Talks & Workshops

Workshop: a comprehensive guide on the basic techniques for beginners and ideas for improving for more experienced players.
 

Talk 1 – The Story of the Jew’s Harp: an international, historical and versatile musical instrument.
Talk 2 – The Jew’s harp and the Law: witches, murderers and villains who played the Jew’s harp.
Talk 3 – Geng-Gong to Gew-Gaw: Jew’s harp players from around the world – the incredible variety of playing styles from New Guinea to Scotland and the United States.
Talk 4 – Buckles, Knives & Jews harps: the Jew’s harp trade in Colonial America – exploring the impact of a popular musical instrument on Pre-Revolutionary America.
Quiet Instruments Sessions: for musicians whose instruments are overwhelmed in other sessions and who want the opportunity to show their subtlety and melodic quality.

Workshop:
A comprehensive guide on the basic techniques for beginners and ideas for improving for more experienced players.
These workshops look specifically at the instruments melodic potential, along with the historic and geographic context in which it has been, and is still being, played.
Anyone can benefit from the workshop – and if all a participant wants to do is create sounds and rhythms, the basic techniques will help to minimise discomfort and give confidence while playing. However, for those who want to take the possibilities further, this workshop is also suitable for them – but be warned, all we can show you are the fundamental techniques and possibilities. From then on it’s up to the individual.
“Fantastic” was the description of the Jew’s harp workshop at the Whitby Folk Week by a participant. A series of four workshops and a pocket instruments session were held at the Folk Week in August. The workshop provides essential information in the buying and playing of an underrated instrument.

MORE INFORMATION
Talk 1- The Story of the Jew’s Harp
: an international, historical and versatile musical instrument.
Presented at the National Folk Festival, Sidmouth International Festival and Whitby Folk Week, plus the festivals at Warwick, Holmfirth, Morpeth and Cleckheaton, this show gives answers to all the basic questions about the Jew’s harp – ‘ Why the name?’ and ‘ Where do they come from?’ being the most common, but also looking at everything from archaeological finds to collections. Fully illustrated, it can either be presented as a PowerPoint or in slide form, with musical examples both live and in recordings.

Talk 2 – Jew’s harp and the Law: witches, murderers and villains who played the Jew’s harp.
The first three named players of the Jew’s harp found so far were all tried, convicted and executed for one crime or another. These true stories of men and women accused of witchcraft or murder are truly astonishing and date from 1590 to 1730. Based upon the most extensive research, much of which is taken from original documents, this show looks at some of the most bizarre and strange trials you are likely to come across.

Talk 3 – Geng-Gong to Gew-Gaw: Jew’s harp players from around the world – the incredible variety of playing styles from New Guinea to Scotland and the United States.
Taken from contemporary and field recordings, this talk takes the participant from the forests and hills of North Vietnam to the vast expanses of Eastern Russia, from the Himalayas and Afghanistan to Europe and America. The sheer variety of techniques and sounds from this small musical instrument is simply astonishing. Michael Wright puts the music into context and uses instrument from his own collection to illustrate the various techniques of the players.

Talk 4 – Buckles, Knives & Jews harps: the Jew’s harp trade in Colonial America – exploring the impact of a popular musical instrument on Pre-Revolutionary America.
In association with the publication of ‘The Jew’s Harp in Colonial America’ in the next edition of the Galpin Society Journal, May 2011, Michael Wright has created an illustrated talk that expands the main themes of the article. It explores the concept that the Jew’s harp represents an undercurrent of items often regarded as unimportant, yet which consistently appear in manifests, probates and adverts, let alone as objects found at important archaeological sites.

Quiet Instruments Sessions: for musicians whose instruments are overwhelmed in other sessions and who want the opportunity to show their subtlety and melodic quality.
Successfully tried out at Whitby Folk Week and the Morpeth Gathering in 2004, this session fills a gap in the Folk Festival programme by encouraging players who play musical instruments that are either drowned out in sessions or have to play so loud that subtlety goes out the window. Described by a participant at Whitby as “the best session I’ve been to all week”, these sessions are entertaining as a group and an opportunity for individuals to share with others their enthusiasm for their instrument.

Michael Wright
Michael Wright was taught to play the Jew’s harp by his brother, John Wright, who himself learned from the great Scottish player, Angus Lawrie of Oban. He has played at various folk festivals, from Sidmouth to Whitby, and at the National Folk Festival. He was the champion of the ‘Miscellaneous Instruments’ competition at the prestigious Rothbury Gathering in 2003-4, and was the first player of the Jew’s harp to perform in concert for the Galpin Society and American Musical Instrument Society. For the past six years Michael as extensively researched the instrument and has written extensively for magazines, journals, newsletters and newspapers.

Contact:
Michael Wright
3 Rue Saint Aignan
Brigne
49700 Doue-en-Anjou
0033 2 41 59 00 24
jewsharper@btinternet.com
©MichaelWright2010

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s