A singer who just also happens to be one of the most accomplished Jew’s harp players in the British tradition.
Born in Leicester and a member of a family of singers and musicians, Michael Wright is a singer who just also happens to be one of the most accomplished Jew’s harp players in the British tradition.
Totally committed to performing, teaching, researching and publishing articles, his main aim, which is supported by his brothers, niece and up to recent times, The Gillie Boys, has been to explore in particular the many ways the Jew’s harp can used – melodically, rhythmically, atmospherically and as a accompaniment instrument. His driving ambition has been, and continues to be, to show the potential of this most ancient of instruments with a most modern sound. Now working with two of the country’s most accomplished, innovative and exciting young musicians, Michael is exploring ideas that have been on his mind for years and are now coming to fruition.
“Robust of voice with an explosive fiddle style,
“Robust of voice with an explosive fiddle style, Mehmet energetically expresses his multicultural roots in a cogent and colourful combination of both the English and Turkish traditions…His band The Deerhunters also perform with relish throughout – scattergun rhythms and all…It’s an album with a big heart, plenty of muscle and a fair bit of flair…and it won’t be ignored easily.” – Colin Irwin,
Brighton born and bred, Dogan Mehmet is a second generation Turkish Cypriot, with both sides of his family from the island. A fluent Turkish speaker, Dogan’s heritage forms a big part of his musical identity, alongside his love for Southern English traditional music. He is singer first but also a multi-instrumentalist, playing Violin, Guitar, Melodeon, Tenor Guitar, Cajon and other Percussion as well as a having good knowledge of traditional Turkish instruments.
“Matt Quinn is an old head on a young body. His music is rooted in the English Folk tradition, and his interpretation includes influences from many contemporary sources. A solid and talented musician.” – Gareth Kiddier (The Watch, Polkaworks)
Matt Quinn is fast becoming a well-known name on the English folk scene. In the last five years, he has played and performed with bands such as Dogan & the Deerhunters, The Askew Sisters and the Eliza Carthy Band (with their themed ceilidhs at UK Folk Festivals and at the Bellowhead New Years Eve Party 2009). He has performed at a wide range of venues from folk clubs across the country up to main stages at Sidmouth, Beverley, Warwick, and Broadstairs festivals
For examples, click on the following:
Cold and Raw (Trad. Arr. Wright, Mehmet, Quinn) extract recorded 2011
Great North Run ’86 (R Whitehead) & Gateshead Stadium (F Charlton. Arr. Wright, Mehmet, Quinn) extract recorded 2011
Boston City (Trad. Arr. Wright, Mehmet, Quinn) extract recorded 2011
Union (J. Spiers) & Prim and Proper (E Prichard) with Alistair Anderson – extract, recorded 2011.
For other examples of Michael Wright, click on the following:
The Sweeps Polka & the Swiss Boy Trad. (Arr. Wright)
Albrechtsberger, Concerto in D, 4th Movement. (with Lynda Sayce and baroque ensemble, recorded Oxford 2007)
Banish Misfortune Revisited Trad. (with Andy Cheyne on Guitar, recorded 2002)
The Wright Family
The Jew’s harp tradition bearers
Keeping alive the Jew’s harp tradition of Britain.
The Wright Family is Lucy, Michael and David Wright, occasionally joined by John Wright. While they are known as Jew’s harp players, their interest is, in fact, in making good music, so have developed a varied programme using the different talents of all the members with fiddle, concertina, melodeon and epinette along with their undoubted singing ability all combined to create a moody, often evocative sound.
For examples, click on the following:
‘Hollow Tree’ recorded SOAS, 2010 (Michael on lead vocals and Jew’s harp, Lucy on lead Jew’s harp; David on bass Jew’s harp. B. Berry. Arr. The Wright Family)
The Wright Family at The Magpie’s Nest 2009
The Wright Family Members are:
Rapidly making a name for herself performing with ‘Pilgrims’ Way’ (Lucy, Tom Kitching and Edwin Beasant), Lucy was described by Maggie Boyle as “a wonderful young singer, possessed of one of the finest and most agile voices I ever heard”. She is also an accomplished Jew’s harp player, having performed in Europe and beyond. The first CD of ‘Pilgrims’ Way’ is due out at the end of April and for more information go to http://www.pilgrims-way.net/.
‘I know my love’ rehearsal recording, Wheatley, 2011 (Lucy on lead vocals and shruti-box; David on Epinette des Voges; Michael on Jew’s harp. Trad. Arr. The Wright Family)
Often seen at festivals promoting the Jew’s harp to anyone interested, working with the family has also encouraged Michael to sings more. Now also performing with Dogan Mehmet and Matt Quinn, their first CD, is due out in June.
‘Felix the Soldier’ rehearsal recording, Wheatley, 2011 (Michael on lead vocals and shruti-box; David on Jew’s harp, Lucy on fiddle. Trad. Arr. The Wright Family),
The multi-instrumentalist of the group, David tends to sit more in the background, but his contribution is crucial to the musical blend. Although not considering himself as a lead vocalist, his singing helps create the three-part harmonies the family love to do.
‘Cold Winter has Come’ rehearsal recording, Wheatley, 2011 (David on lead Jew’s harp and vocals last verse; Michael lead vocals and shruti-box; Lucy vocals and fiddle. Trad. Arr. The Wright Family).
The inspiration of the rest of the family and a musician of international regard, John lives in France and so only joins the family on a few occasions. His artistry in performing Irish and Scottish music in particular, makes him one of the best players of the Jew’s harp in the world.
‘Farewell to Oban’ recorded SOAS, 2010 (John on lead Jew’s harp, Lucy on second harp).
The Wright Family in Workshops
Working together they can not only teach relatively large groups, but to inspire musicians young and old to try out some of the dynamic uses of the Jew’s harp, whether for effect or creating an almost orchestral sound. At Whitby, 2010, they taught over 40 students and performed with 35 at the end of week Showcase.
For more information click on Talks and Workshops. [Note for CS – link to https://jewsharper.wordpress.com/speciality-talks-workshops/]