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24 April 2022


Here it is! The first FiddleBop newsletter since July 2019... A surprise, we're sure! And we hope that it is a good one.


But if you're thinking "What is this? What do FiddleBop newsletters have to do with me?" then read no further. Just click here to unsubscribe. We'll shed a tear at your leaving, of course.

So... after a gap of nearly two years, how have you been? Whatever your story, here's hoping that things have been OK for you. And that right now, you are well and happy.

OK. Maybe you're not exactly thriving, and maybe you're not exactly riotously mirthful (tho' we're pleased if you are). Because who is feeling great and who is doing brilliantly right now? (Excuse me while I turn off the lights and write this in the dark to save electricity. Also so that I can avert my eyes from the UK and world news...)

Enough gloom! Let's catch up with the FiddleBop news.

You'll remember from the last newsletter that we (Jo Davies and Dave Favis-Mortlock) had not long moved from peaceful rural Oxfordshire (Great Rollright, near Chipping Norton) to an even more peaceful place. Our new home was, and still is, a remote barn in mid-Wales. With wonderful neighbours, and nestled amongst glorious green hills not far from the Brecon Beacons. If you are curious, then have a look at the drone-captured video on our holiday-let website.

FiddleBop version 2. Left to right is Dave, Paul, Graeme, Jo. Be amazed at Paul's rather wonderful beard (there's a story about it...)
FiddleBop version 2. Left to right is Dave, Paul, Graeme, Jo. Be amazed at Paul's rather wonderful beard (there's a story about it...) Click to enlarge

And you'll surely recall that FiddleBop version 1 — very sadly — came to an end shortly after we moved to Wales. Boo-hoo!

Yet just as the glorious phoenix rises from its own ashes, FiddleBop version 2 arose! Glittering in the sun and better than ever! Still comprising Jo and Dave, but now with keyboard wizard Paul Stevens and superb fretless bassist Graeme Lamble. (Don't worry if you can't remember all this. We won't be testing you.)

So FiddleBop v2 got ready. We built up our new repertoire, got to know each other better, then did some local gigs#1 and began work on a recording. All was looking good. And then, in early 2020, along came Covid. Uh-oh.

A FiddleBop recording session in Feb 2020, just before lockdown. All those wires!
A FiddleBop recording session in Feb 2020, just before lockdown. All those wires! Click to enlarge
Taking a break from recording. Engineer whiz Baze is the tall one. But where is Jo? (And note the absence of Paul's beard!)
Taking a break from recording. Engineer whiz Baze is the tall one. But where is Jo? (And note the absence of Paul's beard!) Click to enlarge

We in FiddleBop all survived, which is the main thing#2. But the recording which we had started (in the very capable hands of friend Baze) ground to a locked-down halt. And — of course — we could not do any gigs. Which is a problem for an improvising band like FiddleBop, which thrives and grows from the excitement and interaction of live performances. So whenever we safely could, we kept our spirits up with the occasional socially-distanced practice. Some indoors#3 and some outdoors, amongst those glorious green hills that I mentioned earlier: one of the best things about living here!

Also it was time for some musical rethinking. Nothing too profound! But some thoughts re. what we should categorize ourselves as ("Gypsy jazz-folk" maybe? Hah, too clumsy probably. Got any ideas?) and still more thoughts (my head hurts!) re. future musical directions for FiddleBop. There was time too, to patch up some of our battered, much-gigged equipment. And to tinker with the FiddleBop website. Like it?

Jo during a socially-distanced outdoor practice, summer 2020.
Jo during a socially-distanced outdoor practice, summer 2020. The damaged cloth on her amplifier isn't from gigging, it is where our cats like to sharpen their claws. Click to enlarge

Jo and Dave started learning Welsh, too. Dyn ni'n mwynhau dysgu Cymraeg, ond mae hi'n yn araf...

Oh, and Dave cheered himself up by getting a new fiddle. Well, not exactly new. This is the acoustic violin (German?) that Dave had played for many years, as far back as the Rollright Stones and Mortlock and Underwood. (This fiddle has had a hard life. The neck fell off it once: fellow fiddler Chris Leslie very kindly glued it back on.) During lockdown, Richard ("Titch") from Sonic Violins converted this violin to an electric instrument. All done in a socially-distanced way, using emails and delivery services! Dave is very happy with his new toy.

Paul being shaved for charity, November 2021.
Paul being shaved for charity, November 2021. Click to see the video by the Mayor of Brecon, John Powell

So eventually, at last, in late summer 2021 we were once again able to play a few gigs. Yaaay! What a relief!

Later in the year, Paul the keyboard had his beard (an impressive one, grown throughout lockdown) and his hair shaved for charity. Take a look at the video! Then came the winter, and the resurgence of Covid. We all hunkered down again — Paul feeling a bit chilly, minus hair — and waited for spring.

And here we are now, in April 2022, once more crawling out from under our stone! We've moved on with our recording#4 so expect to hear more about that "real soon now". In the next FiddleBop newsletter, probably.

Right now, our calendar holds three festival gigs for FiddleBop during the coming summer: one (almost) in Wales, two in England.

If you can get get to Hay-on-Wye, Herefordshire, on Thursday 2 June, we are playing at 5.15 pm on The Stage venue in the "HowTheLightGetsIn" festival. This is "the world's largest Music and Philosophy Festival on the idyllic bank of the River Wye" (if you are wondering, the name comes from something that Ernest Hemingway reportedly said: "We are all broken. That's how the light gets in"). World-class speakers and great music (including FiddleBop!) make this a fascinating weekend, one that you won't forget. So why not treat yourself and come along? Festival tickets are available here.

Graeme the bass with a traffic cone. No comment.
Graeme the bass with a traffic cone. No comment. Click to enlarge

Next in line, on Saturday 11 June, is the "Party in the Park" festival in Adderbury, Oxfordshire. FiddleBop are playing at 7.30 pm in the Acoustic Tent. We've played here before, a couple of times, with FiddleBop v1. Always a great atmosphere and some really good music too! "Party in the Park" starts at 1.30 pm. Adult tickets are £15 (£20 on the day), age 5-16 are £8, under 5s are free. See you there?

And our third festival this year — so far, anyway — is Hook Norton's "Music at the Crossroads" on Sunday 3 July. We love playing "jazz with Gypsy zing" at MAC! We've made music here many times over the years (again, with FiddleBop v1) and it has always been oodles of fun! This year, for the first time, there is an "acoustic day" on the Sunday, which is free entry. And Pete Watkins has some fine music planned! FiddleBop are on stage at 2 pm. We'd love to see you at MAC 2022!

Finally, if you are nearer the Welsh end of things, you might be interested in FiddleBop's occasional experimental mini-gigs (or should that be "public practices"?) in the back room of the Brecon Tap pub. (Which is in Brecon: yes, you guessed it!) So far, we haven't publicised these, but in future, look out for details on FiddleBop's Facebook page.

The Fiddleboppers, standing next to a rather psychedelic wall. Paul still has his beard
The Fiddleboppers, standing next to a rather psychedelic wall. Paul still has his beard. Click to enlarge

Finally finally, I need to check something with you. Because of GDPR and all that. Do you wish to continue to receive FiddleBop newsletters? If you do not, then click here to unsubscribe. Or send an unsubscribe-request email to, and I’ll remove your email address from our mailing list. If you don’t do either of these things then I’ll assume that you are happy to receive future FiddleBop newsletters.

Thank you! And OK, that's the lot for now. Next newsletter in a few months! Or maybe I'll see you before then, at a FiddleBop gig? in the meantime, If you have anything that you like to say to us (nice things preferred) then please send an email, send a Facebook message, or phone.

Stay well, and all the best! And don't get too gloomy:

Receive what cheer you may; the night is long that never finds the day. (Will Shakespeare: Macbeth)


Gypsy jazz re-imagined! Phone01982 560726 Mobile Phone07968 950870
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Footnote #1. Some friends even came all the way from Oxfordshire to one of our gigs in Hay-on-Wye. Thanks, Andy and Yolanda!
Footnote #2. Jo and I lost three friends to Covid. They are sadly missed.
Footnote #3. Thanks, Simon and Trudie!
Footnote #4. Thank you so much Baze! We are deeply in your debt.

Future FiddleBop gigs!

This list of gigs is correct at the time of writing, but the list on our website is always up to date.

The gig! When is FiddleBop playing? Venue, occasion, whatever... Where is it?
HowTheLightGetsIn Festival Hay-on-Wye 2022

Tickets here

Thursday 2 June 2022

"HowTheLightGetsIn" Hay-on-Wye Festival 2022

The Stage, Festival Site
Hereford, UK

Party in the Park logo

Party in the Park adult tickets £15 (£20 on the day), age 5-16 £8, under 5 free

Saturday 11 June 2022

Adderbury's "Party in the Park" Festival 2022

Acoustic Tent
Party in the Park
Oxon OX17 3LJ, UK

01295 522505

Music at the Crossroads logo

Free entry!

2pm Sunday 3 July 2022

Hook Norton's "Music at the Crossroads" Festival 2022

Hook Norton Brewery
Brewery Lane
Hook Norton
Oxon OX15 5NY, UK

Gypsy jazz re-imagined!  Phone01982 560726  Mobile Phone07968 950870 
FiddleBop on FacebookFiddleBop  FiddleBop on  Get our email newsletterGet our email newsletter  Creative Commons License