kit and danced at the end outside the church. Ian was a founder member of The Broadwood Morris Men and I well remember Ian, Harry Mousdell and myself going up to Lyne House near to Rusper back in the early 1970ís to ask Captain Broadwood for his permission to use the Broadwood name for the newly formed Morris Men. This was in honour  to his aunt Lucy Broadwood, the folk song collector.

 

Going back to the La Jeuss gathering in sunny Dunoon, we have recently spoken with Stan Graham and we have decided by popular demand  to repeat the reunion next year and have booked the Benmore Centre at Dunoon again for July 23rd to July 26th and we are so pleased that we will be able to be with everyone again in such a wonderful and sumptuous setting. There are a limited amount of places and Stan Graham will be at the helm once again being such a natural organiser.

 
We were then back to La Jeuss for a couple of weeks before returning to England and then on up to sunny Whitby for that wonderful and fulfilling folk week. As some of you may well know Dan and I have made the decision to sell La Jeuss, it was difficult to make this decision but we made it and now have to wait and see what happens. In the meantime the grass has to be cut and everything else has to be attended to. We do so enjoy being here at La Jeuss and thinking back on all of the wonderful summers spent with the music courses and most importantly the friends we have made.

And while we are on the subject of the music courses, some hot news that has just come about. One of our English friends here in France,  Alison Benn and her 8 year old daughter Harriet, came to lunch with us the other day and the long and the short of it is that Alison is keen to keep the music courses going at her home La Grand Gennerie, which is near to the village of Carelles a short distance from La Jeuss. She will use the same format as we had at La Jeuss and as well as being a lovely person she is very enthusiastic. So watch this space for future developments. She has already been in contacted  with Mike Silver, Harvey Andrews ,Stan Graham, Bill Whaley and Dave Fletcher, and Iris Bishop and myself who have all agreed to do a week and are just sorting out dates.

Alison has written a short introduction at the end of this news.

Dan and I are very happy about this and will help Alison in any way we can.

So back to sunny Whitby for the Folk Week which is always such a joy to be at and spend time with so many great performers and good friends

Part of the festival was a workshop that Iris and I did, ably assisted by Dan, on a performance of Maypoles To Mistletoe. We all so enjoyed doing this as this is what Maypoles to Mistletoe is all about, the community spirit and everyone taking part in it to produce a performance at the end of the week. All the people who turned up to participate in M to M. were truly fantastic and I have the greatest admiration for everyone who volunteered to either sing, dance, be in the band or narrate. Mine and  Danís thanks go out to everyone of the performers. We all It was performed  on the Thursday afternoon to an enthusiastic audience, and this just after four morning sessions of rehearsals.

A special thanks to Iris Bishop for keeping all the musicians in hand.

There are some photos on the La Jeusseliniere My Space website of the rehearsals and we are hoping to have a photo gallery on this website soon. [now added, please see Gallery at the bottom of the page]

The book on Maypoles to Mistletoe that we have produced  has been printed by the publisher Educational  Printing  and  we did this  conjunction with Chris and Helen Brown. This has been selling well and we have had great feedback from this. It always was my idea that Maypoles to Mistletoe could be staged by anyone and anywhere if they had the right direction. This has come about with Chrisís immense help, and I just want to mention Danís wonderful illustrations that she has done depicting anything that is relevant to each season, also Helen Browns great Mummers, Morris Men and Ladies , and the wonderful illustration for the Mower by Mary Kent everyone of these pictures is my favorite. It is now the time of year when we start getting organised for our own performances of Maypoles to Mistletoe in December at the Hawth in  Crawley and The Electric Theatre in Guildford.

The release of the new CD Jackeroo on our own  Wynding Road Music label has proved to be a great success, and I thank everyone who has been involved with the production of this. Each of the songwriters for allowing me to record their songs, the musicians who accompanied me, the recording technicians, the chorus girls, the cover design and anyone else I havenít mentioned, I thank you. 

Back from Whitby in time to celebrate our granddaughter Harrietís 9th birthday and it was a joy as always to be there and with the other grandchildren Tom, Amelia and Lucy and also a chance to catch up with the family.

Returning to La Jeuss at the start of September and then back to England for bookings in Folk Clubs at Dorking, Bury St Edmunds and Barrow upon Soar.

It was just magic to see so many friends turn up at these and also so many people who have graced with their presence one or two courses at La Jeuss.

So many La Jeusserís turn up in different parts of the country and as always so good to see them and everyone else.

Dan and I are now back again at La Jeuss and will return for bookings at Tooting October 10th, Boston Lincs, October 12th and also for one of our performances of Down The Lawson Track with Shirley Collins, Pip Barnes, Iris Bishop, Gary Holder and Jackie Oates. This will be at the Christís Hospital Theatre, near Horsham, Sussex on October 16th.You can see more details of this by clicking on The Down the Lawson Track section on the home page

So that is pretty well up to date for now and I will try not to leave things for so long in the future whenever that is.

Martyn