(PHOTO : Peter Ellis)


It’s been quite a week; some very tragic news regarding the Syrian immigrants. . .why does it have to take such tragedy to make politicians and governments act?

The good news is that homeless people are being offered beds by so many (over here, as I heard on Lyric FM radio yesterday afternoon).

I can’t help thinking how many spare rooms there are in the Royal residencies around the UK and how many refugees they could hold. . . I’m quite serious.

The ‘poorest’ people, I have found, are the most respectful, loving and have the most dignity; they would leave Buckingham Palace as they found it.

Don’t we all sing songs of Princes taking the working classes ‘away from all this?’. . .yes, it’s all mythology and never happened at all. . .

(Photo : Tom McElvogue)

OK – I must warn you, there will be a few blogs in quick succession.

They will be shorter (thank goodness!!) and you can read them at your leisure – except to say that from MIDNIGHT TONIGHT you will no longer be able to view the Shrewsbury Folk Festival Rewind performances.

I’m an early bird (because I like to hear the birds singing and also because I have a few tedious health issues at the moment that don’t allow me to sleep in. Poop!).

So I’ve been happily watching those live performances and interviews.

If, like me, you are still hanging about in the late 19th century and not very comfortable, still with all this techno stuff, you just :

1. Go to www.shrewsburyfolkfestival.com

2. Click where it says on the image (of the stage) ‘click here to watch online’.

3. That takes you to ‘Festival Rewind’ where you can click on a particular day and see who performed when and where – click on the gig you’d like to see / hear and hey presto – it should come up (NB This needs a fairly reliable internet signal).

I’m sorry if that sounds patronising (it’s the old school ma’am in me), but a few friends have said they have had difficulty in seeing those performances. I hope that explanation helps.

My personal highlights are :

Patsy Reid Band (she is fantastic and the opening set really blew me away) 

Spooky Men’s Chorale (put me in mind of the Finnish Shouting Choir I saw several years ago)

Folk Nations (swoon)

JigDoll (had me weeping at the gig and the same again now – what a ‘work in progress’ – can’t wait to see her on her November tour www.jigdoll.co.uk)

Good Vibrations (I don’t care that I’m in it – it’s one amazing show put together in under 3 days!)

Ten Strings and a goatskin (what energy – those Canadians. . .)

La Bottine Souriante (still rocking after all those years. . .I was at the very front of the audience with Anna Pack and Ayla. What fun!)

Blowzabella Dance (not sure that’s up on Rewind but it was a fantastic bal and music)

And finally, the ONE AND ONLY. . .
NEW ROPE STRING BAND. . .they are parting company after Oct 31st – get to see them. There is nothing as good or quite like them anywhere in the world.

So here’s the link for Good Vibrations :


It was watched by over 450 countries! Oh I love technology when it works. . .

. . .and just to say that the medley I performed with Sandy Silva was ‘My Dear Julia’ (written as part of a Suite inspired by 12 Julia Margaret Cameron photographs chosen by Vic King and Dr. Brian Hinton from Dimbola Musuem, Freshwater, Isle of Wight); ‘Kuivatusa Luavalssi’ by Tapani Varis and lastly my tune for the late Davy Steele, ‘Steele The Show’ which is in my Merrie Melodies Tune Book Vol 1 – out very soon, now).
The snippet of the song at the end is ‘The Black Caps’ by Mark Hickman – words below :

Way up high the jets are flying,
I stand here alone with a Blackcap singing,
Is it so strange I don’t want to go,
All those miles from home and the places I know.

Verse 1 :
I walk down the hedgerows alive with spring colours,
The blues, the violets, pinks and yellows,
Past towering hawthorns by the path to the sea,
Where we stand there alone, side by side, you and me.
Verse 2 :
The chestnut in bloom with its coat of white candles,
In a patchwork of green reaching down to the shallows,
Where the whispering waves from the beckoning sea,
Tell me this is my world where I want to be.
Verse 3 :
There on the rock, a flash of bright feathers,
A Wheatear from Africa, we watch each other,
Thousands of miles it’s been on the wing,
And this image of springtime makes my heart sing.
Verse 4 :
Thrift and foxgloves greet the spring morning.
Shining in the haze as the day is dawning,
I walk up the path to the seat by the tree,
Where we meet there and sit, side by side, you and me.
Chorus x2


Mark and I performed the song at Ventnor Fringe in August and he is sending me a recording of the concert so I’ll be popping that up on my website soon and you can then hear how the song goes. It’s great and you’ll be singing it every morning. . .

Earlier this week, I had a lovely time sitting, front row, alongside the great Frank Kelly – piano accordion legend of Roscommon town.

He’s a fabulous musician and quite a card, who, along with Patsy Hanly (flute), John Wynne (flute) and others play every Thursday evening in Carthy’s Pub in Roscommon town. 
We were enjoying the Alan Kelly Gang with special guest Eddi Reader at the Roscommon Arts Centre. A packed house and a very informal, fun concert with some gorgeous tunes and very-Eddi songs – you’ve guessed it, Frank is accordionist Alan Kelly’s father.
We were delighted to see, hear and meet up with Ian Carr (guitar) who was playing.

As you may know (or are old enough to remember) I made several albums and a cassette with Ian in the 1990s – we were discussing the re-releases via upload (see below) of those cds on my website and remembering how unsure we were about the music we made at the time; always wondering if it was too ‘bonkers’ or if we had overstepped any respect line in the music we were creating.

I say ‘creating’ although we never saw it like that – Ian and I were just having tremendous musical fun. His musical humour and off-the-wallness was his legacy and just him, really – it’s not surprising he was an original member of the New Rope String Band (they were ‘The Old Rope String Band’ then, with Ian, Pete Challoner and Joe Scurfield) and Ian played piano accordion with them too!  
It’s also why his part in Tim Dalling’s new CD ‘Eve’s Bonie Squad’ is so amazing and a kind of full-circle.

Do get it.

Every home needs it.

Here’s the link to the stunning set the New Rope String Band did at Shrewsbury Folk Festival last week. As I said earlier, do get to see them before the end of October – they are packing in the band then, sadly. Tim’s the one with the kilt. . .

Anyway, back to the plot (we’re back in Roscommon now at the Alan Kelly gig).

The encore was brilliant fun with Alan bringing onstage for a blast, his Dad, his sister (super tin whistle player) and John Wynne on flute.

I loved Alan’s waltz for his grannie who only died (at the grand age of 98) only a few weeks ago and who went to as many concerts as she could until she died – quite a lady, by all accounts.
After the concert, we horsed over to the Camlin Bar beside Richmond Harbour, Clondra, County Longford where a session was in full swing and Michael Lennon was there, playing away.

I asked him about his party weekend (ending in a great session in the bog! – as in Peat Bog, btw, not the lavatory. . .) and about the cake.

And ofcourse, it was Marian Gill.

Who else? I knew Marian and Mick Gill in North London from about the age of 16. Marian played piano accordion but mostly the concertina and is responsible for SO many great young trad Irish music players in the Haringay area of London. . .and, as Michael reminded me, for getting so many adults playing again.
She is another quiet hero of mine, along with the likes of Liza Austin-Strange (Stockport), Frank McArdle (Glasgow) and John Ferguson (Leeds) who continue to encourage, nurture and teach people from all walks of life and especially young people, often from disadvantaged backgrounds to excel in their own culture.
Marian’s husband, Mick helped me enormously, to stage one of my very first exhibitions of traditional musician portraits in the Irish Centre, Camden Town, London in the late 1980s. Not only did he and Marian help me organise and stage it but he made the frames for the pictures (all of which have now been sold or given away to friends).
People like these are as rare as hens’ teeth (as my Mum used to say) and I am honoured to know them. They never stop helping, creating, nurturing; quietly encouraging and the results are not only musicians like Hannah James, Amy Thatcher, Sean Gavigan, Emmet Gill etc but really sound young people who treat others with respect and kindness.
OK. Steak and duck eggs Paleo time. 

Blimey. This was short? EEEK. 
Have a super Sunday.

More soon. . .OMG and next week it’s The Newry Fleadh (aka Newry Music Festival or Iurcinn Fleadh where I’ll be playing and teaching and meeting up to play with Annette Hannigan (nee Caulfield); Marion McGauley (nee Caulfield) and Eileen Opie (nee Fitzpatrick) – we grew up playing music together (from when I was 14!!!. . .that’s 38 years ago. . .) at the Luton Leagrave CCE and I competed in the duet competitions at the fleadhs with Annette on banjo.

Are we going to have some fun. . .(and believe it or not, but they talk more than me!!!)


Do hop across from wherever you are – it’ll be fab!



Thursday 10th September – Sunday 13th September : KT at NEWRY CITY MUSIC FESTIVAL, Newry, Northern Ireland.

Friday 18th – Sunday 20th September : THE LONGFORD COLLECTION WEEKEND (in partnership with Karen Tweed’s Great Days. . . .

Friday 18th September : Grand concert with KT (solo) and The Longford Collection & Friends
Barney’s Bar and Restaurant. 12 Main Street, Longford Town, County Longford, Republic of Ireland
Tickets : 7€ (advance) / 10€ on the door. 5€ under 16s and unwaged. Under 5s – free.
Available from :

or call Kim on +353 (0)86 832 4152 / Michael +353 (0)87 690 9756

or from Barney’s Bar and Restaurant +353 (0)43 339 3257
and the Longford Tourist Office, Market Square, Longford Town, County Longford, Republic of Ireland.
Tel : +353 (0) 43 334 2577
Saturday 19th September : WORKSHOPS and TALKS and MASTERCLASSES!!!
Venue : The Longford Arms Hotel and Spa, Longford Town, County Longford, Republic of Ireland.
(we tried to make the address as simple as possible to remember. . .)
Tel : +353 43 3346296
Music workshops from 10am – 4.30pm led by Karen Tweed (piano accordion) and Nick Wiseman Ellis (diatonic button accordion).

Karen will be concentrating on Irish traditional music techniques using repertoire from the Bunch Of Keys Tune Book 1, polkas, slides and perhaps a waltz as well.
Nick will be concentrating on Irish traditional music, French and Swedish music.
Notation and ABC notation will be available at the end of the day; however, you are encouraged to bring a notepad, pencil and recording device. All music will be taught in the workshops, by ear.
NO beginners but everyone else welcome.
Schedule :
10am Welcome
10.15-11.15 Session 1 (KT & N W-E)
11.15-11.45 Tea / coffee break
11.45-13.00 Session 2 (KT & N W-E)
13.00-14.00 LUNCH (not provided)
14.00-14.45 Flute-On with local flautists Tom McElvogue and Noel Sweeney (Talk and Tunes; open only to and free to the Accordion Course students).

This is a ‘Listen and Share’ masterclass with Tom McElvogue and Noel Sweeney (flutes) where they share how / why they play and compose; their musical styles and where they came from; the local music in Longford and their varied lives involving music professionally.
14.45-15.00 Tea / coffee break
15.00-16.30 Session 3 (KT & N W-E)
16.45-17.45 Karen Tweed’s beginner’s melodica class (melodicas provided – no experience in playing or music reading necessary).
This is a beginners’ melodica workshop with Karen Tweed (open to everyone).
Karen started her musical life on the melodica and they are great as they teach you keyboard skills and breathing; so you can then go onto woodwind, brass, accordions etc and the melodicas aren’t a ton weight! Perfect for adults and younger people alike. . .
Tickets : 3€ (Free to Accordion Course students).
All ages welcome.

or call Kim on +353 (0)86 832 4152 / Michael +353 (0)87 690 9756 

or from The Longford Arms Tel : +353 (0)43 3346296

All above events held at the Longford Arms.
Plus some non-musical-but-very creative talks for those needing to get away from those darned accordions!
Accordion Workshop day 60€.
Accordion Classes student numbers are capped at 20 students.
Tickets : 60€ for the workshop day.

Available from :

or call Kim on +353 (0)86 832 4152 / Michael +353 (0)87 690 9756

and www.longfordarms.ie
Tel : +353 (0)43 3346296

and the Longford Tourist Office, Market Square, Longford.
Tel : +353 (0) 43 334 2577
On the Saturday the evening, there will be a ‘Despicable Ceili’ (Round the House and Mind the Minions!!!) with prizes for the best dressed character from any of the DespicableMe Movies and certainly for the best dancer (in the style of DespicableMe).

At The Temperance Hall, Longford Town.
Music will be by The Longford Collection and many of the dances will be called so no experience necessary!
Ceili, old time, sets and waltzes. Oh you HAVE to have waltzes (don’t tell my Dad though, he hates waltzes!!!)
Fancy Dress (optional) Ceili tickets : 5€ / ‘Family’ ticket (2 adults and 2 under 16s – none of whom need to be related) 10€ 
Available soon from :

or call Kim on +353 (0)86 832 4152 / Michael +353 (0)87 690 9756
and the Longford Tourist Office, Market Square, Longford.
Tel : +353 (0) 43 334 2577
Sunday 20th September :
Music workshops from 10am – 3.30pm led by Karen Tweed (piano accordion) and Nick Wiseman Ellis (diatonic button accordion).
Karen and Nick will be creating a performance big band (ALL instruments – including woodwind and brass welcome) which will perform in a public concert that day at 5pm.

A kind of ‘Crikey, let’s get a move on!’ pop up instrumental and vocal workshop.

No experience needed; but no absolute beginners on instruments, please.
Bring your instruments and voices, a wee note pad and recorder if you have one. There will be notation for melodies and words for the songs but arrangements will be done by ear.
Tickets : 20€ for the workshop day. Family ticket (you do need to be related for this one) 50€
Available from :
or call Kim on +353 (0)86 832 4152 / Michael +353 (0)87 690 9756

or The Longford Arms Tel : +353 (0)43 3346296

and and the Longford Tourist Office, Market Square, Longford.
Tel : +353 (0) 43 334 2577
A lively and fun popup big band created from today’s students and directed by Nick Wiseman Ellis and Karen Tweed.
Expect madness, beauty and fun in music, vocals and spoken word.
At the Longford Arms and Spa, Longford Town 
Tickets : 5€
Available from :
or call Kim on +353 (0)86 832 4152 / Michael +353 (0)87 690 9756

and www.longfordarms.ie
Tel : +353 (0)43 3346296

and the Longford Tourist Office, Market Square, Longford.
Tel : +353 (0) 43 334 2577
So if you’d like to come for the whole weekend, book in with the Longford Arms Hotel and Spa – great rooms, lovely food and heaps of free parking. Bang in the centre of town too!
Tel : +353 43 3346296
 NB: The accordion workshops are limited to 20 students (we will split the group so that students get time with Nick and I individually – max 10 students in each class, and some sessions will be led jointly) so it may be worth booking sooner rather than later. If you are coming overseas and wish to borrow a box, email me at info@karentweed.com


I’m now re-releasing old recordings of mine as downloadable cds from my website (thanks to Tom McElvogue) and we’ve now got :
 ‘Shhh’ which was originally released in 1995 with Ian Carr (guitar)
‘Fyace’ which was originally released in 1997 with Ian Carr (guitar)


‘Half As Happy As We ‘ Two Duos Quartet originally released in 1999 with Ian Carr (guitar), Andy Cutting (diatonic button accordion) and Chris Wood (fiddle – he doesn’t play that anymore, sadly – and guitar and vocals)


‘One Roof Under’ which was originally released in 2002 with Andy Cutting (diatonic button accordion)


‘May Monday’ which was originally released in 2001 with Timo Alakotila (piano)

‘Midnight May Monday’ which was originally released in 2007 with Timo Alakotila (piano)



Round and about. . .


From: Jill Elliot <jillyelliot@gmail.com>
Sent: 27 August 2015 21:35
To: Jill Elliot
Subject: New Rope String Band Last Ever Somerset Performance


Just thought I should pass this on to you about the New Rope string band playing for the last time locally as so many of you enjoyed the New Rope String Band at the Christmas party last year.

FRIDAY 18th SEPT. Doors (and bar) open at 7pm
COMPTON MARTIN VILLAGE HALL (between Bristol and Bath)
tickets from knewlyn@hotmail.com
Tel: Katie Newlyn (Mobile): 07816 451295



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


+44 117 904 1870 / +44 7929 135744