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News from the hills

Imbolc 

On a day of soft light with Imbolc not long passed there is a stirring of Spring in the air and the heart begins to dream of roving. 

Though it’s a fraught time in which it seems that the broken disaster politics of greed, denial and the will to death has tightened its grip, we try not to spin off in despair. We tune in to the darkness, resistance and resolve are purified and strengthened and still we bear witness to the possibility that love, compassion, desire, the imagination can be tended and brought to fruition in this land. 

The Winter has held some fine adventures and encounters for us. On tour in England we played a house show in Sheffield where a world expert in wax cylinder recordings was in attendance and made a recording of us during the show on a Thomas Edison machine from the early 19th century using a wax cylinder he had made himself. We sang into a horn and our faces were still with wonder as we listened back through the same horn to the eerie, moving sound of our own voices from a distant time. Elsewhere a house show blossomed into a cracking late session with new-found friends, we drank deep of some ancient South Downs faery magic at the unique Brushmakers Arms Pub in Upham and also strengthened our connection with the thriving folk scene of London with gigs at Islington Folk Club and just recently at the newly established but excellent Dulwich Folk Club.  

In December a few dreamy days were spent at Tim Lane’s studio in the countryside south of Edinburgh recording the work of our collaboration so far with the amazing Trio Mythos string ensemble and Provencal vocal troupe Tant Que Li Siam. The recording features Sophie Renshaw’s breathtaking string arrangements of songs by ourselves and TQLS and will be available to listen to soon. At the end of the recording process we all travelled south for a concert in our homelands in Humshaugh village hall and in the morning walked up Wall Fell together in Winter sunshine. It seemed another thread was woven between the hills of Northumberland and the slopes of the Ventoux and our hearts were invigorated by the warmth of true camaraderie. We’ll be developing this collaboration over the coming year and plans are afoot to work on more material and do a tour together further down the line. 

We’re excited for the possibilities of the coming year. In March and April we’ll be going on tour in Holland and Germany and shall be playing at Costa del Folk in Ibiza not long after our return. Further off on the horizon we’re also planning tours in Ireland and Southern Germany/ Switzerland. In the Summer months we’re looking forward to getting in touch with the spirit of the land and opening to the blessings and uncertainties of the road with some musical adventures around Britain by foot and bicycle.

Autumn Winds 

The year so far has brought several offerings to us. We are a few weeks back form playing at Sidmouth Folk Festival, an amazing convergence of folk music, dance and culture on the barmy South Devon coast. It was a pleasure to spend some time there imbibing the spirit of the festival and to catch up with some musician friends along the way.

In July we caught the train down to Provence to work with fabulous ladies of Trio Mythos, (a classical string trio) and the elemental and wonderful Tant que li Siam (a polyphonic trio from Occitane) on music and potential future collaborations culminating in a concert in an ancient church in the hills which broke into spontaneous singing and dancing outside after the concert when wine and cheer were alive in the night and the frame drums and bells joined the fiddle and flute. On the way home we soaked in Marseille's edgy and smokey glory, Algeria was winning the semi-final of the Africa Cup and smoke and fireworks and flares were everywhere in the crumbling city.

The Summer also saw us begin to engage with the musical and story traditions of Dragon's in the North of England due to a very auspicious collaboration between ourselves, Professor Barbara Ravel Hoffer of Durham University and two puppet making, leather working magical artisans Emma Berry and Andy Bates, so far this has led to two theatrical concerts with volunteers from Durham Uni in Durham Cathedral and at Ushaw College.

We are now turning our mind to organizing tours for next year, including our first trip to Netherlands and Gemrnany and Czech in March/April and further UK and Ireland tours throughout the year. If anyone would like to discuss hosting us for a house concert or put us on in a venue somewhere please get in touch. We also hope for some hibernation time this Autumn and Winter to work on new music.

In late Sept early Oct we are on tour in England and will be filling gaps in our itinerary busking in towns along the way and seeing who we meet.

 

January 

Thanks to the support of everyone who helped with our crowdfunder we were able to finish creating 'The Fell' and launch it with a concert at Hexham's Queen's Hall which was for us a hugely enjoyable night. We have had two subsequent launch concerts in Newcastle and Edinburgh which were a joy. It feels a relief to have finished bringing the album into the world. We are hitting the road in Feb for a string of concerts in the North East, Scottish borders, London, Devon and Sheffield. We just received our first review of the album which was very positive from Folk Radio UK. Thankyou again to all of you who have made it possible for us to create this album through the spirit of the gift. https://www.folkradio.co.uk/2019/01/the-brothers-gillespie-the-fell/

Approaching Halloween 

Autumn is here with its rains and mists and sudden goldenings in the trees. Life brings unexpected challenges and the earth turns into its colder side. Our album held by the spinning fell under the stars comes closer to its time of birth. We have a launch date in Hexham on the 11th December and a pre-launch in London on 1st December with more dates to come. We are having a crowdfunder to help us get this creation into physical shape, to call the midwifes and fellow travelers of our soul family to help us birth this little album of hill songs. Looking forward to the long roads of Winter and the hearth fires, praying for more music and inspiration and for the unexpected but timely success of our collective movements towards compassion and justice and that we become more poetic even as we deconstruct our social conditioning and walk in cities thick with green space. How to speak over the ocean with a tongue that is inside the rain and broken out into the moor and yet aflame with a spirit of internationalist love? And equally importantly how to develop the strength and skill to listen to the voices on the wind speaking of another place in another language. How do we move en masse confidently and efficaciously without abandoning poetry and succumbing to the simple tyranny of abstraction and utility?

Summer Solstice 

We are in the midst of recording an album, of songs we have been carrying with us for a little while. When walking through Wall village, after a wedding party on the village green a couple of weeks ago we were struck by the vision of the hill above the green.  Such a generous presence in our lives going back to childhood. Such a refuge. As George Makay Brown said, if he had been born in a city he would never have written a line, without the fell we wouldn't have these songs to sing.

So the album is called 'The Fell' and we are loving the process of recording these songs in th dreamy studio of Tim Lane in the borders. We'll be releasing the album to the world in December with a launch in Hexham and will be setting up a crowdfunder in the next few weeks. If you'd like to welcome us for a show as part of our album launch tour in December please get in touch whether it  be it a big venue or an intimate house show you have in mind.

Latest Track

Shows

Previous events

Date Event Location
The Brothers Gillespie Groningen house concert, contact us for details Groningen house concert, contact us for details
The Brothers Gillespie Trouble Tree, Koudekerk a/d Rijn, NL Trouble Tree, Koudekerk a/d Rijn, NL
The Brothers Gillespie The Barton Inn, Barton St David The Barton Inn, Barton St David
Fanny’s Roving Folk Club All Saints Hall, , Langport All Saints Hall, , Langport
Fanny’s Parlour St Martins Church Hall, near Martock St Martins Church Hall, near Martock
The Brothers Gillespie Dulwich Folk Club, Lordship Pub, Dulwhich Dulwich Folk Club, Lordship Pub, Dulwhich
The Brewery Sessions Twice Brewed Brew House Twice Brewed Brew House
Supper Club Sessions Town Hall, St John's Chapel Town Hall, St John's Chapel
Down by The River Club withThe Brothers Gillespie Claypath Deli, Durham Claypath Deli, Durham
The Brothers Gillespie Cafe Einstein, , Emden NL Cafe Einstein, , Emden NL
The Brothers Gillespie Islington folk club, The tap room, London Islington folk club, The tap room, London
The Brothers Gillespie The Brushmakers Arms, Upham, Hampshire The Brushmakers Arms, Upham, Hampshire
The Brothers Gillespie The Brushmakers Arms, Upham, Hampshire The Brushmakers Arms, Upham, Hampshire
The Brothers Gillespie Chimphouse, Bristol Chimphouse, Bristol
The Brothers Gillespie The Original Ball, Maesbury The Original Ball, Maesbury
The Brothers Gillespie Dundee Acoustic Music Club Dundee Acoustic Music Club
Alnwick Festival  
The Brothers Gillespie Sidmouth Folk Festival, Devon. Sidmouth Folk Festival, Devon.
The Brothers Gillespie Sidmouth Folk Festival, Devon Sidmouth Folk Festival, Devon
Alston Live Alston Alston