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John Kirkpatrick MBE!

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Terrific ! Could not have happened to a nicer chap.

I have been fortunate to experience hugely instructive and entertaining workshops from John at Durham, Witney etc, as well as solo annual concert events in our local church in Grimston where I think John liked the acoustics so much he was always interested in returning with another show which was always a sell out and not just to Folkies.



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Interesting JK fact re his bellows:


I have had a couple of on-line lessons with him and we were chatting about stuff, and I asked him how many sets of bellows he'd been through. I was expecting a highish number, but was suprised that he's only on his second set. The originals were six fold, which managed to pull apart (during a gig apparently), so he got Crabbs to make him a seven fold set that he is still using! Two sets of belows in a fifty year professional career seems a very good going!


Of course it might be a case of Trigger's broom. I didn't ask how many times thay had been repaired, or had bits replaced.


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  • 1 year later...

And what a fine man he is too !

        The largest influence on my trad. music life both for anglo and for singing.

My personal "holy-macaroni" moment  was listening to the album where he sings "Rambling Comber"; unaccompanied.

         It is with me to this day, it has everything I love about folk song.



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1 hour ago, Robin Harrison said:

I meant to add a line at the end of my post yesterday saying I would love to hear any other stories about how he has impacted, lightened, enriched anyone's life, as he has mine.

     Please tell us a story  about him.



I've been playing his tunes for years; I brought one (Unexpected Pleasure) into the Foggy Bottom Morris repertoire, and it's become one of our signature dances.


Last year, in the midst of the pandemic, I took a series of six Zoom lessons with John, trying to understand how he did certain things in his concertina playing.  Those lessons were enormously helpful, and had a major impact on my playing, especially for the Morris.  He was a gracious and attentive teacher who listened to what I wanted and responded accordingly.


And, as an aside: he liberated me from feeling terrible that I hate playing Jump at the Sun in Gm on a C/G Anglo in a harmonic style.  He told me it was a bad idea; he tried it, and said that just confirmed his opinion.


Like many Anglo players, I've spent time - probably too much time - trying to play things that just don't work well on an instrument that is in many ways limited.  One of the lessons I took away from my time with John: it's much more gratifying to focus on music that fits the instrument;  I'll leave Jump at the Sun to English concertina players, or Anglo players who prefer a single note style.

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I was 17 and in the sixth form in Shropshire when John moved into the area. One of the teachers was into folk music so when John wanted to start a morris team he (the teacher) recruited several sixth formers from the school to go along to the first ever practice of what was to become "The Shropshire Bedlams", so I was a founder member of that esteemed clan and stayed with them regularly until for around 10 years until work made it impractical.


Being in the Bedlams at that time, for a young lad of 17/18 was a complete eye opener getting to some of the biggest festivals, going on foreign tours etc. All big and, fair to say, life changing stuff for a young lad from rural Shropshire.


Johnsie was thus my first introduction to concertina and melodeon, and because of this how John plays is what I think these things should sound like. Obviously there are lots of other people and styles out there which are great, but hearing John play always gives me that extra buzz.


I bought myself a melodeon a couple of years later and an anglo when I could afford one, and obviously already knew what I wanted to sound like (Sadly I don't)


Had some concertina lessons with him this last 18 months, but currently taking a break as I was falling behind with the practising etc.


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