We’ve had a few comments about the google translation of our interview with the people from Zorn (mostly about the gender bits and Jonny riding his horn). So I’ve translated it here for you….
Victoria and Jonathan Dyer are full-time freelance musicians who play a lot at medieval events in different castles over the whole of England and also a little in Wales and Scotland. But it is folk music that is closest to their hearts.
At home in England Victoria plays a lot on her chromatic nyckelharpa, both English and Swedish music and she organises course on the nyckelharpa with invited tutors. In addition she plays different sorts of bagpipes, both Swedish and English and also the Scottish small pipes. None of the them are as loud as the Great Highland Bagpipe – which is more widely known by the general public, but work extremely well played along side other instruments.
Jonathan alternates between guitar, mandola, accordion, singing and piano and got a cowhorn a couple of years ago, that he has now played for the Zorn jury and received the diplom.
– It’s such an awesome sound that the cowhorn gives, says Jonathan, who in the past has played the trumpet.
With roots in Jönköping and a sister in Stockholm there are many reasons for Victoria to come to Sweden, but these have to be planned in advance to fit in with her and Jonathans playing back at home. This year they have chosen to go to the beautiful Korrö, where, parallel with the Korrö Folk Festival, performers are playing for the Zorn badge. Victoria’s performance gained her the bronze badge on her Swedish säckpipa. [bagpipes].
The awards are given out on Saturday and we will be able to hear the new riksspelmän from this week. In addition the recipients of the gold award will be revealed.
Whilst we were in Sweden we went to Jönköping to see family and went to the village of Taberg where Vicki played a couple of tunes at the places that they’re about – Gruvan and Toppen. Here is the video. I promised to put it on the website for the lovely couple that we keep meeting on the mountain as we were playing and videoing the tunes. (We recorded four tunes, but only two were worth putting up).
As always time has flown since we last wrote a blog entry. Again we’ve mostly been on the road the whole month and I think I’ll be sharing a lot of photos today! We’ve been in and out of period costume this month, medieval and 1660s; We’ve run Smörgåsballad; we’ve been to the recording studio and we’ve been to Sweden!
At the start of July we had a wonderful gig on the Norsey Island, having to wait for the causeway to clear before we could get to the venue! Watching the sunset from the awning as we played was magical. A couple of weeks later we got to see the island again, but from the air!
We’ve finally recorded the Whispering Road, after touring it for around 2 years. It was a lot of fun to be in the studio. We’ll blog more about that when it’s out!
The highlight of the month was going to Sweden to play for the Zorn Jury. Wikipedia explains much better who, what and why we played for. Vicki played on Swedish bagpipes and was awarded the bronze award and Jonny on the cowhorn and was awarded the diplom (one below bronze). You can read our interview with one of the Zorn representatives on their website. (Or a translation using google translate). We’re off to play again for the jury again next year – so you’ll probably be hearing a lot about the säckpipa (or swöö-pööps as they’re now affectionately known). We discovered the wondrous acoustic of playing in a forest, so we’ve posted a clip of Jonny’s practise below.
We’re just as busy in August, but you’ll find us generally in a castle in one of the four corners of the kingdom. Come and say hello if you see us and ask Jonny to play his favourite tune – “I’ve lost my sheep”. We’ll post some photos of castles in our next blog entry! Jonny is doing sound at Sidmouth next week, while Vicki is at home working on some more folk tune books for Schott (nothing like working to a tight deadline!) Jonny has submitted his final manuscript for an accordion version of the Scandinavian tunes book. We’ll shout when we know it’s been printed!
So many things and so little time! Enough babble for now. Have a great summer!
Vicki & Jonny
June has just flown by! The exciting news of the moment is that we’re off to the studio! We have three albums that we need to record and we’re starting off with getting The Whispering Road onto disk. We’ll be doing a video blog from the studio, so watch this space for the fun, frolics and troll slaying as we go.
So now we our proud to open up for pre-orders!
We’re recording at the wonderful Wildgoose Studios with Doug Bailey at the helm. To get us all into the troll slaying mood (and to help offset some of the studio costs) we’re putting a performance on in the village hall in Wherwell. So come along and be part of the recording adventure! Doors open at 7:30 for performance at 8pm.
Further details are on the Wildgoose website.
Vicki & Jonny
We kicked off with some Whispering Roads at the end of April where Vicki debuted one of the Smörgåsballad tales.
Then via a wedding ceilidh we hit Framlingham Castle. Can you spot us in the picture below? (A bit like Where’s Wally!)
We performed at Apsley House in London and Jonny wowed the onlookers in his snazzy jacket. The spinet has enjoyed being taken out on the road again and survived the rigours of the journey without too much tuning!
Finally we got to put Smörgåsballad on the road. We’ve been planning rehearsing it for what seems like ages and finally it is well and truly launched. We have sung drinking songs, drunk lots of nubbe and even vanquished the devil in Chippenham Town Library!
We took some video to act as a teaser trailer. It gives a taster of what you can expect at the Smörgåsballad evening!
We then began the biggest chunk of our Mad May Tour. Chippenham Folk Festival was wonderful and we managed to have a harpa-play with five of us meeting up. Witley Court and Gardens was our next ‘office for the day’ and now we’re about to get in the car and shoot off down to Pendennis Castle. So make sure you come over say hello if you spot us – but we’ll be in disguise. 😀 Then Friday sees us at the Granary Theatre in Wells next the Sea… we can sleep on Saturday!
Vicki & Jonny
We had a wonderful evening at Haverfolk on Wednesday night. It changed from a half hour showcase spot to an almost complete outing for the show! We were really happy with it and everything went to plan. You’ll have to wait until Monday to see the full show set, but here’s a picture from the night and also a review! You’ll have to come to the show to find out what we’re pointing at and why there is a little table of shots!
Review from Haverfolk:
“Television is dominated by Scandinavian crime dramas but few have been as bleak and gripping as some of the songs and tales we heard at HaverFolk when the club’s old friends Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer dropped in. They came to give us a sneak preview of Smorgasballad, their new show which sprang from Vicki’s Swedish roots (her mother comes from that lovely country). We’ve often seen Vicki playing her nyckelharpa, the wonderful keyed violin from her homeland, but Smorgasballad offers a splendid introduction to Swedish culture with drinking songs, Maypole dancing, drinking songs, Midsummer celebrations, drinking songs, crayfish parties – did I mention the drinking songs? – and some folk tales.
And this is where the hint of Nordic noir creeps in with the chilling stories of Easter Witches, a Swedish version of the Pied Piper and feuding magicians. Plus a murder ballad that might be considered too grim even for an episode of Wallander. This was Vicki’s debut as a storyteller and she certainly has a talent for it. As for the music, it was of course of the high standard we have come to expect from this talented duo. They are taking Smorgasballad on tour and it can be seen in Essex at the Duton Hill Folk Club on May 21 and the Hoy at Anchor on June 2.”
You can catch Smörgåsballad at the following places over the next few weeks:
18.05.15 – Croydon Folk Club, Croydon – (Smörgåsballad)
19.05.15 – Great Knight Folk Club, Northampton – (Smörgåsballad)
21.05.15 – Duton Hill Folk Club, Duton Hill – (Smörgåsballad)
22 – 23.05.15 – Chippenham Folk Festival, Chippenham, Wiltshire
29.05.15 – Granary Theatre, Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk – (Smörgåsballad)
02.06.15 – Hoy at Anchor Folk Club, Leigh on Sea, Essex- (Smörgåsballad)
05.06.15 – Milkmaid Folk Club, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk – (Smörgåsballad)
Vicki & Jonny
We’re very excited! Tomorrow is the first outing for Smörgåsballad. As of last night we were presented with our final prop – the midsommarkrans. Made by our wonderful next door neighbours.
Take one big black floppy hat, sprinkle liberally with assorted feathers. Next add one midsommarkrans, a moon man and mix together with lots of nubbe.
What you get is a mixture of Nordic Noir, love and drinking. We can’t wait to share it with the world. In the mean time have a listen to probably the first Nordic Noir detective story: a medieval ballad from the show. It doesn’t get any darker than this (and thankfully we hit midsummer after this which is much more lively!)
See you soon!
Vicki & Jonny
It’s the end of April and we’re going on the road!
The winter was long and full of plotting and planning. Now it’s time for us to go on the road again. Between now and June we seem to travelling the length and breadth of the country. So where can you see us and what will we be doing?
We spent the dark winter months putting together a summery Swedish themed show which starts touring on the 13th April.
Smörgåsballad is an evening of music and tales from the Sweden. Banish the winter blues by finding out about the tradition of the Easter Witches, what happens if you pick seven different wild flowers and put them under your pillow at Midsummer, the real meaning of the midsummer majstång and participate in some traditional drinking songs celebrating the crayfish season. Be introduced to the ancient cow horn, willow flute, Swedish bagpipes and the ethereal nyckelharpa.
A visual treat for the eyes and the ears be transported to the land of the midnight sun. Enjoy some “nordic noir tales”: fall in love with the heroes and heroines, at all costs avoid the devil and never cross a nyckelharpa player.
We’re really excited to be taking this show on the road and you can expect some unexpected things! Come along and see!
We’ve also got some standard folk evenings, a couple of festivals and we’re also out in historical alter-ego (three different periods of time!) So have a look at the list, come and see us and make sure you say hello! We start this weekend with The Whispering Road …
13th May – Haverfolk, Romford – preview showcase slot
18th May – Croydon Folk Club, Croydon
19th May – Great Knight Folk Club, Northants
21st May – Duton Hill Folk Club, Duton Hill, Essex
29th May – Granary Theare, Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk
2nd June – Hoy at Anchor Folk Club, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex
5th June – Milkmaid Folk Club, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
The Whispering Road with Nick Hennessey
23rd April – seriouskitchen at Bishops Wood Centre, Crossway Green, Stourport on Severn, Worcs, DY13 9SE
24th April – seriouskitchen at Malvern Cube, Malvern, Worcs, WR14 2YF
25th April – seriouskitchen at Chinley Community Centre, High Peak, Derbyshire, SK23 6DJ
26th April – seriouskitchen at The Fleece Inn, Bretforton, WR11 7JE
12th June – seriouskitchen in York
13th June – seriouskitchen in Cheveley, Suffolk
Vicki & Jonny standard Duo Stuff
28th April – Dartford Folk Club, Dartford, Kent
6th May – Red Lion Folk Club, Birmingham – (Joint headline)
8th May – Rhyl Folk Club, Rhyl, Wales
9th May – Tredgar House Folk Festival, Newport, Gwent, Wales
17th May – Forty Hall May Event, London (Concert 7pm)
11th June – Bromsgrove Folk Club, Bromsgrove
24th June – Dorking Folk Club, Dorking, Surrey
3rd and 4th April – Framlingham Castle (Medieval)
15th and 16th May – Apsley House (Georgian)
24th and 25th May – Witley Court and Gardens (Victorian)
27th and 28th May – Pendennis Castle (Medieval)
If you can’t get to see us live you can visit the shop and buy assorted duo albums and Scandinavian tune books. By the time the autumn arrives we’ll have recorded The Whispering Road, a new duo album and diverse other projects. It’s going to be a busy summer!
lots of love
Vicki & Jonny
We’ve had a fine old time touring around the country for the past few weeks. Now that we’re back home we’re dusting out the cobwebs and trying to tidy the house! We have a quiet few weeks – which is just as well because our Summer Swedish themed show is just round the corner and we’ve got a lot of preparation to do for it! We’ve built a whole website dedicated to the show, but we’ll talk more about that slightly closer to the time and have a big reveal.
We’ve finally got our map back up and running and all colour co-ordinated and having completely run out of my fiddle book we’ve had a restock and are back in business again. Hurrah!
Vicki & Jonny
We’re on the road again. This weekend sees us in Devon slaying trolls with the awesome storyteller Nick Hennessey. We’re spending three days down south here, so do come along and be entertained with our epic Swedish tale. (Details on the gigs page). Then on Monday we’re up to Runcorn in Cheshire for a duo gig, Tuesday we’re off to Chester to celebrate international bagpipe day and Wednesday we’re up to Lytham St Anne’s, before finally heading home again.
Hope to see you at one of those places!
I can’t believe that it’s March already! We’ve had a quiet time post Christmas, catching up on all the emails, the sleep, learning new stuff. Jonny has just completed a book for Schott – no prizes for guessing – Scandinavian Tunes for Accordion. It’s been type set at the moment, so will be out sometime in the summer. I’m now busy with my next Schott book, more about that when the collection is finished! We’re in the middle of a little seriouskitchen tour at the moment, Dorset last weekend and Devon next weekend. So join us for some troll slaying!
We’ve been spending a lot of time thinking and developing this spring and we have our first outing for a new trio coming up in April. Together with John Dipper we are Purcell’s Polyphonic Party (that might become the name of the show and we take a different name, we’re at that stage at the moment!) The best way to find out about it is to visit our new website (still under construction) and listen to our soundcloud clip (of us rehearsing really!) This is all just a sneak behind the curtain, but it’s going to be very exciting when we finally get out on tour. To get a real live sneak preview come along to the Zesty Playford Dance in Coventry on Sunday 19th April to hear us!
Next up is a brand new Swedish themed Summer show – smörgåsballad. Best visit that website too to find out about it! This starts to tour in May and we’re busy brushing up our Swedish accents. We’ve got a photoshoot for the poster this evening!
Anyway – practise beckons! I’ll try not to leave it so long before writing the next update!
Vicki (& Jonny)