TEMS spokesperson Jill Tomalin writes: Fans of traditional music are in for a treat at a concert being held to celebrate the 20th anniversary season of the Totnes Early Music Society (TEMS) on Saturday 14th December.
Strange and ancient
The Society of Strange and Ancient Instruments wowed a near sell-out audience when they last appeared in the Great Hall at Dartington for TEMS in 2016 with their programme Nine Daies Wonder. This group of top professional musicians delight in finding unusual programmes and, as their name suggests, enjoy showcasing a variety of unusual traditional instruments.
Winter solstice magic
Now director Clare Salaman, who plays a nyckelharpa (a traditional Swedish instrument which is a cross between a fiddle and a hurdy gurdy!), has come up with a magical and evocative programme of music to mark the winter solstice. Performing in collaboration with award-winning Norwegian singer and hardanger fiddle player, Benedicte Maurseth, and top clarsach (celtic harp) player Jean Kelly, their programme The Longest Night is ‘packed with devilish tunes, ancient Irish, Norwegian and English folk carols and other festive musical treats’.
The Norwegian festival of Lussinatten, traditionally celebrated on 13th December, marks the winter solstice, the longest night of the year. Lussi is a feared enchantress, who punishes anyone who dares to work and, from Lussinatten until Christmas, gnomes and trolls roam abroad. The festival links Christian and pagan traditions together and has generated numerous folksongs.
All three performers are leading musicians in their fields. Clare Salaman has performed with The English Concert and the Dufay Collective, led projects for the Royal Academy of Music, and has written and presented two programmes for BBC Radio 3’s Early Music Show. Benedicte Maurseth was Norway’s Young Folk Musician of the Year in 2007, and is a regular performer on Norway’s folk scene. She is an alumna of the prestigious Ole Bull Academy for Norwegian Folk Music. Jean Kelly studied harp at the Royal College of Music, and is in demand both as a classical and folk music performer. She plays and records with the Locrian Ensemble and Joglaresa (who will be performing for TEMS in April 2020), has played duets with Sir James Galway. and has recorded with Katie Melua and The Chieftains.
20th anniversary season
Their concert forms the centre-piece of the Totnes Early Music Society 20th anniversary season, and takes place at St Mary’s Church, Totnes at 7.30pm on Saturday 14th December. Advance tickets are £13, under 18s £5, available through the Dartington Box Office or website. Tickets on the door will be £14/£5.
The Winter Solstice 20 Years Concert is on Saturday December 14 in St Mary’s Church, Totnes at 7.30pm
Philip R Buttall
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