On a summer’s day in 2016, the organisers of FolkEast Festival masterminded one of the most intriguing and exciting collaborations on today’s folk scene.
Peter Knight, legendary violinist and ex-member of folk-rock band Steeleye Span was paired with leading melodeon player and ex-Bellowhead member, John Spiers, for a special one-off performance which left audiences in awe. With no space to be found in the marquee, people stood five deep in the pouring rain in order to witness the bringing together of two of the most genuinely gifted musicians in their respective fields.
With a standing ovation and roars for more, and much to the delight of folk fans everywhere, Knight and Spiers decided not to leave things there.
The pairing of violin and melodeon is not a new one, but in the hands of Knight and Spiers, Improvisation and invention meet the listener at every turn. Together they have created a musical document that resonates with history, but also something that should inspire future generations of musicians to engage with Britain’s folk dancing heritage, and the beautiful, mysterious tunes that can be found within that heritage.
These uniquely gifted musicians make a sublime pairing, and create a live performance to be remembered for a long time.
“Knight’s playing is a revelation. A world away from folky fiddling, it’s fully informed by the classical style, all long sweeping bow strokes and eloquent legato. Yet he never loses the essential folk heart of the music, tracing a graceful line of his own making”
“Contemplative, accomplished…an evening to relish for some time to come”
“(The melodeon) is a curious kind of versatile, but Spiers knows exactly how to capture and manipulate its range, adding maximum colour and savour to the music”
All quotes from Su O’Brien’s Review of Cambridge Folk Festival’s ‘City Roots’ at Folking.com
Artists’ website: https://www.peterknight.net/knight-and-spiers
Where it all started – FolkEast 2016:
12 Barnsoldswick Arts Centre
13 St Andrew’s Church, Kendal
14 The Atkinson, Southport
15 Town Hall, Bishop’s Castle
16 Menter Rhosygilwen, Cilgerran, Pembrokeshire
17 Acapela Studio, Pentyrch, Cardiff
19 Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury
20 Private Concert
21st Arlington Arts Centre, Newbury
23 Wychwood Folk Club, Ascott-under-Wychwood