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StuartEstell

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About StuartEstell

  • Rank
    Chatty concertinist

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Interests
    Heavy metal - particularly doom, drone/doom and grindcore. Jazz. Free improvisation.
  • Location
    Birmingham

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  1. StuartEstell

    Concertina Vs Autoharp

    Agreed, Jody. I don't play my autoharp (an 18-bar with relatively standard setup) all that much but you're absolutely right about the combination of melody and harmony feeling similar to the anglo.
  2. StuartEstell

    Hier Encore

    Ha! No... our adjoinining neighbour plays Hammond organ so is most accommodating! When the Jeff duet is well-exercised it'll respond at lower volumes, but it gets a bit stiff and needs a bit more welly when played less regularly. And if welly is applied it's more than a match for my voice even if I'm in full-on foghorn mode. The answer, as ever, is to play more! I'd be interested if you find this, but I think small rooms don't help either, as the sound bounces all over the place and you can't rely so much on the voice projecting at ninety degrees to the box.
  3. StuartEstell

    Hier Encore

    Thanks Adrian. Absolutely -- balance is a perennial difficulty with fuller / more droney accompaniments. It doesn't help that I've not been playing as regularly as I might and this box in particular is quick to become grumpy and less responsive when not played regularly...
  4. I have relatively short fingers/thumbs, and there is no way my left thumb would be of any practical use to me on my Maccann (Wheatstone, 67-key). The Jeffries duet is a different matter, the left thumb being the "low F# lever"
  5. StuartEstell

    New Concertina Making Company, Wolverton Concertinas

    Jake, this is terrific news -- congratulations on an excellent-looking instrument. I wish you every success with this.
  6. StuartEstell

    Hier Encore

    An arrangement of "Hier Encore" from French duo Brigitte's album "À bouche que veux-tu?", played on Jeffries duet concertina. The arrangement is a work-in-progress, using elements of the original, as well as a the bassline from "Sidewalking" by the Jesus & Mary Chain. I've been resurrecting my spoken French over the last few months, so it seemed like a good idea to have a go at learning some French songs. It's proved surprisingly tricky to stop pronunciation going haywire while wrestling with the good old Demented Typewriter. As it stabilises I'll add more detail. Just as when singing a traditional song, I've stuck with the original gender of the song -- hence all adjectives are in the feminine. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBN9lXkQWcc
  7. StuartEstell

    The Courting Coat

    Well, part of being a musician is working through those uncomfortable periods of reassessment and self-scrutiny that can only be brought about by constructive criticism. You're right re: Harry Cox; his singing is as dry as dust (in a good way), I just mentioned him by way of the kind of source singers I like. I never think of Hedy West as a revival singer, as (to my understanding at least) she had a similar kind of singing lineage to Jean Ritchie, but I guess that's open to interpretation... Have you had vocal training, Jody? I was taught classically for a while and sang chorally for a long time; in some ways that's been of huge help in that I rarely if ever injure my voice and can sing at considerable volume for ages. But I think that's another reason why the vibrato, as you say, "creeps in" unbidden.
  8. StuartEstell

    The Courting Coat

    ... and further, on reflection: proof that it's always good to get candid feedback -- I just drove into the city, singing a few of my "regulars". Jolted out of unconscious habits, I listened hard. And I see what you mean. What surprises me is how little vibrato I use on longer notes in the middle of phrases where it might be of greater expressive use. So thanks, Jody.
  9. StuartEstell

    The Courting Coat

    Jody, thanks for being candid, and for taking the effort to comment at length -- as I think I've observed before, you and I sometimes come at things from quite different angles, I think, which is fine. That said, I listen to a good deal of traditional singers, but rarely singers of the revival. With a few exceptions (like Nic Jones, Peter Bellamy, John K. etc.) I tend to like hearing source singers like Harry Cox far better. It also interests me that you see my use of vibrato as a "pop" trait as Hedy West uses it similarly -- in fact when I was working on a way of integrating it into my traditional singing she was very much my model. But in short, no, I haven't really hit on anything different with this song -- I think it's simply one that doesn't lend itself to longer notes at the ends of phrases because the character of it is so brusque. I think perhaps that is where the predictability arises in that I often add beats at the ends of phrases when the final word of a phrase seems to warrant it. More beats on a long note = more vibrato. The automatic end-of-phrase note-lengthening is something I've been thinking about addressing for some time -- or at least making it more conscious.
  10. StuartEstell

    The Courting Coat

    Here's a traditional song I recorded today. It must be said that the song's narrator is a bit of a bounder. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZppwAy9_2k
  11. Adrian is partly to blame for this one! It hadn't really occurred to me to try many additional Smiths songs, although I'd been thinking about reviving "The National Front Disco" and "Margaret on the guillotine" given the current political climate. Some of you may remember that I used to do "Girlfriend in a Coma" on anglo, but no others. I always thought the line about the "back scrubber" had something of the music hall about it, so I've (kind of) played it for laughs... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JiyQSDynfg
  12. This won't be to everyone's taste... continuing in a similar minimal/drone vein to the "Mr. Jeffries' Laptop" pieces I recorded a while ago, here are three improvisations based very loosely on the Child ballad "Willie of the Winsbury", all played on my 67-key Wheatstone Maccann duet. In the longest piece I decided to make a feature out of the noise the low A valve is making on the pull. If you enjoy them, please consider bunging a few quid in the pot -- all proceeds will be donated to Amnesty International. https://lachenaliamusic.bandcamp.com/album/his-hair-hung-like-strands-of-gold
  13. Every bit as good as I'd expect Really fabulous, Adrian.
  14. StuartEstell

    Classical Music On A Concertina

    I'd venture to suggest that it's because Adrian possesses such excellent musicianship -- not just technical ability -- that the instrument itself assumes a lesser importance. First and foremost it's music.
  15. Here's a bit of fun -- the Pet Shop Boys' song "You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You're Drunk", which is a mouthful of a title worthy of Morrissey. It has typically arch lyrics, and my arrangement has elements in common with the way I play "Just as the Tide was Flowing". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRNpuaUKKo0 (edit: I've finally broken my duck with videos as I now have a mobile case that will prop my phone up properly )
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