Biography

There’s a chatty bit about how I got started in music and a brief outline on the About page.

If you want the full nitty gritty, with a blow-by-blow account of my projects and activities, read on.

1977 ·        Bought first melodeon

·        BA Hons in Linguistics, University of Lancaster

1978 ·        PGCE in Primary Education

·        Moved to Suffolk

1979 ·        Started first teaching job

·        Founded Suffolk Bell & Horseshoe Band

1980 ·        Founded Old Hat Band
1981 ·        Organised Snape English Country Music Weekend
1982 ·        First national outing for cross-generational troupe of East Anglian performers: the Old Hat Concert Party, to Sidmouth Folk Festival

·        Collaboration with Eastern Angles theatre group – the first of many

·        Collaboration with Eastern Angles theatre group – the first of many
1984 ·        Organised Mendlesham English Country Music Weekend
1986 ·        Old Hat Concert Party album released
1987 ·        Founded Old Hat Dance Band
1989 ·        Old Hat Dance Band Live in Bracknell released (limited edition, cassette only release)
1990 ·        Founded Katie’s Quartet

·        Featured guest on the first night of the new Musical Traditions Club, London

·        Lecture – Women in Traditional Music at Sidmouth Folk Festival

·        Touring with Jeannie Harris

1991 ·        Old Hat Dance Band CD Mellophone released (and one wax cylinder made!)
1992 ·        BBC Radio 2 Arts Programme: Katie’s Quartet featured in a broadcast from Wingfield Barns, Suffolk, supporting George Melly.
1993 ·        Archives education assistant & history advisory teacher, Suffolk County Council

·        First melodeon workshop for Folk South West

·        Accompanied Bob Davenport in ‘Wait till the Work Comes Round’, Science Museum

·        BBC Radio 1 programme: Andy Kershaw – Old Hat Dance Band live studio guests

1994 ·        Freelance music educator

·        Commissions for Suffolk County Council in continuing professional development – history, music and dance departments

1995 ·        Advanced Diploma in Local History, University of Cambridge
1996 ·        Katie’s Quartet CD released
1997 ·        Tutor at Hands On Music (also 1999, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2010, 2013, 2015)
1999 ·        BBC TV drama: All the King’s Men – musician and actor
2000 ·        Set up East Anglian Traditional Music Trust as a charitable trust

·        Organised first Melodeons and More event (-2017)

2001 ·        Organised Stowmarket English Country Music Weekend
2002 ·        Organised first Traditional Music Day (-2017)

·        Performance in the English music series at the Horniman Museum, London

·        Created, managed & produced ‘Tuning In’ – year-long project for EATMT

2003 ·        Tutor at Folkworks Workout Weekend, Darlington (also 2004)

·        Created, managed & produced ‘Blyth Voices’ – year-long project for EATMT

2004 ·        Contributing artist to Stepping Up: A History of the New Wave of English Country Dance Music (Topic Records)

·        BBC Radio 4 programme: Blyth Voices, with Paul Heiney

2005 ·        Tutor at Lewes Saturday Workshops, Sussex (also 2012, 2015)

·        Created, managed & produced ‘Playback – year-long project for EATMT

2006 ·        English melodeon tutor for Trek-er-es-Uut, Netherlands (also 2007)

·        Tutor at Folkworks Summer School, Durham

·        Lecture: The Dulcimer in East Anglia’ at English Country Music Weekend, Bishop’s Castle

·        Created, managed & produced ‘North End Voices’ – three-year community arts project with BBC Radio Norfolk and True’s Yard Museum involving 1,000 school children

2007 ·        Guest & tutor at Button Boxes & Moothies, Aberdeen

·        Awarded 75th Anniversary Award from English Folk Dance & Song Society

·        Consultant to Barry Callaghan’s book Hardcore English and contributing artist on accompanying double album of influential English traditional musicians

·        Musician and choreographer for educational dance DVD Soil Dances for Suffolk County Council

·        Organised first ever Melodeon Makers week in the UK, with Emmanuel Pariselle. Also 2008, 2010, 2013 & 2014

2008 ·        PolkaWorks band starts – at a party!

·        Katie’s Quartet plays at the opening of the new British Galleries, V&A Museum, London

2009 ·        Organised first ever Melodeon Maintenance course in the UK (also 2011, 2014, 2016)

·        Lecture about traditional singing in Suffolk at the George Ewart Evans Centenary Festival, Suffolk

·        Solo CD The Green ‘Un released (limited edition only)

·        Mentioned as an influential English melodeon player in A Companion to Irish Traditional Music by Fintan Vallelly

·        Created, managed & produced traditional music project for Cambridge Music Festival

2010 ·        Awarded the Gold Badge by the English Folk Dance and Song Society
2011 ·        Contributing artist to: Banquet of Boxes – an album celebrating the best of English melodeon players ‘Great music played with drive, dexterity and sensitivity by some of the finest English melodeon players around today. A landmark collection.’ John Jones, Oysterband.

·        Katie’s Quartet performance at the South Bank, London – These Lands are My Lands

·        Created, managed & produced folk music and folklore aspect of ‘Managing a Masterpiece’ – three-year heritage project with Suffolk County Council involving 1,000 children

·        BBC TV series: Escape to the Country – musician in the ‘local interest’ spot featuring traditional music and stepdancing from East Anglia. This programme has been aired at least ten times since its original broadcast, with an audience of millions.

2012 ·        ITV series: Ade in Britain – musician in the ‘local interest’ spot featuring traditional music and stepdancing from East Anglia. A minor role as food critic (verdict: best not to ask!)
2013 ·        Early outings for the Michael Sheehy Band, playing Sliabh Luachra music
2014 ·        The Valiant Dance Band arises out of the ashes of Katie’s Quartet

·        Lecture about traditional singing in King’s Lynn in the twentieth century to the Traditional Song Forum

2015 ·        Lead musician with Cambridge International Baccalaureate students performing arts project: ‘Love Me or Kill Me’ (part of the EFDSS national Full English project). ‘The presentation that has stayed with me so vividly was Impington Village College, and their dance drama Love Me or Kill Me. The use of the Full English archive to identify a local version of the incest ballad, Lucy Wan, and the translation and expression of the difficult and challenging themes it deals with, in a fusion of contemporary dance, Morris and Molly, was nothing short of inspired, and deeply moving. The commitment of those young performers was very impressive, and the artists with whom they’d worked had clearly done a great job in helping them to understand the validity of the folk forms, and in accomplishing them so effectively.’ Sandra Kerr, Senior Lecturer on the Traditional & Folk Music BA course, Newcastle University.  

·        Guest speaker at World Dulcimer Congress, Malvern, UK, presenting original research on the history of the dulcimer in East Anglia to an international audience

·        Launch of East Anglian Dulcimers website

2016 ·        Consultant and lead traditional musician for the ‘Lullaby Concerts’ series with City of London Sinfonia and Orchestras Live

·        Valiant Dance Band performance at Eliza Carthy’s Legendary Nights, The Sage Gateshead

2017 ·        Left EATMT at the end of September, now a freelance musician, researcher, writer and events organiser

·        Guest performer at Willie Clancy Summer School, Co, Clare (harmonica, with Martin Brinsford)

·        Solo performances at Sidmouth Folk Week

2018 ·        New musical partnership with Martin Brinsford – two harmonicas and melodeon: Sidmouth and Towersey festivals

·        Featured musician on BBC Radio 4 ‘Instrument-Makers’ programme with Andy Cutting and Emmanuel Pariselle

·        Valiant Dance Band collaboration with Instep for a Stepdance Spectacular at Sidmouth Folk Week

·        Tutor for BorderBox workshop weekend

·        Musician and actor in a specially commissioned Armistice Commemoration concert, Covent Garden, London (harmonica)

·        Member of Instep editorial commissioning team

·        Director and researcher of ‘I Looked East and I Looked West’ – Julia Clifford memorial project

Also: tutor at innumerable festival workshops, regular tutor 2001-2017 at Melodeons and More, Suffolk, evening class tutor 2000-2017; innumerable talks for local community groups and at folk festivals; innumerable performances at festivals, clubs and multifarious community events, with various line-ups – just a few highlights included above.

See the Bands page and Discography page and the Old Hat Music section for more ‘stuff’!