This is the fifth piece in a series about Andy Cutting. Click through for parts one, two, and three … and also some pictures of his boxes.
The duets of Andy Cutting and Chris Wood are among the high points of English and European folk music. That’s not hyperbole. Cutting’s solo playing is a thing of beauty. The work with Blowzabella is a spectacle to be adored. The Cutting and Wood duets are something else.
In the middle of our conversation in December, Andy Cutting went on a wander, performing here, teaching workshops there. I had asked him some questions about the partnerships of his career — especially Blowzabella and Chris Wood. At the end of February, the answers arrived.
Could you talk about Blowzabella? How did you encounter them, and then join?
|Andy Cutting with Blowzabella|
I knew of Blowzabella for several years before I really met them. Through seeing them at various English folk festivals. In fact before I played the box! When I started to play, I went to a box workshop run by Riccardo Tesi at Sidmouth folk festival. Paul James, [Blowzabella’s piper and sax guy], was helping Riccardo and they asked me to play a bit. I discovered some years later that on hearing me pay Riccardo turned to Paul and said “you need to get him in Blowzabella.” Dave Roberts, box player, had recently left and Dave Shepherd (the violin player) was leaving, so that meant they wanted someone to fill their shoes. Fortunately for me I was in the right place at the right time. They asked me to a few of their gigs and then I received a letter saying I was now in the band.
Diatonic News reports the release of a new monograph by Gorka Hermosa, The Accordion in the 19th Century. Hermosa, from Urretxu, Basque Country, is a classically trained player of the chromatic button accordion, who performs everything from folk music to Bach to avant garde. This book, his fourth, is even more expansive than his repertoire. Focusing on accordion music of the 19th century — almost all of it for diatonic instruments — Hermosa casts his scholarly net far enough so that, by the end of the 93 pages, the reader has a remarkable understanding of all metal free reed instruments of the day. The book culminates in its discussion of diatonic accordion, concertina, and harmonium after giving a thorough review of predecessors to these free reed instruments, and discussing their organology. On top of its thoroughness, though, the book is a fun, brisk read, at least for those of us fascinated by such things. This is extraordinary writing, and scholarship.