(Kindly sent by Mike Nelson)

Recently, my Dad and I paid a visit to Ballybunion, County Kerry, where my mother hailed from. Quite a swift trip down memory lane; I spent so many summers there from my early teens which took in sessions in Tralee and Tipperary (Rossadrehid Waterworks to be exact with a stunning accordionist named Ailbe Grace); the Fleadh in Listowel and long walks along the cliffs looking out over the big Atlantic. My Dad reminded me of the seaweed baths they used to have on Ballybunion beach and the stalls selling Dilisk (seagrass) to chew. I am still a huge fan of seaweed and the ocean in general.

I’ve been listening to some really wonderful music thanks to Noel Sweeney, Steve Pollitt and Pete Clarke – Boots Randolph (saxophone); some very beautiful Estonian tracks from Steve’s radio programme in Bloomington, Illinois, USA . . . and Steve has also been sending me the most wonderful photos from the Cloud Appreciation Society; one in particular which was over Sandown Beach on the Isle of Wight (from where i am now typing). . .meanwhile, Pete Clarke introduced me to the music of Tim Hardin which is marvellous. . ..plus I keep playing some cds on repeat – notably ‘Tango Diary’ by pianist Milla Viljamaa (Gordon Bennett, what a player and a half!) and wacky accordionist Johanna Juhola; a beautiful cd by Steve Larkin (fiddle) and Mick Kinsella (harmonica / concertina) with Donal Siggins (Mandola, Bouzouki & Guitar). . .and I love the artwork on their CD to bits. . . plus Jordan Tice’s ‘Horse Country’ (i do love his guitar picking) and Josie Nugent’s new CD, ‘Modal Citizen’. Not only is the repertoire delightful and includes many of her own compositions but her use of a Rhodes MK1 Stage Piano alongside her fiddle is superb, subtle and stopped me in my tracks! Produced by Josie and Uilleann Piper Brian Stafford (who I played many a session in Leeds with in the early 1980s), it is well worth a listen.


I had a lovely few weeks in Tarmonbarry and frequented many of the sessions around there in August. Summer still evades that part of Ireland but it didn’t stop the music. Oh and I’ve had a few enquiries about the pink ivory flute that Tom McElvogue plays (pink ivory is a type of wood) so here’s the link to Norman Holmes who makes
them :


Thoughts and ideas are progressing well on the accordion design front with Mike Nelson which you can view at


Mike is an amazing and inspirational chap on so many levels and we are having a lot of fun exploring just about every design aspect of the piano accordion. I’ve never been so interested in gravity, weight balance and mechanisms. . .and what is really fun is that the more I get drawn into the detail of engineering (and he is certainly one of the best), it affects my interest in music, drawing, listening, spectacles, reading, knitting, nature and how everything works in a very detailed and positive way. If you have any thoughts about what you’d like to improve about your accordion (apart from less mistakes – Crikey, if i could bottle that. . . ), do email me.

And while I’m talking about accordions (makes a change from Stevie Wonder – do you know he plays the melodica too???!!!), Peter Le Geyt is running a trip to Castelfidardo, Italy – see
below :

From: Peter Le Geyt <plg@plgmarketing.com>
Sent: 05 September 2016 16:51
To: Karen Tweed
Subject: Accordion visit to the home of the accordion Castelfidardo Italy May 2017

Dear Karen

We have corresponded before regarding the trips I organise to Castelfidardo in Italy (I also represent Petosa and Giulietti Accordions in the UK)

You may have seen the report in the accordion press on our visit in May this year which included accordionists from all around the UK and Ireland and also a number from USA.  It all went extremely well and we have another group planned for May 2017.

Details of the visit next year are attached and if not of interest to you personally it could perhaps be passed on to other accordionists you may have contact with.

Even non accordionists have enjoyed the visits in the past and found them fascinating.  We also visit some lovely parts of Italy including San Marino.

Thank you


Peter Le Geyt

PLG Marketing Associates


Tel:  + 44 (0)20 8977 6680

Fax: + 44 (0)20 8943 4455

Email:  plg@plgmarketing.com

It looks like a fantastic trip, so for more details and booking form, contact Peter direct.

Annie De Courcy reminded me of the immense creativity of Julia Darling recently. There are so many of Julia’s poems which I love; they help me to see things differently. . .I didn’t realise that although based for many years in Newcastle upton Tyne, she also spent time on the Isle of Wight.

‘How To Speak To Tired People When You Visit Them In Hospital’ by Julia Darling

Bring unusual gifts, rare ice cream, a dandelion in a vase, poems, but not the ponderous kind, a box of spice, things wrapped tightly in tissue and green ribbon.
Talk about the personality of the sky and where there was another sky like this.
Describe horizons, views from trains.
Perhaps the tea trolley comes bumping by, you can plump the pillows, sort out the biscuits, do some smiling.
Once settled with your finger wrapped round the china handle, you might like to describe a street before it changed, recall old shops that sold butter wrapped in tissue, ham sliced off the bone, loose sweets from jars.
This leads quite well to passion, then to love, first kisses, embraces under piers, and lost hearts.
Now you might peel some fruit and eat it slowly. Allow there to be silence, but keep it fresh.
Now that’s enough.
Button up your coat, leave like a breath.

And I have just finished reading ‘The Sea Inside’ by Philip Hoare (ISBN 978-0-00-741213-6). What a great read; his passion and knowledge of birds, cetaceans and the sea is addictive; all simmered with a good deal of interesting historical knowledge, symbolism and mystical ideas, bound together with his simple quest for igniting his readers with a commitment to respecting nature by realising the devastation humans can cause. The last time I was so fired up by such a book was after reading Douglas Adams ‘Last Chance to See’.

Here’s a quote; he is talking about his home area around the coastline around Southampton which overlooks the Solent on the south coast of England :

‘. . .Southampton translates out of Old English as ‘south home-town’. Sholing, where I live. . .its name is a contraction of ‘Shore Land’;. . .Even on the dreariest days, the most forlorn afternoons, it’s never not beautiful here. The slow surging waves seem to be suppressed by the mist, yet every sense is heightened. I can smell the forest across the water. Sound behaves differently; with no buildings to bounce from , it spreads over the surface and soaks back into the sea. . . In the uncertain light, the mud takes on new colours, from black to taupe and even a kind of rubbed silver.
As I say, it is never not beautiful here. ’

And Mr Hoare put me in mind of the photography of Terry Hulf, who is also a brilliant painter and along with Jenny Baylis, gave me a tango dance lesson I shall never forget.

Vic King and Tony O Nions of Vaguely Sunny Promotions also sent me news of their next gig coming up at the weekend :

From: Tony O’Nions <nitoniow@gmail.com

Subject: Vaguely Sunny and Dimbola gig
Dear Friends,                                                                                                  August 2016


Many of you will fondly recall the beautiful  concert performed by Bath singer/songwriter Cecilia le  Poer Power

– with keyboard maestro Martin Riley at St.Boniface Church, Bonchurch in the spring of 2010.

Cecilia  is returning to do a solo concert at Dimbola Lodge which is our next event. All the details are below:

An Evening of Spellbinding Song
Saturday 10th September 2016
Dimbola Museum & Galleries (Terrace Lane, Freshwater Bay, PO40 9QE)
Doors 7.00pm / Start 7.30pm
Advance tickets: Vic King 01983 – 730730 or Dimbola 01983- 756814

‘Elegant new vocal star’ The Guardian

Vaguely Sunny in partnership with The Julia Margaret Cameron Trust, is delighted to host an intimate evening of song with singer Cecilia le Poer Power (pron. ‘le poor power’). Cecilia’s voice has been described as a cross between the etherial qualities of Enya and the free musical spirit and passion of Eva Cassidy. Prepared to be moved by beautifully interpreted timeless songs and original material – An evening that promises something for everyone.

‘Cecilia brings a whole new dimension to whatever she commits to’
(Charlie Jones – Page & Plant / Goldfrapp)

Cecilia has worked with artists ranging from Moya Brennan (Voice of Clannad), Classical Brit winners Blake, Royal harpist Catrin Finch, Maartin Allcock (Fairport Convention, Robert Plant), to electronica artist Al-Pha-X. Her music has been received internationally and her original compositions have been used widely, including BBC TV.

‘When I first heard Cecilia’s voice, I got lifted by powerful winds to sit with the angels and was given the privilege to witness and take part in the birth of a new one’
(George Acogny, producer – Peter Gabriel, Youssou N’Dour)

Please visit Cecilia’s website: http://www.thehopegarden.com

Book soon, as places are limited.
Saturday September 10th, 2016 Doors 7pm / start 7.30pm

Best wishes,

Vic and Tony

Last weekend, I was in Dalarna, Sweden doing some arrangement ideas with a group of fine musicians called ‘Plastic Paddy’. I have known them for many years and we were exploring their arrangements and tunes (they have a great repertoire of trad Irish music) yet what emerged over the weekend was how many good tunes several of them had composed but not really appreciated how good those tunes were. So now I have 15 brand new tunes (plus a few new songs) to work on myself from them! 
It made me think about how often people (including me) rubbish our own work because it’s ‘not as good as’. . .who? While we can try our best to take a measure of quality control, it’s really putting the tunes out there that is important and if they stick, we get the message. The most important thing is that music is made and played, not fretting or worrying if it is good enough or not. I wonder if the person who wrote ‘The Frost is All Over’ worried about whether it was good enough; I am just so glad that whatever was the judgement, it got out there and it remains one of my favourite jigs, along with ‘The Strayaway Child’ and ‘Hardiman the Fiddler’.

And as Tom McElvogue quipped, ‘We’re all plastic paddies,’. . .does that make me a silicon swede too? Uh oh, I think you can tell i have been spending time with carina Normansson – not only one of the most inspiring musicians and singers i have ever worked with but she has a hilarious angle on the use of English. I have never enjoyed the phrase ‘Enjoy’ (always waiting for the subject word to follow – I know that’s sad) yet her flirtatious use of English I find enchanting. ‘It is so charmful’ she said on Monday. I like that as much as my friend Tina’s late step father saying he was seeing the world through ‘pink eyebrows’.

Svante Kvarnstrom, one of the Plastic Paddy friends has a lovely trio – see the Youtube clip below :


Erik Westholm and I were talking during the weekend there, about when the Kathryn Tickell Band played at Falun Festival (early 1990s) and later the SWAP collaboration which arose out of that trip to Sweden. Plastic Paddy was one of the first groups of musicians I met in those early years of my new folk music career. Erik reminded me of an article following an interview I gave at that time, entitled ‘The Geography of Tweed’ . . .ha ha. Possibly more about that another time.

That conversation made me revisit this quote, again from Philip Hoare :

‘The horizon is only an invention of our eyes and brains as we seek to make sense of that immensity and locate our selves within it. The sea solicits such illusions. It takes its colour from the clouds, becomes a sky fallen to the earth; it only suggests what it might or might not contain. Little wonder that people once thought the sun sunk into the sea, just as the moon rose out of it.’

We’re all back to school or work and I’m looking forward to the concert I’m playing in Stroud at the end of this month with Tom McElvogue (flute) and Ivan Miletitch (guitar) at the Landsdown Hall – I learned so much of my melodic and bassline ideas from those two fine fellows so that evening could be a real hoot!

Landsown Hall & Gallery, Landsdown, Stroud, Gloucestershire GL5 1BB
8pm (doors 7.30pm)
Tickets : £10

Info and contact : 01453 767576 (from Landsown Hall & Gallery office from 10am – 1pm Tues to Fri)
And from The Trading Post, 26 Kendrick Street Stroud Tel. 01453 759116

There will be a session after the concert so bring your instruments for a blast.

Before that, though, I’ll be playing with the marvellous Colum Sands in Cavan on 16th September – he is an amazing poet and storyteller, as well as a great songwriter and singer.


Then in October, I’ll be back on this beloved isle at the Harp On Wight Festival which is packed with workshops (both learning how to play the harp and making one!), talks and concerts. I’ll be playing as part of the Dustbin Corner Ceilidh Band with Mark Hickman and Ian Watterson.


. . .and that is followed swiftly by a guest spot at Horizon Lights’ 10th Anniversary concert in Bromyard
Falcon Mews, Falcon Hotel, Bromyard HR7 4BT
Doors : 7.00pm
Starts : 7.30pm
Tickets £7.50
More information at www.horizonlightsmusic.com/upcominggigs or text 07903 986856

I’m commencing skype lessons and my monthly Worcester slots (see below for details) and still sketching a lot. And mostly with felt pens, for some reason.

Lastly, Angelika Berns introduced me to this amazing poem by Robert Frost :

‘The Road Not Taken’

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black,
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads onto way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.
(Robert Frost)


Fri 16th  September : Colum Sands & Karen Tweed IN CONCERT : COOTEHILL, CO CAVAN, IRELAND


Tues 20th  September : Karen Tweed : TEACHING WORCESTER
See www.learningaccordion.com

Thurs 22nd  September : Karen Tweed : TEACHING WORCESTER
See www.learningaccordion.com

Fri 23rd  September : Karen Tweed and special guests TOM McElvogue (flute) & IVAN Miletitch (guitar) : STROUD
Landsown Hall & Gallery, Landsdown, Stroud, Gloucestershire GL5 1BB
8pm (doors 7.30pm)
Tickets : £10

Info and contact : 01453 767576 (from Landsown Hall & Gallery office from 10am – 1pm Tues to Fri)
And from The Trading Post, 26 Kendrick Street Stroud Tel. 01453 759116

Following the concert there will be a free music session open to all. Bring your instruments, come along to listen. Bar open until late.

Further information from: info@lansdownhall.org    



Mon 10th October : Karen Tweed with the Dustbin Corner Ceilidh Band : ISLE OF WIGHT

Tues 11th October : Karen Tweed : TEACHING WORCESTER
See www.learningaccordion.com

Wed 12th  October : Karen Tweed guesting at HORIZON LIGHTS 10th Anniversary Concert BROMYARD
Falcon Mews, Falcon Hotel, Bromyard HR7 4BT
Doors : 7.00pm
Starts : 7.30pm

Tickets £7.50
More information at www.horizonlightsmusic.com/upcominggigs or text 07903 986856

Thurs 13th October : Karen Tweed : TEACHING WORCESTER
See www.learningaccordion.com

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

Sun 9 Oct: ARQ (Jazz)
Thurs 13 Oct: Jim Reynolds & John Paricelli (Acoustic/Folk)
Sun 18 Oct: Kristian Borring Quartet (Jazz)
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)

2. 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.


An Evening of Spellbinding Song

Saturday 10th September 2016
Dimbola Museum & Galleries (Terrace Lane, Freshwater Bay, PO40 9QE)
Doors 7.00pm / Start 7.30pm
Advance tickets: Vic King 01983 – 730730 or Dimbola 01983- 756814
Please visit Cecilia’s website: http://www.thehopegarden.com

4. The No 1 Ladies Accordion Orchestra are out and about . . .
Saturday 8th Oct :
Colwall Village Hall, Mill Lane, Colwall, Worcestershire WR13 6EQ
Tickets: £6.50 / accompanied under 16s free
Info : Kate Stock 01684 540950 / 07775 864098

Sunday 9th Oct :
St Martin with St Peter Church, London Road, Worcester WR5 2ED
Tickets: £6.50 / accompanied under 16s free
Info : Kate Stock 01684 540950 / 07775 864098