Hi all,

It’s been quite a time with storms and the death of Nelson Mandela; both took me down to Priory Bay for a walk along the sea reflecting and watching clouds. I’m very lucky to be able to do that (because I live here on the beloved Isle of Wight and because I’m not touring just now because of health issues) and the more I do it, the more I need to, I’ve found.

I had to smile at the Queen’s comments on Mr Mandela’s death. . . but the overriding thing that occurred to me was that everyone returned to this man’s ability to forgive, despite everything he has witnessed in his life.

A big lesson for us all.

I will return with a longer missive but just to say a few things :

1. I’m sorry that I will not be able to perform with Johnny Coppin’s Christmas Shows in Cheltenham and Stroud this year – his new CD is now available (see below) as is Colum Sands new CD. I haven’t heard Johnny’s yet as it has only just been released but Colum’s is both beautiful and delightful – called ‘Turn The Corner’ it is available from www.columsands.com
I am playing on both CDs and I hope you’ll enjoy them.

NEW ALBUM by JOHNNY COPPIN – BORDERLAND
The release date will be early next year- but there will be some advance copies available from early December!- on tour and by Mail Order.
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The album is a new collection of songs from England, Ireland, Wales, and the USA. Including the much requested song Homeward, plus
Joseph Baker, Safe Home,  and 3 songs of the 1st World War ( John Condon, Dream of England, and a setting of F W Harvey’s poem Gloucestershire From Abroad).
The CD also includes Moonlit Apples – a setting of a John Drinkwater poem, plus 3 traditional songs The Brazier’s Daughter, Mary from Dungloe,
and a re-working of the Welsh song Cariad Cyntaf (First Love).
Featured musicians are Karen Tweed (accordion), Paul Burgess (violin and recorders), Mike Silver, Geoff March, and John Neilson.

Order by phone or email  —   UK price £12.95 inc Postage ( Rest of World price £14.95 inc Postage)
from Red Sky Records, P O BOX 27, Stroud, GL6 0YQ, UK.      Tel 01453 885088       johnny@redskyrecords.co.uk

2. I’m not doing anymore touring off-island for the foreseeable future and I have needed to cancel my Droitwich teaching dates until February. I shall resume Skype lessons from January 6th and will still teach here on the Isle of Wight. I’ve needed to stop working with all my previous collaborations and that also means I will not be teaching at Halsway Manor next year nor will I be able to honour further Beauty or the Beast concerts. My sincere apologies.

3. I am composing and now working on a research and development strategy to enhance my composition skills which is very exciting and workable while my health issues are gradually being addressed. Meantime, I’m hosting local dances, workshops, sessions and concerts here sporadically – the Isle of Wight is a hive of activity, creation and imagination. I hope you can pop over sometime. . . So, no panic, just a little step back and a ramble down a different life lane for me.

I hope you’ve time to enjoy the Yuletide events – I’ve been to see the St Helens Village of Angels – which is brilliant and so inspiring . . . and  last weekend I went along to Brighstone Village’s 17th Christmas Tree Festival which displayed over 120 trees decorated in so many imaginative ways by various organisations and people. Two personal favourites were a decorating firm’s step ladder covered in tinsel, snow and decorations . . . and the IOW Lacemakers whose handmade lace decorations were so very beautiful. Oh and there were decorations made out of popcorn! Brilliant!
I also went along to hear Steeleye Span at Shanklin Theatre; an interesting evening and I was very proud to see / hear Hannah James perform her 4th solo gig as support. She is a monumental force and I’m sure her solo career will escalate to the dizzy heights she is so very capable of. Wonderful to witness such brilliance.

This weekend I’m having a pre Christmas bit of fun with a French afternoon workshop (music, song and dance) followed by an early evening ceilidh in Brading on Saturday. Then on Sunday, I’m off to East Dene to host a day’s creative workshop using music, song, dance, creative writing and art, with an informal acoustic concert that evening. I’ll be joined by James Budden, Frances Watt and Kirsten Hellier and also at the ceilidh, I’ll be joined by Ian Watterson (caller), Mark Hickman on guitar and some surprise guests. I have been starting to fundraise for Kissypuppy and that will resume in January. The above events this particular weekend will be fundraising for Lisa Warburton who has recently been diagnosed with cancer. Lisa designed my first website and is a stunning hammer dulcimer player and wonderful woman. If you would like to help in any way, contact me on info@karentweed.com

http://www.karentweed.com/gigs

My new website (www.karentweed.com), designed by Nic Zuppardi is now up and running – it’ll tell you there about what’s in the pipeline including news on my series of tunes books of my own compositions, a website for downloading newly composed tunes inspired by traditional music and my new series of collaborations with artists such as Naomi Frears, Angelina Grimshaw, Paul Sivell, Clare Satow, Thomas McElvogue, Penny Walford, Nick Wiseman-Ellis, JC Grimshaw, and John Neilson. I’ll update you here and on the website.

I’ve been reading some of the books I was kindly given for my half century this year; at the moment it’s Alan Rickman’s unofficial biography. ‘Pavilatum Ergo Certe’ was the motto of the school Alan Rickman went to (apparently). I like that.

And, as ever, I would like to thank Lorraine Carpenter at Different Strings for her patience and support this last year.

There’s been a lot of vaguely blue skies here recently – I do hope you have the same.

Have a cosy time and enjoy a few of these links (they were working when I checked!!)

http://vfringe.co.uk/

http://www.dolectures.com/the-event/

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=V3-diqR41yo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEuhQVbmBCI&app=desktop
(KT performing at Caceres festival with Scorcha – KT; Niall Keegan, Sandra Joyce and Daoiri Farrell)

. . . and many congratulations to Ian Bascombe who does the traditional music radio show on ULFM in Ireland which won ULFM’s best show award for the 2nd time. Those Limerick students and that course is hard to beat.

xK