‘I began to play melodeon in 1977 after my then wife, Angela, bought one to play for Sue Allan’s morris team in Wigton, Cumbria’. Neither of us could make much sense of it until I had a ‘light bulb moment’ about how the left hand worked! From then on, I began to try to arrange all the tunes I knew for it. My parents played recorder and piano, and my primary and juniors schools in Durham imbued us with local songs. I started going to Newcastle Folksong and Ballad club in 1958 – smuggled-in underage – so I had a headful of music, mostly from the North of England. Over the decades I’ve picked-up a lot more from radio, from friends in sessions, and I’ve had to learn lots of tunes to play for the Carlisle, Hexham, and Black Gate Morris teams. I had been flattered by encouragement from a few friends to make this CD; perhaps they thought I was looking my 77 years and once I’d popped my clogs the melodeon arrangements would be gone forever. So I have to thank Steve for turning up at my house with a microphone and a recording device, putting his time where his mouth was, spending an evening recording the tunes, and then adding his matchless hurdy-gurdy (and other instruments) playing where appropriate. Steve and I had worked together in a band some 20 years previously. My wife Corrie joins some tracks on recorder or violin. The CD is really a record of a random selection of my arrangements of somewhat ‘off-the-beaten track’, but almost all traditional, melodeon tunes, perhaps in case any box players might find it of interest. All my arrangements are in a state of flux, but this is where they are right now.
– Frank Lee
Steve Tyler is best known as a hurdy gurdy player, renowned for his rhythmic and inventive playing, and is equally at home with early music, traditional melodies or modern compositions. He has performed with such diverse artists as English folk singer Jackie Oates, German industrial/electronic musician F.M.Einheit and South African puppeteer John Roberts, and has played for theatrical productions (including Comus and Secret Theatre at The Globe’s Sam Wanamaker Playhouse), historical and traditional dances, mixed media performances and worked with storytellers Clive Fairweather and Dave Oliver.
Corrie Lee-Schrijver is a luthier and bow maker from Arnhem, Netherlands, but has studied in Wales and worked and played in England and Scotland since 1977. She has played for several rapper and longsword dance teams, through which she met Frank, who makes the swords. They married in 2011.