Hi all,

Thank you to everyone for all the messages I received two weeks ago; so very touching and I really am grateful for all your love. Thank you!

(Cover and photo by Keith Hudson)

I had a reflective birthday. The lovely and great piano accordionist Frank Kelly of Roscommon died on the same day. He will be so sadly missed – an iconic piano accordion player and gentle, hilarious man. . .and while it was upsetting, once again, it made me ponder on those seemingly ordinary or back ground people who have certainly affected my life and creativity beyond words. More so than many of the more famed or celebrated. There is a school of thought that believes that New Years Day isn’t the start of our new year (individually speaking) but our birthday is the start of a new year where we can reflect and draw a line and look forward to the future. I like that a lot.

Here is a photo of Frank playing alongside his son, accordionist Alan Kelly, Ian Carr (guitar), John Wynne & Steph Geremia (flutes) at Roscommon Arts Centre, not so long ago.

I got to know Frank a little because he played in Carthy’s Pub in Roscommon town, every Thursday evening (see below for details of sessions in the Longford and Roscommon area) with flute players, John Wynne, Patsy Hanly and John Carlos. He is also on the first of the Bunch of Keys compilation CDs and that was how I first met him, at a Bunch of Keys concert, organised by Philip Clarke, in Cavan.

When I go to sessions I am usually mad to play and share tunes rather than talk (I know that is hard to believe) but on the handful of occasions I went to this quiet session in the past 3 years, I loved the inbetween banter and stories from the boys. . .enticing, addictive and hilarious. Frank was such a gentle man with a brilliant and very dry humoured perception of life.

He was also massively inspiring to me as an accordionist.

Unlike most Irish style piano accordionists I have ever met, Frank never tried to sound like a button accordionist and always played the bass in a way that is subtlely omnipresent but acts only to gently support the melody and his rhythm was as solid as a rock. He, along with John Ferguson, Vince Jordan and Seamus Meehan really inspire the way I like to play Irish music off the stage.

 Frank‘s music was as fluid as the flute players he loved to play with and simply danced with a quiet poeticism and joy that you couldn’t quite work out how to do yourself.

His funeral was packed and I learned that his mother had put her last few bob one day into a raffle and won first prize. . . an accordion which Frank began to play.

I love that the accordion found Frank. . .

. . .and Frank made me think of Pete Fyfe and Keith Hudson, both of whom died last year (and I only found out about these deaths the same week).

Pete and his late brother, Chris did so much, in the background, for music and certainly inspired me by their music and love of tradition. . .and I loved their very generous and welcoming attitude to everyone they met in life. Rare.

Keith Hudson, who, through Taplas magazine, raised the banner so many many times for the music he loved. He encouraged me and Ian Carr at a point in our career when our music was possibly a bit too mad for most people to understand what on earth we were trying to do.

I‘m not sure that we ever knew, either and listening back this week to a recording from Swedish Radio of one of my and Ian‘s last concerts as a duo in a museum in Falun. . .I had to grin.

It was quite quite mad, hilarious, unique and eccentric!

Keith was a big fan. On hearing what we did now, I understand how many may have thought it bonkers and maybe a step too far but it also made me wonder if my own music has actually become a little safe these days?

I shall never forget these people and those like them, their love and kindness. Because of them my music gets better: I listen more and see that passion, determination and an open heart is more important than any stage, award or recording.

. . .or for that matter, purely technical ability.

I am sure you all know many ‘backgrounders’ without whom, the world would be a less colourful and dreary, uninspiring place.

And to think I used to get so cross that such people never got any recognition or awards in the bigger industry. That makes me smile broadly, now.

They transcend all of that and hopefully, us lesser mortals can carry some of their inspiration and stories with us to everyone we meet.

Lastly, I have also been listening again to ‘Hidden Ground’ (Jolyon Jackson and Paddy Glackin) and The Easy Club.

Oh how I love those recordings!  The energy and humour. . .old recordings, now yet more vibrant than ever.

Fiddlers Paddy Glackin and John Martin dance so gaily over the tunes, supported by the most magnificent arrangements and harmonies, while Rod Paterson‘s singing makes me swoon.

Perhaps I am the Giles grannie cartoon. . .I don’t care. I like her and she looks just like my Nanny Mac from Limerick.

 It isn’t so much that today’s music, art and so on aren’t as good as the old days. . .it is simply inspiring rediscovering and remembering how much good stuff and people were out there and finding more inspiration in it all, still.

 . . .says she, listening to her Dad’s Eartha Kitt tracks. . .and Rhona Dalling‘s glorious ‘Walk Me Round’ CD. . . (http://www.rhonadalling.bandcamp.comp.com)  

Have a gentle weekend

Karen x


Fri 17th June : Karen Tweed & Nick Wiseman Ellis CONCERT
Venue: Kombüse 53° Nord
Address: Hauptstraße 28, 21787 Oberndorf
Time: 19:00
Tickets: 11€ adv./13€ on the door.
Tel: +49 4772 8608913
Website: www.die-oberndorfer.de

Mon 27th June – Fri 1st July : Karen Tweed & Timo Alakotila teaching and in concert, FINLAND
Venue : Haapavesi Summer school 
Dates : 27th June – 1st July

Information : http://www.haapavesifolk.com/inenglish/

Saturday 2nd July : Karen Tweed & Timo Alakotila in concert FINLAND
Venue : Haapavesi Festival

Info and tickets : http://www.haapavesifolk.com/inenglish/

Sat 9th July : Karen Tweed & Timo Alakotila in concert FINLAND

Venue : Rääkkylä Kihaus Festival

Info and tickets : http://www.kihaus.fi/

Mon 11th – Tues 12th July : Karen Tweed & Timo Alakotila at KAUSTINEN FESTIVAL, FINLAND

Tickets and info : http://kaustinen.net/?page_id=11890

(Lakhsmi  is the Goddess of Truth and Richness in all meaning)
Anna Sacchini: Sitar and Harp
Karen Tweed: Accordion
Mirko Vignali: Guitar

Tues 19th July : Karen Tweed teaching in WORCESTER
see www.learningaccordion.com
for details.

Thurs 21st July : Karen Tweed teaching in WORCESTER
see www.learningaccordion.com
for details.

Mon 8th – Fri 12th August : Karen Tweed teaching BATH
Venue : Bath Folk Festival Summer School, The Edge, University of Bath, Claverton Down, Bath BA2 7AY 

Info : http://bathfolkfestival.org/traditional-music-summer-school/

Fri 14th  October : Karen Tweed : SOLO BANGOR
Cafe Caban Caffi, Brynrefall LL55 3NR
Tickets, Info and contact : 01286 685500

Sun 16TH  October : Karen Tweed BANGOR Accordion Day
10am – 4.30pm
Tickets : £40
 Bring and share lunch
Info and contact : Annie 01286 673696 / annie_adprin@hotmail.com

Sat 29th  Oct : Karen Tweed: LLANDINAM, MID-WALES The Severn Suite (with John Kirkpatrick) 10 Years On
Venue : Llandinam Village Hall, Llandinam

To buy the Severn Suite Book see



Round and about. . .

1. BRISWOOL EXHIBITION  at  MSHED in Bristol. Only until 12th June, not to be missed, Bristol knitted in all its glory!

2. Ian Storror’s Jazz at the Albert
JAZZ at the Albert GIG-UP

** JUNE: Gigs & News
Andy Sheppard & John Parricelli
http://jazzata.us2.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=32243ec3fe268b962ec52185d&id=c59d61fec6&e=5028ca49a7 for full details
The Hen & Chicken, 210 North St, Bristol, BS3 1JF
Sunday 19 June
Doors 7.30 for 8.15pm start
£14 /£12                   Jazz
Andy Sheppard (Saxes & effects), John Parricelli (Guitars & effects)

VEIN Trio (Switzerland)
http://jazzata.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=32243ec3fe268b962ec52185d&id=abc8636bd5&e=5028ca49a7 for full details
The Hen & Chicken, 210 North St, Bristol, BS3 1JF
Sunday 26 June
Doors 7.30 for 8.15pm start
£13 /£11                   Jazz
Michael Arbenz (Piano), Thomas Lähns (Bass), Florian Arbenz (Drums)
“Vein is an exciting trio with whom I enjoy playing, offering some very challenging music”. Greg Osby

Charlie Dore w/Julian Littman
http://jazzata.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=32243ec3fe268b962ec52185d&id=0d0dc1db95&e=5028ca49a7 (http://jazzata.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=32243ec3fe268b962ec52185d&id=c9af1f74ac&e=5028ca49a7 ) for full details
The Hen & Chicken, 210 North St, Bristol, BS3 1JF
Thursday 30 June
Doors 7.30 for 8.15pm start
£12 / £10          Acoustic Folk / Singer Songwriter

‘A gift for melody, brave, poignant, entertaining & original‘ The Guardian ★★★★

** Upcoming JAZZatA Performances in 2016:
TBC  = To Be Confirmed
*EBA* = Early Booking Advised

Sun 17 July: Zhenya Strigalev Trio (Russia, Spn & USA) (Jazz)
Sun 31 July: Alan Burke (Ire) TBC (Acoustic/Folk)
July: Mike Westbrook’s ‘A Bigger Show’ TBC (Jazz)

Fri 2 Sept: Adam Holmes & The Embers (Acoustic/Folk)
Sun 18 Oct: Kristian Borring Quartet (Jazz)

Sun 9 Oct: ARQ (Jazz)
Thurs 13 Oct: Jim Reynolds & John Paricelli (Acoustic/Folk)
Fri 21 Oct: Eric Taylor (USA) (Americana/Folk)

Sun Nov 6: Andrew Bain Project feat; Jon Irabagon & George Colligan (USA) (Jazz)
Sun 20 Nov: Damon Brown ‘Korean’ Trio (Jazz)
Sun 27 Nov: Domonic Howells Quintet (Jazz)

Sun 4 Dec: Bastian Stein Quartet (Ger & UK) (Jazz)
Sun 11 Dec: Andy Sheppard’s “Hotel Bristol” (Jazz)

3. Sessions in the Longford / Roscommon area of IRELAND :

1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month – Tallyho Pub, Longford town 10pm

Every Wednesday – Camlin Bar, Clondra, Co Longford 10pm

Every Thursday – Carthy’s, Roscommon town 10pm

1st Thursday of the month – Hanly’s, Strokestown, Co Roscommon 10pm? –

Every Friday – Longford Arms Hotel, Longford town 10pm

3rd Friday of the month – Shannon Bar, Tarmonbarry, Co Roscommon 9.30pm

All are free admission. All welcome.