News

2020 onwards…..

So the end of 2019 went off with a real bang!  Doug Eunson and I had a fantastic tour with our new Christmas CD “Chimes” around Ontario, CA and then back on home turf in the UK.  Thanks to all who came to the concerts, sang along and joined us in some Christmas Cheer and Wintery Wassailing!  We are so glad we did it then and didn’t wait until 2020!

The start of this year was going so well, as it was for many folk artists, gathering in some lovely gigs in the first few months and booking in festivals over the Summer – but it was not to be this year!

2020 has proven a year of learning for us all, and the biggest lessons have been in how to continue to make music with friends and colleagues whilst distanced apart and across the internet online.  Doug and I have done several online ceilidhs and concerts via Zoom and Facebook LIVE.  Slightly terrifying experiences to begin with, but amazing how you adjust to the technology and learn to harness it and become a little more at ease over time!

My work with Jo May in Intarsia has been a constant source of enjoyment and exploration over 2020, to my amazement.  We met up at Halsway Manor Artists’ Retreat in January and rehearsed and wrote new material for our up-and-coming recording for our first album.  We recorded in February and March and then lockdown hit!  Over May and June we wrote, and recorded at a distance, our song Sol Sistere (The Sun Stands Still in Latin) for the Summer Solstice.  We invited people out there to sing with us and send in their voices and videos to be included.  We were overwhelmed with the response and got 26 participants joining us!  The video and track were finished just in time and launched online on Sat 20th June.

We continued our remote writing and recording in July and August with an instrumental track “Always A Smile”, finished the mixing, mastering , artwork, and sent the CD off to be produced.  1000 copies of SISTERE were created in time for our launch at Derby Folk Festival at Home 2020.

Meanwhile we made a beautiful video with film-maker Gavin Repton to go with the first track on the album “Mam Tor”, and this was launched at the Derby festival online.  Following on from that we did an album launch concert online via Live To Your Living Room in October and an actual real life performance in Derby Market Place Folk Sessions.  We’re so proud of the CD and everything we have achieved this year, despite all the restrictions! (See https://sarahmatthewsmusic.wordpress.com/gallery/ for videos made this year.)

I have also been developing teaching fiddle online and started running fiddle workshops for Derbyshire Youth Folk Ensemble and Fiddle Workshops generally also through Live To Your Living Room.

My work with OPUS Music has also continued throughout lockdown this year, even though our practice has certainly changed in its format.  Being unable to enter the hospitals as we normally do, we have been developing our skills in writing, recording and creating video for pieces suitable for use in the Healthcare setting and still finding ways to connect with patients, their families and staff.  Challenging times indeed, but a real opportunity to learn and develop new skills in all these areas!

2018 onwards…..

Well, since I last wrote, I have been keeping myself very busy, as usual.  This last year or so has been one of exploring song writing and composition a lot more, and really finding my confidence with that!

Moirai trio have undertaken and completed a new writing project with a real focus and drive to tell the story of local woman Alice Wheeldon from 100 years ago and how she and her family were accused of plotting to murder the Prime Minister of the time and sent to prison.  It is a fantastic tale with the whole range of emotions included and we collectively wrote 20 pieces of music and song to tell this story, and released it at Derby Folk Festival on CD – Framed: The Alice Wheeldon Story!

Doug Eunson and I have also been busying away at our forth CD album with a lovely focus of Winter Wassail and Christmas Cheer – “CHIMES” CDs now available from cothrecords.co.uk.  This album also features a couple of new compositions within the seasonal theme.

Earlier in the year I was working with Jo Freya, Jo May, Melanie Biggs and Annie Whitehead amongst other really talented musicians on the KOMPOSIT project – working with 5 young composers as the musical ensemble to arrange, develop and bring their musical compositions to life in concert performance.  A great privilege to be working with this team!

Joe Danks and his Seaspeak Ensemble set sail in April this year with his newly researched and written compositions – recording in the Queen’s House of The Greenwich Maritime Museum was quite a glorious experience!!  We got to play this lovely material actually in the Cutty Sark to launch the album!

OPUS Music CIC has been successful yet again in securing funds to continue and develop our valued work in the hospital, working with vulnerable young people, and this time we have a focus of developing a curriculum and training package to help healthcare staff include music within their daily care role if they should wish to….that will keep us busy for the next two years.

Also exciting developments in the potential Derbyshire Youth Folk Ensemble as FOLK3D do folk music workshops and taster folk events at Music Centres around the Derby and the Derbyshire county – watch this space for future involvement of young people in folk activities…..

Intarsia are set to record their first duo CD in January of 2020, and Doug and Sarah duo have plans to make a CD entirely dedicated to gorgeous European dance music, along with all sorts of other musical loveliness I don’t even know about yet!

Now I must go and meet Issie Barratt and get ready tomorrow to record with Pete Morton on his new album – no rest for the wicked!!!

2015 onwards……

Well – it has been too long since I updated this page!!!! ……… So – what have I been up to?

There has been much time dedicated to the ongoing development of the Music in Healthcare work alongside Nick Cutts, Richard Kensington, Oli Matthews and four Apprentices – exciting blogs about our musical activities and latest information about our current work can be found at: www.opusmusic.org

So, in March 2014, I joined a new trio line-up – Moirai (www.moiraitrio.co.uk) enjoying making music with Jo Freya and Melanie Biggs.  Since then we have had many lovely gigs together and have recorded our first album with WildGoose Records : www.wildgoose.co.ukMOIRAI.

Cupola had a fabulous year last year working as the trio, in collaboration with Keith Kendrick and Sylvia Needham in the project “Tale of Ale”, with Lucy Ward in Cupola:Ward and DanceCupola were very busy on the dance circuit at festivals and clubs across the country.

And 2015 seems set to be just as wonderful.  We are looking forward to releasing our new Cupola album – title still to be confirmed….. but we have a great run of gigs to launch the album from end of April onwards……

Doug and I are very busy planning our next recording also and getting ready for gigging in the Summer and touring later in the year in Canada – exciting!!

For my solo work, I have continued writing new material with my latest song “Gathering Round” featuring on Cupola’s new album, and three new jigs being performed for Stone Monkey Sword dancers at DERT in April 2015.

Lots to look forward to…… see you somewhere along the way……

Summer 2012 onwards:

Well it certainly has been a fabulous Summer – and a brilliantly busy one!

Cupola have been over to Ontario, Canada twice in August: the first time to play at the Millrace and Goderich festivals, then again towards the end of the month to perform in Toronto and play and dance with Pecsaetan Morris at the Toronto Morris Ale – a fabulous weekend!

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In between times, we were home in UK visiting White Horse and Towersey Festivals to perfrom, and I popped up to Whitby Folk Week to sing “Oh How that Valley did Change” in the final of the John Birmingham Cup …… didn’t win, but that’s not the point!!

….then Bromyard…….and on to Derby Folk Festival with Cupola…….

FOLK3D have just had a splendid weekend at the Derby Folk Festival and I managed lots of new compositions in dance tunes and a brand new song about Rolls Royce – possibly the first folk song about the company to date??!!  A sneak preview of the lyrics:

High Flyers

By Sarah Matthews

I can fly high

I’ll take you up and soar to the edge of the sky

I can find sunshine on a dark cloudy day

Up through the turmoil

I’ll take you far far away

I’ll take you far far away

In the heart of the Midlands, a meeting of minds

A meld of creative and financial kinds

From the land to the sky machines they took flight

The pride of Derby so bright

Spools within spools around bearings turn

With temperatures higher than each part will burn

The whole being greater than the sum of its parts

The fire, the power, the heart

There came a dark time with our land under threat

We rallied our troops, the navy was set

The guttural growl of the Merlin up high

Brought victory up in the sky

So the world has moved on, it’s a much smaller place

And life seems to fly past at such a fast pace

What once was a dream is reality sent

The Conway, Olympus, the Trent

Anyway – on to more Autumnal things – lots to go at locally with DanceCupola playing for DEDA’s public ceilidh this Sat 20th Oct and many more to take us through the winter to the New Year……..including my album launch bash on Sun 11th Nov…..see new post flyer……chow!


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