Good evening,

It seems like several years have passed since I last sent out this blog and certainly life has had some major changes.

I have been over in Bristol and teaching this last week at Bath Folk Festival Summer School; if you have never been, do think about going next year. It was brilliant! :

It has been 3 years since I was here and it was so lovely to see how it has developed while still retaining such a lovely air of fun and community. There is a youth folk band that runs all year now too, so keep an eye on the website for things coming up over the next year.

. . .and it has been an amazing year so far, with a lot of reconnecting with old friends and places. . .I have had some wonderful experiences in Cambridge, Isle of Wight, Sweden, Germany and Finland which you will no doubt hear about later. . .including recording a new May Monday cd with Timo Alakotila. . . .

The biggest impact has been how my perception of time and synchronicity has changed.

(Photo by Peter Ellis)

While in Helsinki, I had come across a tune for Jill Walden and then received a message that she had passed away the night before. I’m sure you have all had similar experiences; thinking about someone and then to suddenly receive a text or a call. . .or they may have popped back into your life in some way?

Jill had been our school secretary at Weavers Comprehensive School, Wellingborough, Northamptonshire and I had started Ruskin Junior School about age 4, with her son, John and we remained in the same class until we left Weavers at 18.

Jill was the kindest and friendliest face you saw above you, peering out from a glass window just inside the school reception and that wasn’t only her job but her way, as I found out, many years later, when I reconnected with John; my parents had moved only a few streets down, once I left for Leeds and Art college in 1982.

Jill remembered everyone and had quite a role to play when school reunions were being planned and kept me up to date with various old chums every time I called in and of course, tea, roast dinners and meringues (my favourite) were always on hand at the drop of a hat. Tragically, John died following a double transplant operation some years ago and when my mother became very ill, not long after, Jill was such a rock to not only me, but to my father as well.

Giving was her nature, as was being strong. . .both in herself and for everyone. A lifelong inspiration and independent lady who gave so much love. . . And who had such a positive outlook, while a smile was never far from her lips.

Her contribution to my life and confidence was immense and I find that when any loved one dies, it focuses my attentions on how much they and their life have made a difference which then entices me to look for that so much more, in the smallest situations as life goes on.

Last week, Paul Ruane passed away.

(Photo kindly supplied by Norman Holmes)

Some may remember Paul as a stunning fiddler from Leeds and more recently an integral part of the Newcastle session scene (shown here, far right, in the Cumberland Arms with the lovely and also sadly, late Joe Scurfield on the far left).

(Photo kindly supplied by Norman Holmes)

Some may remember Paul as an inspiring teacher who graduated from Cambridge University and later became a Deputy Head in Newcastle upon Tyne. . .

. . .And some may have heard Paul in the band, Cuig, shown here (L-R: Paul, his wife, Dierdre, Norman Holmes, Sean Taylor and Martin Matthews) :

(Photo kindly supplied by Norman Holmes)

Recently, I had asked Paul for his thoughts when I finally realised that I had so much more time when I slowed down and so much less time when I rushed. And other such stories.

He took up themes in my blog (which resulted in fantastic e-discussions) and Paul had a passion for ‘sneaky’ tunes and little phrases in reels that enchanted us. . .and I loved his way of being uncompromisingly open in his adoration of his wife, Dee and his 3 daughters.

During the last while, he showed an incredible grace and determination that I doubt I could ever follow. . . and then came the news. Time stopped.

Nothing was ever showy nor obscure with Paul; his affection and respect for everything he cared about, be it people. nature, music, learning, teaching, discovering or inspiring. . . was simply constant. . . and enormous, solid as an oak and yet so understated.

Similarly, his music was stunning, from the way he played, (effortlessly dancing) and how he weaved the tune’s story which was as refreshing as a mountain stream on a foggy day.

(Photo kindly supplied by Norman Holmes)

. . .while his sense of fun, humour and devilment often had us in stitches. . .

(Photo kindly supplied by Tom McElvogue)

The funeral will take place on Tuesday 16th August at 11.45am in St. Teresa’s Catholic Church, Heaton Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE6 5NH. Email me for any other information.

People like Paul and Jill are treasures, constant treasures and that is all I can say, right now.


(Photo kindly supplied by Norman Holmes)


Tues 20th  September : Karen Tweed : TEACHING WORCESTER


Thurs 22nd  September : Karen Tweed : TEACHING WORCESTER

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

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:


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

Tues 11th October : Karen Tweed : TEACHING WORCESTER

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 or text 07903 986856

Thurs 13th October : Karen Tweed : TEACHING WORCESTER

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 /

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

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)

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.