Happy Sunday afternoon!

(photo : Sue Salmon)

Well, it’s nearly September (how did that happen?) and I had a lovely time last week at the IOW Steam Fair, seeing some fantastic events like the Miss World of Sheep Show, ferret races, the birds of prey displays (I was terribly taken by an eagle owl named ‘Apollo’) and of course all the vintage buses, motorbikes and steam-driven engineering including a proper steam driven merry-go-round complete with pipe organ! I do love the over-the-top-ness of the artwork on those things. . .
 (Theresa Ellis performing. Photo : Sue Salmon)
We had 3 days of sunshine and one day of torrential rain; many of us were playing on the Woodland Stage which was set down in the woods and it made me very happy to have my music softly punctuated with the occasional ‘choo choo’ of the steam trains up on the main site.

(Photo : Ben Hickman)
On the day the heavens poured, Mark Hickman and I decided to invite the audience up on stage with us (we were quite shocked there was an audience in such conditions – oh the Great British public! A little torrential rain isn’t going to deter summertime frolics, eh?). . .something Roy Bailey once did at Sidmouth Arena many years ago when I was guesting with him.

(Photo ; Doug Muir)

What fun family events these are – and special thanks to Bob Huxtable and all the crew at the IOW Steam Railway for their sterling work and great support to incorporate so many island artists!

I hope to frequent many more of such events next summer; I do love the steam roller slaloms and Morris dancing. . .meantime, the same Bank Holiday weekend in Ryde, the annual Scooter rally was taking place – literally thousands of scooters congregate there every August Bank Holiday and ride around the island.

Quite a spectacle, by the pier.

Sally MacLachlan has put together so many wonderful tributes to the late Mick Dolan and some have now gone to press – see below :

Bromsgrove Standard –

Bromsgrove Advertiser –


And a message from Johnny Coppin –

On my radio show, I’m playing a request forThe Bencoolen – a song beautifully sung by Mick Dolan
on the Roscarrock album First and Last – Songs of Port Isaac made by Jon Cleave, and Billy Hawkins from
The Fisherman’s Friends, with Mick.

It’s on BBC Radio Gloucestershire Sat 30 August 17.30-18.05

You can listen online  or Listen again for 7 days www.bbc.co.uk/gloucestershire

Please listen in and hear this very moving song.

And let everyone know if you can..

Lots of love
There are plans afoot for a commemorative concert for Mick Dolan – I’ll keep you posted.

Sadly, another wonderful musician, Stuart Gordon, died last Thursday after being diagnosed recently with cancer. A lovely man, great musician and sound engineer (with whom I recorded a track for Steve Jinski) he will be sadly missed in Bristol where he played.

All of these sad events make moments precious, time stand still and prioritise what is important. . .and the importance of celebrating those around us, every day, eh?

Next week, I’m looking forward to having a great.night of music (the squeeze and stringy type) with diatonic accordionist and composer, Nick Wiseman-Ellis and guitarist / mandolin player, Nic Zuppardi. Have a listen to their inspiring ideas:


(poster design : Nic Zuppardi)

That’s on Saturday 6th September in Norwich and then, the next day (Sunday 7th September), we’re hosting a Creative Accordion Day and places are being snapped up – see below (Kt Dates) or www.karentweed.com for full schedule and details.

The Day workshop is primarily for accordions but any other instruments are welcome as the day is mainly about music and playing different types of folk music rather than accordion technique (which you can get everywhere in books, manuals and internet videos) – we’ll mainly be looking at French, Swedish and Tango dance music.

I’m hosting another Creative Accordion Day on Sunday 5th October at Mynydd Llandygai Memorial Hall, Bangor LL57 4LQ Wales – again see below or

www.karentweed.com for more details.

Do you know, I’ve been asked a lot about what the difference is between the general levels of playing the accordion, because mostly people don’t want to feel that they aren’t good enough (when wondering whether or not to attend a workshop).


Here’s my thoughts on that :

Beginners :
. . . are those who have never ever touched an accordion before and aren’t even sure which way up / on it goes! They may have just bought or acquired one but need gentle and slow guidance on a one-to-one basis as to how to hold it and make a sound.

Intermediate :
. . . this is the MASSIVE grey area.

On the first rung of  the ladder, some people can only play one hand (usually the right or ‘melody’ hand), by ear or may have a basic grasp of reading music. If they do, it’s usually only the treble clef.

You don’t need to read music to become a great musician but it opens doors, that’s all.

Further up the scale, they may be quite able to play both hands but go to pieces when playing in front of any human (yet are often fine in front of pets or inanimate objects in the safety of their own home).

At the higher end of the ladder, they may play adequately well but need to sharpen up their technique, work on phrasing, use of bellows and generally develop their music to sound easy, lyrical and as if they are in control of their instrument. They may have issues with tempo, sometimes sounding a bit clumsy or need guidance on more interesting basslines, right hand decoration, improvisation and variation.

They can play a tune (with perhaps a few slips) but desire to improve and take on more challenging music or just to sound fabulous!

Advanced :
. . .another MASSIVE grey area and the perception of this is a much-discussed concept between teachers and students alike.

Personally, I would say that advanced players could play a 30 minutes’ selection of music which is varied, lyrical and demonstrates good technique, dynamics and keeps me interested on several levels.

Just technically brilliant players are not advanced in my view – just well practised. Music is from the heart and the ability to move my emotions by playing so that I forget what the instrument is, is my idea of ‘advanced’.

All of these categories do not depend on time. I have met people who have played for years and will never get better than the lower intermediate level; I have met people who in less than a year have astounded me with their lyricism and are sailing towards ‘advanced’.

An ability to listen, take critical appraisal, learn from everyone / everything while never being afraid to ask even the simplest question are the more important issues here.

Come along, bring a notepad and recorder; ask questions and be prepared to soak up a lot of ideas and information and music that will hopefully keep you going for about 6 months.

This is a creative accordion day. You can get private technical tuition elsewhere – we’re exploring how to develop your music and understand the scheduled genres and most importantly, illustrate why the accordion is anyone’s best and most fun friend.

As I said, it’s my opinion. . .

I’m also teaching at two Danish autumn workshops in September and October and then! . . . it’ll be time for the Harp On Wight Festival in Ryde, Isle of Wight in November.


There’s concerts by Sileas (Mary Macmaster and Patsy Seddon with whom I used to play with in the Poozies), Mike Parker and Arcangeli; teaching workshops for all standards (including absolute beginners – you can rent a harp!), a competition for a new piece of harp music and a harp making course.

And all in the beautiful Victorian town of Ryde, on the Isle of Wight.


There is also a plan for an amazing installation by Eccleston George (who are based in Sandown) to coincide with the event – there’s been some wildly fun discussions about what could emerge with Daniel Roberts, one of their inventors.

Thomas McElvogue sent me this piece of interesting news (after I’d been explaining some of the Aeolian Harp ideas that one of the organisers, Annamaria Sacchini, had suggested) :

William Close is the inventor of the ‘earth harp’, a musical instrument which makes use of the architecture around it to create its sound.

The strings of the harp are attached to nearby buildings. Recently it was connected to the National Museum for a festival in Singapore.

Mr Close plays the strings, while wearing special gloves coated in violin resin, and it creates a sound uniquely affected by the environment the instrument is in.


Well now, I’ve a busy weekend ahead involving lots of colouring in.

I’ve also been booked to teach in Maine, USA next July and at Farncombe Estate with James Budden in September 2015 – mixed ensemble on the theme of France!


More information to follow. . .

Hope you have a smashing Sunday. . .


(Photo : Tom McElvogue)
Kt Dates:

Saturday 6th September : NORWICH : Karen Tweed & Nick Wiseman-Ellis and Nic Zuppardi triple concert!
The Silver Rooms, Silver Road, Norwich
Doors 7:30pm for an 8pm start
Tickets: £7 in advance and on the door.
For tickets in advance please contact: Nick Wiseman-Ellis – nickwisemanellis@gmail.com – 07920793770 or see www.karentweed.com

Sunday 7th September : NORWICH : Karen Tweed & Nick Wiseman-Ellis CREATIVE ACCORDION DAY
The Silver Rooms, Silver Road, Norwich NR3 4TB
10am – 5.30pm
Tickets: £40

Open to all systems of accordions (no beginners); there will be sessions on performance, being nervous, composing, practising techniques as well as Tango!, French and Swedish folk music.

For information and booking see :


Sunday 5th October : BANGOR : Karen Tweed CREATIVE ACCORDION DAY
At : Mynydd Llandygai Memorial Hall, Bangor LL57 4LQ Wales
10am – 5.30pm
Tickets: £40

Open to all systems of accordions (no beginners); there will be sessions on performance, being nervous, composing, practising techniques as well as Tango!, French and Swedish folk music.

For information and booking see :



For Karen’s teaching (UK) schedule, see