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New whistle acquisitions.
05/07/14 - Tony Hinnigan
Master whistle-tweaker Jerry Freeman recently sent me a selection of his whistles and I relieved him of ten of them.
Since I got a set of Chris Abell whistles 30 years ago I've been pegged as a player of what are known as "high end" whistles - i.e., expensive.
It's true that, in the line of work I do, Abell, Oz, Busman, LeMeur, Harper and Hudson are the makers who crop up, as their instruments are reliable and professional. It's also true that the real cheapo whistles have rarely been much use to me as those products are, frankly, awful and, I believe, put a lot of people off making any progress with whistle playing due to their sheer unreliability. There is a kind of stubborn inverted snobbery, among some players, that any player worth his or her salt can pick up any old thing from a music-shop counter and make it sound wonderful.
Possibly, but this is where Jerry Freeman comes in. In the months since Jerry sent me his whistles, I have played them alongside everything I have, from the best on the planet to the worst on the music shop counter. He has taken instruments which barely merit the epithet "musical" and turned them into fully professional products. Do they sound like an Abell or an Oz? No. They, thankfully, sound different, like an actual "tin whistle". Light, bright tone and such easy, fluid, playability.
I ended up testing Jerry's whistles against themselves, as he had sent me too many and I had to choose. As an example, He sent three C's - just about the most difficult of all whistles to get right. A tweaked Generation, a Blackbird and a tweaked old-style Generation with the darker top, which are no longer made. All good - all different. I went for the dark-top, just because the sound of it is more useful to me.
In the picture, from bottom to top are:-
G, A, Bb, Bnat, Vintage C, Blackbird D, Eb, Enat, F and high G.
I've already used the Eb on a video game recording session yesterday. Looking forward, immensely, to using the others.


Milton Zapata re-start
20/06/14 - Tony Hinnigan
The situation re Milton's quenas has drifted, without much happening, for various reasons. I now propose to re-start the list and invite those who have already applied and anyone who has not yet done so, but would like to, to e-mail me again. I am setting a "deadline" of 31st July for firm orders, at which point I shall close the list and go to Paris in August, returning with the quenas to be sent out. The prices are on a previous news item and I shall have to add a small sum to each order to cover postage and packing. The amount will be the same, regardless of where you live. Hope this is clear and that we can now make efficient progress.

The accompanying photo is of myself playing a quena in B minor which became badly damaged but was repaired and plays more sweetly than ever.


Quena prices update
06/02/14 - Tony Hinnigan
I have just spoken to Milton to clarify the prices of his instruments.
It works as follows.
€120 for a standard quena in A minor. An extra €20 for each descending key. Thus:-
Gm €140
F#m €160
Fm €180
Em €200
Ebm €220
Dm €240

These keys are the Peruvian nomenclature. For the lowest note read one whole tone below the key as described so, therefore, a quenacho with lowest note D is Em €200.

Hope this is clear and helps with everyones budgeting.


Milton's quenas now available.
04/02/14 - Tony Hinnigan
This morning I received a telephone call from Snr. Milton Zapata to say that he now has a number of quenas which he has tuned and is happy to release. I plan to go to Paris in April to select quenas for those who have contacted me, are on my list, and now wish to place a firm order.
I believe the best way to approach the transactions is to use my Paypal account. Anyone wishing to purchase a quena would therefore send the money to that account and I would post a quena, wait for comeback on satisfaction (can't imagine there would be dissatisfaction but, if there was, the instrument could be returned to me and I would refund the money) and then send the money to Milton.
Milton has fixed a price of €120 for the standard quena in A minor (bottom note G). He has some quenas in other keys and some quenachos, which would be a bit more. If anyone wants one of these I can find out availability and price.
If you care to scroll down to the news items on 24/05/13 and 22/06/13 you will see photos of a quena I bought from Milton around 3-4 years ago. You can see that he has moved some of the hole positions. This is because he was working on a quena which had been in a different key and, not wishing to waste the cane, which is very scarce, he has reworked the holes. It is possible that some of the quenas he is now releasing have reworked holes. If this bothers anyone you should let me know. Personally, it is a badge of honour to own an instrument upon which a master like Milton has lavished such care and attention. Does it sound good? You bet. Is it in tune? Of course.
The accompanying photo is Milton playing himself.


Incantation catalogue being re-released.
11/12/13 - Founder Memberigan.
The entire Incantation catalogue is being re-released on Amazon, I-tunes, CD Baby et al. If you wish to purchase any tracks, please go to these sites, or a fine record shop near you. The first release has not been available on this site, or any other, before. It is "A Celtic Christmas" with Incantation and a great many fine friends. The front cover artwork is the accompanying picture on the site.


Webcasting re-rears its ugly head.
14/11/13 - Lord Reithigan
The other day my producer and I decided, on the spur of the moment, to try a "Desert Island Discs"-style webcast format. The result is now on the site under "Webcast". If any listeners to the 'cast wish to give me feedback, we may try the same thing with other musicians. Or even sane people.


Knackered crock pursues alternative career.
23/10/13 - Napoleon Hinnaparte.
Some readers may be aware that I have sustained a serious shoulder injury which prevents me from playing most musical instruments for the time being. I am, therefore, devoting myself to music arranging and score preparation, which is something I've always done when I've had the time. I now have plenty of time and cordially invite anyone who wants to avail themselves of my services to e-mail me.


Milton - further update.
25/09/13 - Humble student.
For those on the list who are patiently waiting for news of Milton Zapata, I can report that Milton, having moved from Paris to Andalucia, is feeling much better. His son tells me that he is aware that people are keen to acquire his quenas and he wants to do more work on them. He is a perfectionist. It will be worth the wait. Rest assured that, as soon as Milton is happy, I will do all I can to distribute his instruments to those who are interested.


Milton update.
22/06/13 - Tony Hinnigan
Today I have, finally, replied to all who contacted me re. Milton Zapata's quena stock. Thanks to all for your patience. I am waiting for his family to sort out what they are doing and get back to me, then I shall re-contact all those on the list (which is still open, should anyone else like to add their name by e-mailing me).


Last chance to buy.
24/05/13 - Tony Hinnigan
Regular visitors to this site will know the name of Milton Zapata, panpipe and quena maker and all-round musical guru, who made most of the quenas I play.
Sadly, Milton is elderly and increasingly infirm. He is in hospital in Paris and his daughter has been in touch to say that he wants to sell his remaining stock of quenas. He may never make another.
I have offered to help find players who would like to have one or more of these fine instruments and I am, therefore, inviting enquiries from as many sources as I can. I can only re-iterate that these are the best quenas ever made and once they are gone that will be that.
If anyone reading this is interested, or knows someone who may be, send me an e-mail and I shall begin a list.
Accompanying this news on the site is a photo of one I bought from Milton a couple of years ago. It plays beautifully.


Have emerged from studio in search of kitchen sink
09/05/13 - Hurdy-Gurdy Man
Yesterday I had a meeting with a new record company and delivered five albums of Incantation material. Some of these will be commercially released and others will go into music libraries. One album, "Atacama", the story of the Chilean miners, is currently available for download on CDBaby but may have to be taken down from there at some point so "hurry hurry"! I'll advise on the status of the others as soon as I can. As the title of this news implies, we have greatly expanded the instrumentation on these including, yes, hurdy-gurdy! One of the albums has songs sung by ourselves and various friends. I hope now to have more time to concentrate on adding more content to this site.
The accompanying photo shows the main protagonists hiding behind a fence until the noise police have gone.


New Look Site
24/11/12 - The producer
Hi Guys, Phil Hardy here, Tonys' long suffering producer.
We have now upgraded the website to include an imbedded player to make it easier to view and enjoy all the fab stuff on the site.
All the webcasts, whistle reviews, downloads,Incantation play on the page now so have fun and get back to us with any feedback.
on is currently on tour with The Nyman Band in Mexico until next weekend so let him know what you think via email tony@tonyhinnigan.com

He will surely appreciate you comments and input as it's you lot he does if for.

Regards
phil


New webcast.
28/09/12 - Sir John Wangirolli
There is a new classical music webcast on the site. Just click on webcast and it's Classic Hinnigan 07. I enjoyed it.


News feed is fixed.
26/09/12 - Sir Robin Day.
It seems that the connection to my mailing list for "news" items has been down, owing to a "virtual" plug having come out of the back end of the site. This, hopefully, has now been rectified. I shall be recording a new classical music webcast at the palacial abode of my "producer" tomorrow. It'll be up within the next day or two.


Album launch.
22/08/12 - Chief Wanganui.
The new Incantation album, Atacama, is officially released today, telling, in music, the story of the Chilean miners, on the anniversary of the discovery that they were still alive. The best place to download the album is iTunes. The website for the CD is http://www.atacamabyincantation.com On Saturday the 25th of August, i.e. in a few days time if you go to the iTunes store and download track 7, "Estamos bien", you should get a free bonus track. Let's hope that works! You could always download the entire album. That would be cheaper and would make more musical sense to me.


New Incantation preview.
11/08/12 - Tony Hinnigan
My "producer" has kindly uploaded a promo track containling some samples of the Incantation album "Atacama" - the story of the Chilean miners told in music. It is in the downloads section, under "Old Grey Whistle Test" and entitled "Atacama".

The entire album is available on CDBaby, iTunes and Amazon.

I shall be re-vamping the site soon, to make all this stuff easier.


Pussycat
01/04/12 - Sir David Wanganborough.
This is an experiment to see if I can upload pictures from another computer. If it works, you will see a boy playing a whistle to an attentive cat. When I play, our cat runs away.


Titanic 3D launch
31/03/12 - Professor Herewegoagain
The other evening, there was a gig at the Royal Albert Hall in London to launch the 3D version of the film "Titanic" The original soloists, myself, Eric Rigler and Sissel, were re-united to play the "Titanic Suite" before the film was shown. The photo accompanying this news shows me on the big screen playing a low C whistle. I tried all kinds of whistles in advance of the concert and went for all instruments from Kerrywhistles. I am not an agent for Kerrywhistles. It's a simple fact that they were the most reliable in a live performance. I had tried other, very posh, whistles which I had used in many a recording, but I have to declare that the Kerry equipment made me feel most at ease. The maker doesn't make those low C's anymore. Pity.


New webcast. Esoteric.
10/09/11 - Sir Douglas Freedman
There is a new webcast on the site, recorded in my "producer's" splendid new mansion in leafy Sussex. The theme is "things that make you go Ahhh......." being music which, in the past year, has caused me to do just that. It's an eclectic mix. If you look at this news on the site, you'll see a picture of me pretending to be Crystal Palace FC legend Dougie Freedman, in the back garden of the mansion.


End of term.
24/05/11 - Dr. Charangious.
Yesterday, I finished recording on the film "Cristiada", one of the most harrowing films I've ever had to play to. The film will, probably, be released towards the end of this year. Panpipes, quena, electric cello and some charango/guitar/cuatro were the order of the day.
It remains difficult to play to scenes where human beings are doing unspeakable things to other human beings.
I know that they're actors, and that no-one has been harmed in the making of this movie, etc., but this stuff actually happened.
That's the bit that fries your brain, whilst you're attempting to play.
The accompanying picture is of a nice charango moment.........


Yet more quena news.
25/04/11 - Antonio Quenigan
I went to the house of Milton Zapata's son, in North London, last Saturday with three professional colleagues. They all left with a spring in their step and a lovely new instrument. I bought one on behalf of a player in the United States. The photo which accompanies this news is of that one.
As you can see, Milton has to alter old quenas nowadays, possibly in different keys, as the Lake Biwa reed is protected by the Kyoto Prefecture. He fills in the finger holes with a mixture of glue and a powder compound of his own invention. He then re-cuts and re-tunes the holes using the same technique. I asked him what the powder consisted of. With a twinkle in his eye, he refused to divulge the recipe.

Let me re-iterate that, if any budding quena players want one of these instruments, e-mail me through the site and I'm sure I can make it happen.


News for quena players.
08/04/11 - Tony Hinnigan
I've just returned from from Paris, where I spent some time with the greatest quena maker in history, Milton Zapata. Milton and I played a tune or two together and I bought a quena from him. In a way, I'm sorry to have done that, as it deprives the rest of the world of that instrument (until, of course, I snuff it). It's wonderful.

Milton is coming to London later this month. He has been making prodigiously and his instruments are of the highest quality, and he has a good stock. If anyone wants a quena out of the top drawer, send me an e-mail and I'll see what I can do.


Library music? What, in tarnation, is that?!?
13/02/11 - SSSSSHHHH!!! Be quiet!!!!!
I have, lately, been involved in recording library music for various companies. So, what is library music? This is a question I am often asked by people who are not "in the business".

To put it simply, music libraries are resources whereby producers in Film, TV and Radio can find music which fits their project, and pay for it, without having to shell out for a full-blown recording session. The composers of the the music receive royalty payments in perpetuity.

The arrangement suits both sides and, therefore, given the way things are going in the world of actual film etc. music recording, library music, having been in the doldrums somewhat, is suddenly a happening thing. You can record almost anything and a library company will possibly, or even probably, take it on. This can lend a freedom to composing/recording which is rarely available nowadays in the commercial release world.

I've heard many tracks that I've written and recorded coming through on TV etc. Keep 'em coming.....on both sides.......

If you go to the website, you should see an accompanying picture of some gits hard at work on a library track.........



What on Earth was that?!?
17/12/10 - El Puntero Bewildido.
I am often asked the question "what instrument was that?" with respect to films or other recordings I've done. In many cases, on recordings, musicians will heavily disguise the sound of the flute, electric guitar or other instrument in order to provoke the "what on earth was that?" response. Hence, the existence of many FX.
Basically, a new sound is being created in the studio.

I was, recently, asked what instrument I played in the forest scenes in "Avatar". I played loads of instruments on that score. The recurring high-pitched phrase in question was supposed to be played on an ocarina, but those proved to be unreliable, pitch-wise, given that loads of music would be added later. I ended up doing the ocarina call on a high G whistle made by Chris Abell.
The high G is not something for everyday use but, when you get one like this, it completely does the job. Chris saves my bacon yet again. There is a dodgy photo to accompany this news. It's a D, not a G, but we can't always have everything.......


Quena playing shock!
24/11/10 - Bewildered charangist.
Today, I played quenacho on a session for the first time in some considerable time. I've, lately, been playing charango almost exclusively. The technique of quena playing has, thankfully, not deserted me. I also played multiple charangos, guitars and guitarron.
Enjoyed playing those, but really enjoyed playing the quenacho.
Watch this space for future quena recording news, including Hollywood.
Check out www.cubanlift.com.


New webcast. Not reggae!!!
30/09/10 - Sir Wango Nondub.
Today I completed the webcast "Classic 6" which is now available on the site. It commences and ends with music by Maurice Ravel, written in 1912, hence the photo of him, taken in that year.

After the recording we repaired to the "Load of Hay" for a couple of ales. We entered a time-warp, as there in the pub was the barmaid from "The Royal Oak" across the Green. We hadn't seen her since we first met, fifteen years ago. She's been living in Japan.
How time flies.


New webcast shock!
12/09/10 - DJ Hinnu.
My "producer" has done a sterling job in getting the latest webcast, "Things you scrape 2" on to the site in record time. I had too much material for the 'cast, so expect "Things you scrape 3" to appear soon.

The next webcast, however, is likely to be heavy reggae. I, personally, can't wait.


Beer news.
18/07/10 - Norwood's "Old Hinny"
I've just returned from a week of "in-law" visiting in the North and Midlands of England. As usual, we had the CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) pub guide in the car.

Two pubs, neither of which I had been to before, stood out from the pages of the guide, so we beat a path to both.

The chocolate-box-lid picture of the classic, picturesque, English Country Pub, whether it be in an equally picturesque village, in the countryside overlooking a beautiful valley, by a lock-gate on a canal or in a white-sand seaside bay, is all very well, and some of those pubs are terrific but, in my opinion, the pub heroes are usually in towns, and probably in an unsung back street - true "locals".

The pubs in question were "The Congress" in Longton, Stoke-on-Trent and "The Globe" in Dunstable, Bedfordshire. The Globe is a pub you would never find without the CAMRA guide. It has over a dozen cask ales, a dazzling array of bottled beers from around the world and a hearty and very local bunch of punters. Really pleasant vibe. I'm now moving to Dunstable.

The Congress is in the heart of the Staffordshire "Potteries" area and is surrounded by huge kilns, where the pots have been fired for hundreds of years.
The pub came second in last year's CAMRA "Pub of the Year" contest in the Stoke area. I asked the landlord which pub had come first. He said it was "The Coachmakers" in Hanley (another "Potteries" town), and reported, ruefully, that it was due for demolition next year, to make way for a shopping centre.

You'd think that they could, at least, incorporate the pub into the scheme. Years ago, when the Symphony Hall complex was proposed in Birmingahm, everything was to be demolished, including the "Prince of Wales", the pub of choice for the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Warwickshire County Cricket Club, and other discerning institutions. A ferocious campaign resulted in the pub being left standing, while the whole complex was built around it.

I'd like to give a final mention to another hard-to-find local pub - "The Hop Pole" in Droitwich, Worcestershire. Most of the town-planning vandalism seems to be complete, for now, in Droitwich, so the pub may survive.

It ought to.

The accompanying picture of the exceedingly unpicturesque but totally fabulous "Congress" will not appear in the e-mail. You have to go to the site.


Day 8.
07/07/10 - Dr. B. Ching.
Inverness - London.

Left the delightful B and B (The Ballifeary) and dropped Kate off at Marks And Sparks to get a train picnic while I went to fill up the hire car with petrol and deliver it back.
What is it about petrol stations that, when you don't need petrol, they are everywhere, and when you do, they assume a "cloak of invisibility". I couldn't find one anywhere, and even ended up on the A9 to Perth. Not ideal. Fought my way back to the car depot in time for the bloke to drop me off at the railway station with - 2 suitcases, 2 shoulder bags, a bag of books (not mine) a large painting and a shovel. Why a shovel? The previous Christmas I had driven to Glasgow in the snow and slung a shovel in the boot in case I had the dig the car out at any point. Forgot to bring it back. Forgot twice more. Wasn't going to forget this time.

Train to Edinburgh and into the station bar to enjoy a pint or two of Fullers "London Pride". Most refreshing. A gentleman tapped me on the shoulder to congratulate me on having a picture of Bob Marley on the back of my jacket.
"One good thing about music", he said, "When it hits, you feel no pain".

Train to Kings Cross and, as we slid past Berwick-on-Tweed, Alnmouth and Lindisfarne, plans were hatched for a future dalliance in Northumberland.

Cab to Victoria, train to East Croydon, cab home.

Lovely holiday, good to be back. Painting survived.


Day 7.
06/07/10 - The Pie King.
Wick - Inverness

Left Wick and were soon out of Caithness and back into Sutherland, with attendant mountains, including the amusingly named "The Virgins Pap".
That's exactly what it looks like.

Our congenial landlady in Wick had said that Helmsdale and Brora were bonnie, so we scooted around the former and stopped in the latter for lunch, which was a Sunday roast, with typical Scottish beef, so tender that it almost melted in the mouth.

Brora is certainly bonnie. On the beach was an old "listening station", now defunct, which intercepted German communications during WW2.

After leaving the pub, we continued the Italian/Scottish connection with some terrific Italian ice cream from a shop down the street.

Heading southwards on the A9, Kate spotted a coastal detour.
We reversed and took it, along the shore of Loch Fleet, which was full of families of seals, some of whom heaved themselves onto rocks near the shore to get a better look at us.

The road took us through Dornoch, which has a unique Cathedral, in that the West End has no door, so you enter through the South Transept. Very disconcerting.

Our B and B in Inverness was near the Eden Court Theatre, where we went to see the movie "Revanche", which was all somewhat one-paced, followed by a quick meal in an old-style Italian (!) restaurant. Great food. Cheap prices. Brilliant French waiter, for whom nothing was any problem.

Back to the B and B, and time to finalise the packaging of the painting, bought on Day 2, for transport by train to South London.


Day 6.
05/07/10 - Tony Headingsouthagain.
St. Margarets Hope - Wick.

Back north to the Orcadian mainland. On the previous evening we had visited the Italian Chapel.

After U-boat U47 had made its way into Scapa Flow, in October 1939, and sunk HMS Royal Oak, with the loss of 833 seamen, Winston Churchill ordered the "Churchill Barriers" to be constructed across the eastern approaches to the harbour.
Italian POWs were used as labour (in a somewhat loose interpretation of the Geneva Convention) to construct the causeways which constituded these barriers. The causeways now support roads which connect South Ronaldsay with various small islands and the mainland.

The Italians were, eventually, allowed to construct a place of worship, by scrounging whatever materials they could, and they did so by joining two Nissen Huts together and elaboratng on the resulting structure to beautiful effect.

We moved on to the Neolithic sites of Skara Brae, a village of astonishing architectural sophistication, and Maeshowe, an even more remarkable structure, which was some kind of burial chamber.

The latter was "vandalised" in the 12th century by Viking knights on their way to the Crusades, who smashed the roof in and wintered there, leaving behind Runic graffitti, along the lines of "The Danes were here" and "Princess So-and-So is rather well-endowed!".
Some of the runes were "coded" twig runes, which are fairly simple to decipher.

Ferry back to the Scottish mainland. A brief dalliance with John O'Groats, for a photo opp., then southwards on the A99 to Wick.

A pussycat was lying, sunning itself, in the middle of the main road! It reluctantly moved away.

Wick is the town that time forgot. In the days of the Hanseatic League in the 14th and 15th centuries, Wick was one of the biggest ports in Europe. Now it's full of neglected, but nevertheless noble, buildings which are going to seed. Very sad.

It's a fab place.

Curry. Lovely B and B.

ZZZZZzzzzzzzzz.............


Day 5.
04/07/10 - Noggin the Nog.
Mey - St. Margarets Hope.

On day 4, we had eaten lunch in the harbour at Scrabster, the port of Thurso, where an inquisitive seal kept popping its head up, in the middle of the harbour, to see what we were doing.
We had also visited Dunnet Head, the most northerly point of the British mainland.

We now sailed out of Gills Bay, with the cliffs of Dunnet Head on our left, on a catamaran ferry bound for St. Margarets Hope on the island of South Ronaldsay.

Passing the islands of Stroma and Swona, we entered Scapa Flow and swung right to "The Hope"

Straight to Kirkwall and St. Magnus Cathedral, founded in 1137. I'm something of a medieval cathedral aficionado, but I've never seen one quite like this. Built from red sandstone, with the narrowest nave I've ever seen, it is breathtaking,
It's difficult to imagine Kirkwall in the 12th century, with a massive Gothic Cathedral surrounded by a few black houses, but that would have been the scene.

We took off northwards and came across the standing stones at Stenness, erected 5500 years ago, before the pyramids of Egypt or the Great Wall of China. The Ring of Brodgar is nearby and there are many Neolithic sites on this part of the Orcadian mainland, let alone the other islands.

Back to Kirkwall and a cup of coffee in "The Reel", a bar/restaurant and music centre, where gigs take place upstairs and fiddle lessons happen on the floor above that. Sweet.

Back to St. Margarets Hope and to our digs - "The Creel Restaurant with Rooms".
Dinner was delicious and, later, we walked down to the port which, in a most ghostly way, had buildings connected with the business of sailing and a large, berthed, ferry but not a single human being anywhere.

Much later, insomniac, I stood on the seafront in St. Margarets Hope looking at a complete dead calm.


Day 4.
03/07/10 - Bonnie Prince Charligan.
Skerray - Mey.

Having breakfasted on smoked salmon risotto - delicious - we headed off, ever eastwards, and stopped, almost immediately, at the (former) village of Achanlochy.
1200 people had been evicted from there in the 3rd Highland Clearance in 1819.
It's a beautiful site for a village on a lovely loch, about a mile from the sea. Hope the new residents (sheep) enjoy it as much and that the new landlord never got a nights sleep for the rest of his life.

From there to Strathy Point, yet another extremity, complete with lighthouse.
We ate the sandwich materials we had bought from the store at Bettyhill.
Does food taste better at a location like this? It seems to. The fierce goats we encountered, on the way to the point, were entertaining, as were the Arctic Terns, who scolded us every step of the way.

We continued to Mey, where we narrowly missed the opening hours of the Castle of Mey - a residence, in Caithness, of Her Royal Highness the Queen Mother. Not being, particularly, a royalist, I was non-devastated by our failure to get in.

The Castle Arms Hotel, where we were staying, had an entire room (called "The Gallery") devoted to photos of HRH gracing the local area with her presence.

There was nowhere to walk along the coast, so we headed inland along farm roads. Delightful.

Fish and chips, in the company of Dutch tourists, followed by a further, and much colder, walk in the general direction of the sea. A Lapwing stood its ground, over the fields, in the face of a company of aggressive Arctic Terns.

Bed. Orkney tomorrow. Already checked that the sailing from Gills Bay to St Margarets Hope is a runner.

Can't wait.


Day 3.
02/07/10 - The Borgie!!!
Kinlochbervie - Skerray.

Little point in hanging around Kinlochbervie, so we got on the road to the Kyle of Durness.

To get to Cape Wrath, the most north-westerly point of Great Britain, you first take the ferry - a small craft with an outboard motor which can squeeze 12 people in.
The ferryman casts his line as you cross the Kyle.
He caught a trout on the return journey.

On the other side, a battered old minibus takes you the 11 miles to Cape Wrath point. The road was built in the 1820s to take the materials, by horse and cart, to build the lighthouse. It doesn't appear to have been maintained during the subsequent 190 years. I've not had such a boneshaking ride since driving in the Bolivian Andes 25 years ago.

Cape Wrath is one of those places, like Ardnamurchan Point or the Butt of Lewis, which is an extremity. As you stand there, gazing west with the waves boiling round the cliffs and the seabirds screeching, it's difficult to take in how far away the next land, Canada, actually is.

Onwards to Skerray and the most pleasant Borgie Lodge Hotel, situated on the bank of a typical Scottish fishing river.

Being a sad Star Trek nerd, I couldn't help imagining cybernetic villains The Borg delivering their iconic greeting in Scots.

"We're The Borgie. Yese are al' gauny be assimilated. Dinnae bother wi' that resistance stupitness. There's nae point".
Kept us amused for a couple of days.

Cocktail in the bar where (completely plastered) Sandy and his mate were in ebullient mode.
"Shopping day yesterday" sighed the barmaid.
"What's that?"
"They get the bus to Thurso, buy loads of cheap whisky and start drinking it straight away".

Brilliant meal (!!!) cooked by the chef/proprietor. Looking forward to breakfast!

Long walk afterwards, towards the sea (got there) in the continuing northern daylight.

The midges were around, but not in great numbers.


Day 2.
01/07/10 - Tony Onwardsandupwardsagain.
Ullapool - Kinlochbervie.

Watched the ferry depart to traverse The Minch to the Isle of Lewis, then took on supplies, visited a few "shops selling nowt" (gift shops) and headed north.

We followed the advice of my sister and took a detour west to Lochinver. Refreshed ourselves in the bar of the Culag Hotel where the engaging barmaid, Sheila, likened the hotel to "Fawlty Towers". "Don't worry", she said, "Basil's gone to Inverness for the day".

Sandwiches from a delightful van parked overlooking the bay and, as we meandered back to the car, Kate beckoned me over to a tiny shop window, in which was exhibited a painting. Unspoken chemistry signified that we both liked it and we duly entered and discovered that we were in the Lochinver "drop-in" centre. We asked two ladies, who were eating their lunch, if they knew who the artist was. They didn't think the painting was for sale, but gave us the artist's card and I rang her.

Caroline MacLeod was unsure about selling at first, but soon realised that we were people who would give the painting an appreciative home. The subject is Stac Pollaidh, a mountain in Sutherland, executed with tremendous verve and passion by the artist. The mountains of west Sutherland, including Suilven and Quinag, may not be Munroes, as they are under 3,000 feet, but they are incredibly dramatic, as seen close up and, even more impressively, over the brows of hills.

With artwork on board, we continued northwards and stopped at the hotel in Scourie, once a stronghold of the Clan MacKay.
The hotel is the ultimate anglers destination with chalkboards to establish order of fishing, rules and regulations, details and costs of gillies, maps of lochs, everything.

Onwards to Kinlochbervie. My sister had said "Kinlochbervie? You're never going to stay there! It's a scuzzy fishing port".
Her husband said "Ach, it's fine".

The Kinlochbervie Hotel is like a setting for an Agatha Christie novel, with people from all walks of life and all corners of the globe thrown together because that's the only place there is. It only required a dastardly murder, followed by gradual revelations of the guests' dark secrets, to make the scene complete

The local youth flew around the fishing port in their vehicles, as there was little else to do.



Holiday on north coast of Scotland blog.
30/06/10 - Sir Rannulph Hinnes.
Day 1

Glasgow - Ullapool

My mum insisted on accompanying me from Garscadden station to Glasgow Queen Street (presumably to make sure I was actually leaving) where I caught the 10.11 to Inverness.

Perth, Pitlochry, Dunkeld and Birnam etc..... Sunny weather and rapturous scenery.
Perthshire is a beautiful county.

Me - tin of McEwans Export and packet of peanuts.
Lady opposite - cup of coffee and Kit-Kat.
Gentleman across the aisle - copious manufacture of hand-rolled cigarettes, to be puffed, briefly, on the platform at each stop, to the consternation of his obedient doggie who had been, firmly, told to "Stay!".
Gent and doggie alighted at Aviemore to go walking together.

Got to Inverness and set about killing time until Kate's arrival on the train from London six-and-a-half hours later.
Picked up hire car, fiddles and portrait of Bonnie Prince Charlie in museum, oldest bar in Inverness, "The Gellions", to watch Portugal hammer North Korea 7-0.
Large espresso and nostalgia in old haunt, the Eden Court Theatre.

Kate arrives and we power up the open road to Ullapool, on the west coast (open, that is, apart from two MacKay Bros. lorries heading to the port to load fish from the Stornoway ferry).

Checked in to the Ferry Boat Inn and went straight out, via a fish and chip shop, to splendid bar "The Ceilidh Place", which has a discerning bookshop within, open as long as the pub is. Very civilised.

Bed, with seagulls.


With friends like these.....
30/06/10 - Tony Wordsfailmeagain.
I've just been listening to Max Bruch's violin concerto no. 1, played with great panache by Kyung Wha Chung, and was reminded of the fate of the score of this work, Bruch's masterpiece.

Bruch had sold the manuscript to his publishers, Simrock, for a small lump sum, but kept a copy for himself. Penniless, at the end of World War 1, he sent his autograph of the score to the piano duettists Rose and Ottilie Sutro (for whom he had written his concerto for two pianos and orchestra in 1912) in the United States, so that they could sell it there and send him the money. Bruch died in 1920, without ever having received a penny.

The Sutro sisters decided to keep the score for themselves, but they claimed to have sold it, and sent Bruch's family some worthless German paper money, as the alleged proceeds from the alleged sale. They always refused to divulge details of the supposed purchaser.

In 1949 they sold the manuscript to rich philanthropist Mary Flagler Cary, whose collection, including the Bruch, now resides in the Pierpoint Morgan Public Library, New York.

It's appalling that people who purport to be musicians can behave so disgustingly.


Jolly good bodhrans!
29/06/10 - Ringo McHinagh
I've just returned from a road trip, with my wife, through Inverness-shire, Ross and Cromarty, Sutherland, Caithness and the Orkney Islands.
I shall bore readers to the very edge of insanity, in the coming days, with a retrospective blog.
In the meantime, however, I should like to "big-up" Eoin and Jane Leonard, bodhran makers in Kirbister, near Stromness, Orkney. These are musical instruments of the very highest quality and, at this stage of the game, I know a good piece of kit when I fall over it.

Their website is www.belgarth.com.

Check it out.


Racket? What racket?
13/06/10 - White Noise.
I understand that the director of the World Cup in South Africa is considering banning the vuvuzela horns which the fans play throughout each game with such gusto.
I think the sound contributes to the cauldron-like atmosphere, and makes me think of cricket Test Matches at Eden Gardens in Kolkata, where 90,000 fanatical fans produce an extraordinary noise.
The sound of the horns also reminds me of a couple of movie scores I played on. In the film "Troy", Eric Rigler and I played Shofars, Sipsis, Conch shells and Tibetan Temple Trumpets to create an intense atmosphere and in "Apocalypto", Robert White, Jan Hendrickse, Guo Yi and myself played Swedish bark trumpets, Chinese Sounas, Sipsis, Ugandan Gemshorns, Fujaras and Tromba Marina to establish similar sonic scenarios, particularly in the "pestilence" and "human sacrifice" scenes.

It's not a cacophony. It's an aural trip.


"Not all stuff by the same maker is necessarily the same" shock!
09/05/10 - Tony Tabloidigan.
Two days ago, I repaired to the house of a cello maker in the East of England. The reason was that he sends me regular mailouts of instruments and bows he has for sale. I have been playing on two bows by Emil Werner since 1973 and two more were offered for sale in the recent mailout. My curiousity was aroused and I arranged an appointment to try them out.
One was very light in weight, and I had already decided that it wasn't for me (I tried it, nevertheless, and was proven right).
The other was of an identical weight to my old bow of choice, so I did a comprehensive comparison. The bow was good, and well made, as I would expect, but came 4th behind the three bows I regularly use. I hope it will find a good home.

The obvious conclusion is that handmade musical equipment, no matter what care the expert maker has lavished upon it, will vary, almost with the seasons. Having said that, the bow, flute, guitar, violin which doesn't grab one player may well grab the next one. You have to try them out and, if it means travelling, travel!!!

I've done it.


Whistle revelations.
22/04/10 - Tony Astonishedagain
I haven't spent any time with low whistles lately, due to other commitments but, this evening, I blew the Chieftain V3 and discovered that it has an "overdrive" setting whereby, if you blow it more strongly, with an embouchure far down the mouthpiece, it turns into a different instrument, i.e.. it has overtones, completely in tune, which make it into a new and exciting instrument.

This is perfectly in keeping with stringed instruments, which I play, in the sense that multiple sounds should be possible from an instrument of quality.

Well done to Phil Hardy for producing such complex sounds from an aluminium tube.

True dedication.


Loads of "Travel" news.
20/04/10 - Mungo Parksigan.
Recent travels have taken me to to Amsterdam, where it is possible to see, in the same room, Rembrandt's "The Night Watch" and "The Meagre Company" by Frans Hals. If I had millions of quids, I'd probably go for Hals.

A few days later, in Paris, there was stuff by Monet (staggering!!!) Renoir (words fail me) and many painters who were happy to go for "still-life" depictions, which is a subject I completely dig. There are many "still-life" pictures in the gallery. (L' Orangerie').

Due to lack of time, I failed to link up with my Quena guru, Milton Zapata, but I shall remedy that the next time I visit Paris (very soon!!!).

After a scenic journey, by train, to Biarritz, we dipped our toes in the Atlantic, then had a harum-scarum cab ride to San Sebastian via Hendaye on the French/Spanish border. The Biarritz hotel receptionist drove us to Hendaye himself, via St. Jean de Luz, where we passed the house where Maurice Ravel was born (!), closely followed by the the house of French football legend Bixente Lizarazu. The train from San Sebastian to Bilbao was one of the all-time great train journeys, in a 2-coach local which went, literally, through the back gardens of people's houses.

The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao is a work of art in itself, and contains many fine paintings and other works of art which are subjective, in my case. (I didn't, particularly, like them).

Getting back to London from Spain, given the volcanic ash, was a scene, and worthy of a whole piece of news on its own.


R.I.P.
18/03/10 - Tony Hinnigan
I should like to take a moment to mark the passing of Charlie Gillett, the DJ who, mainly, shaped my appreciation of, and contributed to my knowledge of, World Music.
He is credited with discovering many artists, including Salif Keita, Youssou N'Dour and Mariza. He was the first DJ to bring Dire Straits to public attention when he played their demo of "Sultans of Swing" on his Radio London show. I remember it well. He managed Ian Dury and the Blockheads and was responsible for the chart success of Lene Lovich and Paul Hardcastle. His programme "Charlie Gillett's World of Music" on the BBC World Service was an iconic, and unique, radio show. His broadcasts were the most listenable ones on radio.

R.I.P.


Duh!!!
28/02/10 - Homer Simpsigan
My "producer" has, correctly, pointed out that I have "flagged up" the webcast "Classic 5" twice, when what I had intended to do was to "flag up" World Tour 20, which is now on the site.

Duh.......


Art and webcast news.
27/02/10 - Tony 1926
Today, I repaired to central London where, as luck would have it, I encountered my "producer".
We went to the Tate Modern Gallery, where we saw an exhibition curated as "Van Doesburg and the International Avant-Garde". This was an extraordinary collection of paintings, sculptures and designs from the 1920s. The paintings by Theo Van Doesburg, Piet Mondrian and Georges Vantongerloo stood out for me.

Having sampled the delights on offer at Gordon's Wine Bar and Gaby's Delicatessen, we moved on to the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square for the Paul Delaroche exhibition. If you can find any of his stuff online, go for it. The highlights, for me, were his paintings of 16th century English history, including "The Execution of Lady Jane Grey", "Cromwell and Charles I" and "The Princes in the Tower".
Gruesome stuff, possibly, but most arresting paintings.

There is a new webcast on the site, entitled "Classic 5", to which I am listening as I write this drivel. I reckon it to be a good listen. Give it a try.


27/02/10 -


27/02/10 -


27/02/10 -


If you want to see them, they're probably there.
16/02/10 - Tony Hinnigan
For followers of portraiture, I should like to recommend the website of the National Portrait Gallery, in London (www.npg.org.uk).

There are thousands of portraits in the Gallery's collection, very few of them, currently, on display.

You can search for sitters by surname and enlarge the image, to a useful degree.

Today, I enjoyed portraits of Judi Dench, Seamus Heaney, Harrison Birtwhistle, David Hockney, Princes William and Harry, Germaine Greer and Ken Dodd.


New webcasts!
14/02/10 - Tony Amazed-by-music-again.
There are now two new webcasts on the site, courtesy of the considerable endeavours of my "producer".
The first is a classical music show entitled "Classic Hinnigan 5".
The second is a show entitled "Listeners' Choice", consisting of tracks which listeners have e-mailed to me.

I would encourage listeners to continue to send me pieces of music for further "Listeners' Choice" webcasts. I find the selection most stimulating.

Keep up the good work!


Webcast news - Producer's revenge.
04/02/10 - Tony Who-chose-this-stuff-again?
The latest webcast is now on the site. The material is the selection of my "producer".
Listeners will be relieved to learn that the "gentleman" is now, safely, in the custody of the Hertfordshire Constabulary. Should anyone wish to listen to the case for the prosecution, it is under "Webcasts" entitled "Hinnigans WT-Producers-Choice".
The webcast ends with the felon's, now customary, "hilarious out-takes".


New whistle review
04/02/10 - The Green Man
My "producer" has just put on the site (Under "Downloads - Old Grey Whistle - Weston Whistles Revisited") a quick video review I did, yesterday, of a new, and remarkably cheap, product from Simon Styles at Weston Whistles.


National Drink of Scotland (made by monks in Devon, England).
29/01/10 - Breakoot the Buckie!!!!!
I'm afraid I couldn't resist putting this picture on the site.
This represents the culture in which I grew up.

It's alive and well today(!)


It's a Producer Thang!
11/01/10 - TP
www.myspace.com/kimotrax

Give it a wiz , you may like it!

TP


It's an ongoing webcast groove thang.
09/01/10 - Tony Awaywiththefaeriesagain.
I've received quite a number of MP3's, from subscribers, for the "Listeners' Choice" webcast. Keep them coming.

The next webcasts will appear after I've submitted my accounts to the Inland Revenue. It's an annual grind. I'm doing two years at once!!!!!

They will, probably, be "Producer's Choice", "Things you plug in" and "Listener's Choice". As I write this, I am listening to "World Tour 1", which is the latest one my hard-working "producer" has upgraded to proper bandwidth. Sounds great! To re-iterate an earlier message, the webcasts are being upgraded to eliminate "dropouts" and other annoying foibles. Any webcast on the list with a bandwidth over 100mb has been "fixed". Some of the others are OK but we shall upgrade them all in time.

Happy New Year to all.


Happy New Webcasts Everyone!
02/01/10 - TP
Hi guys, well it's the start of a new anus, or is that annus I can never remember, anyway as Chief Wangs producer, I have come up with a great idea.
I would like to do some " Listeners Choice" shows and would need your fav mp3 for consideration by the Chief himself.
He can then compile a show from your trax and giving you a mench at the same time.
A simple note as to why you like or have selected said track would also be helpful.
Sorry but one will be limited to one track/mp3.

I think that will be a bit of fun to start the new year.

Lets make it a good one.

All mp3s to:

tony@tonyhinnigan.com

or

phil@kerrywhistles.com

Phil.


Nine Lessons and No Carols!!!
21/12/09 - The Archbishop of Hinnerbury.
Today, after a splendid lunch at Fairuz, possibly our favourite restaurant, my wife and I went to an incense-filled St. Pauls Cathedral, London, to hear Cathedral organist Simon Johnson play "La Nativité du Seigneur" - nine meditations for organ written by Olivier Messiaen in 1935. The movements were interspersed with readings from the bible by a couple of prelates, making it a kind of "nine lessons and carols" without the carols.

I'd never heard the Messiaen piece before and it was an incredible sonic experience on the massive St. Pauls organ, further enhanced by the wonderful surroundings - the Dean and Chapter had seated us immediately underneath the Dome - and the rapt attention of the listeners/worshippers.

Erratum - My "producer" pointed out, with his customary efficiency, that I erroneously attributed the bodhran solo at the 2002 Cambridge Folk Festival to Jonjo O'Neill in my "Things you bash" track listing. It was late at night and my brain was starting to drift (!). Jonjo O'Neill is, of course, a champion racehorse jockey. Jonjo Kelly was the bodhran virtuoso.


Just had a bit of an ear-bashing!
20/12/09 - Buddy Skint.
I'm just listening to the webcast "Things you bash", which is now on the site. It seemed to be a massive challenge to do a show like this but, in the end, it came together quite easily, and "Things you bash 2" is under way.

My "producer" has suggested "Things you croon" as the next one. Now that's a challenge!

As I said in previous news, I plan to provide details of all the music on the webcasts as an e-mail print-out option, and to demonstrate my good faith, here is what is on "Things you bash". This list will appear, also, on the complete list....duh(?).....that's enough lists..........

1. Marimba Chiapas - Marimba Charleston
2. Hossam Ramzy - Sha-Awit Katie
3. Gary Burton - Chega de Saudade
4. Bela Bartok - Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste, Adagio
5. George Hamilton Green - Triplets
6. Gamelan Semara Pegulingan - Bopong
7. James Horner - The Games and Escape from "Apocalypto"
8. Karlheinz Stockhausen - Zyklus (first section)
9. Producer's Choice - Jonjo Kelly bodhran solo from 2002 Cambridge Folk Festival
10. Jamaican Steel Band - Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (1st movt)


Webcast update.
19/12/09 - "El Archivero Wanganero"
I'm one webcast away from completing the listing of all the pieces of music on the webcasts on the site.

I've been wondering how to supply the information, in response to many requests, and have decided to compile a full list and send it as an e-mail attachment to anyone who would like to print it out.
This may, yet, take some time, as the seasonal holidays are upon us. When I have completed the listings I shall let you all know.

In the meantime, my "producer" is working on fixing earlier shows where we used technology which caused "dropouts" in some pieces of music (bless 'im for doing this laborious task).

I have just listened to Classical Show 1, which has not, as yet, had the bandwidth increased, but has no dropouts.

I'd like to "big up" this show, as it contains some truly fabulous music.


Fipples.
16/12/09 - What? You just blow down them and they work? No, that can't be right.......
I enclose a somewhat out-of-focus picture of the fipples of nine Low D whistles which I pulled out of a flightcase.

The reason for this is that, earlier this evening, I was playing the same tune on a few and noticing the difference in tone and response etc. This may qualify for the Fawlty Towers "Statin' the bleedin' obvious" award, but I found it interesting how different they can be. Whilst the player contributes a great deal in tone and related nuances, the instrument itself, because it has a barrier between the barrel and the blower, has its own part in the final sound.

Each of these whistles plays well, and they all sound different.
You only have to look at the fipples to see why.

If it's ever daylight here again, I'll try to take a better photo.


Art News.
14/12/09 - Art Hinnfunkel.
A P.S. to the "producer"/Ashmolean item in previous news. I went, again, to the Tate Britain yesterday with a friend/colleague from the USA to see the "Turner and the Masters" exhibition. Still fabulous.

Here's a watercolour painting by Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) that's in the exhibition.

It's called "The White House at Chelsea", painted in 1800.

Perfection.


"Defunct whistle perfect accompaniment to football" shock!
13/12/09 - E.I.Tootlio.
Yesterday evening I settled down to watch Match of the Day followed by The Football League Show on the telly. On my way to Couchpotatoville I randomly grabbed a whistle to tootle on whilst the real-life dramas unfolded on various pitches up and down the land.

The one I found myself playing was a Kerry Songbird Low D. This whistle is a truly fine musical instrument, capable of subtle variations of tone and volume from quiet to loud and many gradations in between, and all with perfectly controllable intonation using the fingerings one would expect to use.

The maker tells me he no longer makes them, as they didn't sell well and it made no business sense to continue the line. I completely understand that, but bemoan the loss, for economic reasons, of a good piece of musical equipment.

If you get a chance to pick one of these up, do it.

Figueroa's goal for Wigan Athletic against Stoke City, from a quickly-taken free kick inside his own half, has to be the goal of the season.


It's a webcast, Jim, but not as we know them.
13/12/09 - That bloke/bird whose name we don't know, because the aliens are going to zap them.
There is now a new webcast on the site, being the first of, hopefully, a series of 'casts with a special guest. The first guest is my old friend and colleague Mike Taylor, aka "The General", and is a sort of radio "ping-pong", where we each choose tracks and talk about them. The tracks are, to say the least, somewhat "off the wall". There is an accompanying photo.

Look under "Webcasts - General".


Just Keeping An Eye On Things!
11/12/09 - TP


Happy holidays!
10/12/09 - See you, Jim, ye're ma bes' pal, an'............
My mate Austin Ince, recording engineer of the Michael Nyman Band amongst his many talents, sent me this picture, and I had to put it on the site.

Scottish Advent Calendar!


Music is mainly about sound (?!?!?).
09/12/09 - Rantios O'Tronicos.
I've had a query about a handmade whistle which seemed a bit "wonky" to the eye.
I enclose a photo of the whistle. It may be a bit wonky, but I have whistles by the same maker (which are terrific) and other handmade whistles, by various makers, which are all a bit wonky, each in its own way.

Handmade musical instruments are made by human beings, not computers. They are bound to be wonky. Ask Antonio Stradivari if he thought all his instruments were exactly the same and he'd laugh.

The question is - how do they sound???

I shall attempt to put two further images on the site to illustrate what I'm on about.

One is a "tweaked" whistle (tweaked by Erik Torp-Olsen, Vargas Whistles) based on a Waltons Mellow D, which is a truly abysmal product. The tweaked version looks like a dogs breakfast, but plays like a dream.

The other is a D flat quenacho made by Milton Zapata, which looks even worse.
If you can tell from the picture, this was cobbled together by Milton from the last remnants he had of reeds from Lake Biwa (near Kyoto, Japan). The reeds are now protected and unavailable as material. Milton has taken a G quena, filled in the holes, stuck a bit on the bottom and drilled new holes to make it a unique new instrument.
Take it from me, it's one of the greatest quenachos ever made, regardless of its appearance.

To take this rant to a splendid new level, I have been "bollocked" by many a "jobsworth" on the subject of my cello spike "damaging" the concert platform or studio floor.

Are these floors works of art which people have parted with their hard-earned cash to gaze at, or are they surfaces upon which musicians can securely anchor their instruments in order to deliver the level of performance the punters have paid to hear?

Hear?!? What's that????

Official end of rant.


09/12/09 -


09/12/09 -


The vast estancia of my "producer"!
09/12/09 - TP
Very funny.


News news.
07/12/09 - Dan Ratherigan.
After my webcast endeavours at the vast estancia of my "producer" ("Things you squeeze is now up on the site), I embarked on a 4-day jaunt through the "English Shires". I managed Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Yorkshire.

The producer and myself started at the newly-reopened Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archeology in the city of Oxford (see accompanying pictures of the legendary exterior and an idea of the new interior). 61 million quid was spent on the refurbishment. Seems like a lot of dough, but the museum is a staggering place to visit. The layout is now absolutely stunning. I started on the 3rd floor, and didn't manage to get anywhere else. The painting collection alone is beyond belief.
Check out their splendid new website. I shall be making endless journeys to Oxford in the near and distant future.

I continued, sans producer but avec wife, to the village of Pateley Bridge in North Yorkshire to see a retrospective exhibition of the work of the late sculptor Roy Noakes. We knew Roy through our friend and colleague, his daughter, flute player Anna Noakes.
It's impossible to put any image here that would do justice to Roy's work. It's three-dimensional, tactile and totally unique.



07/12/09 -


New webcast completed.
03/12/09 - Squeezio McBoxigan
Today, at the mansion of my "producer", I have assembled "things you squeeze".
This webcast should be up on the site shortly. I had thought that "things you squeeze" would be a tricky one but, in fact, there is already enough material for "things you squeeze 2" and beyond.

"Things you bash" is fully in progress, to be followed by "things you plug in".

To celebrate all this wonderment, here is a pictorial toast!


Be nice to your musical instruments - they'll like you for it!
29/11/09 - Antonio Stradivarigan.
My "producer", in his capacity as a musical instrument maker, told me, this morning of a whistle which a player had returned to him because the tuning slide was jammed. The photo he took of the whistle in question tells the story of how this might have happened. If you want to see something horrific, go to www.kerrywhistles.com and click on "news".

My producer, to his great credit, sent the player a brand new whistle by return. If you ask me, he doesn't deserve it.


Happy Thanksgiving and here are some charangos!
27/11/09 - It's a game of two continents, by Herman Hesse.
Whilst my chums in the United States are feasting and generally being Dyonisian, I am being thoroughly Ascetic, and browbeating, nay, flogging my "producer" into bringing old webcasts into the 21st century. This is a long process and will take quite a bit of time. It is easy to see which webcasts are "up to date" by looking at the size of the file. Anything over 100mb is either new or updated. Some of the old ones are OK as they are, but the updating process continues.

In the meantime, here is a picture of some charangos.


Tuneability
21/11/09 - Tony Whenareyouevergoingtoplaythatwretchedthingintuneigan?
I've had a clutch of e-mails from people asking whether they should buy a whistle which is tuneable or non-tuneable. My advice is always to go for tuneable. Let me explain. Boehm-system instruments have built-in tuning slides to make sure they, at least, start out in tune with other instruments with which they are are being played.
Other wind instruments, such as trumpets, also have tuning slides.
Any player worth their salt will blow their instrument in tune, but it's always a good idea to start from a level playing field. String players, such as myself, give themselves half a chance by getting the strings tuned to the appropriate pitch. Harpists are conspicuous on concert platforms before gigs tuning their harps. Piano tuners are always engaged to fine-tune the piano before a gig.
Back to whistles. A "tuneable" whistle is not one which can go from D to C or E flat. That requires a different body to fix to the mouthpiece. The tuning slide will take the whistle up or down a few cents either side of D and enable you to get in tune with the perennially-sharp guitar players, for example. The tuneability also allows you to adjust the tuning during the gig, as the whistle warms up and becomes sharper, or to "pull it out" if you've gone too sharp, and to "push it in", if you haven't played it for a bit and it has cooled down and become flatter.

Does any of this make sense?


Blackwood Whistles £200+
21/11/09 - Cin ye lend us ten pence fer a cuppae tea....?
Yesterday, my "producer" talked me into playing one of his favourite tunes, "The Old Thatched Cabin" on some of the most expensive whistles on the planet, by way of a comparison. The resulting footage can be found on the site under Downloads - Old Grey Whistle Test - Blackwood Whistles.
I did my best with the comparison and shall leave viewers to make up their own minds. All the whistles are top quality, but that doesn't mean you have to pay that kind of money for a good instrument. There are cheaper, and very good, alternatives.
Incidentally, the accompanying photo to this piece of news is of the whistles in my "drainage basket". I advise my students to get a basket like this in which to stand the flutes after playing. If you're playing a number of things during a practice session, it lets gravity take the strain of drying them out.


Things are being plucked!
21/11/09 - "Digits" Plectrumigan.
The webcast "things you pluck" is now on the site, including, as part of this news item, a pictorial tribute from my hilarious "producer" to his favourite musicians - banjo players.
On the subject of things banjo, the 'cast ends with some storming playing from banjo legend Bela Fleck, whose full name is Bela Anton Leos Fleck. He was named after 20th century composers Bela Bartok, Anton Webern and Leos Janacek. How cool is that? Time to change my name by deed-poll. Let's see - I think I'll be Igor Olivier Karlheinz Hinnigan.


It's all going very well!
20/11/09 - The Producer.
Hi guys and gals.We seem to have the hang of this webcast stuff now and shows are rolling out of the studio at an increasing rate.
More about shows from the Chief later.
Here is a pic from yesterdays show with the Chief as The Consummate Pro.

TP


Bashing too tricky. So, it's plucking, then.
19/11/09 - Who's nicked my blasted nail-file this time???.....
"Things you bash" is off the scale of difficulty, in terms of assembling the music I wanted, so I reverted to "Things you pluck". This was easier, in the sense that more material was available, but I found myself strangely drawn to certain genres or areas of music which I was unwilling/unable to resist.

You'll have to check the webcast to decipher what I'm on about. I'm doing it tomorrow and it should be on the site shortly thereafter. There is so much "plucking" around that I haven't even scratched the surface, so plenty of scope for more shows!

To compound the felony, here is a picture of "Things you blow", namely, panpipes.
The flightcase in the photo, which appears to contain a load of junk, is, in fact, crucial to any professional recording session. It contains the "spare pipes" which I have, laboriously but diligently, assembled by de-constructing rubbish sets (or by other nefarious means).
These pipes are crucial to the entire recording process, as they may be

A. the right note
B. in tune
C. a chromatic note which you wouldn't, otherwise, have.
D. never mind the three previous ideas - a total life-saver.

This should be under "Tricks of the Trade".


More junk.
15/11/09 - Tony Sparestringsneededagain
The ongoing photographic inventory of my musical junk continues. In the picture, l-to-r, flat-back bouzouki, Puerto Rican cuatro, baritone ukelele, saz.


The Chief is Away with the Faeries
13/11/09 - Over worked and under paid! TP


Warbling in full swing.
13/11/09 - Tony Hoarseagain.
The webcast "things you warble" was assembled yesterday, by myself and my "producer" at his mansion, and is now on the site. His inimitable sense of humour resulted in some "hilarious" out-takes of my garbage-talking being placed at the end of the show. He is a marked man.

Upon listening back to the webcast I realised I had omitted some important information, including the performers in Bach's St. Matthew Passion, who were The Monteverdi Choir, The London Oratory Junior Choir and The English Baroque Soloists conducted by John Eliot Gardiner. The banjo player on "Careless Love" was, of course, Lonnie Donegan. My "producer", who is a world renowned expert on the banjo, picked that up after two strums.

Once we had the webcast in the can, we went on to some more warbling, this time of a live nature. The producer is part of a group called "Away With The Faeries" with wonderful singers Jo Mepham and Chloe Elizabeth Hunter. They embarked on an "unplugged" album, with Phil Hardy on guitar, and I stuck around to be an erstwhile engineer/producer on a number of excellent songs. More of this to come. There was also an entertaining pre-take conversation on the subject of "nipples". Wish I'd recorded it. Perhaps not(!). This was old-style recording. No edits, no pro-tools dabbling, just live stuff. Refreshing.

Check out "Away With The Faeries" on Facebook and Myspace. They deserve to do well.

The next webcast is scheduled to be "things you bash". That's already exercising the brain.


New stuff and new old stuff (!?)
12/11/09 - Chief Workingonitallagain.
There is some more "droning on" on the site re. whistles under downloads - "Old Grey Whistle Test" - Sweetheart and Susato. Basically, comparing two plastic/synthetic instruments which both work well but with vastly different pricetags.
There is also a message about teaching in "Tricks of the Trade".

Re. old stuff. As I have been going through the webcasts to catalogue what is on each one, I have noticed audio problems, particularly with the classical music or anything else that has quieter moments (and, let's face it, we all like those). This is down to the stone-age technology available at the time. As my "producer" now boasts futuristic technology amongst his many other attractive attributes, we are going back through all the old 'casts and bringing them into the 21st century, starting with number 11, which is a classical show. I am listening to it as I write and can confirm that all the infuriating glitches have gone. We shall work our way through all the shows and give them all them same treatment.

On the subject of webcasts, I have just completed another, which contains classical music (don't panic) and lots of other fine stuff. The title is "Things you warble" and is devoted to the human voice. We shall be assembling it together with my garbage-talking (surely "informed comments" - ed.) tomorrow and putting it up on the site shortly thereafter.

Ah!!! I'm just listening to my cello teacher, William Pleeth, playing on webcast 11 without glitches.

Sublime.


A very rare event!
08/11/09 - The Producer.
It's a rare day when we get to hear the Chief guffawing quite so heartily.

So I give you Tony Bellylaughigan.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eP8Bru0huds

TP


Things are now being pounded.
06/11/09 - Has anyone found my dongle?
The "things you pound" webcast is now on the site. I got so drawn into the process, having not been a big listener to keyboard music, that there was too much material for this one. Expect another at some point soon, although the actual next one will probably be "things you pluck". I am also four webcasts into catalogueing what is on each musical selection. Hang on in there. Cheers!


I knew it!!!
06/11/09 - A Being from the 6th Dimension.
Yesterday, my "producer" encouraged me to compare some Overton whistles.
I agreed to do so, albeit with a peculiar feeling of "deja-vu". I was sure I had done it before. When he was loading the video onto the site today, he rang me to say "we've done this before".

Beam me up.

Anyway, two views of Overton whistles (from parallel universes) are now on the "downloads" page of the site. They seem, strangely, to arrive at the same conclusions.


Keyboards? They're things you pound, aren't they?
05/11/09 - Artur Rubinsteinigan
Just finished researching, assembling and listening to the latest webcast, "things you pound", which will be put together, with all the drivel-talking included, at the mansion wherein my "producer" resides, on the morrow.
I believe, reading between the lines, that there are also other internet-related japes planned. Could be anything.


Keyboards. P.S.
05/11/09 - Artur Chastenedagain
My wife tells me you can, also, "tickle" them. Who am I to disagree.


A nice clip of the Chief.
31/10/09 - The Producer
I have found a nice clip of the Chief playing with the MNB.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=roGfnkFyzgM&feature=PlayList&p=67D40F7E183C1AF3&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=3

The Producer


Delicious!
26/10/09 - Dr. Larios O'Gordon.
Eurostar. Lille - London St Pancras. 26th October 2009.


Brief respite amid sudden flurry of activity.
24/10/09 - Tony Whatdayisitagain?
I believe it to be Friday evening. Could be anytime. I'm in the middle of a stint of MNB stuff (with other things thrown in for good measure). The stint commenced with days of recording for a silent film project which will be completed with more sessions within a couple of weeks. Probably best to check the Michael Nyman site for info about this.
Arrived back from Halle, Eastern Germany, this afternoon, having done two filmed gigs, in one evening, for a forthcoming documentary/DVD about Michael and the band.
Ongoing. (P.S. it hurts!!!).
Tomorrow it's the launch gig for the Nyman/McAlmont album, recorded a few months ago, entitled "The Glare". Union Chapel, Islington, London, UK. Thereafter, without David McAlmont, Bruges and the Netherlands.

I spent a pleasant afternoon teaching a couple of students some of the nuances of quena, siku and charango. Perhaps I'm finally getting there, in my quest to "pass it on".

P.S. Just before this stint, I did a jingle for the forthcoming Carling Lager ad campaign.
In the Arabian bit, that's me playing the ney. ME MEEE MEEEEE..... (calm down!!).


A Rare Smile!
18/10/09 - A Fellow Whistler
It's not often that we get to see this curmudgeon wearing a smile, but at a certain producers birthday bash last week he had cause to grin like a Chimp.
We had bought together 3 Oz Whistles high Ds and played various national anthems in 3 part harmony...who wouldn't smile?
Sadly only 2 of them appear in this pic.
TP


Webcast news.
10/10/09 - Tony BackfromKentagain.
Back from a weeks holiday in Deal, Kent, where my wife and I, in addition to many other pleasures, went to the museum at RAF Manston, which still has the 2nd longest and widest runway in Britain, this being, as it's the nearest airfield to the French coast, the point to aim for, with half a chance of landing, for badly damaged aeroplanes returning from missions over Europe during the Second World War.
The museum also has newly-restored original Spitfire and Hurricane planes.
Fabulous!!!
This afternoon, I recorded a new webcast at the mansion of my "producer".
The show will be uploaded to the site at the gentleman's leisure but let me announce that, in response to many requests, I have, this evening, embarked on the long task of listening to and catalogueing all the music in the webcasts to date.
I've yet to figure out how to put this info on the site, but at least I've started.


Webcast stuff.
10/10/09 - Tony Blackburnigan.
My "producer" informs me that he has uploaded the latest webcast to the site. You'll find it under Webcasts - Hinnigan Show Blown. That's not to say we screwed it up, rather that the show is based on "things you blow" including such artists as the Philharmonia Orchestra, Ornette Coleman, Radu Simion, Banda Tierra Blanca, the Netherlands Wind Ensemble, Miles Davis, Gervase de Peyer and many others.

We discussed future concepts, such as (finally) sorting out the poetry webcasts and having special guests to bring along their fave tracks to play and talk about.
Shall keep y'all informed!


Devilishly cunning Webcast strategy.
29/09/09 - Cancel Battlestationsigan.
My "producer" is known for a number of things, including always being ready with a raft of excellent new concepts, at any given point.
One of his latest, and most ingenious, is to embark upon a series of webcasts based on "things you blow, things you scrape, things you bang, pluck, pound, etc., etc."
It's a simple enough idea, but research into each area reveals an astonishing variety of ways to blow, pound things, and the rest, and the contrast within each sound-producing discipline has been illuminating, to say the least.
It is, therefore, with much pleasure, that I present the first in this series.
"Things you scrape" are represented in the Webcasts section of the site as "Hinnigan Show - Scrape".

Story of my life.

Can't wait for "things you bang"!?!


Whistle news, re-enforcing previous rants.
20/09/09 - The Mad Professor.
The other day, I had the pleasure of teaching a couple of students "ethnic flutes".
Both are college/university level flute players.
The first candidate was a player I have coached through a number of hurdles, including her final recital at a well-known London music college. We spent the time on quena, xiao and a bit of whistle.
The second student was having her first lesson and elected to start on whistle. She had brought along the only whistle she had, which was an ordinary everyday Waltons.
We did most of the lesson on whistles of mine, mainly a Steve Harper and a Vargas-tweaked Waltons. We covered a couple of tunes and zeroed in on the second, Planxty Irwin, as a template. She tried the tune on various instruments, including Ralph Sweet flutes in high D and alto G and a Chieftain V3 whistle in G.

After she had played Planxty Irwin on all those things, I asked her to play it,again, on her original whistle. Her face told the story as the whistle squeaked, squawked and split its way through the tune.

The upshot is that, no matter how much commentators on my views may huff and
puff on the subject of rubbish instruments, the simple fact is that, for a few dollars more, you can get something which will encourage you. I learned this at an early stage when my dad parted with eighty of his hard-earned pounds for a cello, upon which I could, and did, make some progress.

.


Whistle news, re-enforcing previously-held views.
19/09/09 - Yeah... it's just.........
Two nights ago, myself and my wife dined at the house of Robert A. White of the New Scorpion Band. In addition to the splendid fare, Bob produced a handful of whistles to peruse, including four Bleazey whistles made from different woods and a delightful whistle made by Edinburgh flutemaker, George Ormiston.
I have a whistle made by Phil Bleazey and it is a brilliant (and I use the word advisedly) whistle. Bob's whistles were all made from other woods than my own and they each have their own quality, within the general sphere of excellence and brilliance (they are loud!). I would recommend Bleazey whistles unreservedly for their uncompromising approach to tone, with the proviso that this same, splendid, tone is tameable only at relatively high volumes.
The George Ormiston whistle was a revelation! I am a player of blackwood/silver whistles and play Rose, Abell and Oz, not necessarily in that order.
George is a well-respected maker of flutes and his venture into the whistle world is a staggering success. I had only a few minutes with his whistle at the end of an evening, and I trust Bob will let me have another go, but the Ormiston whistle has shot straight to the No. 2 slot, behind the Oz and, with a bit more playing, may hit the top. Fantastic whistle!!!


"Producer" prevails in epic webcast-related tussle!
19/09/09 - Captain James Tiberius Kirkigan.
My "producer" has recently done a crash course, at the Starfleet Academy in San Francisco, in advanced "Star-Trek-style" voice-activated cybernetics. Naturally, he and I were keen to put his excellent new knowledge to the test, as we prepared a new webcast for this site. The webcast was initially assembled at my house, my producer issuing orders to his computer like a demented Long John Silver getting dangerously near the end of his rum ration. He departed in a northerly direction, clutching the newly-compliant computer with its fresh cargo of splendid pieces of music separated by periods of ill-informed b****cks-talking by myself. He then set about uploading this aural feast onto the site.

Computer said "no".

There ensued a 4 to 5 day debate between my producer and his upstart computer, which ended in a compromise, whereby he agreed to remove some of the material and beg me, on bended knee, to re-record some of my b****cks, and the wretched computer would, with much harrumphing, complete the upload.

The result, entitled "Hinnigan Show Movie Trax", can be found in the Webcasts section of the site.

Further negotiations with the only-slightly-cowed computer have yielded a further webcast which may, or may not, appear next week.


Inside the Studio!
19/09/09 - The Producer
A view from Norwood Studios as the Chief prepares another masterpiece.
See NEWS on site for pic.
tp


Glaikit scunner agrees to arrange "Purple Bamboo Tune" for flat-back bouzouki.
27/08/09 - Chairman Hin.
A week of teaching at the West Coast School of Chamber Music in Pembrokeshire, South-West Wales, culminated in a late-night drive to London, an overnight stay in a hotel beside Lords Cricket Ground (hang on a minute, don't you live in London? (ed).....yes, but it would take even longer to drive to South London and battle on the tube the following morning to Warwick Avenue and .....can we agree to not even worry with this ?!?!?)
The WCSCM is a wonderful event at which musicians of all levels, from primary school kids through college students to adult amateurs can mix and mingle and receive coaching and play in public. It was my personal privilege to work with the young kids. They are the future of music. And, of course, the world.
If you live on Planet Earth, search for the WCSCM and consider attending!!!
The hotel panic was engendered by rehearsals for last night's BBC Prom concert at the Royal Albert Hall with the Michael Nyman Band and soprano Anu Komsi.
If any reader would like to hear the gig, it's Prom 54 available on the BBC i-player at bbc.co.uk.

Oh yes, the bouzouki. See picture on website (yes, I know it's a round-back saz....). I have to accompany one of my students in her final recital at Trinity College of Music next week when she has elected to play the "Purple Bamboo Tune" on the xiao. The bouzouki seemed like the nearest thing I could come up with. Wish me luck.


Splendid new webcast, and has anyone seen Dan Williams?
08/08/09 - Sir Sherlock Hawking.
After a day spent, wandering, metaphorically, like dazed tourists through the silicon maze which is my "producer's" ground-breaking new equipment, we managed to extract a new webcast from the forest of resistors and capacitors and wrestle it, clawing and spitting, on to the site, where it now awaits your listening pleasure.

The accompanying photo to this piece of news (see website for image) is of a charango and cuatro which were made for me, eons ago, by cabinetmaker Dan Williams (formerly of Dorset, England).
Dan disappeared, without trace, some time ago and I'd like to re-establish contact with him, not only to ask if he'll make me a "tres", but also to find out if he has finally managed to turn that other charango, which I left with him, into an electric one. I'd be obliged if any sightings could be reported to me via the e-mail facility on this site!


All out for 102!
08/08/09 - The Producer.
It's not often I see a grown man cry, but yesterday at the Chief's residence I witnessed the test score of "all out for 102".
This is the resulting picture.
TP


Oh no, the drummers have arrived!
06/08/09 - Tony Bishbashigan.
In celebration of my recent technological triumphs, I should like to move towards the completion of the pictorial archive of my musical junk.
In this picture - drums!!


Astonishing developments in technology can leave a person quite breathless...gasp...splutter.....
05/08/09 - Albert Einsteinigan
After months of fruitless head-scratching on the subject of uploading photos to the site from my computer (as opposed to my "producer's" computer), I have spent this afternoon on the phone to said "producer" and he has, literally, talked me through barrier after mind-splintering technological barrier to the point where, with much trepidation, I shall attempt to make the previously-impossible possible.
Should the experiment prove successful, you will see a photo of myself and my old mate Richard Mills discussing Wittgenstein in his house in Melbourne during the recent MNB Australian tour. If you are reading this as an e-mail, you will have to go to the site to (hopefully) see the picture.

Another upshot from this afternoon's telephony is that my "producer" has now acquired new gizmos which are so futuristic that I am no longer required to travel through a wormhole to the Gamma Quadrant to record a webcast.
I can do it from my home!!!!!

Hence, expect new webcasts to start flooding the internet imminently.

Over and out. End transmission.


From Victoria to the Albert Hall (via Singapore).
02/08/09 - Jet Laggigan
Just returned from a MNB tour of Australia where we played gigs in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.
Soloist on the tour was the indigenous Australian didgeridoo virtuoso, singer, guitar player, fantastic musician and all-round terrific bloke, William Barton.
Please check him out. Wonderful!
It may have been, officially, winter in Australia but apart from slight Londonesque cloud cover in Sydney and Melbourne, the Queensland climate in Brisbane, Rockhampton and Townsville was pure UK summer.

I'm now frantically practising the (new) music for the Michael Nyman Band concert in the BBC Proms series at the Royal Albert Hall. Check that out. It's all on the BBC website.

Too j-lagged to continue. Oh yes, I've had multiple ethnic flute requests - if you want a whistle, get an Oz. If you want a quena, get a Zapata.
For all related enquiries, call/e-mail me.

ZZZZZZZ.....zzzzzzzz.......ZZZZZZZ.............


Oz, here we come!
19/07/09 - Pommie Hinnigan.
Milan and Ostrava (Czech Republic) done with MNB. Milan is Milan (!) and the Duomo has been cleaned up and looks like a magical island as you approach it from, well, any direction. Ostrava takes a bit of getting to from London for a one day gig (two flights and a bus journey) but the punters at the Festival (and there were thousands) made the band feel very welcome.
I've done a few sessions, lately, for video games (these are now bigger than films - shock horror probe!) with composers such as James Hannigan and Knut Avenstroup Haugen and I can, once again, confirm that, whatever instrument you thought you were going to play, you couldn't have been more wrong.
I have found myself playing, in the last few weeks, dizi, xiao, bahu, bansuri, shakuhachi, quena, quenacho, Bolivian and Ecuadorian panpipes, Romanian panpipes, whistles in many keys (including high G, a lot,.... Aaaarrrgh!), ocarina, mandolin, cello (what's that???) and loads of other stuff. (Toyos, fujaras, dovlankas, tarkas, antaras etc....etc....zzzzzzzzzzzzz).

I'm off to Australia tomorrow. All I have to do is play the cello.
Can't be that difficult, can it?
Hope to hook up with my old mate, composer/conductor Richard Mills, in Melbourne.

Check him out.


Been around a bit/shakuhachi nightmare
16/06/09 - Tony Maxtedoutagain.
Recent trips have included gigs on Lakes Maggiore and Garda in northern Italy (you can keep the Italian lakes in my opinion - too many human beings), Friedrichshafen (you can keep the Bodensee etc.... see above) and a rock'n'roll gig in Barcelona.
It was in Poblenou, which is my favourite part of the city. Groovy, but I couldn't find a postcard to send to my mum. Why not? Is there something wrong with Poblenou?
I don't think so.
Directly from Barcelona to the Outer Hebrides, and the Isle of Harris in particular

Harris is one of the most extraordinary places on Earth (and I've been to a few).
Unlike the Mittel-European destinations referred to above, Harris (and Lewis) is distinguished by having very few human beings around (and those who are there are delightful people) and by having the most astonishing landscapes, with empty white-sand beaches, turquoise sea and mountains made of some of the oldest rocks in the world.
We stayed in the house of some dear friends, and had little to to do other than wonder!
We paid a visit to Lewis, the birthplace of my grandmother, and met artists David Greenall and Ruth Odell. They live at South Dell at the north end of Lewis and, on the way back to Glasgow, we stopped at the Peinmore Gallery on the Isle of Skye and bought a fabulous painting by David. Check them all out!!!

Now, back in London, it's garden-battling and next-gigs-preparation.
If anyone has a 7-hole shakuhachi in D phrygian that they could bike over to me sometime tomorrow, I'd be your slave for the rest of my life.
(Shouldn't be too long).


London resident buys 5 cello strings....
24/04/09 - Gawd Elpus.
"....'Ah much, guvnah??!"
"Two 'undred an' firty of yer English pahnds"
"Strewth, gorblimey, an' strike a light......."


I am frequently asked why I have so many whistles.
22/04/09 - Steptoe and Son.
I spent the weekend in Abbey Road Studios recording stuff for a movie which I can't say anything about for fear of litigation etc. (Boring, but the movie isn't released until December in the USA and there will be plenty more to do on it before then).
I turned up with the usual vehicle-load of flightcases and, at the last minute, lobbed in a few sets of plastic panpipes, tuneable with corks, which I hardly ever play.
Guess what the first item on the agenda required? The plastic panpipes.
I then spent two days screaming around on a Chris Abell high G whistle. I bought this from Chris a couple of years ago thinking it might come in handy at some point.
The whistle did the job admirably and I'm still trying to get my hearing back. High G whistles are wonderful but, in your cans for two days....? .....Ouch!
I went through the roof with instruments in an intense period of recording and, if anyone is interested in the other stuff used, e-mail me and I'll tell you!

Today I did a library music session in Cheam, Surrey, and guess what instruments I played....?.... The plastic panpipes. Also another unexpected flute. A very wide-bore Chieftain low C whistle which I couldn't imagine ever playing on anything. (In fact, I whinged to Phil, about how wide the bore was, a couple of months ago and he suggested I pull myself together).

It was perfect on the track today. (Good thing I brought it/them!).


It ain't the meat it's the motion....
13/04/09 - Southside Tony and the Barbican Jukes.
....that makes your daddy wanna rock.

My wife and I did a gig, last Wednesday, in the Barbican Hall in London, with the Michael Nyman Band and the Motion Trio.
This is an accordion trio from Krakow, Poland, who are virtuosic players and fine musicians. They had arranged a number of Michael's pieces for themselves, and Michael then "double-arranged" the stuff for Trio and Band. We also did Michael's MGV and a new piece to a cinematic montage of Polish films, both for Trio and Band.

As one who knows the accordion from the excellent Jimmy Shand and his band and Astor Piazzola, the Motion Trio are a brilliant addition to the accordion Pantheon.

Check 'em out at motiontrio.com.


Reasons not to check musical instruments into aeroplane holds, Nos. 94 and 106.
06/04/09 - Tony I'veboughtaseatforitagain.
94. Don't even think about it.

106. The Michael Nyman Band had a gig in Southern Italy two days ago.
We all flew to Rome on AirOne the following morning. My wife and I hung around for three and a half hours in Fiumicino airport waiting for a BA flight to London (because Alitalia refuse to deal with cello tickets) whilst the rest of the the band departed (on Alitalia) straight away.
At this point, well over twenty four hours later, not one member of the band has anything that was checked in, including instruments, baggage (including concert suits and music) and PA equipment.

We have rehearsals all day tomorrow and a major concert in London's Barbican Hall the next day.
Looks like we'll be doing an acoustic "fave tunes from the sixties" set, dressed in stylish casual wear.


Tulips from Monastireon.
01/04/09 - Dirk Souvlaki.
It's been a whirlwind month with a tour of Holland and a dance-theatre stay in Athens, both with the MNB.
The Dutch tour began in Enschede, on the border with Germany, a town which had emerged, scathed, from the 2nd World War. Its proximity to the border meant that it was bombed, often by accident, by the Allies.
The tour ended in Utrecht, a town unscathed and very pretty, with a canal system, like a miniature Amsterdam.

In Athens we played for a Greek dance company in a performance piece about Electra, daughter of Agamemnon. If you don't know the story of Electra, I would urge you to look it up. It's wild.
I hung around in the area, just below the Acropolis, which I knew as Monastireon back in the 70's. It is now called Monastiraki. I asked our, young, tour-bus driver about this and he said "Oh yes, Monastireon is old Greek and Monastiraki is new Greek. I don't get it."

Hence, presumably, the expression "it's all Greek to me" (?!?).

Off to southern Italy on the weekend.


When I become a ruthless dictator.....
18/03/09 - Sir Charles Chaplinnigan.
Just returned from a short tour of Spain witn the MNB. Highlights of the trip included lunch in Gijon (Asturias) in a restaurant on the harbour front, where most of us had local shellfish, straight out of the Bay of Biscay, and dorada (sea bream) baked encased in salt - a Spanish speciality, and the ecstatic reactions of the audiences (particularly on the last gig, in Barcelona) which have ever been a feature of Spanish tours.
It's so rewarding when, as a band, you've been busting a gut for two hours, to be met with a wall of noise from an appreciative audience. It's obviously a cultural thing but in, say, the far east, making that kind of racket is not the done thing and polite applause is the order of the day. I'm not saying that Japanese/Chinese/Korean audiences are less appreciative of one's endeavours.

It's a cultural thing.

Off to Holland the day after tomorrow. Let's see what the Dutch come up with!

Back to the point in question. It has come to my attention, as I peruse the internet, that musicians are deterred from buying musical instruments by the vicissitudes of the international exchange-rate lark.
A quick calculation has revealed that, in the past five years at least, I have largely "gained". Other musicians are (understandably) fearful that they may "lose".

When I become a ruthless dictator, my first act will be to exempt all musical instrument transactions from exchange-rate mechanisms.

It's alright, you won't have to vote for me.
I'll be taking over the world in a bloodless coup.


Wheeler Street.
27/02/09 - Tony Hinnigan
I've been blown away by the debut album by Kentish band Wheeler Street, which I've listened to several times this evening.
Check 'em out on Myspace.


Instrument makers and repairers - these people are geniuses.
24/02/09 - Tony Hinnigan
I would refer readers back to news 31/01/09.
I have finally had the chance, this evening, to fully explore the bombo re-skinning done by John Sullivan. He re-skinned the drums Djembe-style, with double self-tensioning hoops, and he has turned them from drums which had four or five sounds in them to drums which, at the minute, seem to have unlimited sounds.
At my request, John left one end with the hair on and shaved the skin on the other end. My mind is still boggling.

I'd also like to mention Bob Grummitt, who is a stringed instrument expert in Caterham, Surrey.
Bob is a fantastic bow rehairer, and a number of professional colleagues have tried my bows and wondered at the sound. It's partly down to the maker, obviously, but partly down to Bob. He is also a Saz player and repaired my Saz brilliantly.

I'm happy to pass on details of excellent people like these at all times.


"Concerts are a good idea" shock!
22/02/09 - Raymond Gubbigan.
I spent most of yesterday preparing for, conducting, and recovering from a day of workshops on Andean music for the flute faculty at Trinity College of Music, London.
I was invited to do the workshops by my dear friend, Anna Noakes, who is a flute professor at the College.
I spent the morning teaching the flute players how to do "hocket" on Andean sikus (panpipes). This involves splitting a tune between two players, each of whom have only half the notes of the scale. (I sometimes liken this to one player having only the black notes on the piano and the other having only the white - not quite the same thing , but close).
The last part of the morning session involved giving the students tips on playing the quena (see "quena tutorials" on this site).

The afternoon was spent, largely, rehearsing stuff, as we had to do a concert from 6-7pm to round off the day. I was grumpy about the concert concept, as I would have prefered to spend the whole day exploring more aspects of the music etc.
Much to my surprise, when it came to "showtime" everyone stood up to the plate and delivered the workshop material as a fully performed and presented concert, and the head-scratching we had during the morning and afternoon suddenly turned into actual pieces of music. Well done to all!

I was particularly gratified that my own recent pupil, Holly Cook, stood up to play the Peruvian tune "Llaulillay" accompanied by myself on charango, and brought the house down.

She's only been playing for a matter of weeks and to pull off a performance of that tune (pretty tricky, and the trademark tune of Peruvian quena legend, Raymond Thevenot) in front of a room full of her peers, not only demonstrated what "cojones" (sorry, it's the only word that will do) Holly has, but also showed the rest of them that, with a bit of application, you can turn yourself from a musician who does this, into a musician who does this oh, and that, and that as well, and a bit of that if required.

Viva el Concierto.


Small instruments win the day (in certain circumstances).
16/02/09 - Jonathan Swiftigan.
I have, lately, been playing lots of quenas, and have concluded that the new ones (all wide-bore) don't hold a candle to my faves (Zapata and Camac - narrow-bore) in terms of sheer control.
My thoughts then extended to the sizes of other instruments that I can (at least, nominally) play.
Let's start with whistles.
I find that narrow-bore whistles, like the quenas, are easiest to control and, if they have more back-pressure, like Harper, LeMeur, Oz, Abell or KerryPro, they are more usefull in the kinds of playing environments in which I find myself.
I also extended this thinking to stringed instruments and found that my good old John Lott cello was preferable to my modern, much bigger, cello, in the sense that more tone colours are available with less physical effort.
I also explored the concept with guitars and concluded that an ancient Italian guitar that I have (tiny!) can be just the ticket in tone quality where a bigger modern version seems over-the-top.

The conclusion for me, at least for now, is that small is good, certainly in the recording studio.

On the other hand, big instruments are - big! And they sound big!
Should I find myself playing on the street (I've done it before and it could be around the next corner), I'd be playing one of them.


Mr. and Mrs. Wanganui opt to spend their way out of recession.
14/02/09 - Alistair Darlingui.
My wife has followed my panpipe and quena purchases with a purchase of her own, namely, a Danelectro short-scale bass guitar. We will be playing all of these purchases together within the week, at Trinity College of Music.

Danelectro guitars are exceedingly groovy, and I have to confess to playing her bass along with whatever song came on the radio, whilst she was out doing "The Sound of Music".

I should have been practising the cello.


Stuff in Pembrokeshire and stuff from Bolivia.
10/02/09 - Professor Dai Garcia.
I spent most of Friday battling through snowy roads and motorways to get to the Pembrokeshire coast (South-West Wales) to teach cello workshops on Saturday with my dear friend and colleague, Nichola Thomas.

The workshops were a joy, with cellists aged from 10 to 60 all in a room together playing in ensembles, and listening to each other play and receive helpful hints from Nikki and myself. Much more of this kind of thing has to go on. We don't need nuclear missiles, we need music workshops. It makes sense to me.

I battled back through the snow to find that my consignment had arrived from Bolivia, being multiple panpipes and quenas that I intend to use, mainly, for teaching purposes.
I got the instruments from Bolivianstuff.com and I have to say that they are of very high quality. I would use them myself in professional situations.
I would also recommend Tiendaslatinas.com for Andean musical instruments.

The first outing for these will be a workshop day for flute students at Trinity College of Music, London, next week.
I shall report back.

It's amazing that a cardboard box full of fragile cane flutes should make it from La Paz, Bolivia to South Norwood, London without any damage when, every week, the baggage handlers at London's Heathrow Airport manage to crack/dent/smash musical instruments in strong flightcases.

End of rant.


Pittsburgh Steelers get "Manchester United" award.
03/02/09 - Tony Bleary-eyed-again.
Last night, I found myself watching the Superbowl live on TV.
I hadn't intended this to happen but it was "on" whilst I did other things and I got "sucked in".

Terrific game!

The last time I remember being so enthused by a Superbowl was the first one I ever saw, at a "Superbowl party" at my mate's cousins's house in Orange County, California in January 1989.
The game finished with a drive down the field, orchestrated by Joe Montana, culminating in a winning touchdown with 35 seconds on the clock.
Just like last night.

The Arizona lads must be feeling as sick as the Cincinnati Bengals, 20 years ago, and the Bayern Munich lads in the European Cup final, 10 years ago, when Manchester United, having trailed 0-1, scored twice in injury time to win 2-1.

Sport, eh?
It's enough to make you as sick as a parrot.

By the way, I've managed to avoid the classic tabloid headline, "Steelers steal it!".

Drat! I've failed to avoid it.


Drum-doctor triumphs.
31/01/09 - Tony Overthemoonagain.
For readers in the UK who dally with drums (yes, I know, I try not to admit to it either) I should like to "big up" John Sullivan (see news 17/01/09).

I repaired to Suffolk today to pick up the drums that John had been re-skinning.
Being a djembe maker, he had never re-skinned a bombo before, but relished the challenge.
He has not only re-skinned the bombos, he has lavished care and affection on them, such that I could almost see them smile. And they sound FANTASTIC!

If anyone in the UK who dallies with drums (you don't have to publish your name or personal information or anything like that - no one need know about your percussive penchants!) would like to get in touch with John, his phone no. is on this site
http://www.african-drumbeat.co.uk/drum-makers/bodi.htm
or contact me for details.


Visit to Scotland.
29/01/09 - Tony Lucky-to be-alive-igan.
My wife and I did a MNB gig in Glasgow recently, as part of the "Celtic Connections" festival. I took the opportunity to spend some time with my family, and my mum and I zoomed around the highlands and lowlands of Scotland in my sister's car.

We went to Crinan, at the western end of the Crinan Canal.
Before the railways had been invented, the quickest way to get from Glasgow to Inverness was by ship (!) via the Crinan and Caledonian Canals.
Not much happens at Crinan nowadays but the canal is in very good order.

We then attempted to go to Lochs Tummel and Rannoch via Glen Lyon, but were defeated by black ice in the Dukes Pass north of Aberfoyle. The road down from the pass to the Stirlingshire side was like a skating rink and a number of vehicles had wrapped themselves around trees by the roadside.
Eight or so motorists, including myself, hand-scattered grit from the roadside onto the ice and we made it down, in 1st gear at 5 mph, and ended up in Crieff, Perthshire, where mum did some therapeutic shopping.

We went south, on the 25th, Burns Night, to Kirkcudbright, on the north shore of the Solway Firth - a very quiet fishing port.
We returned to Glasgow via Alloway, the town where Rabbie Burns was born, having spent the day in Galloway, the region where William Wallace commenced his rebellion against English rule.
The road across the southern uplands was covered in snow and slush. The English and Scots tended to avoid having any of their battles there.

Very sensible.





R.I.P. John Martyn.
29/01/09 - Tony Hinnigan
I've just heard, on the radio, that John Martyn died this morning.
He may have been working at it for most of his life, but I still find it a shock.

R.I.P.


South American Classical Music? Yes, please.
21/01/09 - Tony Hinnigan
This evening, my wife and I attended a concert by the London Symphony Orchestra in the Barbican Hall, London.
The programme was an all-South-American one with pieces by Ginastera, Piazzola and Revueltas.
The Ginastera piece, "Dances from Estancia", has become the stuff of legend, owing to the Simon Bolivar Orchestra's concert at last year's Proms.
The Piazzola bandoneon concerto suffered from poor balance in the hall. Conductor to blame, in my opinion.
The piece by Silvestre Revueltas, "La Noche de los Mayas", arranged from his score to the film of the same, was stunning.
It may be that this music is better live, as I heard it this evening, but it is available on CD and I think I shall buy it.

And the Ginastera.

South American "classical" music is every bit as fab as all the other music from that (very large) part of the world.


Beware of insects - they eat your musical instruments!
17/01/09 - Prof. David Bellamigan.
Yes, I'm afraid it's true.

I've just returned from Eastbridge, Suffolk, where I left my two bombos (no jokes, please, they are Bolivian bass drums) with drum-maker-doctor John Sullivan for immediate surgery followed by a period of recuperation.
The reason for the medical emergency was that moths had eaten the drumskins.
We're not talking petrochemical vellum skins here, we're talking yummy sheep and llama skins.
The drums had survived more than two decades in London unscathed, but the moths have obviously mutated to the point where they can smell, and appreciate, a fine Bolivian vintage. The b*****s ate all the hair, and chewed holes in the skin itself!
John is going to re-skin with goat, and has given me secret formulas for anti-moth agents.

This insect thing is, unfortunately, not confined to percussion instruments.
Some time ago I had an infestation of Bolivian termites in my panpipe and quena cases. Some of the softer-material pipes had been eaten to bits.
Having removed the casualties of war, and unable to detect the termites responsible, I retreated to a safe distance and kept the situation under surveillance.

We think we're so smart, don't we? Bolivian termites are far smarter than us, let me assure you.
Many more instruments bit the dust before I felt I could declare a unilateral ceasefire.

I use the word "unilateral" advisedly.

I fear the termites have "gone to ground" (that is, after all, what they do!).

YIKES!!!!!!!!


A Happy New Year to all my friends at the Inland Revenue!
05/01/09 - Al Caponeigan.
And a very happy new year to all loyal readers of this news blog!
Thank you very much, also, for all your e-mails containing support, queries, information and news about what you are doing, or are about to do.

As you know, I answer every e-mail (hopefully to your satisfaction) so keep them coming.

The reason for the (slight) tardiness of this greeting is that, after being snowed under with family-related festive-season stuff, my wife and I spent Hogmanay in Suffolk doing a gig in a restaurant with some dear friends and got back to London to do battle with the wonderful-January-back-to-reality-end of-year-tax-returns-scramble/nightmare. I am writing this submerged beneath a mountain of paper, breathing through a tube, in the proud tradition of commandos crossing a river clandestinely etc., etc.

Once the paperwork is in the can, I shall proceed to learning the Sibelius 5 method of musical notation. I have always been a "pencil and manuscript paper" organic-style type of composer/arranger but THIS HAS TO STOP.

If anyone out there is familiar with Sibelius 5, please let me know.
I may have to pick your brains!


"Good whistles" rave.
20/12/08 - Professor Tootligan
I've just spent the afternoon selecting instruments (whistles, on this occasion) to play some solos on an album for a well-known Irish pop singer, in a couple of days.
I've narrowed it down, according to the keys of the tracks, to three.
They have to be 100% reliable, as I'm recording live with the studio orchestra.

And the winners are:-............

Kerry Pro F tuneable. Lovely whistle. Plays itself.

Chris Abell A. Sexy tone and easy to control intonation, owing to generous backpressure.

Ozwhistle Vambrace. A total dream. It sings.

That's enough whistle raving. I'm off to the pub now to watch Crystal Palace FC destroy Sheffield United FC at Bramall Lane.




Art/mixing/whistle/beer/kebab news.
19/12/08 - Tony Chillisauce?Yespleaseagain
Ok. Art. I went back to the Rothko exhibition at the Tate in the company of my daughter, Martha and my son, Sam. I hadn't, particularly, expected Sam to dig Rothko's paintings but he certainly dug the chance to see them. Interesting, to me, was that, when I asked them both, independently, which was the painting they took to most in the exhibition, they plumped for the same one -"Red on Maroon" (1959).
They hadn't realised, but this was the painting the Tate had used on their posters for the exhibition.
At the Tate Britain is a Francis Bacon exhibition. I wasn't all that enamoured of three quarters of the paintings - I suppose I'm not really a huge Bacon fan but I was enthralled by some of the others, including the ones based on his obsession with Velazquez's portrait of Pope Innocent X, painted around 1649, and regarded to be, arguably, the greatest portrait ever painted. The Bacon paintings are fantastic!
I also went to the Dulwich Picture Gallery, virtually on my doorstep, to look at their permanent collection, which I have seen many times before. In addition to the paintings I would naturally gravitate towards, by the likes of Rembrandt and Van Dyck, I was surprised to be drawn towards portraits by Thomas Gainsborough.
He, and a number of other artists, had done portraits of members of the Linley family. One portrait, in particular, stood out for me - a portrait of Samuel Linley who, in contrast to the musical bent of the rest of the family, went off to join the Royal Navy. Gainsborough is reputed to have executed the painting in under an hour.
Linley died of a fever a few months later, whilst serving on HMS Thunderer.

Today, I repaired to the house of my "producer" to make some progress on mixing a track which had languished on his machine for over a year. The track will form part of an album of Medieval tunes, if I can ever get the wretched thing finished.

Another thing we did was drink beer. And not just any beer. Fullers "Golden Pride". Note to the wary - DO NOT DRINK THIS BEER. IT IS UNBELIEVABLY STRONG. IT TURNS YOUR BRAIN TO MUSH.
Later, we repaired to the (newly re-opened) "Ogleing Arms" in Bushey, near Watford, Herts., where we consumed more Fullers beer - this time, "London Pride" - a far more sensible option.

If you are silly enough to have ignored my entreaties re. Fullers "Golden Pride", you qualify to move on to "kebab news".
It's, actually, quite simple.
Board a train heading in, generally, some sort of South-Easterly direction.
Get off at Selhurst station and ask a passer-by for directions to Whitehorse Lane (everyone knows it - it's the home of football legends Crystal Palace FC) and enter the "Emek Kebab House".
Order a doner kebab with chilli sauce.
Eat it.
Let tomorrow take care of itself.

Oh yes, whistles!
My "producer" had a C whistle by Michael Burke. I had a tootle on it and it seemed really good. I shall do a video review of it when I get a round tuit. (Anyone have one of these tuits going spare?).
I actually have a whistle by Michael Burke (see news passim) which I traded for a bass A Chieftain with my old mate Eric Rigler when we were doing some film sessions together (I think it was "Troy").
The whistle is in G flat and it blends very well with 1st violin sections.

Yes, it is a miracle. I'm recommending Michael Burke to His Holiness for immediate canonisation.


Ornithology news/World's most fearless bird.
08/12/08 - Bill Oddiegan.
Now that the rain has, temporarily, relented, I'm back to the back-breaking task of digging up a previous weed jungle to turn it into a vegetable garden.
Our garden is regularly visited by sparrows, starlings, blue tits, blackbirds, crows, magpies, jays, wood pidgeons, robins and the occasional dunnock and wren.
Whilst digging, I am scolded from afar, mainly by blackbirds and tits, for having the effrontery to be there at all.
There is one bird, however, who is evidently the "shop steward" for the feathered fraternity. I am allowed 10 minutes of digging before Mr. Robin Redbreast arrives and sits on a fencepost, just a few feet from me, and "eyeballs" me until I take a Union Teabreak while he sees what tasty morsels I've turned up.
I doubt if even a condor (and I've seen a few in my time) would hassle a bloke thrashing around with a spade.
I should, therefore, like to nominate the robin as the most fearless bird in the world.

P.S. Horticulture news.

I am currently engaged in a merciless war of attrition with Japanese bindweed.
No quarter is being sought or given.
Difficult to tell who's winning.

Any advice?


Looks like the best team won!
05/11/08 - Tony Mottiegan.
Apparently, around these parts, the US President-Elect is already known as "Obama the 'Ammer" (Hammer), owing to some previously expressed allegiance to West Ham United Football Club.

Good thing he didn't pick Arsenal ("Obama the Gooner"?) or Manchester United ("Obama the Red Devil"!?!).

I should like to cordially invite the President-Elect to consider switching his allegiance to my team, Crystal Palace FC, which would make him "Obama the Eagle".
Sounds pretty good to me (although, if he'd been around 35 years ago, in the pre-Malcolm-Allison era, he'd have been "Obama the Glazier" - maybe not quite so good).

If, once he has been to a few West Ham games and realised the error of his ways, he would like to try another club, let me suggest a few options.

Maybe:-

Millwall FC "Obama the Lion".
Reading FC "Obama the Royal".
Southampton FC "Obama the Saint".
Scunthorpe United FC "Obama the Iron". (See "Maybe not", below).
Huddersfield Town FC "Obama the Terrier".
Port Vale FC "Obama the Valiant".
Peterborough United FC "Obama the Posh".
Plymouth Argyle FC "Obama the Pilgrim".
Hull City FC "Obama the Tiger"
Mansfield Town FC "Obama the Stag".
Ipswich Town FC "Obama the Tractor Boy" (could go down well in the Midwest?).
St. Mirren FC "Obama the Buddy".
Airdrie United FC "Obama the Diamond".
Ayr United FC "Obama the Honest Man".
Motherwell FC "Obama the Steelman".

Maybe not:-

West Bromwich Albion FC "Obama the Baggie".
Norwich City FC "Obama the Canary".
Fulham FC "Obama the Cottager".
Watford FC "Obama the Hornet".
Scunthorpe United FC "Obama the Iron" (cockney rhyming slang).
Newcastle United FC "Obama the Magpie".
Brighton and Hove Albion FC "Obama the Seagull".
Dundee United FC "Obama the Arab".
Forfar Athletic FC "Obama the Loon".
Newport County FC "Obama the Exile".

Whichever football ground he ends up frequenting, I'd like to wish "Obama the 'Ammer" all the best in his new gig.







Flutes, whistles and thumbholes.
29/10/08 - All fungers and thimbs
One of the drawbacks of my "job" is that, as a result of a phone call, I have to "dig and delve" in the musical instrument attic and excavate some instruments which I may not have played recently.
I am, currently, trying to recover from a flurry of such phone calls.

The first one directed me towards chinese flutes such as the dizi, xiao and bahu.
Bahu - no real problem.
Dizi - no problem as long as the ricepaper membranes work and they always do, the night before the session. The following morning, you get them out of the case and some of them are, plainly, "in a huff".
Xiao - Unlike the bahu and dizi, which have 6 holes on the front, the xiao has 5, the 6th being a thumbhole. Whilst the xiao is quite easy to blow, site-reading a tune, which would normally be a doddle on any 6-hole flute, is suddenly an alien landscape. Help!

A further phone call call directed me to the chromatic whistle.
I, fortunately, have a chromatic whistle made by Chris Abell. The good thing about Chris's whistle is that, if you keep the (2) thumb holes and the bottom (4th finger) hole covered, it plays (beautifully) like a regular whistle. The chromatic notes take a bit of "getting used to", but make perfect sense if you want to sling in the odd chromatic note.
I wouldn't, however, fancy suddenly playing an entire tune on one in A flat or D flat, if you know what I mean.

To sum up, thumbholes are great, but they do different things on different instruments. Of course! That's why Boehm invented his system!
Duh!

Think I'll stick to the cello, where the thumb stays resolutely behind the fingerboard (except when you play difficult stuff in "thumb-position" and you suddenly have to.... AAAAAaaargh!.....)

Back to the drawing-board.


Mushroom Sandwich.
19/10/08 - Chilled.
I've just returned from a ten day chill-out in Deal, Kent (see news 10/07/06).
My wife and I chilled, walked, ate, drank (top tips! - Shepherd Neames "Late Red" and Gadds "Seasider" if you like English ale) and generally soaked up the beautiful Indian Summer which lasted the whole time. Of the ten days, during nine of them you could see Calais so clearly you felt you could reach out and touch it.
Deal is close to the town of Sandwich, one of the "Cinque Ports" in English history and the title of this news refers to my two-day return in the middle of the the trip to do some sessions for "Mushroom" from "Massive Attack".
The stuff he is doing is exceedingly groovy. I asked him what the title of the album would be. He said it's work in progress and there's no title yet but, watch this space.
The string section played with immense intensity, which is what Mushroom was after and which MD Mark Thomas and leader Perry Montague-Mason wrung from the players. I'm used to intensity, playing in the Michael Nyman Band, but I've rarely heard that kind of intense playing in a regular "pop" session.
I'm certainly going to buy it.

Off to Budapest on Tuesday with the afore-mentioned MNB and Russia at the end of the month. (The Hermitage Museum - fabulous! - more art news, undoubtedly, to follow).


Today's rant topics - whistles/other instruments/gardening.
05/10/08 - If-I-ever-have-to-bag-up-another-bramble-again. GRRRRR!
I had a visit from a new student yesterday and, amongst other things, we went through a list of "stuff she had to get". On the list was a new whistle. She had brought along a shiny new Generation D and it was, to be frank, a musician's enemy. It sounded absolutely awful and 90% of her (and my) effort was put into just getting the thing to play at all. After five minutes of this madness I raided my locker and we embarked on a "comparison" session. We tried various factory instruments like her Generation D and then "tweaked" versions of the same thing. The look on her face when she tried a tweaked one was a picture. "This one sounds really nice and it's easy to play and it's in tune and....".
This from a player who plays Boehm flute to a high standard but is a whistle novice.
The "tweaked" whistles don't cost that much more than the production-line versions but they are a universe away in terms of actually being a "musical" instrument.
I sent her off with instructions to get a Jerry Freeman tweaked Mellow Dog.
Watch this space.

We also tried some more expensive whistles, which I didn't advise her to invest in at this stage but her views, on just picking up something and having a "tootle" on it, were interesting. She liked Jean-Pierre LeMeur and Steve Harper. Right on!

We also tried quenas and, having played my Zapata and Camac, I gave her a quena to take away and practise on. This probably cost about $5 but the (unknown) Bolivian maker lavished enough attention on it that it plays beautifully. Not all cheap quenas are this good but, if you try them out, you can quickly detect whether the maker was knocking something out for tourists' mantlepieces, or actually making "musical instruments". Cheap needn't, necessarily, mean bad.

I've made a pact with my next-door neighbour (who has no access to his garden - don't ask!) that if he cleared away the jungle I would keep the land cultivated.
He readily agreed and he and his mate set to work with large petrol-driven power tools. I agreed to "bag up" the stuff and take it to the Council recycling depot.
30 bags later I am still not finished and completely lacerated from forcing unwilling brambles into heavy-duty bags. (The non-heavy-duty bags simply disintegrate at the mere sight of the brambles - reminds me of the Medieval technique of "showing the prisoner the instruments of torture").
What is it with brambles? They adhere to you, to the bag, to themselves, it takes four or five goes to get them in the bag as, when you thrust them in and withdraw your arm, they come back out again attached to your sleeve. Aaaaaarrrrgh!!!!!

Time for a nice sleep and more delightful bramble-bagging tomorrow morning.


Top tip! Don't get gastric flu!
02/10/08 - Tony Death'sdoorigan.
I've just emerged from a bout of gastric flu. Nasty business. Difficult to see a way forward when even a glass of water is agonising to swallow!
However, that's all behind me and I've just finished making (musical) arrangements for an Amnesty International gig in West Wales this coming weekend and am now suffering from writer's cramp. Things can only get better.

In addition to the usual recording session malarkey, I now find that I'm aquiring pupils to teach. This is a thoroughly refreshing development which I hope to expand upon. There's nothing more joyful than the look on someone's face when it dawns on them that, as a result of teacher input, they can see a way forward to the next stage of their musical journey.

Countries to be visited in the foreseeable future include Hungary, Russia, France, Spain, Scotland, England (where's that?), Holland, Greece, Italy, Germany, Poland, Australia and New Zealand.
If you would like a ticket to experience the Michael Nyman Band effect, that can probably be arranged or, if you fancy a pint, drop me a line and I'll give you dates.

On the flute/whistle/quena front, I'm currently enjoying playing whistles by Hudson Winds and Jean-Pierre LeMeur and quenas by Milton Zapata.
I've had a lot of e-mails requesting Milton's contact details and I'm happy to give those out to anyone who wants to own a seriously good quena.

Over and out.


Some splendid news the CIA already know about!
05/09/08 - Fidel Hinnstro.
I'm sure the CIA and MI5 have a bulging file on me already, but let me add to it by plugging an organisation of which I have been a member for many years.
Musicians Against Nuclear Arms (www.mana.org.uk) has many members and eminent patrons within the UK musical community and, probably, further afield.
I would urge readers to check their website and, if you are unfortunate enough to live anywhere near London, get to one of their concerts.

The next one is on the 18th September in St. Cyprian's Church near Baker Street, where the Wihan String Quartet will perform a programme of Janacek, Smetana and Dvorak, including Smetana's 2nd quartet - one of the most extraordinary pieces of music ever composed.


Early musical influences.
05/09/08 - Wee Tony.
I found myself wandering around Croydon (South London) earlier today, as one does, and went into a record shop to look for a CD of Paco de Lucia's "Entre Dos Aguas".

They were out of stock on that one but I came out with some stuff by the Chris Barber Band. This is the first music I'm aware of hearing (my dad was a big fan) and I have become re-aquainted with tracks such as 'Careless Love" sung by Ottilie Patterson and the clarinet playing of Monty Sunshine (splendid name!).

Monty had a hit in 1959 with the Sidney Bechet tune "Petite Fleur" on both sides of the Atlantic and I recall hearing that on the radio as well as on my dad's "gramophone".

One thing about the sound of the band, which has stuck with me ever since, is the space between the high-fretted banjo of Lonnie Donegan and the bass of Jim Bray, allowing the vocals and solo instruments to have the freedom to give full rein to their sound. The tasteful drums of Ron Bowden were an essential part in the mix.

I need hardly add that Lonnie Donegan went on to become the "King of Skiffle" and, in his turn, influenced the Quarrymen, who, in a moment of madness, changed their name to "The Beatles".


Scordatura and Piobaireachd in cultural harmony shock!
31/08/08 - Antonio MacLeod.
I've just returned from a few days recording, in the village of Templecombe in Somerset, with Robert White and Sharon Lindo of the New Scorpion Band.
In addition to the delights of communing with the calves in the adjacent field and Bob's mum's Siamese cats, we played some enjoyable 18th century music including the Sonata based on the tune "Bonnie Jean of Aberdeen" written by Alexander Munro in 1732.
This is described as Munro's "masterpiece" and, never mind Corelli, it's an engaging piece which Sharon and I imbued with all the 18th century feel we could muster.

Watch this space!

Additionally and, hence, the title of this news, Sharon recorded her first version of the Pibroch tune "MacIntosh's Lament", using the "scordatura" version (different tuning) on the fiddle of the 8-minute piece, resulting in a musical experience which I found very moving, as it's from the Isle of Lewis, part of my ancestry, and the tuning of the fiddle gives it an ancient and Norse (hardanger fiddle) kind of sound.
I'm sure the piece will appear, soon, on a New Scorpion Band recording.

Despite the noble musical aspects of the trip, the real purpose was to play "carpet cricket" and my batting can only be described as woeful.

I hope to get some "carpet cricket" footage on the site in the near future and commence a revolution in world leisure activities.


NYO plays music written in "former colony" shock!
24/08/08 - Sir Bufton Tufton.
Yes indeed. This evening I watched/listened to the Prom concert given by the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, in which the programme consisted of works written in the USA by composers born, visiting or exiled there.

1. The orchestra. I was never a member of the NYO as, by the time I was good enough to audition, I was already applying for music college with a view to becoming a professional musician so was deemed "ineligible". A quick perusal of the NYO website earlier appears to show that this antediluvian concept is no longer in place.
(Terribly British - "What? You want do do it for money? How appalling!...etc).
The NYO has supplied many a concert platform and recording studio around the world with already experienced musicians for many decades and, on the evidence of tonights gig, will continue to do so.
Politicians, or anyone else, who begrudge money to the nurture of music in young people need only look at the astonishing story of the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela as a result of "El Sistema".
The NYO this evening, as with the SBSO, could have seemed like any professional outfit to a casual switcher-on of the radio.

2. The music. It was a game of three halves (to coin a phrase) in that the first piece - "Ameriques" by Edgard Varese, written in 1921, sounded futuristic whereas the second, Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 4, written in 1926, sounded backward-looking, although the early influence of jazz could be heard and the piano soloist, Boris Berezovsky (a formidable jazz pianist) gave it swing.
The final piece was Copland's Symphony No. 3 and here was the authentic voice of American music. If the other pieces were by "visitors", here was something by an American-born composer who had studied in Paris under Nadia Boulanger but changed his style to find a voice which is unmistakeably American.

Don't take my word for it. Check out these orchestras and composers.
The concert will, undoubtedly, appear on the BBC's iPlayer facility within the next day or two. Check it!

Was this a rant? (Oh no, not another one....please....I swear I'll give them up....honest....etc....etc....).


World's hottest curry reminisced.
23/08/08 - The Human Torch.
I've just returned from a lunchtime curry (in "The Great Nepalese", Eversholt Street beside Euston Station - top curry venue) with my old mate, American violinist Geoff Wharton and his young lady. He was in London for last night's BBC Prom concert, in his capacity as concertmaster of the Gürzenich Orchestra of Köln.

Amongst many other reminiscences, we recalled a Saturday night in late November 1975 when, after a week of performances at the Darlington (Co. Durham) Civic Theatre with Ballet Rambert, we had three hours to kill before catching the sleeper train to London. We decided to fill in the time by making an attempt at the "World's Hottest Curry" record. Can't remember the name of the restaurant (I could take you there!) but in we went and asked "What's the hottest curry on the menu?"
"Chicken Phal, sir."
"OK, two of those, and could you make them extra hot?"
"Are you sure, sir, they are already extremely h...."
"That'll be fine. Two of those."

Two hours later, pouring with sweat, stripped down to our vests and in front of a highly amused audience of waiters, chefs and other customers, we got the last mouthful down, followed by copious gulps of lager and to generous applause.

Let's not talk about the following morning.

Next week - eating the entire McDonalds menu on a rainy Thursday in Manchester with Australian viola player Alan Bond.

(I'm afraid so)


By George, they've got it!
18/08/08 - Professor Henry Higgins.
I've just returned from a week teaching at the West Coast School of Chamber Music in Pembrokeshire, Southwest Wales, and bored the students rigid by banging on, relentlessly, about the need to play (classical) music completely in time before they had the right to start "messing with it".
In addition to my duties coaching various pieces of classical chamber music, I led workshops on rhythm, in which we didn't touch classical music at all - instead concentrating on Transylvanian Gypsy tunes, Flamenco clapping, Bolivian panpipe "hocket" and Jamaican reggae.

The upshot was that, by the end of the course, students of all ages came up to me and thanked me for the revelation that "playing in time" is a completely liberating experience!

By George, they got it.

Another thing which grabbed my attention was that I had a number of sessions coaching Beethoven's Piano Trio Op. 1 No. 1.
A composer's opus 1 is the first thing they publish and is, as such, the way in which the composer introduces him/herself to the world.
Beethoven's Op. 1 consists of three piano trios which are all miniature masterpieces and the Op. 1 thing reminded me of an Op. 1 which I recently heard on the radio and which completely blew my mind.

Luigi Nono's "Canonic Variations Opus 1" on a tone-row by Arnold Schoenberg is one of the greatest pieces of music I've ever heard.


Panpipe workshops a blast (!)
07/08/08 - Dr. Hyperventilated.
Last weekend I led a panpipe workshop on the Summer flute course of my longterm friend and colleague, Anna Noakes, based in the village of Yoxford in Suffolk, England.

The idea was to get the flute students to improve their rhythm by learning "hocket" on the pipes. Hocket is the technique of sharing around the notes of a melody so that different players have different notes, and when they all play them in the right order, the tune should emerge unscathed. I must say that the students picked the concept up immediately and ran with it, to the extent that, after playing some excercises, we learned a tune and performed it in public in a restaurant in the village a few hours later!

I'm going to be inflicting the same fate on some string students on a similar course next week. Let's see how they do (?!).

I think the concept of "panpipe workshops" is a good thing for all musicians of any standard, as it's relatively easy to get a note out of a pipe and fitting in with other players in a close rhythmic relationship is the order of the day.

It's also fun!

If anyone reading this knows of an educational establishment which would be interested in this kind of thing, I'd be most happy to provide it.


"Rant" P.S.
25/07/08 - Dr. Thoughtful
Upon re-reading yesterdays rant, it occurred to me that "professional instruments" need not, necessarily, be expensive.

A few examples.

In 1981 I bought an Eko fretless acoustic bass guitar for 90 quid from a bloke in Romford, East London, in response to his ad in "Exchange & Mart". I have used that thing on more recordings (film, album etc....) and live gigs than you can shake a stick at. I've tried many far more expensive basses since, but none have the "tonky" (technical term) quality of that battered old Eko.

Around the same time, I was on tour with Ballet Rambert playing, amongst other things, "Ghost Dances". At the end of one performance, in the Birmingham Rep Theatre, a lady leaned over the pit rail and said "I've just come back from Bolivia and have a load of instruments. Do you want to buy them?"
They turned out to be assorted sikus (panpipes), toyos (very big panpipes) pinkillos (flutes) and mohoceños (very big flutes). I think she wanted 40 quid for the lot and those instruments went on to be used on many an Incantation album, all kinds of TV stuff and movies, such as "The Mission". The toyos, in particular, became the basis of the "Panpipe Olympics" technique, as developed for such James Horner scores as "The Patriot Games", "Braveheart" etc.

The Bombo (large Bolivian bass drum) which was used in "The Mission" and countless other movies and albums (and is sitting about ten feet away from me as I write) cost $5 from a bloke in La Paz.
The bloke who sold us the bombo threw in some "chajchas" (bunches of llama hooves) for free, and they continue to appear on recordings to this day.

Let's not even start with improvised (and excellent) sounds like walloping the backs of chairs with a pair of cheap drumsticks.

Once, we even stuck a mike out of the back door of a studio in West London and recorded a thunderstorm. That was free (and it's on an album).



"Professional instruments" rant.
24/07/08 - Huffen und Puffen.
My attention was recently drawn to an internet discussion forum, the subject being what constitutes a "professional" instrument (in this case, whistles but, in the interests of science, let's extend it to all musical instruments).

The contributors appeared divided into:-
A. Those who take the view that the cheapest factory-churned-out instruments are perfectly adequate and, in the hands of a competent player, will do any job.
B. Those who advocate acquiring instruments of the highest quality available, even if this means paying "top-dollar".
C. Those who have no idea.

Ask any professional musician what kind of instrument they play and they will, largely, say the best they can get/afford. Professional musicians are always agonising over whether their instrument is good enough and looking around for a better one. In many cases, if a player plays an instrument not "deemed to be up to scratch", employment possibilities can be lost. Having said that, many musicians will have an instrument they are fond of, and bring out occasionally in appropriate circumstances. Also, many players (myself included) will have a "touring" or "pit work" instrument which, whilst it's not your best one, is perfectly professionally acceptable.

The first cello I ever played was a free school one, held together by sellotape. I moved on to a Czech factory instrument then talked my dad into parting with 80 quid of his hard-earned cash (laughable amount nowadays) to buy a handmade Bavarian cello, which took me through college and into work. As soon as I was able, I upgraded to a handmade French instrument and, eventually, was fortunate enough to find, and have the funds to buy, the fine old English cello I now play.
My "touring" one is by a contemporary German maker and is of the highest quality.

My first guitar was an Eko Ranger VI. Would I play one now? You're joking - I have a Taylor!
My first whistle was a Generation. Would I play one now? Don't be ridiculous - I have any amount of far better whistles.
My first charango was warped and out of tune but all there was at the time. Would I play it now? I've sought out charangos with almost religious fervour and even had an excellent one made for me.

The only reason to play a duff instrument is when playing some "source music" on a film or for TV and the director asks "could you sound duff?"

Imagine being a concert pianist (who don't, generally, take their instruments around with them). The concert hall manager rings you and says "we have an old Broadwood baby grand with a slightly warped frame and a cracked soundboard and it could do with re-padding or, if you prefer, we could hire in a 15-foot Steinway". Would you reply "I'm a professional - the Broadwood will be fine"?

Musicians depend on advances in equipment manufacture just like anyone else, in order to sound better and, generally, make their very difficult task easier.
In our case, however, new is not necessarily better. If I were to answer the phone this afternoon to some philanthropist offering to donate me a Strad, would I take it? ......(left blank to avoid stating the bleedin' obvious).

Don't be a Luddite. Upgrade. (And acquire a taste for the pain of "agonising"!).

Official end of rant.


Wroclaw
22/07/08 - Tony Hinnigan
I've just returned from two gigs in the city of Wroclaw in Lower Silesia, Poland.
It's amazing that there's anything left of it, as it was at the centre of the last, and one of the bloodiest, sieges of the Second World War.

Breslau (as it was called then) was declared by Hitler to be a "festung" (fortress) and was to be defended at all costs. The German garrison did not surrender until the 6th May, 1945, the day before the general surrender of all German forces.
Three months of pounding by Red Army artillery and aerial bombardment and "scorched earth" retreat by the German defenders left 50% of the Old Town and up to 90% of the outlying districts completely flattened.
A number of the old buildings survived to be restored, including churches, the cathedral and the very splendid medieval town hall.
Our gigs were in the beautifully restored (and absolutely packed) Opera House.

I'm just now making final preparations to teach string-playing students to play panpipes (to improve their concept of rhythm).

Wish me luck.


Tram and train news.
10/07/08 - Tony Nerdigan
I recently took some time off and messed about in Derbyshire and Leicestershire.
For those unfamiliar with the geography of England, they are counties right in the middle of the country, or, more precisely, the "East Midlands".

In Derbyshire my wife and I stayed in Belper, or "Belle-Repaire", as the Normans named it. The Normans were right. It's a beautifull place to repair to, with rolling hills and green fields, most of which we covered on foot.
Belper is also close to Crich, home of the National Tram Museum. This sounds like some kind of government-run affair but is, in fact, run by tram nerds like myself and is one of the best museums on the planet in the sense that, you don't just wander around looking at dusty old trams in a shed - you ride around on them!
We rode on a Glasgow tram built in 1900 and I'm sure that I rode on that very tram as a child before the system was ripped up in 1962. (Let's see - that makes me about 106. Yep, that would be right).
I sent my mum a postcard of the Glasgow trams in the museum and she has confirmed that those trams served our area of the city.

COSMIC!!!!!

In Leicestershire we rode on (what's left of) the Great Central Railway.
The line runs from Loughborough to Leicester 365 days a year.
Without enthusiasts like this, the film industry would be unable to recreate certain scenes in period films unless the budget was considerably increased.
Let's hope old railway lines, as manned by enthusiasts, will be able to survive as going concerns. I hope to end my days as a bloke who polishes bits on the locomotives!

P.S. Although I am a complete expert at golf(!?), I have recently taken to hitting every shot too short, too long, into the rough, into the rough on the other side of the fairway, etc., etc.
Is there any cure?

Desperate,

South Norwood.


Loud Whistles P.S.
23/06/08 - Deaf as a post.
I've received a message from Phil Hardy telling me that wide-bore Chieftain high D whistles are still in production in both tuneable and non-tuneable versions from www.kerrywhistles.com.

Banjo players, beware!


LOUD WHISTLES!!!!!
21/06/08 - Sorry, I couldn't quite catch that. Could you speak up a bit? The geezer next door is making an infe
I saw a question the other day on "The Session" website regarding which whistle is the loudest for playing in noisy pub sessions with banjos, accordions, bodhrans etc.

Whilst most musical instruments have variable dynamics available to the player, others, such as bagpipes, organs and, er, whistles, are basically on or off, so the idea of getting a "loud" or "quiet" one is not as stupid as it may seem.

I don't usually have much use for loud whistles, as the kind of sessions I tend to play in involve a microphone and a sound-proofed studio. However, I was intrigued enough to trawl through my own collection to see which whistle was the loudest.

Susato plastic whistles came out pretty loud in the "survey", as did the Tamlin wooden whistle, but the loudest, by a very long way, was a wide-bore Chieftain which was languishing at the bottom of the flightcase (like I said, I don't often have much use for loud whistles). That is a LOUD whistle, and very well in tune etc.
I don't think Phil Hardy makes them any more so if you fancy upping the decibels, you'll have to keep an eye on the usual places.

Interestingly enough, the next loudest were wooden whistles - Bleazey and Rose, in that order. Whilst they don't have the raw volume of the Chieftain, they make up for it with cutting-edge tone quality.


Transposition? What's that? I play the violin, whistle, flute etc., etc....
19/06/08 - Torquemada
I have been immersed in making arrangements of various pieces of music for summer courses where I am to teach, basically classical, players how to play in different styles, including how to loosen/tighten their concept of rhythm and, hopefully, introduce the idea that you can read a piece of music and play it in a different key.

This is run-of-the-mill stuff for players of instruments like clarinet, sax, trumpet etc., but for others, they just "don't do transposition".

Rubbish.

I learned to play the cello first of all, whereby you are, already, required to read three clefs. Transposition is but a short step beyond that. In my life as a player of ethnic instruments I am expected to transpose all the time and, as "time is money", the mind is wonderfully concentrated, and playing the tune in another key is something which is expected and no more difficult than saying "Zwei bieren bitte, was kostet das?" etc., etc.

Incidentally, tranposing a tune into another key is not, solely, a problem for the reading musician. I have heard many cries for help from musicians who play by ear alone and the answer is the same. If you have to use a completely different fingering to play the tune, you may fall off the horse initially, but just get straight back on it and run with the "new" horse. It won't take long.

By the way, I can't speak a word of German.





Brass Band news.
09/06/08 - Tony Hinnigan
I've just finished participating in the Michael Nyman Live festival over three days in the Cadogan Hall in London.
The man himself opined to me that he thought the best gig in the mini-festival was the one yesterday afternoon by the Wingates Band from Bolton, Lancashire. He's not wrong.
My wife and I were at the gig, together with most of the rest of the Michael Nyman Band (oh, and members of the public also!) and we were blown away by the sound, the expertise, and the sensitive musicianship of the band.

They played most of the stuff on their "Nyman Brass" CD and a few choice extras. I would heartily recommend this CD, not just for the music itself but for the superb playing of the band and for their willingness to attack some new and unfamiliar music with such commitment. Chatting to some of the band after the gig revealed that they plan to record a second CD of Nyman's music. I wish them every success and hope they will explore other avenues outside the traditional band repertoire. If anyone can do it, they can.


More Quena news!
06/06/08 - Tony Gobsmackedagain.
I am astonished by the recent feedback I've had on quenas. Many readers have contacted me requesting information on how to get hold of decent-quality quenas.

I can only assume that some sort of quena revival is taking place - something which I wholeheartedly support.

Playing the quena is a unique experience, unlike any other instrumental tradition, and it is not difficult to learn. In fact, if you want to, you can teach yourself, as I did, although a few hints along the way are most useful.

I would like to take this opportunity to encourage everyone who has expressed an interest to persevere and, if I can help, to get in touch and pick my brains.

A helpful side-effect to quena playing is to have a head-start on playing such flutes as the shakuhachi and xiao. Most satisfactory!


Whistle and Quena news.
04/06/08 - Thatweirdofluteyblokewhat's'isnameagain?
Some time ago I acquired a high G whistle made by Chris Abell. I had only ever owned a Generation high G and fought shy of ever using it as it seemed so infernally squeaky! The Abell instrument was a vast improvement but it still languished in the case waiting for a suitable emergency to come along.
A few months ago I decided to put it on a recording to get some "high-end" on the track and it went down kicking and screaming, as my producer will probably testify. Lately, however, I've been playing it more as I'm making arrangements for live performance this summer and the high G fits the bill. I think this is a very fine instrument and, frightening though it may be at first, it rewards perseverance with a unique and unmistakeable tone.

I've also been playing a Camac quena which had languished in the case in its role as a "spare". My late friend Francis Calavia played a Camac but I aways stuck to my trusty Zapata (who wouldn't?!). The Camac quena, like the Abell whistle, is an instrument of the highest quality and I have been enjoying playing it very much, as I make these arrangements.

On the subject of Zapata, I spoke to Milton on the phone the other day. He is making instruments again after a couple of decades of, solely, teaching. I believe I have found him a new source of material as his old one, reeds from Lake Biwa near Kyoto, is no longer available as the reeds are now protected by the Kyoto Prefecture.
I have recently had some e-mails from people on my mailing list enquiring about quenas and I would be happy to pass on Milton Zapata's details to anyone interested in his, quite fabulous, instruments.


A lucky escape, and a dire warning!
26/05/08 - Evel Knieveligan.
Just returned from a MNB tour in Spain and Italy. The first gig was in Santiago de Compostela and, for the first time in my life, I went backwards off the stage.
Let me clarify.

We were playing in a kind of sports/multi-purpose venue and sitting on folding chairs. The band is configured with the front row on the deck, second row (including myself) on a riser behind them and the brass section as the third row on an even higher riser. The "rider" for the gigs stipulates that the risers should have lips nailed on to the back of them and we often make a fuss about this but, having got up at 3am and taken two flights etc., we failed to notice.

When we went onstage, I checked that the back legs of my chair were a good distance from the back of the riser. What I didn't realise was that each time we got up to take a bow between numbers and sat down again, my chair was inching backwards. On about the 5th bow, I sat back down and the back feet of the the chair finally left the back of the riser.

Fortunately, the steps up to the brass riser prevented me from going all the way back to the deck. I ended up horizontal, still in the chair, with the cello, which I had protected with typical musician's instinct, on top of me.
The cello didn't receive so much as a scratch. I sustained some minor damage.

The moral of the story is - if you're playing on a riser, even if you're standing up, make sure there's a lip nailed to the back of it!


(Surprise) Old Grey Whistle Test.
09/05/08 - Old Git.
Tomorrow I have to do a pop session which I'm probably not at liberty to discuss, divulge etc. for fear of litigation etc., etc., blah...blah...zzzzzzzz.
It involves whistles in D flat, D and E (see Truck Drivers' Gear Change Hall of Shame) and, whilst the high and low whistles in D flat and E are, pretty much, spoken for, I have tons of whistles in D (now there's a surprise!). I was playing through the tune this evening on whistle after whistle to see which one I might, at least, start with. The list included Abell, Rose, Hudson, Oz, Harper, Vargas-tweaked Waltons and Le Meur. These are all great whistles but to my surprise I kept picking up the Jean-Pierre Le Meur. This whistle plays itself. With all the others you're aware of having to play the whistle to some extent. With Jean-Pierre's, you just play the tune. In terms of wooden whistles, the Oz came out tops.


Art and football news.
07/05/08 - Tony Hinnigan
My wife and I went back to the Tate gallery on Bank Holiday Monday to see the exhibition of paintings by Peter Doig (born in Edinburgh, raised in Canada, two decades in London, now resident in Trinidad). She was intrigued by the posters on the tube and so off we went, though neither of us had heard of the artist.
His (very large) paintings are visual feasts and the exhibition included many smaller studies made prior to embarking on the big pictures, all of those being equally interesting viewing. This time I can recommend the book, published by the Tate.
The ISBN no. is 978-1-85437-782-1.

Last Sunday Crystal Palace FC beat Burnley FC 5-0 to secure their place in the Championship play-offs. The first leg of the semi-final will be against Bristol City at Selhurst Park next Saturday.

COME ON YOU PALACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Gig in historical place.
04/05/08 - Tony Hinnigan
Well, all places have their history but I have just returned from a Michael Nyman Band gig in Drogheda, Co. Louth, Ireland, scene of the infamous siege by Oliver Cromwell in 1649 and the Battle of the Boyne between the Catholic King James II and the protestant forces of King William III in 1690.

Whilst we were there, my wife and I went to Saint Peters Catholic Church in the town to see the preserved head of Saint Oliver Plunkett, the last Catholic Martyr in England, who was hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn, London, in 1681.

The gig was in Saint Peters, Church of Ireland, which was absolutely packed with one of the warmest and most appreciative audiences the band has ever played to. We spoke to many of them over pints of Guinness in Clarke's Bar afterwards.
My wife had an early flight the next day for recording sessions in London, so headed straight back to the hotel via a fish and chip shop to get a bag of chips.
One of the the audience members was in there doing the same thing and, after congratulating her on the performance, said "Would you mind if I buy your chips?"

She graciously accepted!


More art news.
30/04/08 - Tony Hinnigan
Living in London can have its frustrations, but one of the huge benefits (for someone who likes looking at paintings as much as I do) is the large number of top-quality Art Galleries with fabulous permanent collections and imaginative temporary exhibitions.

Yesterday, my wife and I paid a visit to the Tate Britain to see their exhibition of paintings by the "Camden Town Group". This was a group of painters formed in North London in 1911 whose art "embraced the life of ordinary people - its beauty and magic as well as its boredom and anxiety - and it represented life sympathetically as it was led, rather than how it ought to be". The large exhibition included paintings by Walter Sickert (the only painter I had heard of before), Spencer Gore, Harold Gilman, Charles Ginner, Robert Bevan and Malcolm Drummond.
I was quite staggered by the quality of these artists' work. They took their inspiration from the likes of Cezanne, Gauguin, Van Gogh and Seurat but adapted their techniques to capture a London in the midst of enormous change and upheaval in the lead-up to the outbreak of World War One.

Normally, I would include the ISBN no. of the exhibition book, but I feel that the reproductions therein don't really do justice to the actual paintings.

Next stop, the Peter Doig exhibition!!!


And the score is....
28/04/08 - Tony Hinnigan
Well, two sorts, really. I've had my head down scoring arrangements for a Summer School where I shall be teaching, whilst listening to endless football commentaries on the radio. The West Coast School of Chamber Music will take place in Pembrokeshire, Wales, in August and I shall be coaching and playing in a number of classes but chiefly focussing on classes on rhythm. I am arranging a number of folk and jazz tunes to try to get the classical students to rethink their approach to rhythm.
Sadly, classical musicians and string players in particular have a less solid grasp of the concepts of rhythm than musicians from other disciplines. It seems perfectly acceptable to pull music around all over the place but, when faced with playing a load of offbeats in time, well, it's impossible(!).
This nonsense has to stop and it will, in Pembrokeshire, this August.

By the way, yesterday's commentary was from Parkhead, Glasgow, where the final score was Celtic 3 Rangers 2. Technically speaking, this scoreline would make me "over the moon" and Jim, my brother-in-law "sick as a parrot".
I phoned Jim after the game and I can confirm that he is, by his own admission, as sick as a parrot


Time to move on and excellent whistle news.
04/04/08 - Tony Hinnigan
Yes, Ollie is neither under the ground nor ashes in an urn yet - funeral is on Fri 11th - but he would thoroughly approve of moving on.
I was recently sent some "tweaked" whistles by Erik Torp-Olsen at vargaswhistles.com. Erik takes cheap factory whistles and dismantles then rebuilds the mouthpiece according to his own cunning plan. He sent me his versions of a Generation, a Feadog and a Waltons Mellow D. The first two are very good indeed and a vast improvement on the factory versions but the Waltons is absolutely out of sight. I've been playing it for days and spent this morning comparing it with other, much more expensive, metal whistles that I own. I have to say that Erik's Walton's Mellow D has shot to the top of the list. I recently raved about Mitch Smith's ozwhistle as a great wooden whistle and I feel the same way about this one.
Apparently, Erik charges US$45 for them. That has to be one of the greatest bargains of all time. And it's tuneable.



A very sad day.
31/03/08 - Tony Hinnigan
I learned, last night, that one of my dearest friends, Oliver Nicholls, was killed in a hit-and-run road accident.
I had known Ollie for more than 25 years, initially in his capacity as recording engineer at Backtrack Studios and, later, at his own Dove Studio at the "Log Cabin" in his family home, Daneby Hall in the village of Fordcombe, Kent.
I have driven to Fordcombe so many times (and was planning to do so again in the near future) that it's difficult to take in that I shall never do it again.
Ollie recorded many Incantation tracks over the years and played keyboards in the band for a number of years. I recorded my album "Camera" with Ollie engineering and co-producing and I should now like to dedicate that album to his memory.
I spent some of my happiest and most stimulating times in Ollie's company and, though I don't have an actual brother, he was like a brother to me. His genial personality and positive nature, along with his superlative professionalism and inexhaustable patience will be sorely missed.
If you look at Picture#7 in the Gallery section of this site, Ollie is in the middle, at the back. The picture seems to sum up just how he was.

R.I.P.



A funeral and a concert.
23/03/08 - Tony Hinnigan
In the past week, my wife and I attended the funeral of our old friend (and her former Beau) Noel Abel.
Noel was a talented trombone player and was a member of some of London's finest orchestras in his 20s. He found that the pressures of the profession did not agree with him and moved on to other jobs, although his love for music burned strongly for the rest of his life, and he maintained regular social contact with many professional musicians, a large number of whom were at the funeral.
It was referred to in the service, and I shall repeat it here, that Noel spent the last half of his life determinedly drinking himself to death. In a way, he should be congratulated for finally getting there. I feel his pain and remember with fondness the many enjoyable times we spent together.

R.I.P.

Three days later we went to see a performance of Bach's Mass in B minor in St. Johns, Smith Square, London. This is supposed to be Bach's crowning masterpiece. Personally, I don't get it. I'm not an automatic worshipper at the Bach-Mozart-Beethoven shrine and, whilst these composers wrote some wonderful music, they also wrote some real tosh. I realise that a large degree of subjectivity accompanies any appreciation of music and I completely dig many other works by Bach, but the majority of the B minor Mass leaves me unmoved and, quite frankly, puzzled.
The performance, however, by the Academy of Ancient Music and the Holst Singers conducted by Stephen Layton, was very fine indeed and made the concert a most rewarding experience.

Don't take my word for it. Listen to the B minor Mass yourself. Make up your own mind. Enjoy!


A must-have for all musicians.
14/03/08 - Tony Hinnigan
I received a mailshot the other day from my colleague Sebastian Comberti who has a website called www.celloclassics .com.
I may have raved before about the wonderful book "Cello" written by my late teacher, William Pleeth, in the "Yehudi Menuhin Music Guides" series (ISBN 1-871082-38-2) which is an essential read and re-read for all musicians, regardless of the instrument they play.
Sebastian's website has just released an 8-DVD set entitled "William Pleeth - a life in music" which is a series of hour-long masterclasses given by William Pleeth at the Britten-Pears School for Advanced Musical Studies in Snape, England. The films were shot in 1996 to celebrate his 80th birthday.
I watched the first one last night and was moved to tears, not just by the memory of my teacher (I had four years of weekly lessons just like that), but by the quite extraordinary intensity of his teaching. I learned most of what I know about music from Bill and I would urge all musicians, again, regardless of what instrument they play, to go to www.celloclassics.com and buy the whole set. This is the only footage available of an absolute legend of instrumental teaching at work and is an experience not to be missed.


It's all Greek to me.
10/03/08 - Tony Hinniganipedes.
Just got back from a very sunny and spring-like Athens to a very grim and still-wintery-like London. My wife had not been to Greece before, so we did the Acropolis shuffle and, I have to say, even though I have been there a number of times before, the concept of the civilisation which was Ancient Greece is a wondrous thing when you consider how much of what they invented is now taken for granted, including medicine, philosophy, politics, literature, mathematics, science and, undoubtedly, music.
Sitting at the edge of the Acropolis, with the Parthenon at your back, and surveying the city and surrounding country is a mind-concentrating exercise in what a society with noble aspirations can bequeath to the world.

I, more humbly, hope this week to bequeath a new webcast to my long-suffering readership.

Pppphhhhhh!!!


Classic Hinnigan 4
09/02/08 - The Producer
The new Classic Hinnigan webcast is now up people.
TP


General gets the first crack!
08/02/08 - Tony Hinnigan
A while ago I raved about a new whistle I tried, made by Mitch Smith of Ozwhistles.com. I acquired one of these shortly afterwards and was looking forward to my first opportunity to play it "in anger" as we demented musicians say.
Lately I've been recording some library music with my old mate Mike Taylor (aka "The General"). Mike and I co-founded "Incantation" many years ago and he has been a soloist on a large number of movies, such as "Lord of the Rings" and others we have both worked on, including "Braveheart", "The Mission" etc., etc.
The other day, on one of these library sessions, we ended up doing a tune Mike had written, on whistle and guitar. Mike hadn't expected to do be doing it so hadn't brought any whistles to the studio. I offered him the pick of mine including Abell, Rose, Hudson, Harper, LeMeur etc. Guess which one he went for?
Yes, the ozwhistle won the day, and the General got the first crack!!

Yesterday, My producer and I recorded the fourth classical music webcast, which will be uploaded onto the site shortly. The next one will probably be, specifically, Baroque music. If anyone has any suggestions for other genres to home in on for webcasts, e-mail me!


The Taxman Cometh!
30/01/08 - The Producer.
I'd like to apologise for the lack of webcasts in this last period as Chief Wanganui has been otherwise disposed with the inevitable end of year paperwork.
I am assured that he will be back on form in the very near future.
Please see NEWS section for pic of The Chief before he submits his final return.


The snow in Spain falls mainly on the plain.
08/01/08 - Sancho Panzigan
I've just returned from San Lorenzo del Escorial, near Madrid, where it was..... snowing!! Don't quite know why that should be such a surprise but, out of the great many visits I've paid to Spain, it's the first time it has actually snowed whilst I've been there.
I returned to ongoing "works" in my house so, quickly scarpered to the abode of my producer where I recorded another classical music webcast which is now up on the site (under "Webcasts"....duh).
My producer had a pleasant surprise for me upon my arrival - a whistle I had ordered from Mitch at ozwhistles.com after trying the truly amazing one he had sent my producer. The latter was in gidgee wood and the new one is blackwood with sterling silver mountings. It plays like a dream. I've had little time to spend on it since its arrival but will find all the time I can in the coming days and say something about it on the site.
Today, I went into London's West End for the post-Christmas errand run. No-one gives me presents any more, so I had the ironic task of buying my own socks and handkerchiefs. I also looked in at Air-Edel Studios where composer Richard Wells was mixing his score (on which I had recorded in December) for a forthcoming film called "The Mutant Chronicles". Suitably gory sounds from oneself seemed to complement the action!
There was some splendid Theorbo playing on the score too so, to match, here are a couple of bass guitars.


Onwards and Upwards!!!!!
01/01/08 - Tony Light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnelagain
I'll like to take this opportunity to wish everyone on my mailing list (and anyone else who drops by) a very happy and peacefull New Year.
I appreciate all the comeback from readers and will continue to try to get back to you all as soon as I can.

Happy New Year!


So, that's the Festive Season over and done with, is it?....Please!?
31/12/07 - Ebenezer Scroogeigan
My wife and daughter and I spent the Christmas period with my extended family in Scotland. In addition to all the usual malarkey, we managed to get out and about a bit and, one day, headed west, on the advice of the BBC weather-forecasting supremos. We drove up the west side of Loch Lomond in dense fog and a thick hoarfrost which covered the ground and trees, so that the land seemed to be under the spell of some wicked witch.
We turned left at Tarbet and, as we approached Inveraray, the BBC chaps were proven right as we emerged from the fog blanket to hills glowing pink in the low-lying winter sun. A magical moment which could, probably, happen only in Scotland.

Off to Madrid in a couple of days with the MNB.

Here's the next instalment in the "So, how many etc., etc....... series.

Guitars!


Out of the frying pan into the fridge, Take 2 - Oh, and an astonishing new whistle!!
16/12/07 - Tony Hinnigan
Yes, almost directly from Mexico, where the sun beat down from a cloudless sky, to Lithuania and Estonia, where the snow carpeted frozen streets. In Mexico, the Michael Nyman Band played in Puebla, a very pretty town about 60 miles south-east of Mexico City. The light is one of the most striking things about that region of Mexico, owning to the thin high-altitude air. The colours of the buildings are so vibrant and made me think of Venice, where the light reflecting off the lagoon has inspired so many artists over the centuries, and Ireland, where the brightly-painted houses nestle in lush, rain-fed greenery, a green like no other I have ever encountered. Contrast that with the low-lying winter sun glinting on the snow in Tallinn. These are some of the the things which make the travel grind bearable.

In Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital, we played in the National Philharmonic Hall on the very stage where an 8-year-old Jascha Heifetz played the Mendelssohn violin concerto (which he had debuted the previous year in Kaunas!) to an audience including violinist and teacher Leopold Auer, who immediately whisked the young lad off to St. Petersburg to study with him. The rest, as they say, is history.
I've played on many a European concert platform where momentous musical events have taken place and it continues to be a fascination, to stand on that stage and try to imagine how that evening was in 1908, 1762, etc., etc.

Since then the band has done gigs in Rome (which we made by the skin of our teeth - high winds at the airport), the Barbican concert hall in London, and the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-On-Sea, Sussex, which is a delightful (recently restored) Modernist style building which I would invite you to google for an architectural visual feast.

The MNB has also been in the studio recording Michael's song cycle "I Sonetti Lussuriosi", a series of settings of erotic poems by the 16th-century Italian poet Pietro Aretino. The piece was premiered in the Barbican concert and caused amusement in the British press, not least because it occasioned the first ever "under the counter for consenting adults only" programme in the history of the Barbican Centre, owing to the severely explicit nature of the lyrics!
Additionally, a BBC producer was thrown into a state of panic at the English translation of the the words when Michael was doing a Radio 3 promo for the the gig and required the soprano, Marie Angel, to hum, rather than sing, the song they were performing live on air. Lots of Italian speakers in the UK.
Hilarious!

The other day I repaired to the house of my producer, foggy of head and irkish of humour, to be presented with a new high D whistle made by Mitch Smith at Oz Whistles. I immediately cheered up upon playing the instrument. I've played many a musical instrument in my time and, when you get a good one in your hands, it's an absolute joy and when you get something really special, you don't want to do anything else but keep playing it. Mitch's whistle is one of the latter.
I understand that he has only been making whistles for a couple of years and I, therefore, have to accord him the instrument-making equivalent of an Oscar-Board-Sweeping-Best-Everything award. Best Newcomber? You bet! There will be some garbled footage on this site shortly under "Old Grey Whistle Test" on the subject of the whistle and, as soon as I can collect 250 of yer Australian dollars to send to Oz Whistles, I will have one of my own. I can't wait!
By the way, it not only sounds brilliant, it looks FANTASTIC!! Great work. I'll be playing the whistle some more on the site when I've got one and lived with it for a bit, and will publish details of recordings on which I will (undoubtedly) use it.

On the subject of whistles, here's the latest in the "So, how many o' these....zzzzz....zzzzzzzzzz...... series and it's - whistles! See site NEWS for pics.

P.S. My producer tells me that the Oz whistle will be in with five other whistles under "Wanganui's Whistle Wish List". Most seasonal.






So, how many o' these
13/11/07 - Tony Tootligan
Yes, that's right. The postman turned up today with a cylindrical parcel. Ominous. It contained an F whistle in boxwood made by (the previously mentioned) Jon Swayne.
The gentleman who recently sold me his Low D Swayne told me he was going to concentrate exclusively on bagpipes, so would I like to take his place on the Swayne waiting list? Seemed like a good plan and, in fact, a couple of days later, Jon contacted me to say that he'd already made the chap's whistle so, if I was still interested, he'd send it to me straight away.
I've gone from a lifetime of not owning one of these flutes to having two delivered in the space of a week. I'll give the F a spin on this site when I've found a nice tune to play on it.

I have never met Jon, but he tells me in his letter that, years ago (I was in the Balanescu Quartet and Jon ran a bagpipe trio called Moebius), jazz pianist Keith Tippett was trying to book both groups for a gig in his Rare Music Club.
Actually, I think I'd already left the BQ by that and Jon was out of town so Keith couldn't get hold of him. Nice to think how small the musical world can be, though.

Incidentally, please find, above, another photo from "half the contents of my attic" (minus today's new arrival).
My producer will post the picture as soon as he has put the finishing touches to the 95% scale model of the "Graf Spee" he is currently constructing in his shed.


"Cheeky B*****d" TP.


"I think we should adopt the "Classical" approach, don't you, Carruthers?" "Absolutely, m'lud."
08/11/07 - Viscount Wanganui the 94th.
There is, currently, a new webcast on the site devoted to classical music. Hold your horses! My producer is, as I speak, re-formatting the show to make it consistent with 21st century technology. Once he has done that, and after we have taken tea (Earl Grey, of course) on the lawn with toast and bramble jam, he will upload a second classical music show, all of which goes to prove that, if you are patient and tolerant enough, you CAN get the staff.

Incidentally, as you can see from the previous news item, I have commenced to place on the site images from my extensive collection of Hellenic pottery (shurely, a load of junk on your front room floor?....Ed.).


So, how many o' these " musical instruments " dae ye actually have, laddie? Dunno guv, do I?
07/11/07 - Curator of the Adam Carse collection, Horniman Museum, South London.
Part the first - flutes.


I have, miraculously, survived another visit from my "Producer".
06/11/07 - Cat-who-is-rapidly-running-out-of-lives.
Hang on, I'll just open the front door and check up and down the street.
Yes, he really HAS gone. Phew!

The "gentleman" turned up with a number of items, including a flute and a B-flat whistle by Tony Dixon, for my perusal. This perusing can be found in the "Old Grey Whistle Test" section of "Downloads".
Also in this section are comparisons between two Jon Swayne low D whistles, one which my producer has owned for many years and one which I recently purchased from a chap in the United States.
There is also a short clip of a Bahu that I recently bought in Shanghai (more detailed Bahu stuff to follow later) and, under "Walkabout", the actual Bahu purchase and some transport footage which my producer has temp-scored with some music by Ralph Vaughan-Williams to interesting effect.
The trams in the footage are the same ones which I travelled on as a child in Glasgow and which, 45 years ago, the good burghers of that city decided to scrap.
They are still running fine in Hong Kong. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Over the last few days I have been compiling a photographic inventory of the musical instruments I possess, as I'm fed up with people asking me how many instruments I actually play and having no idea of the answer.

The photos should start to appear on the site later today.

By the way, my street address is:-

Vault 106,
Fort Knox, KY,
U.S.A.


Rule 1 - If you want something done right, do it yourself.
27/10/07 - To Ni-Hin.
Yesterday afternoon my wife and I returned from a trip to Shanghai with the Michael Nyman String Quartet and the Maestro himself.
We thought we'd go early to China and have five days getting over the jetlag and, generally, exploring a city we hadn't been to before.

How wrong can one be?!

When we got to Heathrow airport, the Virgin Atlantic security guard looked through our passports and said "Where are your visas?"
"Our promoter assured us we wouldn't need one," we confidently replied.
"Not only do you need one to enter China" said the chap, "You need one to get on the plane in the first place."
He then outlined the long list of options open to us.

1. Go home, get a visa from the Chinese Embassy in London, and try again another day.
2. Purchase some onward tickets from Shanghai to Hong Kong and, upon arriving in Shanghai airport, take the first available flight to Hong Kong and remain there for as long as it takes to get a visa to fly back to Shanghai.
3. Er... that's it.

(Apparently, the Chinese Authorities had recently moved the goalposts on visas and had started sending visaless passengers back, fining the airline 7500 quid and requiring them to repatriate the hapless travellers at the airline's expense).

Option 1 went straight down the pan as all flights were full for the next week.
So it was that, two hours later, we found ourselves racing through the terminal building, clutching our onward tickets, to board a rapidly closing flight by the skin of our teeth.

Promoters, eh? Don'tcha just love 'em!

It wasn't so bad in Hong Kong, although we'd been there several times before.
Shanghai, when we finally got there, proved to be an exhiliarating city. Shame not to have had more time to enjoy it. Ggggrrrrrrr!!!.... Would you be so kind as to pass me the bottle with the orange pills in it, please.... and maybe I'd better have a few of the pink ones too, and the red ones and.......


An auspicious occasion!
14/10/07 - Tony Hinnigan
Yesterday, my wife and I attended the celebrations, at my "producer's" abode, for his 18th birthday. Fortunately, recent demonstrations on this site resulted in him being able to prepare gin-and-tonics of acceptable quality. An enjoyable time was had by all, although I did find it necessary to remind the "gentleman" that, as I am shortly to turn 21, a modicum of respect for his elders continues to be appropriate.

That being said, happy birthday Mr. Hardy!


Name and shame - it's your public duty!
26/09/07 - Professor Hans Kellerigan.
Yesterday I had the enormous pleasure of listening to Neil Diamond singing "Cracklin' Rosie" on the radio only to discover, to my horror, that the song contains a classic "Truck Driver's Gear Change".
Let me explain to the uninitiated that a "TDGC" is a truly appalling musical device whereby a popular songwriter hikes his/her song up a key (or even several keys) in a desperate attempt to persuade the embattled listener to stick with the wretched "composition" until it ends.
I went straight to the appropriate website, www.gearchange.org, to check that "Cracklin' Rosie" was on on the list and discovered that it wasn't!
Needless to say, I have done my duty and nominated the "song" for inclusion.
I would urge all readers to be vigilant and, upon hearing a "TDGC", check the Hall of Shame at www.gearchange.org and, if the offending opus is not listed, nominate it!

When I become a ruthless dictator, my first act will be to compel all writers of popular songs to take a ten-year course in the theories of Arnold Schoenberg and the Second Viennese School.


Travels with my cello, No.94 - Jobsworths.
21/09/07 - Aristotle Wittgenstein.
Travelling with a cello is, indeed, an exercise to tax the patience of the most eminent philosophers. Jobsworths abound on aeroplanes (...Yes, I have a ticket for it, at the insistence of your airline and it, therefore, has a seat. Which part of that is difficult for you to comprehend?...etc...etc), trains (...It's not a cello, it's a viola da gamba. Would you like to look that up in your book? It's not there? So I can bring it on, then...) and coaches (...The cello is damaging your coach? Could you point out the damage to me? No, I can't seem to see any either. Oh and, by the way, the instrument is not only extremely old and fragile, but is also worth several of your coaches...).

This morning, however, I was astonished to be confronted by the best one yet.
I was attempting to take a cab from my hotel in Newcastle-upon-Tyne to the railway station. As I was about to enter the vehicle, the driver said "you can't take that in there."
"Why not?" I asked.
"Too dusty" he replied and, by way of providing me with a visual aid to reinforce his point, he ran his index finger over the surface of the cello case and held it up for my inspection.
"Look at that" he said, "Dust! - That thing is not going inside my taxi".

You couldn't make it up.


Note to self - must get proper job.
14/09/07 - Orson Wellesigan
I regret to say that there is new "footage" in several sections of the DOWNLOADS part of the site.
if there really is nothing on the telly and the rain is too heavy to allow a wander to the pub, you could be stuck with this.

Sorry.


Tony Reviews Thornton High D
13/09/07 - The Producer
Tony has now reviewed Tommy Martin's high D Thornton whistle. You can view the review in DOWNLOADS under Old Grey Whistle Test - Thornton Whistles.


Pics from Apocalypto
12/09/07 - The Producer
After sifting through some old pics, I came across this nice little number.
All the soloists from the score of Mel's film Apocalypto doing the Abbey Road quickstep last October. Doesn't time fly?
The Producer.


One has finally managed to re-locate one's home.
11/09/07 - I live here, officer - honestly. Look, this is my key. Er, maybe the lock's rusted up ??
Yes indeed. A chilled-out holiday in the village of Staithes on the North Yorkshire coast. It occurs to me that Captain James Cook, in 1745, aged 16, became an apprentice grocer/haberdasher in Staithes. After 18 months he got the sack. Perhaps if he'd stuck at the haberdashery with a bit more application he wouldn't have become a Commander in the Royal Navy, thereby leaving the field clear for someone else (the Dutch, Spanish....etc...?) to discover the Antipodes, in which case Scotland might have more chance of winning a game in the current Rugby World Cup.
Yet another example of incompetent trainees altering the course of history.

A family funeral followed, in Dalmuir, Dunbartonshire, for my mum's younger sister, Hetty.

R.I.P.

Several days ensued recording library music in Somerset. What's library music?
A graphic guide to the genre will appear here in the near future.
Film footage was taken at the sessions and will be posted on this site soon. Do hold your breath.

From Templecombe, Somerset directly to Riga, Latvia, and it's time for a rant.
Riga is a pretty city and, on Saturday morning, my wife and I paid a visit to the Central Market.
This is, quite simply, the biggest market I have ever been to. You can buy almost anything there, whether to wear, eat or use and the "produce" was either in the ground, walking around on top of it, or swimming off the coast of it, an hour or two earlier.
We could do that in the U.K.
We've been doing it for thousands of years.
Now, however, the "moneymen" have decreed that we must buy all our days-old, chemical-ridden foodstuffs from large buildings at stupid prices so as to adequately line the pockets of faceless shareholders.
Likewise, our hopelessly overpriced clothing is made on the other side of the world by people on less-than-subsistence wages.

I'm no Luddite but I'd like to have a few less large buildings in my life, if you catch my drift. The Latvians are managing to cling on to reality (or, at least, the ordinary everday Latvians are). Why can't we?

Official end of rant.

Next stop Gateshead. Wayay man!


Onwards and Downwards.
22/07/07 - El Turisto Wanganisto.
I write this whilst ploughing through central Spain in a coach on the last leg of a MNB tour.
If I had a 5 pound note for every occasion when I've ploughed through central Spain in a coach, I wouldn't have to be doing it now, if you catch my drift.
It always seems to be the same. Hundreds of miles of flat, dry land, covered in olive groves and vineyards, with mountains in the distance that you never seem to get to (If there are so many olive groves in Spain, how come all the olive oil in British shops is from Italy or Cyprus?).
The day started at 4.30 am in Grado (scene of last night's gig), a small, sleepy Italian fishing town in an archipelago near the Croatian border.
2 flights and a cancelled flight later, we boarded this bus at Madrid's Barajas airport for the long grind south to Malaga (scene of tonight's gig).
With luck and a following wind (there doesn't appear to be any wind), we'll get there just in time to play.
Fortunately, gigs in Spain rarely start before 10pm.
Our Italian promoter is putting himself through this hellish journey with us, as he wants to see tonight's show, where we play with the Orqesta Andaluzi de Tetuoan, a splendid traditional orchestra from Morocco, with whom we have shared many a concert platform.
That's what I call dedication, but he is a thoroughly decent fellow, unlike our Spanish promoter, who.... no....,let's not go there.

If I get out of this alive there will be forthcoming news of forthcoming excitements - coming forth.

P.S., Does anyone know the latest score in the England v. India Test Match???

P.P.S., Does anyone know how Crystal Palace got on in their pre-season friendly against Barnet FC??????

P.P.P.S. I've just learned that Palace beat Barnet 3-2 at their place.

COME ON YOU PALAAAAAAACCCCCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Congratulations and all that jazz.
29/06/07 - Tony Hinnigan
Yes, indeed. I'd like to offer my warmest good wishes to my "producer", Phil Hardy, and especially to his wife, Bruny, on the birth of their first child, Aysha.
I had the good fortune to hold the wee smout in my arms yesterday and a great delight it was. Looking into the eyes of a newborn baby as they ponder the environment, into which they have been deposited by the explosion of birth, never fails to amaze.

A recent flurry of gigs has included playing cello solos on Richard Harvey's score to the forthcoming movie "Eichmann", playing a bit of whistle on a track (Ashokan Farewell) on an album by a new group, "Blake", to be released on one of the Universal labels, and a couple of days in Abbey Road, as a temporary member of the Kazakhstan Philharmonic Orchestra, (honestly!), recording an album with sax player Nigel Hitchcock, to be released on Sony/BMG.

I'd like to take this opportunity to "big up" the Khazakhstan Phil, who are some of the most diligent and dedicated musicians I have ever had the pleasure to work with.

I've just (yesterday) done some more "Old Grey Whistle" testing and this will appear on the site shortly.

P.S. It occurs to me that "Ashokan Farewell" was, in fact, written by American fiddle player Jay Ungar, with whom I worked on the score to the movie "Legends of the Fall" some years ago.
What goes around, comes around.


New and exciting stuff! (generally happens to someone else).
05/06/07 - Tony Half-empty/Half-full/Half-empty/Half-full/Half...etc...again.
There is an entanglement with some Overton whistles (the original "Low" whistles) in the Downloads section of the site. Also, expect a new webcast to hit the airwaves any second now. It's in the can, at least. New webcasts are being slowly fermented, for maximum flavour, as we speak.
I would urge readers, once again, to submit their poetry ideas for the forthcoming poetry webcasts. Recordings have commenced and I have already read a poem submitted, by e-mail, by a reader. You can submit poems you like, or have written yourself, for me to record (or, if you can, record the poetry yourself and e-mail it to me as an MP3 file or similar format).

I'm heading for Europe on the weekend for MNB gigs in Metz in the Lorraine district of France followed by two gigs in Torino, which is the first place in Italy I ever went to (also the setting for the original "Italian Job" movie).
Let's hope the band bus doesn't end up teetering over a mountain road precipice.





Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin.
24/05/07 - Professor Anthony Wanganui AGSM LTCL
As warned, there is some more stuff about quena playing (how not to do it) in the "Downloads" section under "Tricks of the Trade". There is also new rambling about whistles in "Old Grey Whistle Test".

In a future issue, my wife will explain how to play Sudoku.


Splendid new stuff!!! (Shurely pointless fillers - you're fired - Ed.).
21/05/07 - Tony Gisajob.
As a result of recent e-mail enquiries re. quena playing on the subject of "how do you play it?",
I have recorded some more quena-related video and, also, some whistle reviews.
I am happy, at all times, to answer any questions (as best I can) via e-mail on how to play instruments.
I consider passing on any tips on the subject of instrumental expertise to be a public service so, feel free to ask.

Your humble servant,

TH.


Letter from the N IV.
18/05/07 - Tony Hinnigan
I am writing this on the MNB tour bus on the main highway from Madrid to Sevilla.
We'll leave the road before Cordoba to go to Ubeda, which is where the gig is (!).
I thought I'd been everywhere in Spain, after all these years, but here's somewhere I've never been before.
We've travelled from Santa Cruz on the island of Tenerife this morning.
In the past we've played in a theatre on Tenerife but now there is an astonishing new auditorium which I would urge readers to search on the net for a look.
Unfortunately, photographs are only in two dimensions and cannot do it full justice.
There's always Plan B. Go to Tenerife! I plan to go back there on holiday ASAP.

Before coming on this tour I was playing in the Loch Shiel Spring Festival in the Scottish Highlands. The main concert was in the church at Glenfinnan, home of the Glenfinnan Monument to Bonnie Prince Charlie.
Body-swerving those excellent topics, politics and religion, I can report that, the previous week, I went to Paris to record the Promoreel for a Jean-Jacques Annaud film "Sa Majeste Minor" with composer Javier Navarrete.
More on that directly.
When all this touring has died down, i.e., soon, expect the poetry webcasts to commence.
Also the first webcast featuring "novelty records".

If you can get on the next flight to the Betelgeuse System, I'd do it.


New Webcast concept.
16/04/07 - Tony Hinnigan
I recently decided to try a new idea on the webcast front which is to have poetry readings, as opposed to music, as the basis for webcasts. The music webcasts will, of course, continue but the poetry idea appears to be something which is striking a chord (!).

I have asked a number of friends, relatives and colleagues to consider reading some of their favourite poems and the response has been 100%! In fact, in the first minute of conversation, most people have said "I can already think of half a dozen".

I am, therefore, embarking on a programme of recording these poems and the results will start to appear on the site within the next month or so.

I would cordially invite readers to also consider recording their favourite poems and send them to me as an MP3 file for inclusion in the poetry webcasts. Ideally, a short introduction to each one would be good saying why you like the poem/anything you know about the poet/why it's special to you etc.

The poems can be anything you like, including childrens poetry/nursery rhymes, song lyrics, hymns, poems you have written yourself, with the proviso that, at least initially, they should be sonnet length or slightly longer. Sections of Epic poems are possible. In the future I may try entire Epics. (I can think of a couple I'd like to do!).

Poems in languages other than English are also most welcome!

So, watch this space.


Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water...
11/04/07 - e.e.wanganui
some more poetry came along!

This is a very famous poem and I'm sure many readers will already know it but, hell, I like it!
John Keats wrote this poem in October 1816, having stayed up all night reading Homer with his friend, Charles Cowden Clarke, and was, unbelievably, criticised for reading a translation (by Elizabethan playwright George Chapman), as opposed to having the education to read Homer in the original Greek!

Well, I studied classical Latin at school but not, sadly, classical Greek, so I'm definitely with Keats on this one!

ON FIRST LOOKING INTO CHAPMAN'S HOMER

Much have I travelled in the realms of gold,
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told,
That deep-brow'd Homer ruled as his demesne:
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:

Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He stared at the Pacific - and all his men
Look'd at each other with a wild surmise -
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

Apparently, Mr. Clarke found the poem on his breakfast table at 10 o'clock the following morning.
Let's hope Mr. Keats had a good sleep.


Poetry corner etc.
10/04/07 - Tony Hinnigan
Regular readers of these news items will have worked out that I enjoy looking at paintings. In fact, I recently attended the "Canaletto in London" exhibition at the Dulwich Picture Gallery in South London, in the company of my wife and a friend and colleague from the USA, who is a crazy enough dude to travel all the way from Los Angeles to Dulwich to look at some pictures.
Needless to say, it was well worth it.
The exhibition was based on Canaletto's 10 year sojourn in London in the middle of the 18th century, during which he applied his extraordinary talents (well known in his many Venetian scenes) to painting scenes in London, including a number of views of Westminster Bridge and Somerset House, as well as scenes up-river and views of other parts of England, including some wonderful studies of Warwick Castle.

Once I've been shown how to do it, I plan to post facsimiles of paintings I've seen on this site.

Which leads me to the main thrust of this piece of news, namely, another passion of mine - poetry.

I have, generally, preferred poetry to prose due, possibly, to the concise nature of the artform. I would like to share with readers some of the poems which have spoken to me over a number of decades and the difficult part is to know where to start. I shall, therefore, take the plunge with an anonymous 15th century poem which takes a well-documented scene - the crucifixion of Jesus - and treats it in a very close and personal way.
The language may be difficult but I think it's worth persevering, as it certainly takes me straight to the centre of what the poet wished to convey.

MARY MODYR, CUM AND SEE.

'Mary modyr, cum and se:
Thi Son is naylyd on a tre.

'His body is wappyd all in wo,
Hand and foot; he may not go;
'Thi son, lady, that thou louyst soo,
Nakyd is naylyd vpon a tre.

'The blyssyd body that thou hast born
'To saue mankynd, that was forlorn,
His body, lady, is al to-torn,
His hed with thornys, as ye may se.'

Wan Johan this tal began to tell,
Mary wyld not lenger dwell
'Tyl sche cam to that hyll
Ther sche myht her owyn Son see.

'My swet Son, thou art me der;
Qwy haue men hang the her?
'Thi hed is closyd wyth a brer;
Qwy haue men soo doo to the?'

'Johan, this woman I the betake;
Kep this woman for my sake;
On the rod I hyng for mannys sake,
For synful man, as thou may se.

'This game and loue me must pley
For synfull sowlis that ar to dey;
Ther ys no man that gothe be the wey
That on my peynis wyl lok and se.

'Fadyr, my sowle I the betake;
My body deth for mannys sake;
To hel I go withowtyn wake,
Mannys sole to make fre.'

Prey we al to that blyssyd Son
'That he vs help wan we not mon,
And bryng us to blys that is abone.
Amen, amen, amen, for charite.



I will ensure that the next poem is in modern English (!).






Just got back from Somerset/Scotland to discover that Spring has sprung.
17/03/07 - Tony Inlondonagain.
Yes, after a weekend recording library music in Zomerzet with various old muckers, including Robert A. White and James R. Shenton (we recorded some very nice 18th century arrangements of Scottish tunes, amongst other things - watch this space!), I went to Scotland to see my mum and to get my electric cello serviced in Ballachulish (by Starfish Designs - check 'em out).
We had a pleasant lunch in the Crannog restaurant on the shore of Loch Linnhe (check 'em out) and an equally good lunch at the Kelvinside Art Gallery in Glasgow (check....) which has some astonishing paintings, including a fabulous Botticelli and a whole roomfull of French Impressionists that they don't even admit to having!

More art nonsense to follow.


Hot news! At least 5% of webcast 20 rumoured to be appearing within next century.
08/03/07 - DJ Wang.
Yep, my producer lost his glasses but, nevertheless, managed to soldier on and commit a portion of the non-stop party mix to the webwaves. There is more, much more of this stuff heading your way. Do panic.


Splendid new way to encourage me to shove off!
07/03/07 - DJ Wang.
After some olympic-standard headscratching, I've managed to get the correct e-mail on myspace, so that's another method of communication and, you could always apply to be one of my friends. I could use a few of those!
http://www.myspace.com/tonyhinnigan

My "producer" has donned his thinking cap again and insisted that Webcast 20 be put together 5 minutes ago and should consist of "DJ Wang's 2-hour non-stop party mix".
How is it possible, I hear you think, that such a miserable git as yours truly could possibly have any funky records in his collection.
Funnily enough, I was just thinking the same thing. Miracles, however, can happen, and I'm just off dahn the shed to see what I can dig up.

If anyone has any thinking caps they don't need which contain less time-consuming ideas, please forward them to me and I shall ensure they are rammed firmly onto the appropriate head.



"Planetary Bodies are Spherical" shock!!!
04/03/07 - Tony Hubbleagain.
I have just witnessed a total eclipse of the moon over London (something which doesn't happen all that often, as the air above London is not the clearest in the world
), and I can confirm that the moon is a sphere!

Normally, the moon looks fairly two-dimensional, as we all know but, in a total eclipse, it suddenly acquires a third dimension.

I can feel some inspiration coming on.


Webcast up and some other stuff.
03/03/07 - Tony Overworkedagain.
Firstly let me allude to singer-songwriter Jeremy Dundas (see previous news). I had the pleasure, the other day, to be involved in the mixing/producing process for Jeremy's first single "What I do". Let me give the track a completely biased review.
It's very good! The track has a light, upbeat feel with a number of acoustic guitars (played, very expertly, by Jeremy himself) to the fore. As the title implies, the song describes his current way of life, and the accompanying video (shot by Phil Hardy and edited by Marco Alessi) is a kind of "day in the life" of a young Kiwi arriving in The Smoke (that's, er, London, to foreigners and people aged under 100), and a thoroughly entertaining watch it certainly is. Jeremy did all the backing vocals himself and you can enjoy the entire experience on his shiny new website, www.jeremydundas.com. I wish him all the best with it.
My "producer" persuaded me to demo, on camera, one of the tunes I shall be recording for my forthcoming "Slow Airs" album. Needless to say, when I do it "for real" there will be live humans playing the strings etc. but, you've got to start somewhere. You can witness the work in progress in the Downloads section of this site - click on "Strings and Things" then "Slow Air demo", and it's also on the Kerrywhistles.com site, should you happen to be trawling around there.
Finally, the latest webcast, using entirely dusty and dodgy old cassettes, is now in the "Webcast" section. The sound quality is absolutely dire but, hey, it didn't used to bother us in the tour bus! Know what I mean?



Oh yeah....
03/03/07 - Oh come on, I can't remember everything all the time.
There is a competition on webcast 19, where five lucky(!?) listeners can win a copy of "The very best of Incantation".

It's not that bad, as albums go!


Onwards and Upwards! (Oh and, er, backwards).
01/03/07 - The Chief Luddite! Who wants to know?!?!?
Having previously presented, for your delectation, a webcast dedicated entirely to music reproduced on vinyl, I decided to crawl around my attic (as one does - it's February - come on, giz a break!!) and discovered loads of dusty old cassettes which will yield a good 3-4 shows.
The audio quality may not be 25th century but some of the recordings probably no longer exist in any other format. I've picked up these cassettes over many years on my travels and some of them deserve an airing.

If my "producer" should happen to read this, get yer a*** into gear and get into your own attic and find, and plug in, a cassette player. The listening public awaits!!!


A sumptuous aural feast! (And a British Rail cheese sandwich?).
26/02/07 - Tony Hinnigan
As I write this news I am listening to "Classic FM" and drowning in such intoxicating musical beer-barrels as Rimsky-Korsakov's "Scheherezade" and Elgar's "Cockaigne" overture. Whilst I don't, necessarily, buy into the Classic-FM-chocolate-titbit approach to music, I have to admit to being, occasionally, seduced by it.

On the subject of musical titbits, I have to report that webcast 18 is now on the site.
My "producer" has been in and out of a job more times than I've had glasses of celery juice so I decided to give him one more go. The jury's out. Please feel to e-mail me with a verdict, the options being "guilty" or "definitely not innocent".

I look forward to pronouncing sentence (!).


Some quickly cobbled-together news. There are only seconds to spare.
21/02/07 - I'm sane. Honestly. Ask my wife.
Got to dash this off quickly as I can see the men in white coats coming down the street.
It has been pointed out to me that MP3 downloads on this site are now free. I don't know how this happened and I certainly don't remember doing it.
All you have to do, apparently, is go to the MP3 downloads section of the site (cunning, eh?), and enter your e-mail address. You will then be able to download tracks willy-nilly.
On the subject of e-mail addresses, I should like to take this opportunity to welcome all the new subscibers to the mailing list. Rest assured that I shall diligently forward all your details to MI94, the department of Her Majesty's Government Security Services whose remit is to actively pursue musicians and all those who consort with, or seek to make contact with, such anti-social reprobates.

My "producer" has finally completed his recording complex (or so he says. Personally, I think the odd picture might be nice and a log fire and a nice bowl of fruit and a kettle and a toaster and a microwave and someone multi-lingual on the switchboard to take/field international telephone calls and a comfy sofa and a pub next door. You know, the kind of facilities that proper recording studios provide as a matter of course).
Notwithstanding the teething troubles, I hope to commence an album of "slow airs" from around the world once I have finished arranging a suite of English folksongs for my wife and scraped all the wallpaper off our bathroom.
Oh, and once the temperature in the "studio" has risen to a level where the icicles can safely be broken off and, somehow, melted down to provide drinking water.

Onwards and upwards with this site and all comeback and suggestions are cordially invited via e-mail.

Just away to scrape some folksongs off the icicles.

Chief Wanganui.


Another webcast and lots of news about not many gigs.
09/02/07 - Tony "SAD" Hinnigan
Yes, Seasonal Affective Disorder is in full swing!
When I become a ruthless dictator, my first act will be to remove February from the calendar and go straight to March.
Had a MNB gig in Italy the other week in Italy and another in that country next week. I renewed my acquaintance with composer Guy Farley the other day playing on his score for an Italian film called "Operation Pilota".
Perhaps it's time I improved my rudimentary grasp of the lingo!

There is a new webcast on the site. It consists entirely of vinyl records and I apologise in advance for my producer's inept handling of the discs. He had never seen one before. He's only young, bless 'im.


New Webcast with Live Interview.
12/01/07 - TP
This is the first of the new year webcasts from T'Chief with a competition and a live interview with Jeremy Dundas. A really great show.
TP



Some takes from the Apocalypto sessions and some b****cks talking.
09/01/07 - Tony Hinnigan
My producer has posted some footage on the site which had previously thought to be lost.
No big deal, just a few takes on a particular day and some "interview" s**t.

There is a certain amount of paranoia which, inevitably, surrounds the release of any major product.
As a mere foot-soldier, my view is that all publicity is good publicity.


A Great Night Out!
06/01/07 - The Producer
I'd like to thank Tony and his family for a splendid night out last night. We all (myself, my wife, Tony's wife and two of his kids) went to see his latest endeavour, Apocalypto, in Leicester Square, London. After a reasonable session at De Hems we enjoyed a violent romp through the central American jungles to be followed by yet another small session in The Bear and Staff. Personally, I'd go for the sessions in the bar rather than a violent romp. I was quite out of breath by the end of the movie.
So, thanks once again Mr Hinnigan.
TP


Back-breaking labour in full swing and more art b****cks.
04/01/07 - Chief Dronganui.
Yes, my "producer" is extracting his "pound of flesh" in his own, inimitable, style and, when the facility is completed, I will be too knackered to record anything there for the foreseeable future.
The other day my wife and I spent an agreeable morning at the "Holbein in England" exhibition at the Tate Britain gallery here in London (England).
Hans Holbein the Younger (1497-1543) had two stints in England in the early 16th century, mainly working for King Henry VIII.
The boy could paint!
Although mainly a portraitist (painting Henry a number of times and many of his courtiers, including his third wife, Jane Seymour), Holbein also painted other subjects including "Noli Mi Tangere", covered some centuries previously by Fra Angelico, who I have raved about before.
Holbein was a highly skilled professional artist/designer and one of his gigs was to go off to various parts of Europe to knock up a quick "snapshot" of some royal female personage that Henry might be considering for matrimony.
Despite one beheading already, there seemed to be no shortage of candidates for the job.
Still, Holbein fulfilled his part of the bargain and, let's face it, 30 quid a year is not a sum to be sniffed at.

More brain-melting art drivel coming soon.

P.S., Halfway through the afternoon today, my "producer" stumbled across a half-finished glass of ale, at the bottom of which languished a videotape, previously considered lost, which, once dried before a roaring fire, appeared to contain more footage from October's recording sessions for "Apocalypto".
We'll see what we can do.


Happy Hogmanay, ev'ryb'dy!
01/01/07 - Chief Drambuie.
Dropped my mother-in-law off in Leicestershire yesterday which, traditionally signals the end of the "festive season" in this hoose. (sic)
On the way back down the M1 my wife and I dropped in at the palatial abode of my "producer". His studio is well on the way to completion and, after I have done some more back-breaking labouring for him next week, whilst he barks orders between sips of delicious English ale, (surely, between gulps of ale - Ed.), the facility should be completed in the foreseeable future, enabling an ever more relentless barrage of nonsense (and, even, some music) to find its way onto this and other choice sites.
Needless to say, all readers have hereby, officially, been forewarned.


Always look on the bright side of life!
24/12/06 - The Dread Demon of Horrendoville.
Fortunately, we've now passed the winter solstice, so it's uphill all the way. Hurray!!!!!
I did some recording the other day on Michael Nyman's score for the movie "Never Forever", directed by Gina Kim, which I see has been nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.
I wish it every success.


Many Thanks
16/12/06 - The Producer
I should like to extend my thanks to Chief Wanganui for his help on the studio yesterday. What would I have done without him?
TP


Video footage on the way - honest!
13/12/06 - That poorly-paid git who has to sweep up the cutting-room floor every night.
I spent an "enjoyable" afternoon with my "producer" going through video from the recording sessions for "Apocalypto".
A lot of the stuff is fairly inscrutable but an edited version will appear on the site shortly, including instrument demonstrations and interviews with some of the musicians involved. There is also a lot of bollocks talked. Sorry, that's just what it's like.

I hope to start interviewing many musicians as an ongoing theme on the site so stay tuned.


Home-Movies-R-Us
13/12/06 - Orson Hinnigan
There is now some garbled footage on the site from Abbey Road, London, Nov 2006.
It's in downloads - interviews.


New bow.
08/12/06 - The Producer
I'd like to congratulate The Chief on his purchase of a new bow.
Well done.
TP


Fast running out of tunes.
08/12/06 - Don't panic, Mr. Mainwaring!
Apparently, webcast 15 is now on the site. I know this from feedback that I have already received. Keep it coming! I'm going to have to haunt record shops quite a bit in the near future to keep the tunes coming!

I'd like to thank my producer for his congratulations on my recent purchase.
I'm not planning an imminent re-enactment of the Battle of Agincourt, rather, planning to draw a warmer sound out of my cello.
In the murky world of stringed instruments, you have to get lucky and I believe I just did.
Bows are often overlooked (by non-players) as a vital part of the sound-production process but, believe me, they are everything, and the good ones can, and do, command high prices.

On another note, as it's now the 8th of December, I believe I can speak more freely about a project I was involved with last month, i.e., recording the score for the movie "Apocalypto", directed by Mel Gibson with music by James Horner.
My Producer shot some footage of the quite exotic instruments we played on the sessions and I hope to be able to post some of it on the site fairly soon.





Out of the fridge into the fridge.
26/11/06 - Tony Hinnigan
Back from Russia, where the weather was dreich, to London, where the weather is... dreich!
Highlight of the trip was a visit to the Hermitage museum in St. Petersburg where the lucky citizens have a staggering collection of Rembrandts to look at and a collection of French Impressionist paintings to rival anything in Paris or London.
And then there's all the other stuff!
If anyone feels like a career in car-washing, take the next plane to Moscow.
You will become rich (particularly as the entire Russian car-washing industry now seems to be located in South-East London).
We survived the Russian customs agents' attempts to relieve us of our valuable instruments, although they did give it a good shot.
Something approaching normality looms for the next month so I will attempt the near-impossible feat of posting another webcast.
Do svedanya.



Out of the frying pan into the fridge.
21/11/06 - Trammy Nerdigan.
Just returned from a very sunny Lisbon and off, tomorrow, to St. Petersburg and Moscow.
If you're as much of a nerd as I am, search for "Lisbon trams" and settle in for an enjoyable afternoon.
St. Petersburg is known as the "city of trams". How can all this wondrousness occur within the space of a few days? I must have been good or something.
Report coming soon from "Tovarisch Anorak".


Another webcast? How did that happen?
14/11/06 - No idea man. What's the date and all that?
Yes. Another webcast has miraculously appeared.
Clueless as to how it happened.
Been in Italy for MNB gigs and a performance of the boss's new opera, "Love Counts".
Having returned, I renewed my recording relationship with Hayley Westenra, putting a few flutey bits and bobs on her forthcoming CD.
A great pleasure.
More news imminent about my previous recording project.

Hanging on in there.



Lack of webcasts/news/everything etc., etc.
30/10/06 - Chewed piece of string.
I've just emerged from Abbey Road studios, London, after a three-week recording session.
During this period I have been unable to post any news as I have, literally, finished the session each day, taken the train home and crashed out.
Normal service may soon ensue, given the schedule of the Michael Nyman Band in November.
There is a rumour that a webcast will take place later this week. Could be.

Not the producer.


BLOG
15/10/06 - The Producer
We now have a Tony Hinnigan blog at MySpace. Just go to www.myspace.com/tonyhinnigan
you can get involved there.
Have fun.


Scotland 1 - France 0. Yes, that's Scotland 1 - France 0.
09/10/06 - E. I. Addio.
Not being rich enough to have Sky TV permanently at my disposal, I had to follow the game on BBC radio.
As a result of this famous victory, I have decided to celebrate by buying a Scotland shirt from 1967, a year when the Scottish team delivered a lesson in the fine art of passionate, aggressive and committed football to another team which had been recently "crowned" champions of the world.
I struggle to recall the name of the team in question but the match was played in the north London suburb of Wembley. Scotland won 3 - 2.

You get the shirts from www.toffs.com.

You can get French shirts there and also shirts from that other team.



Is there a pay increase in the offing?
02/10/06 - The Producer
After having found my sense of humour I approached Chief Wanganui for a pay increase as the pitifull 3 groats per week can no longer sustain my wife and 7 kids.
This picture was taken at the moment of request.
The Producer


A splendid lunchtime!
30/09/06 - Gilbert the Gourmet
I've been thinking of putting a "restaurant recommendations" section on this site.
As a touring musician, I am frequently to be found at all corners of the globe (although not at the same time - I'm working on that one), and, by a combination of Michelin and other guides, local tip-offs, accidental good luck or just "using the force", my colleagues and I have, over the years found many fine establishments at which to feast and, albeit temporarily, escape from the touring loop.
I'll start with one in my own town, London. The other day, after our gallery visit (see "a splendid morning" below), my wife and I went to the excellent Moro in Exmouth Market, a place we had been before. Once again it did not disappoint. Moro is a Spanish restaurant but, as the name implies, the cuisine reflects the North African influences in Spain's history. We had the full works and didn't require further sustenance for the rest of the day! Moro isn't cheap and I couldn't afford to eat there regularly but, now and then, it's a top-quality dining experience.
On a Monday lunchtime it was rammed with discerning customers.
I rest my case.


A splendid morning!
27/09/06 - Tony Hinnigan
Two days ago my wife and I went to the Tate Modern gallery in London to see their exhibition "Kandinsky - The Path to Abstraction" which encompasses a 15 year period period in the life of this remarkable painter from 1916, when he moved to Munich aged 40, until 1921. During this period the artist completed a transformation from being an impressionist landscape painter to being a totally abstract painter in a voyage of discovery which is chronologically documented by the exhibition.
During this period the composer Arnold Schoenberg, a friend of Kandinsky, was on a comparable journey in the world of music. Kandinsky, a great thinker about his art, was very keen on the relationship between music and painting and, in fact, one of my favourite paintings is entitled "Fugue", which attempts to graphically represent the musical form where themes play at the same time, becoming more and more intertwined until the final resolution.
If all this seems a bit cerebral, it probably is but I would urge readers to "grasp the nettle" and explore the work of these "difficult" artists.
It's worth it.

The Tate has published a marvellous book to accompany the exhibition.
The ISBN no. is 1-85437-677-2.


A splendid afternoon!
24/09/06 - Tony Hinnigan
The other day I received, out of the blue, an e-mail from the son of Milton Zapata, the gentleman who made most of my quenas (Andean flutes) and with whom I had lost touch and had not seen for 25 years.
He told me that he lived in London and that Milton was currently visiting him and would like to get in touch. You could have knocked me over with a feather!
Milton, in my humble opinion, is the greatest quena maker ever and we spent this afternoon together. He told me that he had devoted himself to teaching South American music and, as a result, had not made any instruments for some time, but was getting back into making.
He showed me some of his most recent instruments and I have taken some away to "road-test". They are the best he has ever made.
Milton authorised me to post his details on this site and they are:-

Milton Alban-Zapata
79 Rue Brillat Savarin
75013 Paris
France

Tel:- +33 145809447

By the way, I'm at the front of the queue!!

P.S. Milton is having trouble getting materials, so if anyone reading this knows of a good source of Japanese bamboo, e-mail me, please.


Looks like the Producer's for the chop.
23/09/06 - Judge Dreddanui
I'm sure that all listeners to webcast 13 on this site will have picked up that, in the outro to the Cesar Franck violin sonata, I referred to it as his violin concerto.
My "producer" failed to spot this horrendous gaffe.
As a last resort, I am going to place him on an emergency "beer only" diet, as the cucumber sandwiches and glasses of refreshing lemonade are, obviously, adversely affecting his powers of concentration.


New Webcast up (13)
19/09/06 - The Producer
Yet another show from the esteemed Chief Wanganui, full of fun, frolics and hysterics. What more could you want?


More Verbal Ramblings
12/09/06 - The Producer
I have taken it upon myself to "Big Up" The Chiefs new webcast (12) and his latest interview in the INTERVIEWS section of the DOWNLOADS.
Apparently, he is dismantling an electric cello, so cannot inform the masses of his latest ramblings. If you believe that, you'll believe anything.
All abuse to tony@tonyhinnigan.com.



Get yer lugholes around this little lot.
02/09/06 - The Radio 8 continuity announcer.
Yesterday I passed a not unpleasant afternoon in the company of my "producer", during which time we completed the first of a series of webcasts dedicated to a particular musical genre. We started with classical music.
It's difficult to present classical music in this format because, as every schoolboy knows, classical compositions tend to last quite a while.
My purpose, therefore, is to "tickle the fancy" of the listeners in the hope that they will pursue anything they liked and, perhaps, listen to the entire composition and, possibly, other works by that composer.

All feedback is, as ever, gratefully received.


Six of one, half a dozen of the other.
27/08/06 - The Musicologist.
Yesterday evening I turned on the television, more in hope than with carefull planning, and was lucky enough to catch the entire live telecast, from the Royal Albert Hall in London (as part of the BBC Proms series), of Tschaikovsky's 4th Symphony (in F minor, Opus 36!).
What a wonderfull piece of music. I plan to do a webcast, in the near future, of entirely classical music so expect something from Tschaikovsky to be included.
Note to conductor Christoph von Dohnanyi. In my score, the tempo marking for the Scherzo is Allegro, not Prestississimo. Too fast, man! If I were the piccolo player, I'd have had a heart attack in the first rehearsal.
The previous evening, I had found myself playing in a recording session for the "original cast" album of the forthcoming London revival of "The Sound of Music".
I'm fortunate enough not to be afflicted with any kind of musical snobbery, in fact if music is any good, from any genre, I'll give it a listen and, probably, like it, and Richard Rodgers certainly knew what he was doing. When I was learning keyboard harmony at school, "The Sound of Music" was one of the scores I used to play through, by ear, to try to figure out the chords.

P.S. At my entrance exam for the Guildhall School of Music the dictation test (where you had to write something down from a couple of listens), was the Beatles' "Try to see it my way". A bit easier than "The Sound of Music" but the chaps wrote the odd good tune, let's face it.
If anyone is interested in an independent analysis of the Beatles' music I would recommend "Twilight of the Gods" by Wilfrid Mellers, who founded the excellent music department at the University of York. I've checked on the internet and it's available. The ISBN no. is 0670735981.


Michael Nyman Band goes electric! (or, anyway, that's the current plan).
23/08/06 - New technology baffles pissed old hack.
In the light of recent aeroplane security scares and the resultant review of cabin baggage rules, the MNB has decided to experiment with electric strings, which can be flightcased and consigned to the hold.
I, obviously, already possess an electric cello but the other three string players do not, so the good people at www.starfishdesigns.co.uk are helping us out with the experimental period in September, which includes gigs in Dresden, Warsaw and Turin.
It's going to be interesting to see if we can make it work. Given the ongoing uncertainty over aeroplane security, we may have to!


Overcome with gratitude (oh, and some recommendations).
22/08/06 - Tony Hinnigan.
I have just crawled to Watford over broken glass and wearing a hair shirt, to grovel at the feet of my Producer in penitence and with eternal gratitude for his steadfast and unflinching devotion to duty in the midst of an ocean of incompetence.
At the time when I should have been posting news I was, in fact, watching a DVD in which another arduous journey is undertaken, by Tommy Lee Jones in his film "The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada", a film I would readily recommend.
Later, yesterday evening, I repaired to the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London to see a play written by my old friend, and fellow cellist, Justin Pearson.
"Elgar - Stirring The Spirit" is, as the name implies, about the composer and is set in a nursing home where he spent time towards the end of his life.
The cast comprises two actors, one playing Elgar and the other with the dual role of Elgar's daughter/Staff Nurse in the nursing home, and five musicians, including Justin himself, who intersperse the drama with performances of music by the great man, including his Piano Quintet.
Readers who reside in the UK may like to look out for the play, which will be touring and, indeed, other plays by Justin.
His biographical dramas are, in my opinion, the theatrical equivalents of, say, Ken Russell's film biographies of composers.

The website for the show is www.stirringthespirit.co.uk


The New Quena Tutorial
21/08/06 - The Producer
After battering the Chief about the head with a brick, I still can't get him to inform the masses about the new Quena tutorials we have recorded for his site.....so I'd better do it.
Ok Folks...here it is ...the all new Quena Tutorials for the beginner. You'll find them in the Download section under "tricks of the trade".
Also there are some more whistle reviews in the "Old Grey whistle Test" section..!
TP.



An indeterminate number of years of marriage!
17/08/06 - Casanova
Today was our wedding anniversary and, such are the vagaries of the music profession that, we didn't meet till late this evening.
An enjoyable "late one" included the topic - "If you could only conduct one classical music concert in your life, what would the programme be?"
It's a difficult question to answer but, given the usual overture/concerto/symphony concept, I would go for Berlioz' "Le Carnaval Romain", the Sibelius Violn Concerto and "Scheherezade" by Rimsky-Korsakov. My wife was a bit more dithery and I can understand that, as we discussed all kinds of music for our one concert and I also experienced considerable "ditheration".

Other recommendations to follow on the site or in answer to e-mail requests
.
I plan to do a classical music webcast in the near future and also other "genres" such as jazz, reggae, country, etc., etc.

Feedback is always immensely helpfull.


More Webcasts.
14/08/06 - The Producer.
As you all may know we have a whole pile of webcasts up and available now.
These shows were recorded over a period of 18 months. The forthcoming shows will be recorded week by week - gigs, sessions, movies, wives and kids allowing.
So stay tuned and check out the next set of shows.
The pic is of the Chief thanking me profusely for my tireless dedication to the show and my consummate professionalism. Bless.
The producer.


Movie "wrangling" almost complete.
10/08/06 - Tony Hinnigan.
I have lately been "wrangling" for a forthcoming Mel Gibson movie.This means that I am charged with the task of assembling the, somewhat specialist, musicians from several corners of the globe. I also have to, as I did with "Troy", procure strange and exotic instruments including, for example, a Tromba Marina. The name may imply that it's some kind of deep-sea trumpet but, in fact, it's a stringed instrument, popular in Medieval Europe until it fell into obsolescence in the eighteenth century. You play it with a bow and the vibrating string passes over a "floating bridge", which rattles against the soundboard making a noise like - a deep-sea trumpet!
This, along with sets of Swedish bark trumpets and Ugandan wildebeest horns, have come from the kind musicians at the "Shakespeares' Globe" theatre in Southwark, London. In addition to myself, with my usual arsenal of ethnic instruments, there will be Bob White, Jan Hendrickse and Guo Yi, all possessed of equally formidable equipment. Gary Kettel and Frank Ricotti, on drums , will finally ensure that the cavernous Studio 1 at Abbey Road will have no floor space for the duration.
I have also contacted Rahat Fateh Ali Khan in Pakistan, who will be singing and, as I mentioned earlier, composer James Horner has asked me to find an Ethiopian female singer, hence the "wrangling almost complete" tag.
The movie, by the way, is called "Apocalypto", and is set in Pre-Columbian Central America. I'm told that all the dialogue is in Mayan, hence the orchestra-free primitive style approach to the score from James.

On a slightly different note, there is a new webcast on the site and some new whistle reviews. Even more whistles arrived in the post this morning so watch the "Old Grey Whistle Test" for imminent updates.

Pint of whistles, anyone?

Yes, very witty. Sides currently splitting.



New Webcast now Up.
05/08/06 - The Producer
As you all can see,Tony has been working tirelessly to produce a new World Tour Show and here it is, number 5.
All the normal frivolities and gay banter we have come to love.
Enjoy.
The producer


Cosmic!
26/07/06 - Chief Wanganuivic.
Upon returning from the recent MNB tour, I discovered, on my doorstep, a fujara that I had ordered from Tomas Kovac at www.fujara.sk.
It's a Slovakian harmonic flute and is completely - COSMIC!!!!

Watch out for recorded examples on this site.



Artistic overwhelm-ment
25/07/06 - Tony Inventorofstupidwordsagain.
Gratefull thanks to the production department for continuous application to the task of posting new nonsense on the site.
The highlight of the recent MNB touring exploits was a day off (surely not - MN) in Florence, where I and a number of my colleagues visited the monastery of San Marco to gawp at the frescoes by Fra Angelico.
Angelico is one of my favourite painters and the frescoes can only be seen in the monastery, where they reside on the walls.
Words fail me to describe these wondrous paintings, and also the work of Fra Bartolomeo and Savonarola.
It seems to me, as a (completely amateur) art lover, that Angelico almost single-handedly initiated the Renaissance.
I would urge anyone reading this to repair immediately to Florence and go directly to the monastery.
Otherwise, if you live in the middle of nowhere (nothing wrong with that), order, on the wondrous internet, a book (ISBN 88-09-03749-9) on the Angelico frescoes by Magnolia Scudieri, director of the Museum.

It's hot in London and we're recording Michael Nyman's opera "Love Counts" in the legendary Olympic Studios.

Congratulations to the Italian football team on winning the World Cup. After that semi-final against Germany, they thoroughly deserved it.


Airs & Graces!
13/07/06 - The Producer.
It is with GREAT pleasure that I can now inform you that the Chief has given us another selection of toons to be found in the "Old Grey Whistle Test" dept.
Pray Silence.


What's the Deal, Neil?
10/07/06 - Suntanned Lothario.
Just returned from Deal, Kent, England, U.K., Planet Earth etc.
The weather was stupidly hot and there was much swimming in the English Channel and feasting on locally caught fish and other delights from "the garden of England".

"You can keep yer Costa Brava, an all that pallava 'cos I fink that I would rava 'ave a day dahn Margate wiv all me familee" (Chas and Dave).

I tend to agree with the erudite gentlemen as to the delights of the British seaside, a destination which appears, sadly, to have gone out of style.
Torremolinos or Torquay? Seychelles or Southwold? Long Island or Llandudno?
Save the planet and don't use up unnecessary aviation fuel. Go local, it's great!
I have to use up said fuel all the time, as a way of getting to my places of work, and I wish there was a better way to do it.

Having said that, I'm going to be doing a fair bit of flying in the next few weeks with MNB tours in Italy and Germany.
There is also some recording in Olympic Studios, London, to which I can take the train!

Your travel and ecology correspondent - "Rantios O'Tronicos".


Another webcast and time to sack producer.
02/07/06 - Donald Wheresyertroosers?
There is another webcast on the site and the warped sadist has included an out-take.
I'd like to see him try to introduce the track in question.
More, much more, of this stuff to follow.
I'm off to Deal, Kent, tomorrow (one of the "Cinque Ports") for a short break.
Hopefully, as the French have just beaten Brasil in the World Cup, they'll be too busy quaffing Cotes du Rhone to bother invading.


It's 8 am? Must be time to go on!
30/06/06 - Early Riseagain.
I've just been checking the upload of the "Incantation" webcast (in the MP3 section of this site) and realised that the BBC TV gig I referred to in the "Canarios" part of the cast is, in fact, the gig which is movie no. 6 in the "Incantation" section of the site.

Blimey!

We didn't play "Canarios" all that often.

It's tricky!


Incantation Webcast
28/06/06 - Battlescarred Producer.
After engaging in battle with "The Big Wanger" yesterday, I managed to get a show out of him.
Idea, to get the music of Incantation heard again, as much of their music has become classic stuff, the theme from "The Mission" being one such piece.
It also gives you an insight to the world of a deranged mind after too many years on the road.
The Producer.


Nah, honest, your Honour, it wasn't me. Couldn't have been! I wasn't there.
28/06/06 - Dr. Devious.
As a P.S. to my producer's wise words, I would like to apologise for the link between "The Mission" and "Amores Hallaras".
He is a warped sadist and he left it in.


Hinnigans World Tour Goes Live.
27/06/06 - Phil Hardy
The webcast "Hinnigans World Tour" is now live on www.tonyhinnigan.com as an MP3 download.
The show is based around selections of music from all over the globe.The shows will be up for a week at a time to download.
Hope you like them
Requests and feedback to tony@tonyhinnigan.com
Phil.


It's raining. Is that good or bad?
26/06/06 - Michael Fishigan
Actually, it's good but, as my old mate Kazu Matsui would say, I was "raised in the shade" so I'm at my happiest when it's completely gloomy.
He may have a point.

I've just received a wooden whistle in the post from Paul Busman.
He made the whistle for me and, after giving it a try, I returned it to him for some tuning adjustments.
These he has done to perfection, and the instrument sounds even better for his further attentions.
I refer to a previous news item re. Klaus Clement and Maureen Morrison and can only re-state my admiration for the master craftsmen and (honest) dealers in this world, without whom life would be far more difficult, if not impossible, for we people attempting to pay the rent by playing music for money.

Well done Paul.

Check out his site.
www.busmanwhistles.com


Podcasts? What on earth are they?!?
24/06/06 - DJ Wang.
Shortly, on this site, I will commence a series of weekly podcasts of "radio shows" presenting, simply, music that I like.
The shows, each of which lasts an hour, will be on the site for a week at a time and will be downloadable as an MP3 file.
A taster for the first one is currently available at

http://www.kerrywhistles.com/mp3.php?group=29

Any feedback would be most welcome on this site or http://www.kerrywhistles.com


New whistles surprise old git.
21/06/06 - Edward Windway.
There are a few thoughts on Weston whistles in "downloads" and more to follow.
The cameraman persuaded me to duet with him on the "Skye Boat Song".
Watch out for the next riveting installment in the "duos" series when we tackle the cello works of Boccherini.


Soundcheck MNB Japan
19/06/06 - Phil Hardy
After agonizing over which section to put up,we finally have some footage of Chief playing the pole.
Strings and Things.
Phil.


Inscrutable travel footage.
17/06/06 - Trainy Nerdigan.
My mentor, guru, avowed enemy and all-round demi-god, Mr. P. Hardy, has posted on this site (under the splendid new heading "walkabout"), some footage that I shot on the way from Osaka to Tokyo on the shinkansen ("bullet train").

The footage shows the approach to, and arrival at, Nagoya station.

I actually shot a great deal more footage than that.

One of the reasons for my fascination, nay, obsession, with Japanese rail travel is that you can travel the (approx.) 450 miles across southern Honshu from Tokyo to Hiroshima without ever getting into the "countryside". (You can keep going to Fukuoka if you like and you still won't).
A comparable journey in the U.K. would be London to Aberdeen, where you frequently get into the countryside.

Additionally, the shinkansen is completely BRILLIANT!!!!!
As is the French TGV, the Spanish TMR and AMTRAK.

Don't start me on British trains.


Sun finally rises in Land of Rising Sun.
10/06/06 - Hinnigan-san.
Third day here and so far it's been dreich. (That's grey and rainy to you sassenachs and other assorted foreigners).
Today, however, it's hot and sunny and the MNB is off to Osaka on the shinkansen ("bullet train").
Gig is at 4 o'clock so we'll be done by 6. Dangerous.
I brought my video camera so, if I can figure out which buttons to press, some footage may appear in "downloads" in the near future.
Fell asleep after Germany scored their second goal and awoke to find that Ecuador had beaten Poland 2-0. It's all that high altitude training.


Sayonara
03/06/06 - Tony Hinnigan.
I'm going to Japan next Wednesday (arriving Thursday 8th June).
If any Japanese readers want to get in touch, I'll be in Tokyo on the
8th and 9th, Osaka on the 10th and Tokyo on the 11th.

T.H.


NPL Factor
30/05/06 - Professor Denzil Dextigan
Today, 29th May 2006 (oops, I forgot my sister's birthday. Oh please, not again?!), I have commenced important research into the NPL (notes per lungfull) quotient of proprietary whistles.

The main reason for this crucial study is to rid my life of endless "debates" on the subject of whistle "backpressure".

Early results from my embryonic experimentation in this field can be found in the "downloads" section of this website (under the heading of "Old Grey Whistle Test" - ppphhhhh!). As the quest for knowledge about NPL gains pace, expect further results to be posted at this location.

Regrettably, I must now return to the pub (surely laboratory? - Ed.) to continue my ground-breaking investigations.




Got Back From Germany To Find London In Same Place Shock!
21/05/06 - Tony Hinnigan.
Gig last night in Duisburg. (The one near Dusseldorf, of course).
One has to admit that there is something striking, almost pretty, about the towns of the industrialised Ruhr Valley. Reminiscent of L.S. Lowry's paintings set in 19th century Salford. The gig was, even, in a former factory complex where much of the plant had been preserved as artworks.

Some run-of-the-mill work in London then off to sunny Japan.

P.S. Under the "further recommendations to follow" heading, check this.

www.new-scorpion-band.com

This is one of the best bands on the planet.



Networking (!?).
18/05/06 - Chief Wanganui.
Check this.

http://www.badhaggis.com/

Eric is one of the most versatile piper/whistler/all-round-musicians I have ever worked with.

He's also an excellent bloke.

Other recommendations to follow.


Overcome with emotion.
17/05/06 - Tony Moppedupandsqueezedintoabucketagain.
I attended a concert last night in the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, given by the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.
My reason for going was to hear the Symphonie Fantastique by Hector Berlioz (not the useless tosh in the first half by Haydn and Mozart).

It was, truly, fantastic.

It's a little known fact that my two favourite "classical" composers are Berlioz and Smetana.

Please feel free to e-mail me for any listening recommendations from the works of these two gentlemen.

P.S. Essential reads:- "The Memoirs of Hector Berlioz" (obviously by Berlioz himself - an astounding book) and "Smetana" by Brian Large.


It's all going wonderfully right!
16/05/06 - Phil Hardy
A new server and a new DOWNLOADS section,what more could you ask for? Well, actually, that's what we want.
We need to know what you would like to see,within reason,on this site.

Please email tony at tony@tonyhinnigan.com


It's all going to go horribly wrong.
07/05/06 - Tony Don'tpanicagain.
This site is undergoing changes, including the addition of picture and video facilities.
Sections such as tutorials, interviews and stuff about stringed instruments will, as if by magic, appear on it, subject, of course, to my being able to figure out how to do it.
Do be very afraid and do lock up your daughters.


I've got me a shiny new cello!!!!!!!!
11/04/06 - Tony Hinnigan
It only took around four months but I completed the purchase of an instrument today. If anyone's interested, it was made in 2005 by Klaus Clement in Bubenreuth.
The trouble is that the purpose of buying it was that it could be checked in to aircraft holds. Unfortunately, after four months looking for something that I like, I found it and, guess what.....I like it!!! So, back to the drawing board, then.
Announcement for those in the business. I got the cello from Maureen Morrison
http://www.stringersmusic.com and, when I discovered that it didn't, quite, fit in my flight case, got on to Alan Stevenson http://www.stevensoncases.co.uk who still had my original cello measurements from 20 years ago (!!) and is sending me new pads to fit the dimensions of the new cello.
Without the services provided by people of this quality, life would be so much more difficult for we touring musicians. It's a pleasure to do business with them!


Telephone bidder 1 - Me 0.
01/03/06 - Tony Philosophicalagain
Didn't get the cello, as the bidding hit my limit and I withdrew.
Good auction plan.
There are plenty more cellos in the sea. And other musical instruments also.


Brilliant time in Mexico City.
27/02/06 - Tony Jetlaggedagain.
Couple of gigs with MNB in Mexico. Weather was hot and sunny and we talked about it at length amongst ourselves (favourite topic of conversation in the UK). Personally, I like hot weather but prefer a temperate climate where you get everything. It's character-building!
Never mind the weather, I went to the house of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, which is now a museum containing a number of their paintings, along with works by other artists, such as Paul Klee, who stayed at the house from time to time.
There were portraits, including Trotsky, whose house is round the corner, and other art works and fascinating furniture/personal effects etc.
One of the most enjoyable all-round museum experiences I've had, along with the Burrell Collection (Glasgow), Getty Museum (LA), Guggenheim (Venice), Monastery of San Marco (Florence) and Dulwich Picture Gallery (London).
Don't start me on concert halls.
I'm going to Sotheby's on Tuesday to bid for a cello.
Wish me luck.


More Art Gallery Stuff
27/02/06 - Tony Hinnigan
I was just reading the last post (no....not the sheet music for the well-known bugle tune) and realised that I'd forgotten to name-check the Jeu de Paume (Paris). What a wonderful gallery! Of course all the Impressionist paintings which used to be there are now in the Musee d'Orsay (itself a pretty good experience), but on looking at the website, I realise that the JdP now houses contemporary art. I was in Paris last summer. How on earth did I let that slip through the net??
A thought or two on big galleries. Whilst they all have some top stuff, you have to wade through a large amount of dross to get to it (e.g. the Louvre). However, it's always worth it. I'm going to Florence soon with the MNB and after the obligatory San Marco visit I'll be diving into the Uffizi for another jaw-dropping gawp at Michelangelo's "David".
One positive aspect of the second-rate art is that it educates you in your appreciation of the masterpieces, just by looking.
Take the Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam) for example. When you walk into the main room, if you can tear your gaze away from Rembrandt's "Night Watch", you will find his "Staalmeesters". There are plenty of other paintings in the room on the same subject (a load of puritan Dutch blokes sitting round a table) by perfectly accomplished painters but Rembrandt's is out of sight, and the opportunity for instant comparison shows you why.
By the way, how did the Prado (Madrid) manage to get their hands on Hieronymus Bosch's "Garden of Earthly Delights"?
If anyone was wondering what to get me for my birthday next year.......


Play in tune? Are you serious? How do you do that?
14/02/06 - Chief Inspector Knacker of the Intonation Police.
I've become tired to death and far beyond by some recent threads on the Fish and Chipple website, http://www.chiffandfipple.com, regarding the subject of tuning.
Herein follows a lengthy dissertation on the subject.

A. If you play a keyboard instrument, tuning is everyone else's problem (unless, of course, you play the clavichord).

B. Fretted stringed instruments tuned in perfect intervals (i.e. 4ths, 5ths and octaves) cannot be tuned using an electronic tuner. Neither can non-fretted stringed instruments, but we knew that already, didn't we?

C. Fretted stringed instruments incorporating non-perfect intervals have to be tuned with an electronic tuner.
If I had a fiver for every hour I've spent tuning charangos in recording studios, I'd be writing this on the veranda of my villa on my private island in the Tropics.
My colleague James Woodrow would disagree with this but he's only a brilliant guitarist. What does he know? (Joke, James!!!!!).

D. I forgot about organists. Sorry, not your fault.

E. As far as everyone else goes, it's up to you to play in tune. It involves using the peculiarly-shaped organs on either side of your head.

F. I also forgot about tuned percussion players. Sorry. Timpanists, however, are not exempt from this rant.

I'm just off to Penge Police Station to turn myself in to Chief Inspector Knacker.







OK, it's time for a rant.
30/01/06 - Mr. Angry
I'm currently involved in the tedious process of buying a new cello (not necessarily
'brand new" - could be several hundred years old - but new to me). The reason for this waste of time is that airlines are increasingly making it their official policy to discontinue selling tickets to transport cellos in the cabin. To avoid boring everyone to death with the reasons for this, let me sum it up by saying that they just can't be bothered anymore.
As soon as you check a cello, or anything else, for that matter, into the hold of an aeroplane, you consign it to the tender mercies of a legion of baggage handlers, security personnel and customs agents, who think nothing of chucking it 30ft onto the tarmac, drilling holes in it, or impounding it, even though you have a gig that day. Oh and, by the way, did you all know that as soon as you check anything, the airline accepts no responsibility whatsoever for its safety and offers no guarantee that it will arrive at your destination or, in fact, that you will ever see it again.
I am, therefore, not prepared to let my precious and unique cello out of my sight and so will have to spend thousands of pounds on another instrument which I will grow to like and which I will not want to vanish/be smashed either. It's a lose-lose situation. Still, never mind, eh, there are some people out there who actively like music and the arts. Why don't they run airlines??


Alright, alright, STOP!! I'll talk.
25/01/06 - Tony Hinnigan
I received an e-mail the other day about the film "The New World", which is apparently now on release in the USA and is certainly released here in London this Friday the 27th.
The question pertained to the scoring sessions and I feel I can chuck my ha'pence worth into the ring now that the dust has settled and all cliches and mixed metaphors are free to emerge from their hidey-holes.
I haven't heard a note of the score for TNW since early September so it will be interesting to hear how it panned out. The sessions were frustrating in that the goalposts kept moving. My belief is that James Horner was engaged for the gig as a composer who tells a story with a musical cue. To do this you have to have locked picture (i.e. a fully edited film which will not change after the music has been recorded, or even while it is being recorded). Sadly, in these days of digital editing, when film makers can (almost) re-edit the picture on their wristwatch on the beach at the weekend, locked picture appears to have joined audio cassettes and 78rpm records in the vast trashcan of history.
Nevertheless, I'm sure that JH went into the project with his eyes open, as he always does, and was ready for anything. The moveable goalpost factor soon became apparent in that it seemed to be unclear in the director's mind whether he wanted to have music written to his picture or to cut his picture to the music that was being written. I have recorded many scores for Michael Nyman, including a number of the Peter Greenaway films and Peter would frequently cut a sequence to a finite piece that Michael had written. I've never met the late Stanley Kubrick, but I believe I can detect a similar technique in a number of his films.
The problem for JH, in this case, was that there was no clearly defined way of working, hence when we turned up at the studio each day the whereabouts and reliability of the position of the "goalposts" was an ongoing enigma.
I look forward to seeing the finished work. I hear that TM has half reverted to his original idea of using pieces of classical music. Let's hope the result is not half-baked.

P.S. Do I get a Lifetime Achievement award for mentioning the word "goalpost" three times in as many paragraphs?


Oi! (poke...prod...) Get up! The January Sales have started!!
16/01/06 - Tony Hinnigan
For the time being, the price of all MP3 downloads on this site has dropped to 25p per track.
I'm just off to see my psychiatrist.


Another year older and deeper in debt.
15/01/06 - Tony Hinnigan
All right then, 2006, let's see what you're made of!
I received an e-mail last month from a gentleman who had just taken up playing the whistle and wanted to know how to proceed. As a cynical old professional musician my immediate answer would be something like "directly to the nearest psychiatric facility" but, to be serious, the question got me thinking and I have started the process of developing this site to include video of myself and others offering tips on playing various instruments. (Heckelphone? Why not!).
In the meantime, here are a couple of thoughts that occur to me.
A. Make a good sound. You can have all the technique in the world but if you don't sound good, who's going to want to listen to you? (Apart, of course, from yourself).
B. How on earth does one make a good sound? Listen to other players whose sound you like and attempt to emulate it. This is how all instrumental teaching (hopefully) works. By example. Coupled with a few pointers from an experienced player. Top tip - play long notes. Lots of 'em. Explore the possibilities of the instrument you have and push it to its limits and when you are satisfied that you've got to the end of the road with that one, try harder. In the meantime, save cash like crazy and look around for a better one. However, never forget that it's the player who makes the sound - not the instrument.
C. Do loads of practice and acquire formidable technique. (This will involve sitting in a room on your own playing millions of scales, arpeggios and studies whilst the other kids are playing football right outside your window).
D. Cultivate other interests to avoid turning into a total psycho. Believe me. I know.
E. There is no substitute for listening to other musicians, whatever instrument or style of music they play. Inspiration is an alien creature which jumps out of cupboards unexpectedly. Resistance is futile.

More pearls of wisdom to follow if I make it through the next 24 hours.

TH


A P.S. to the last nonsense.
15/01/06 - I dunno. Some twerp who lives in South Norwood.
As a postscript to the previous sermon I would like to recommend a book written by my cello teacher - the late, and exceedingly great, William Pleeth.
This book resides in my toilet, because it's almost like a holy scripture (in that, I read something from it every morning!).
When I read from it, I am back in room 29 at the old Guildhall School of Music (and Drama! - more about that later), because Bill's principles ring out loud and clear.
No matter what instrument you play, you will learn something about playing musical instruments and the playing of music in general.
It is part of the "Yehudi Menuhin Music Guides" series and the ISBN no. is 1 871082 38 2.
Get it - you won't regret it!


Phew - got out of Christmas alive. Oh no! It's Hogmanay tomorrow!!
30/12/05 - Tony Neveragain.
Got a whistle in the post yesterday from Daniel Bingamon. It's in the Middle-Eastern Ahava Raba mode ( as opposed to the usual Western-type Celtic-type major-minor stuff). Could open up a whole new musical direction. Anyone know where I can pick a joblot of Kavals and Duduks? The London Underground system is on strike tomorrow. Going to Mexico in February with MNB. Any chance of the tequila industry going on strike? Please?

Oh yeah, Happy New Year!


It's the season of goodwill!! (Er - how are we supposed to act for the rest of the year?!).
25/12/05 - Santa Clausigan.
Not a lot to report except that it seems to be dark a lot. Still, things could be worse - It's much darker in Glasgow, Lerwick, Bergen, North Pole etc. Done final gig of the year (a film called "The Wind That Shakes The Barley").Rumours drift in of work next year and one's breath is tempted to bate.Happy festiveness to all my readers and keep hitting the site!! It won't hit you back.

TH.


It's nearly Christmas? I don't believe it!
14/12/05 - Tony Hinnigan
Winding down to the festive season now. Final MNB in Catania - aren't the streets incredibly long and straight!! Followed by recording the "Celan Songs" again! (For the Chief's record label this time, admittedly).
New kitchen installation finishes tomorrow, so that's the end of take-away curries/kebabs/fish and chips/chow mein/jerk chicken etc. etc. Is that a good or bad thing?!
The jury's out.


Tribute to Francis Calavia
14/12/05 - Tony Hinnigan
My friend and colleague Francis Calavia died in 2004 and I am writing this partly because I am still struggling to accept that he is dead. If you look at picture 7 on the gallery section of this site, Francis is at the back on the right-hand side holding a charango. He was one of the nicest and most genuine human beings I have ever met and an extremely talented, and completely natural, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist. I learned from him probably more than I will ever know about how to conceive, perform, feel and, generally, live music. He was born and was based for his whole life in Dieppe, Normandy, a place where I passed many happy times with him both socially and working on music for live and recorded work. At the time of his death I was planning to go to Dieppe to start working with him on a new album. Sadly, that album will never be made, but I retain his influence in my musical thoughts and he will live on in whatever music I make.

Adieu, Francis,

I miss you.


Must get some new braincells from "Can't remember a thing.com".
24/11/05 - Our clever-clogs staff - C.Word and Sue Doku.
Just remembered I did some playing on a Guy Farley-scored-film called "L'Uomo".
Didn't see a frame. Must check it out.
"Ding-dong"...."Darling, there are some men in white coats at the door...!?".

HT.


And here are tonight's football results...
23/11/05 - "Sick as a parrot" and his evil alter-ego, "Over the moon".
Albion Rovers 1 - Partick Thistle 3
Crystal Palace 2 - Coventry City 0

The thing is that it's an illness, for which there appears to be no cure. Difficult to say when I was first infected. In early childhood, certainly. If I still resided in the environs of Glasgow I would be catching pneumonia in Cliftonhill Stadium (home of the mighty Rovers) on a psychopathically regular basis. (Psychopathically? What? It's six-syllable words now,is it? Pretentious? Moi? Ed.) Truth is, I've been forced to live in London (England) these past 33 years and, starved of regular footie, had to find an English club to follow. Palace drew the short straw. If you support teams other than.... well, supply the usual names, you have to be a philosopher, and I have degrees in philosophy that would cover the pitch at Selhurst Park (home of the mighty Palace). More football boredom later.

Your man on the terraces,

E.I.Addio.


It's Winter. Hooray!!!
22/11/05 - Tony Hinnigan
Just got back from Oporto. Didn't manage to have the seven courses of crustaceans but did have a classic dish from that part of the world, namely, a fish (in this case, sea bass) baked encased in seasalt. Fantabulous. Can't be difficult to do - Christmas Dinner? Difficult to beat sitting on the bank of the River Douro in the centre of Oporto for sheer scenicosity. Seem to be inventing stupid words at a faster rate than normal - might be time to throw in the towel. Next gig recording Michael Nyman's "Celan Songs" for the BBC followed by a gig in Catania. All quiet on the filmic front.
Time to get back to Ollie's for some more TH recording. Where the **** is my DAT machine?

Bye bye everyone, bye bye.


Viva Sevilla! Er, where are we off to now, lads?
14/11/05 - Tony Hinnigan
Struggling to recover from MNB gig in Seville. Usual thing - too much travelling, not enough sleep, inability to cope with the non-stop glamour. Restaurant recommendation!!! Didn't manage to get there this time but have been many times to "La Juderia". Fabulous restaurant. (More restaurant news to follow - hmmn - this site could be metamorphosing before my very eyes). If I didn't have to live in London, I'd be off to Andalucia on the next mule. Anywhere. Sevilla, Cordoba, Granada, Toledo, line 'em up! Or Cadiz. Or Santiago de Compostela. Or Murcia. Must be the Spanish blood coursing through the veins. Next stop Oporto. Last time I was there I had a meal which consisted of seven courses of crustaceans from the humble shrimp through the langoustine and ending up with rather big lobsters. Copious quantities of delicious Portugese wine accompanied the culinary extraordinaryness, and one result was the guitar player swinging his guitar around his head and attempting to total the instrument on the wall of the restaurant. He was restrained. In retrospect, perhaps we should have let him do it.

TH.


'Scuse me mate, what day is it today? Tuesday? Strewth!
08/11/05 - Tony Hinnigan
Phil Hardy (the legendary whistle maker and all-round menace to society) came round yesterday. If you are reading this and are a Metropolitan Police officer, could you and a number of your colleagues (the burlier the better) go round to his house and arrest him on a trumped-up charge? Please?! Incidentally, has anyone ever filled in a Canadian visa application form? One of the questions is - Are you, or have you ever been, a menace to society? I wonder if anyone has ever answered "Yes"? Tempting.
The official reason for Mr. Hardy's visit was to finalise some radio show demos that we've been working on (provisionally entitled "Tony Hinnigan's World Tour"). I'm a DJ!!! (Steady on pal, ye've got tae get the **** on the radio furst). He and my wife proceeded to demolish the contents of the whisky shelf and talk a great deal of sense(!).

Got to fry some potatoes (more about potatoes later).

TH.


Tony Videos.
02/11/05 - Phil Hardy
Sorry for imposing, but just a quick note to direct you to the Tony Hinnigan page at KWL to see some recent clips of the master himself. www.kerrywhistles.com/dl.php?group=21




It's November and it's still Summer. What's going on?
01/11/05 - Tony Hinnigan
"The sun is up, the sky is blue, it's beautiful, and I seem to have no excuse to avoid painting the front-door-frame". Nope, that doesn't appear to scan. Ho-hum. I could always write some more of this b*****ks. I had some e-mail communication with Mike Anderson of Starfish Designs, the makers of my electric cello (there are some pictures of me playing it or, rather, looking completely mystified whilst holding it, in the gallery section of this website), and I would urge any string players and harpists who happen upon this message to do themselves a favour and go straight to Ballachulish without passing Go. You can do this by driving through Glencoe (Brilliant!) or by taking the train across Rannoch Moor (Unbelievably brilliant!). Check their website http://www.starfishdesigns.co.uk.

Gotta go.

TH.


Just get the news in the right order - it's easy - just do it!!
24/10/05 - Tony Hinnigan
All right, all right, you're right. The week before the last bit of news I was in Co. Kerry, Ireland, staying at Phil Hardy's house with Phil, his lovely wife Bruny and an old friend Izzy, from Israel. (I suppose that may make us Tony from Tonga, Bruny from Brunei and Phil from the Philippines - duh, give me a break, it's late).
I had the time of my life in a part of the world to which I am ancestrally connected.
I don't play Irish music all the time (er... well spotted!!), but if you're going to do it, it might as well be in a location like that. If you're toying with the idea of going to the West Coast of Ireland, put the toys back in the cupboard and go directly to a travel agent and book it. It's easy. Just do it!!

TH.


"Romeo and Juliet" v. Prague? - tricky one.
22/10/05 - Tony Hinnigan
Just returned from a performance of Shakespeare's seminal depiction of young love and mindless feuding. It was at my daughter Martha's school (The Charter in Dulwich, South London) and was a moving experience (most ably performed by the school students involved) not least because it brought home to me that the bard was probably writing about people very close to the age (16-ish) of this evening's actors.
My wife and I recently walked out of a Royal Shakespeare Company production of
"Anthony and Cleopatra" as we couldn't stand another second of the declamatory "Shakespearean-actor-style" nonsense we were subjected to. Pehaps some of these over-paid "luvvies" would benefit from, quite literally, going back to school. (I-like-a-nice-little-rant-in-the-evening, etc., etc.).
Earlier Kate and I had come back from a MNB gig in Prague. What a beautiful city! Although I've been there before and am not a particular fan of Mittel - European architecture, it was a perfect autumn day and the view up-river from the Charles Bridge has added itself to the mental images that will remain embedded in my addled brain until I peg out.
Lots of building work looming in our house. Scotty, if you have a minute, could you beam us directly to the Delta Quadrant?

TH

P.S. Martha turned Shakespearean convention on its head with her stylish portrayal of Benvolio. Proud dad.





What month is it again? - February? - Nah, you're 'avin' a laugh.
21/09/05 - Tony Hinnigan
Been back in London from LA for a couple of weeks now (apart from MNB gigs in Brussels, where we were partially rained off during an outdoor "Prom" concert, and Rome, where we should have been rained off, but finally got on at 4.30 am with a couple of 40 watt light bulbs and no monitors, owing to non-stop deluge). Can no longer hold pen as arranging the stuff for SFT's "romantic poets" docs for the BBC
has turned me into some sort of fossilised gargoyle. Recording it tomorrow. Wonder if I can hold cello bow. Better get upstairs and find out(!). Depping for Clive Bell on shakuhachi over the weekend in Karl Jenkins "Requiem". What's that? Do I play heckelphone? Depends who's asking.

P.S.

I can't say anything about "The New World" scoring as I'd get my ass sued.

TH


Echo from beyond the grave
24/08/05 - Tony Hinnigan
Andy Brouwer tells me that Guy Michelmore's Emmy was for "Mzima". I new THAT(!!!). (Thanks anyway Andy). Orchestra sessions for "The New World" in the can. Now the fun really begins. Let battle commence!!

TH.


Voice from beyond the grave.
23/08/05 - Tony Hinnigan
Yes, yes I know - put some news on the site. An idiot could do it! Well here's an idiot doing it. I'm in LA on the third day of scoring "The New World", and difficult it is to say anything about it so far.(Incidentally, this not being written by Yoda out of Star Wars). Watch this space. Over the weekend I was holed up in my hotel room arranging a load of classical music for Simon Fisher Turner for a forthcoming series of BBC docs about the Romantic Poets. VERY ongoing thing ( you've ever done any arranging, you'll know what I mean!). Other recent stuff has been working with Guy Farley, for the first time, on a movie called "Irish Jam". Didn't see a frame of it but I understand the plot does not revolve around the manufacture of preserves on the Emerald Isle. Also did some work for Guy Michelmore on a doc about Fig Wasps(!!). I think it's called something like "King of Trees(?)". Guy says the last thing I did for him won an Emmy, and it was called....duh....?? Brilliant, eh? By the way, note to Phil Hardy (at Kerrywhistles.com), I played your b-flat quena on the session this afternoon, so BLAGS!!!

Got to get back standing on my head now.

TH.





I'm outta here.
21/07/05 - Tony Hinnigan
"Flightplan" is in the can (strewth, I'm a poet and I don't know it). Fantastic score.
There's a pickup session when they've re-shot the ending for which my services are not required (couldn't do it anyway - in Spain with MNB). (See "The Devils Own" for re-shooting-ending-rant). Next JH gig "The New World" all of a sudden.
Back to London tomorrow to weather which has been described as "Autumnal".
That's the bit I like! To quote Kazu - "You and me, we were raised in the shade".

Overcome with thinginess,

TH.


What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas
19/07/05 - Tony Hinnigan
Now into 2nd week of "Flightplan", having spent the weekend in Las Vegas for the first time in my life. What, you may ask, does someone who doesn't gamble do in Vegas? Why, watch other people doing it, of course. A great many other people, all having an absolute ball. And then wander around literally all night gawping rubber-neckedly at the sheer 24hr-nonstop-overthetop-brash-kitsch-unbelievablyvast splendour of it all! Oh, and did I mention the 120plus-degree-heat?
"Refreshments", thankfully, are aplenty.
As to the gig, still no brass but crashing, banging AND walloping have commenced as the film gathers pace. Shaping up to be a teriffic score - no surprises there.
Back home on Sunday or, looks like, straight from Heathrow to Air Studios to record on a Harry Potter video game. Never rains but it pours.
Back to work,

TH.


Back on the Chain Gang (!).
13/07/05 - Tony Hinnigan
I'm now into the 2nd day of scoring "Flightplan", in fact, I've just been listening to the playback of the opening of the movie. No brass or timpani on this one - none of the "crash-bang-wallop" of a "Zorro" - but lots of atmosphere and increasing weirdness as the story unfolds and we are wondering if Jodie Foster's character is actually losing her mind. I had a Michael Nyman Band gig in Milan last week and did some work with composer James Hannigan which, as my middle name is James, is the closest I've ever come to working for myself without actually doing so.
Oh, and I vacuumed the inside of my car.
More news from LA soon.

TH.


Busman whistles and other stuff.
28/06/05 - Tony Hinnigan
Paul Busman recently got in touch with me offering to make me a whistle. I asked him for a C and he, very kindly, sent me his own personal C to try whilst I was in the USA scoring "Zorro". It's a very fine instrument. made from wood (he uses various woods) and finished with metal fittings. It's fully tuneable (designed to be played "pulled-out" to 0.5cm, at which point the tuning is faultless) and, for a wooden whistle, the tone is incredibly bright. I dutifully returned it and Paul said he has found a piece of wood to make me a C which he will imbue with the spirit of the late Glenn Schultz, who taught him how to make. Do I dig that!
Whistle players and rest of world - check out Pauls website.
Other news is that I have started a new project with Olly Nicholls at Dove Studios in Kent, England. I have recorded more tracks with Olly than I've had glasses of orange juice and the first one is already in the can. It's a 15th century Spanish song from the Cancionero del Palacio called "Esta la Reina del Cielo". Obscure? Says who?
Other tunes to follow when I can get anywhere near the studio.

TH.


Done that one, what next?
24/06/05 - Tony Hinnigan
"The Legend of Zorro" is now in the can and i'm struggling with the jet-lag back in
London. Next projects are Michael Nyman Band in Italy then back to LA on the 9th
July to start work on "Flightplan". I've been appraised of the storyline by James Horner and it sounds to me like a total nightmare.The more airmiles I put on the clock, the more paranoid I become, and a tense drama that takes place entirely on an aeroplane (airplane to you chaps over there) sounds like a busmans holiday.

(Note to self - take Open University degree in speaking Merrcan).

Banjaxed,

TH.




Tony Hinnigan Website Launch
04/06/05 -
Tony Hinnigan's website - www.tonyhinnigan.com has gone live, today Sat 04 June 2005. We hope you like it!

Floorless Media Development Team




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