There and Back Again – Long Way Round

Hello everyone! I am back from my ramblings across the country, more about which anon, with some good news for you all! There and Back Again’s debut CD is now available, from our Bandcamp page or by post (more details here).

For those of you who haven’t explored that part of my site, There and Back Again is one of the groups with whom I perform. We are a folk piano trio, probably the only one in existence, comprising Piano (me), Whistle (Yarden Brody) and Cello (Pip Ash). We play music mostly from the British Isles, using semi-improvised arrangements developed over time. We use no written music and none of our arrangements have been written down.

Last September we recorded a CD in Edgware, using the services of a friend of ours, Ross Henrywood. Unfortunately finals got in the way somewhat, as all three of us and Ross were in our final year, so the CD didn’t get produced until this month and was just about ready in time for our album launch at Broadstairs Folk Week. We had a fantastic time at Broadstairs by the way, playing four gigs and selling lots of CDs (but not all of them).

The album features modern folk tunes and traditional tunes, as well as one classical tune (the incomparable Linden Lea). We have a Playford tune, pipe tunes, fiddle tunes and even an Australian tune. I hope that you will enjoy listening to it (which you can do for free on Bandcamp) and that you will like it enough that you will want to buy it. I am quite happy with it, there are some wonderful bits of interplay between instruments, something which I love listening to and why I particularly enjoy performing with the group.

I have taken the decision to put the album up on Bandcamp because I agree thoroughly with the guiding principles of that service. Regular hypothetical readers will be aware that I have talked in the past not once, but twice about music copyright – Bandcamp has the right idea. They think that people want to listen to music before they buy it, so they allow them to do so, whilst retaining control. So you can stream music for free, but have to pay to download. This is a very sensible compromise. Their hosting fees are also very reasonable and transparent. I am proud to display the Bandcamp logo at the bottom of this page.

There and Back Again is a fantastic thing to be part of, so it saddens me that we won’t be able to gig until 2013 – our lives are chaotic enough at the moment that we aren’t accepting bookings until we know what we will be doing. But we will be continuing post-graduation, so look out for us at festivals and clubs next year. Everything that I perform with is unique as far as I am concerned – even the four ceilidh bands that I’ve played with this year have been distinctive in their own way. There and Back Again is no different – when it works it is an unbelievable musical experience. Hopefully some of that has come across in our CD.

However, it is my unpleasant and embarrassing duty to point out that there are, shock horror, three mistakes in the liner notes, which were my responsibility. Most seriously, track 5 is erroneously presented as Dudley Drive/Donegal Lass, when it should actually be Donegal Lass/Dudley Drive. I have however correctly stated that Donegal Lass is by Brian Finnegan and Dudley Drive by Jarlath Henderson, and I apologise unreservedly to both Brian and Jarlath for that mistreatment. Next, the back of the case states that the first track is made up of Missing Time/Amorous Lover/Good Drying, when it should actually be Good Drying/Amorous Lover/Missing Time. This is presented correctly in the booklet. Lastly and most embarrassingly, on the back page of the booklet, my name is spelt “Owen Wood”, rather than “Owen Woods”. So there you go, I can’t even type my own name right, and they trusted me with the notes for a CD.

Mistakes notwithstanding, I do hope that you enjoy the CD. It’s been a fun two and a half years with There and Back Again, hope that there are many more to come. And, of course, it would be nice to make a profit to fund the next box, so please do buy it!


EDIT: My good friend Ollie King has gleefully pointed out that there was an error in the errors. This has now been retcifeid.


9 thoughts on “There and Back Again – Long Way Round

  1. It’s great all around (mistakes aside :P) – really very well done and something to be proud of!

    It’s making me really really want to get round to recording something myself. Especially after the album I helped out on. Maybe that’s the project for this coming year. First, put some sets together though…

    • Mistakes? What mistakes? :P And I know what you mean. I’m resisting making a solo box album at least another year. I feel that I’ve still a way to go before I’m ready for that journey.

      • In the notes, not the album! I’m going to work at it, a project to aim for after I graduate perhaps.

        To be honest, I need to settle on a style first too!

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  5. So, I’ve been living with this one for a few months now and just want to tell you how much I appreciate it. I am very much NOT a purist, and very much appreciate your approach to this music. I could go on about how it philosophically suits me — aesthetic clarity, eschewal of irony — but I’ll just tell you that I really love the way it sounds. I do have a question for Yarden Brodey, swapping between recorder and whistles … I play both, and wonder about the approach to each instruments performance history and general standards of practice (e.g., the recorder, typically, is played with a lot of tonguing, the whistle, especially in irtrad, is not usually tongued). Just an issue that I wrestle with all the time, wondering what another player’s approach is.

  6. Gary,
    My general attitude is that it is important to learn the “correct” playing styles/ornaments of both instruments, but only for the purposes of giving yourself a wider range of voices or ornamentation to choose from and play with. I generally play in a style which is a mish-mash of both, with the attitude that anything I do on one instrument that has been borrowed from the other instrument’s playing style makes it sound different/unique to me and is a really good thing, as long as it sounds good and doesn’t stop me from performing the tune (e.g. too much tonguing will slow a tune down).

    For example, I will quite often tongue the beginnings of cuts and phrases on the whistle, because I think it sounds cleaner. I have also been triple tonguing extensively in places where a traditional whistle player would use a turn, because I like the sound it makes and it is my own interpretation of that ornament.
    Conversely, I have found that whistle playing technique works just as well on the recorder, and will pick one or t’other according to the tune type/sound, or simply whichever one is more natural to finger. I encourage people to find fingerings which flow more easier or are borrowed from the other instrument, even if they aren’t the prescribed ones.
    Lately, I have been taking more of an interest in traditional whistle playing, forcing myself to play piping ornaments the way they are usually played. And although this is a good thing in terms of ability and repertoire, I find that I do not make use of my tongue at all. I think this is stupid, that the traditional way of playing was adopted from piping which doesn’t have the ability to tongue doesn’t mean I shouldn’t use mine. I take the view that if I have the means or ability to make a sound which I like, I shouldn’t be stopped by a misplaced emphasis on “tradition” or “correctness”, mostly because the whole point of folk music is that it is not bound by these restrictions, and as I performer I am free to play however I like.

    Yeah. Hope that answered your question.

    • Thanks so much! It’s interesting that the whistle, typically, bases its ornaments on the pipes, but the wood flute emulates more the fiddle (which emulates the pipes?). And the B/C accordion came to prominence because it could do “fiddle ornaments.” After the pipes, it seems, on one has said, “Gee, I wonder what will work on THIS instrument, in and of itself.” I did know a flute player — classically trained — who had no shame at all about her tonguing (double and triple), and the local session, after a time of approbation, accepted her and her new-fangled ways. I do disagree that “the whole point of folks music is that it is not bound by these restrictions.” Not that this isn’t a valid (and wonderful, if the CD is any guide) aesthetic, but I think one chooses folk music not to remove restrictions, but to choose a particular set of them … at least as a foundation, which can then be stretched according to taste (though there are consequences). I tend to find myself siding with “the old fashioned” in things related to my prime instrument (melodeon), but that’s my preference for my own playing.

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