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Alistair Anderson

Concertina Player, Northumberland, North East England

Bands & Collaborations


The Alistair Anderson Band

The current band features;

Alistair Anderson – English Concertina & Northumbrian Pipes

Emily Ball – Fiddle & viola, Sophy Ball – Fiddle

Lillias Kinsman Blake – Flute, Andy Watt – Mandolin

This is the line up we use for performances of Steel Skies but we also perform a range of traditional and original material in a more general concert or festival setting.

The Alistair Anderson Band - Steel Skies in Concert

Alistair Anderson – English Concertina & Northumbrian Pipes

Emily Ball – Fiddle & viola, Sophy Ball – Fiddle

Lillias Kinsman Blake – Flute, Andy Watt – Mandolin

“Alistair Anderson’s Steel Skies instrumental suite originally came out in 1982... his vision in creating a fully realised new work gains even more significance as the years pass. It is the complete entity that is so impressive - Anderson’s melodies take your breath away .” Colin Irwin fRoots 2010 Anderson is joined by a new young band for an exciting rediscovery of this influential work where concertina, Northumbrian pipes, fiddles, flute and mandolin “weave their polyphonic magic managing to be both evocative and invigorating” Jon Boden 2010. The concert will include some of the traditional music which inspired Steel Skies

First performed in 1982, Steel Skies is an instrumental suite where concertina, Northumbrian pipes, fiddles, flute and mandolin “weave their polyphonic magic managing to be both evocative and invigorating” Jon Boden 2010. “a fully realised work which gains even more significance as the years pass. The range and balance of Anderson’s melodies take your breath away.” fROOTS 2010 The concert will include some of the traditional music which inspired Steel Skies

Steel Skies was Anderson first extended composition, it is, for want of a better description, a folk instrumental suite. Although classical composers had drawn on folk music for many years, Steel Skies (first performed in 1982) was the first time someone from within British folk music had written an extended work for folk musicians to play and it caused quite a stir and opened some new perspectives on folk music. All the melodies were new but remained close to the traditional dance forms however it frequently used interweaving harmony lines in ways that hadn’t been used before.

 

“Bravely Anderson has decided to break with the traditional mould of unison melody playing... and a complex trelliswork of harmonies is created. All in all this is a delightful landmark in the development of folk music” The Scotsman

The original L.P. of Steel Skies was recently reissued on CD, as part of Topic Records celebration of 70 years in business, and again the recording attracted good reviews

“The Alistair Anderson Steel Skies instrumental suite originally came out in 1982... his vision in creating a fully realised new work, drawn from and naturally embedded into the musical traditions of the British Isles, gains even more significance as the years pass. It is the complete entity that is so impressive and even now the range and balance of Anderson’s melodies take your breath away .” Colin Irwin fRoots 2010

“One of the first attempts at a composed musical folk soundscape, which seek to evoke the spirit of a particular area, it remains one of the most successful. For me its greatness lies in its lack of sentimentality... The tunes are largely unaccompanied, in the conventional contemporary sense of strumming guitars or vamping piano, instead solo instruments weave their polyphonic magic managing to be both evocative and invigorating” Jon Boden 2010

 

 

The Alistair Anderson Band – The Farne Islands

Alistair Anderson – English Concertina & Northumbrian Pipes

Emily Ball – Fiddle, Sophy Ball – Fiddle

Rachael McShane – Cello, Rachel Newton – Scottish Harp

Joey Oliver – Whistle & Oboe

The Farne Islands , featured on Anderson’s CD “Islands,” was premiered in Hall 1 of The Sage Gateshead and was the first folk music to be toured by Music in the Round, the Arts Council funded chamber music touring scheme.

“... a reflection on those rocky guardians of the Northumbrian coast. The band fuses concertina, fiddles, cello, clarsach, whistle ,oboe and pipes admirably to conjure up images of gurly seas pounding their relentless way. This is an outstanding new composition, which will be a reference point for the way in which traditional themes can be used in wider musical settings. All in all this is a virtuoso performance from a true musical great.” Living Tradition

“Anderson creates an evocative sound picture of islands shrouded in mist, surrounded by unpredictable seas; the flow of the music sustained by an interwoven repeated theme. It is an assured piece of work from a master musician who pushes the boundaries of traditional music; playing to delight but not playing safe.” English Dance and Song

Alistair Anderson & Annie Whitehead – Airplay

Alistair Anderson – English concertina, Annie Whitehead – trombone, Jennifer Maidman – electric guitar, Chris Stout – fiddle, Liam Genockey - percussion

Bath International Music Festival commissioned Anderson and jazz trombonist Annie Whitehead to work together exploring the jazz/folk interface. The resulting work – Airplay – was chosen by the Arts Council Contemporary Touring Network to tour the country (from Southampton to Shetland) in 2003. “A surprising and fulfilling collaboration ... A lyrically graceful, tenderly thoughtful release that grows more satisfying with every listen”

Jazzwise

“Anybody out there not smiling” Humphrey Littleton BBC Radio 2

“As sweet a combination as you’ll find, producing glorious music which is probably uncategorisable beyond its deep seated Englishness. It is resplendent in quirky time signatures and interweaving lyrical melodies – uplifting stuff indeed. Above all the overwhelming sense of everyone’s collective enjoyment at making this music shines through. An irresistibly unusual treat.” Jazz Review

“yearning melodies and gentle funk” Guardian

“music of great charm and warmth...haunting melodies, strong rhythms and murmuring sonorities. The last piece, Hopscotch, is a joyous riot of contrapuntal lines” BBC Music Magazine

Martin Simpson & Alistair Anderson

Martin and Alistair undertook a 2 week tour in 2007 and are both looking forward to the chance to perform together again when their schedules allow.

Alistair Anderson & Katrina Porteous

Leading poet Katrina Porteous who works both in standard English and Northumbrian dialect has performed with Alistair on several occasions at Poetry festivals and spoken word events including BBC Radio 3’s Words and Music.

Peter Cropper & Alistair Anderson

Peter Cropper – leading classical violinist (ex The Lindsays) has worked with Alistair on several occasions since the On Cheviot Hills tours is discussing ways that he and Alistair can tour as a duo.

Alistair Anderson & The Singapore Chinese Orchestra

In Spring 2008 Anderson performed a “concerto” for concertina and Chinese orchestra, composed by Law Wai Lun, with the Singapore Chinese Orchestra. In addition, Alistair wrote two pieces, Full Circle and Look East, for concertina and an ensemble of Chinese instruments drawn from the orchestra; these were performed in The Singapore Convention Centre and The Sage Gateshead, as part of the East 08 festival. Plans were well advanced for further performances of all 3 pieces in the UK the following summer but the credit crunch meant that the sponsorship needed to help fly the 90 piece orchestra from Singapore was no longer available – as the economies of the far east return to growth the opportunity may reappear ................

Clog on the Tyne

A very exciting, fast moving show, with 5 clog dancers, a rapper sword dance team, 3 vocalists and 10 piece band including brass, percussion and electric bass. Originally commissioned for Summer Tyne Festival in 2008 and performed twice since then - anybody out there with a budget?