IT’S all about the music - that’s the verdict of folk giant Philip Pickett who is bringing an incredible array of old Scots and Irish tunes to Birmingham Town Hall - accompanied by a man described as Hendrix on bagpipes - Carlos Nunez.
“This is a fantastic and unique opportunity to hear some great tunes played by some of the best musicians in the world,” said Philip, who started in the Albion Band and counts the great Richard Thompson amongst his collaborators.
Add in the presence of Celtic legend Nunez - a virtuoso on the gaita or Galician bagpipes - and it promises to be a rousing evening that’ll have fans toe tapping and dancing in the aisles.
The source of Pickett’s enthusiasm is the music itself, mined from the 17th Century when printing really took off.
“Publishers discovered it could be profitable to print music then and with a Scottish king on the throne of England (James VI/I) and a large influx of people from Ireland, these tunes became incredibly popular,” said Philip.
In other words the music is a primary source of original folk tunes, some of which have stood the test of time and are still well-known today.
“Everyone knows Lily Bolero and Tom He Was A Piper’s Son because they’ve gone on to the present day but there are other fabulous tunes that were incredibly popular at the time,” said Philip.
Key to the evening is Nunez, someone who Philip first met when the Spaniard, then aged 14 and already a devoted bagpipe player, went to one of his gigs in Galicia. “He is steeped in Celtic music and plays not only the gaita but the penny whistle and all sorts of instruments,” said Philip. “In Spain he’s a massive star more used to playing in stadiums but he’s shown incredible enthusiasm for this project.”
The evening, the fruits of two years labour, will feature Pickett and his band playing a more courtly English-style of the tunes to show how they would have been presented in 17th Century London, and Nunez and his players will let rip with the real traditional folk style.
Instruments will be totally authentic too for the perfect period sound.
Carlos Nunez, Philip Pickett & Musicians of the Globe play Birmingham Town Hall on Thursday, January 31 at 7.30pm. Tickets cost from £15 on 0121 780 4949.