Well now!
It has been quite a busy start to the new year but always helped by listening to things like Roger Wilson’s ‘Are You Familiar?’ or Tim Dalling’s ‘Eve’s Bonie Squad’ or Arvo Part’s ‘Alina’.

Tom McElvogue has been doing some astonishing things on my website (www.karentweed.com) plus taking new photos of yours truly and designing new posters for me (see above). There is all sorts of cds, downloads and t shirts (I have been busily scribbling)
and the t shirts are produced via a company on the Isle of Wight called Rapanui, who I first came across in Sandown, but who are now based in Cowes.

There’s lots of concerts and workshops coming up and if you wish to know about that and skip my banter, scroll on down!!! ūüôā

I have been over to the UK spending time catching up with old friends, teaching a bit at Eilish Whelehan and Peter McAlinden’s class in London (great students!); popping into the V&A Museum to see the Julia Margaret Cameron exhibition and also attending my Uncle Derrick Tweed’s funeral.
He was a lovely man with a very wry, dry sense of humour and, like my Dad, had a great philosophical approach to life. Yes, he will be sadly missed and yet his unending sense of cheekiness and ability, even in his last days, to make us laugh is something that I am really inspired by.

Bless him.

I was also over on the beloved Isle of Wight, briefly and while there, I finally got to meet the cartoonist, Al Rowe. Here’s his map of the Isle of Wight!
If you would like to buy a copy, contact Al via his website www.potting-shed-cartoons.co.uk or email him :


I have always loved cartoons like The Beano, Tom and Jerry, Giles and so on. I first saw Al’s work on the Ryde town map and contacted him as I had used some of his ideas on a logo I had been working on. He’s a gentle chap and it was splendid to see some of his work in varying stages of the process – from the hand drawn sketches to how he uses gouache to colour the drawings to the printed final piece. Al is, like me, a big fan of drawing, good tea and biccies and is also a keen cyclist. . . somehow he always manages to sneak a cyclist in most of his commissions.

I am back in Roscommon now, the floods have receded and a great tune was enjoyed last Friday night in the Shannon Bar in Tarmonbarry. I’m playing my melodica a lot these days – talk about aerobic workout (and it stops me talking!!!) – Jim McLoughlin has been putting me through my paces by playing his Eb and Bb accordions, so I am getting to know the black keys better these days too!

OK – so what’s coming up? This Friday 29th January, Timo and I are doing a lunchtime concert as part of the Dublin Tradfest


we are really looking forward to it and playing some new material :


and next week I am starting the first in a series of solo concerts and workshop days (see below) – Fri 5th Feb is a solo concert at the Caffi Caban Cafe in North Wales, followed by an Accordion Day on Sun 7th Feb near Bangor; Fri 29th April is a solo concert at the Roxy Cinema in Axbridge, Somerset, followed by an Accordion Day at Priddy Village Hall, Somerset on Sunday 1st May.

I’m resuming skype lessons (email me for details : info@karentweed.com) and teaching in Worcester on a monthly basis (slots available via www.learningaccordion.com) from Tues 9th Feb.
Now then, I have been asking a few people to write 100 words about anything they feel passionately about and Paul Freeman kindly sent me the following :

At my stage of life the only thing I ever ask for as a birthday or Christmas present is “time”. Well, that’s what I asked for when I thought I was being clever once, but in the days after I said it, I realised that it is actually the main thing I’d really like to buy. I don’t want (much) more money, I want to sustain my happiness. So now I pay someone to mow my lawn so that I can make a tree house for the children. And I also pay him to do things like paint the house or assemble flat pack furniture, while I sort out our home computer network or practice my melodeon. And I’ve found that as well as enjoying the hours I buy, I’m enjoying the way that he can be difficult to get hold of these days because his reputation as a reliable odd job man has spread in my area and he’s really busy.

I can play the melodeon but I can’t read music. I know very capable musicians that sound better than me but cannot play without the sheet music in front of them. If I read from a French text it would probably sound like I knew the language and could communicate in it. But take the book away and I would be lost, barely capable of ordering myself a meal or describing what Monsieur Marsaud was eating for his own dejeuner.¬† I used to use this as a reason to not bother learning to read music. But I have now found that the ability to read music is less important than the ability to communicate with other musicians using a common language, which is made a whole lot easier if one can read music. I’m slowly figuring out how to get round this.

I’m an engineer and I’ve been surrounded by engineers for all of my working life. Which is OK. But you do notice a few interesting things. Like this: they tend to love complexity, especially when it’s “elegant”. Fine, but this leads them to assume that things that look simple are, well, simple, and somehow beneath them, and worthy of a trivialising contempt. But that is rarely the case. The simpler something appears, the more dangerous it is: it could be hiding a phenomenal complexity that can kill a company when it goes wrong and becomes painfully visible. I’ve built a large part of my career on being aware of this.

I’ve been credited with many things in my life, most of which I’m not particularly proud of. But one of them I’m quite pleased with. It’s referred to as Freeman’s first law, which goes something like this: if a problem is to be solved properly, or a task is to be completed properly, then the person responsible for getting to done, or maybe even doing it, should be the person who cares the most about it. “Who cares the most ?” is a question I always ask myself when managing “situations” and “issues”. It’s more important that “How shall we fix this ?”. Find that person, and make sure that he or she is aware that no one cares more than they do that this thing gets done.

How can that path through the woods be so well trodden, but I’ve not met anyone on it even though I walk it about once a day ? Do we all walk in the same direction ? If it’s a ten minute stretch through the woods, then if only ten or twenty people walk it each day during daylight hours in the opposite direction to me, then I would be on the path at the same time as someone else about 10% of the time. What’s going on ?

Birds always win versus fish: cormorants are protected; the fish they eat aren’t. Shame for the fish. Less pollution means clearer water, which means cormorants can see their prey better; there are fewer fish around than there used to be. And telly “on” wins against telly “off”. I’ve never seen a family situation where the person who wants the telly “off” gets his way against another¬† who wants the telly “on”, even when “hrmph, typical, there’s nothing on!”. I think this is odd.¬† And hats: I sometimes wear a most excellent hat. Not outrageous, just really nice. And people ask “why are you wearing that hat ?”. And I want to say “why are you NOT wearing a hat ?”. Who has the stronger position ?

Music requires no language of words to make its emotion clear, its message is sent by rhythm and harmony, intervals and textures for ear. Qualification and technical awareness can even get in the way. Visual art is easily pleasing, a common language is used. But poetry demands a sophistication that is not most commonly found. How I’d love to love it, but the barriers seem high; I try but I get nowhere. A major or minor chord needs no explanation. An unusual, poetic, use of words baffles me. It is easy to be unconsciously competent at enjoying music. So, “Poetry for Engineers”: will someone please put together a suitable course ?

Thank you, Paul.

I’ve been reading the most fascinating book called ‘Clarity’ by Jamie Smart (ISBN 978-0-857-08448-4) and listening to the Monty Python Diaries of Michael Palin. Fascinating and thought-provoking stuff. Good to hear it read by Mr. Palin too.

And lastly, many thanks to Anna Pack (do catch her duo with Blowzabella’s Dave Shepherd), who sent me the most marvellous little collection of poems about knitting. Here’s one to end this natter with :

WOOL by Lydia Towsey
Our knitting
Is the length of a motorway
the distance
from a landed plane
to its long haul destination
the journey that the light makes
in the morning                from the sun.

We’ve been knitting¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† for a long time.
We didn’t notice

when our tension lessened
not at first¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† but then –
our needles

kept on missing.

We were knitting
but we kept on
off each other’s stitches

we couldn’t feel each other’s fingers
moving in the dark.

It happened gradually
loop by purl
slip by start
but kept on
until the last

till our knitting lay undone

and all our wool

lay dense

between us.

More again soonish,




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

Fri 5th Feb : Karen Tweed solo concert, BANGOR, North Wales
Venue : Caffi Caban Café, Brynrefall, Caernafon, Wales LL55 3NR
Doors open : 6pm
Concert starts : 8pm
2 course meal : £11 (Reservations : 01286 685500)
Concert ticket : £10
Info and tickets : 01286 685500 and www.karentweed.com

Sun 7th Feb : Karen Tweed Accordion Day BANGOR
10am – 4.30pm
Tickets : £40
Bring and share lunch
Info and contact : 01286 673696

Tues 9th Feb : Karen Tweed Teaching at WORCESTER
To book your slot, see :

Thurs 11th Feb: Karen Tweed Teaching at WORCESTER
To book your slot, see :


Tues 15th March : Karen Tweed Teaching at WORCESTER
To book your slot, see :

Thurs 17th March : Karen Tweed Teaching at WORCESTER
To book your slot, see :

Tues 19th April : Karen Tweed Teaching at WORCESTER
To book your slot, see :

Wed 20th April : Karen Tweed solo concert, CHELTENHAM
Venue : Everyman Theatre, Regent Street, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL50 1HQ
Info and tickets : 01242 500025

Thurs 21st April : Karen Tweed Teaching at WORCESTER
To book your slot, see :

Fri 29th April : Karen Tweed solo concert, SOMERSET
Venue : Roxy Cinema, 36 High Street, Axbridge, Somerset BS26 2AF
Tickets : £10 / £7 unwaged
Info and tickets : 01749 870078

Sun 1st May : Karen Tweed SOMERSET Accordion Day
10am – 4.30pm
Venue : Priddy Village Hall, Somerset BA5 3BE
Tickets : £40
Bring and share lunch
Info and contact : 01749 870078


Fri 17th ‚Äď Sun 19th June : Karen Tweed and Nick Wiseman Ellis Accordion Weekend in GERMANY!
Geestland area near Bremerhaven

Mon 27th June ‚Äď Fri 1st July :¬†Karen¬†Tweed¬†& Timo Alakotila teaching and in concert, FINLAND
Venue : Haapavesi Summer school ‚Ä®Dates : 27th June ‚Äď 1st July
Information : http://www.haapavesifolk.com/inenglish/

Saturday 2nd July : Karen Tweed & Timo Alakotila in concert FINLAND
Venue : Haapavesi Festival
Info and tickets : http://www.haapavesifolk.com/inenglish/

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



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

email: lorraine@differentstrings.co.uk

+44 117 904 1870 / +44 7929 135744




Copyright © 2016, Karen Tweed, All rights reserved.