My word, isn’t it turning chilly. . .

Well. . .there has been quite a lot of action since I last nattered. . . yet it has all been fairly gentle.

And its Halloween! Here there is a festival taking place here called The Dead of Night Festival.

Are you coming. . .?

I do love all the seasons; we are now into the transition of autumn to winter which reminds me ever of growing older, the whole birth, life, death cycle.

I once read a super book called ‘Women Who Dance With the Wolves’  and in it there was a really interesting section about the moon phases. The moon has always been referred to as ‘she’ while the sun, ‘he’ and the phases of the moon can be seen as birth, daughter, virgin, grown woman, mother, crone and death. 

Roy Bailey used to sing a beautiful song, composed by Bill Caddick (what a songsmith!) about King Sun and the Queen Moon.

Fabulous story and imagery. I love his (Bill’s) cowboy songs too.

(Photo by Tom McElvogue)

So. . .while serious terminal illness and death never get easier, but certainly, at my age, more frequent, I am becoming increasingly aware of the beauty of aging and even dying.

(Stained glass, St Mels Cathedral, Longford)

A dear friend of mine, Caroline Clarke, died just over a week ago and I was so struck by her lucidity and intense awareness of colours and shades which she was relating to me, 2 days before she died.

I had met her and her lovely husband, Pete Clarke on my first trip (with singer songwriter, Roger Wilson) to perform at the Hong Kong Folk Festival in 1989.

It was predominantly an English Folk Festival organised and ran by ex-pats living there.

Pete and Caroline were great fun, extremely kind and this was where I met singer-songwriter Sally Barker, who had flown in from her German tour, to perform solo.

On her return, she told Patsy Seddon and Mary Macmaster (who were then thinking of putting a female band together) about this female accordionist she had met with Roger Wilson in Hong Kong.

Roger, meanwhile, had fought quite a battle to get me to even consider playing on songs as well as tunes. I felt I wasn’t experienced enough.

There was a sharp intake of breath.

‘Sally,’ they chimed, ‘Harps NEVER play with accordions,’ (add a rather Paddingtonesque hard stare here)

‘. . .but she doesn’t sound like an accordion, more of a harmonica!
Trust me. . .’

That was where the Poozies all started.

A few years later, Pete, Caroline and the Hong Kong Folk Festival Committee, invited The Poozies, Chris Wood & Andy Cutting to the festival.

On arrival at Heathrow’s carpark, Sally asked, from the back of the car,

‘Do we need a passport for Hong Kong?’

at which we all laughed.

A series of fraught phone calls to her husband in Leicestershire (by phone box) and a taxi sent down with her passport in it (let’s not talk about the cost) and we made the flight by about 4 minutes.

That same trip, Pete and Caroline helped to organise a stunning trip in a friend’s yacht around the bay in glorious weather for me, Andy Cutting and Chris Wood. It was one of those afternoons where I was pinching myself – being able to enjoy this beautiful afternoon, on the kindness of some music-loving friends in an amazing part of the world in early November. How did that happen?

Actually, it was all because Roger Wilson had faith in me as a musician and performer. Roger remains one of my favourite songwriters of all time.

After a slight lull in the conversation, Chris Wood quipped, ‘I am SO pleased that I kept practising my fiddle.’

Next week, I’m playing at Caroline’s funeral and in excess of 250 have said they are attending – a fine and fitting celebration of a lovely, kind and inspirational lady.

May she rest, peacefully, now.

(Stone carving, St Mels Cathedral, Longford)

For years I tried to get into meditation because it seemed to work for so many people I knew and certainly made a big difference to their state of happiness.

Emptying my head of everything was dream that only others could make happen. . .and then it dawned on me only quite recently that the precise time when my head is only quietly focused on one thing and one thing only, blocking out everything else completely while being in a very calm, happy state is either when I am playing (as against practising) music or lost in doing art or looking at beautiful things like old comics such as the The Beano, stained glass, ancient architecture or nature.

It is my peace and perfect focus, from which almost nothing can distract me and definitely fills me with utter joy.

So I do loads of it, every day, now.  

The difficulty is that I find that so much of my time and my energy has gone into emailing in recent years. No one  uses the telephone anymore. . .I mean, why have a ten minute conversation which costs a few pence, and of course where someone can discuss back with you, when you can send 275 emails, back and forth and get lost in a sea of them. . .feel utterly overwhelmed and like you haven’t done a stroke of work all day. . .

So I am truly sorry if you don’t hear from me on email so much. I am just finding it drains my energy, wastes so much time and with so little light out there, I tend now, to write more letters, give lessons or discuss ideas by skype. . . .and get out in the air more. It is such a beautiful time of year and it is ticking by so fast.

Art work by Annik Cullinane, Ventnor, Isle of Wight

Well. I’ve been having a good discussion about ‘industries’ in music and in general and they are all the same, aren’t they? All pretty much, like governments, short term, flashy and not really interested in the individual or great craftsmanship.

Wow, that’s a generalisation and a half but before I get carried away with ranting, let me say that there is pumpkin to make into a lantern with my IOW harper friend Theresa, while listening to Rodney Miller’s iconic ‘Airplang’ CD. Made in the early 1980s (yes, over 30 years old!), it features Rodney on fiddle, Peter Barnes on piano and Russ Barenberg on mandolin and I think, guitar. One of the very best recordings I own and, for me, on a parallel with Arvo Part, Brid Harper, Bill Evans or Richard Galliano.

We’ve already been listening to Tuulikki Bartosik’s new accordion CD, due out soon (and featuring Timo Alakotila, amongst others), a beautiful tune written for me by Peter Ellis called ‘Gentle Steps’ and Gordon Gunn’s new CD (which is FANTASTIC), entitled, ‘From Wick to Wickham’. It’s even made the sun come out here in soggy Roscommon.

And in November, Timo Alakotial and I are touring our ‘May Monday’ project in England :

May Monday are playing in Wylde Green and then Birmingham (with a very special guest or 2), Malvern, Newcastle-upon-Tyne (although that is already sold out!), Thropton in Northumberland and Nailsworth. See below for details. Timo and I are also doing a spot of teaching at the Newcastle Folk Degree course and later in the month, I’m back at the World Academy of Music and Dance at Limerick University.

May Monday are also out in late January in Ireland and in the UK in May next year . . .so if you’d like Timo and I to come and play at a venue near you, do forward suggestions to our lovely agent, Lorraine Carpenter :


0117 904 1870

You may not remember but I recorded on Paul Armfield’s new CD – a brilliant and very interesting project – well, it’s out now. A very fine CD, some wonderfully crafted songs and some amazing images!

For all the background and a lovely review see the link below :

Meantime, here’s a few interesting things – a brilliant talk by the super kinetic artist, Arthur Ganson :

and the Ryde Art Collective is now exhibiting their latest collection, ‘A Line of Flight’

 Quarr Abbey, Isle of Wight (PO33 4ES).

This is an exhibition of work first curated at Gallery Artspace Portsmouth by Jan Frith and Zoë Barker.

TRAC members were challenged to explore new ground or ‘territories’ away from their usual way of working.

And I think I forgot to tell you about this superb harper who I heard at the Harp On Wight festival in October :
Ben Creighton Griffiths

Happy Weekend. . . .and don’t forget to come and shake a leg at the Avening Ceili on Fri 13th November!



Monday 2nd November (& every 1st and 3rd Mondays of the month) : KT teaching at the Temperance Hall, LONGFORD, IRELAND
6.30 – 7.30pm : SongWeavers Community Choir (no experience necessary / no auditions) 2€
7.30 – 8.30pm : Ceili and Folk Dancing for the Terrified (but curious)5€

Fri 13th November : KT and Friends: CEILI AVENING, GLOUCESTERSHIRE
Venue : Avening Memorial Hall, Avening (near Nailsworth), Gloucestershire
Time : 7.30pm – 11.30pm
Tickets : £16 (in advance) / Children £8 (includes supper)
Info : Piers Hansen 01453 836207

Wed 18th November : KT teaching in Droitwich.
(Eve) KT teaching at Birmingham CCE.

Thurs 19th November : KT teaching in Droitwich.

Thurs 26th November : MAY MONDAY (KT & Timo Alakotila) in concert at SUTTON COLDFIELD
Venue : Wylde Green United Reformed Church, Britwell Road, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands B73 5SW
Time : 7.30pm
Tickets : Entry is free but there will be a retiring collection, split between the church and May Monday.
Info : Rev Sue McCoan 0121 246 0880 /!contact/c55t

Fri 27th November : MAY MONDAY (& special guest) in concert as part of Trip To Birmingham Tradfest , BIRMINGHAM
Venue : Ulster Suite, Irish Centre Birmingham
Tickets : £10 / Children U14 £5
Info :!tickets/c226e

Trip To Birmingham Tradfest , BIRMINGHAM

This recording is available on download only; available from from 28th November and Karen and Adrian will be playing their live versions of the tracks which were recorded on a ghetto blaster 30 years ago in 1985. The recording was then copied onto several cassettes which bootlegged their way around the UK and Ireland for the subsequent 10 -15 years.
NB This download has been edited and mastered by Andy Bell but remains, warts and all, in it’s original recorded form – the quality isn’t as pristine as current CD releases but, as a field recording, remains a valuable archive.

Venue : Irish Centre Birmingham
Info :

Sat 28th November : MAY MONDAY (KT & Timo Alakotila) in concert at MALVERN
Venue : Elmslie House, 8 Avenue Road, Malvern, WR14 3AG
Time : 7.30pm
Tickets : £15
Info : 07789 470780

Sun 29th November : MAY MONDAY (KT & Timo Alakotila) in concert at NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE
Venue : Greenfield House, St Cuthbert’s Road, Marley Hill, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE16 5EB
Time : 7.30pm
Tickets : £20
Info :

Mon 30th November : MAY MONDAY (KT & Timo Alakotila) in concert at THROPTON, NORTHUMBERLAND
Venue : The Old Church, Coquetdale Music Trust, Thropton, Northumberland NE65 7LR
Time : 7.30pm
Tickets : £7
Info :

Thurs 3rd December : MAY MONDAY (KT & Timo Alakotila) in concert at CHRISTCHURCH, NAILSWORTH, GLOUCESTERSHIRE
Venue : Christchurch, New Market Road, Nailsworth, Gloucestershire GL6 0DQ
Time : 7.30pm
Tickets : £7
Info :

Thurs 10th Dec : KT performing on Johnny Coppin‘s Christmas Show, CHELTENHAM
Venue : Bacon Theatre, Dean Close School, Cheltenham GL51 6HE
Time : 7.30pm
Info :

Wed 16th Dec : KT teaching in Droitwich.
(Eve) KT teaching at Birmingham CCE.

Thurs 17th Dec : KT teaching in Droitwich. (daytime)

Sat 19th Dec : KT performing on Johnny Coppin‘s Christmas Show, STROUD
Venue : Stroud Subscription Rooms, Stroud, Gloucestershire.GL5 1AE
Time : 7.30pm
Info :

Fri 29th January : MAY MONDAY (KT & Timo) at DUBLIN Trad Fest Lunchtime recital

Sat 20th May : MAY MONDAY (KT & Timo) Isle of Wight

Mon 11th- Fri 17th July : KT & Timo & Tom McElvogue at KAUSTINEN FESTIVAL, FINLAND


Round and about. . .

From: Zoe Barker <>
Sent: 19 October 2015 23:03
Subject: TRAC PV at Quarr – A Line of Flight – Thu 29 Oct

The Ryde Art Collective warmly invites you to  ‘A Line of Flight’

at Quarr Abbey (PO33 4ES).

This is an exhibition of work first curated at Gallery Artspace Portsmouth by Jan Frith and Zoë Barker.
TRAC members were challenged to explore new ground or ‘territories’ away from their usual way of working.
We look forward to seeing you then.
Zoë (on behalf of TRAC)
A Line of Flight’ runs at Quarr Abbey 29 October – 3 November, open daily 10.30am-4.30pm
Showing work by Peter Allen, Rachel Andrews, Anne Axford, Zoë Barker, Nikki Brown, Freya Conway, Greta Friggens, Jan Frith, Katie Hobbs, Leigh Jackman, Donna Jones, Barbara Long, Lyndy Moles, Margaret Moore and Nicky Symes.



Karen Tweed is represented worldwide by  :
Lorraine Carpenter at Different Strings Agency

+44 117 904 1870 / +44 7929 135744