How it all began...
Music and storytelling, whats' the connection? Well in ancient times there was no separation between the two. The storyteller was a musician and the musician a storyteller. It was one art where words and tones, narrative and rythm brought the listener into an exciting world of images.
This is what our project Strange Lovers is all about. It started some five years ago when fiddler Emma Reid worked with storyteller Mats Rehnman on performances and they started to explore the relationship between telling and music. In 2012 she brought together Mats with the string quartet Methera which has been performing around UK for 10 years. The connection was immediate, and an intense exchange took a beginning where Mats gathered stories on the theme of strange lovers, and the musicians composed music.
And so in spring 2013 we got together in Cumbria for playful improvisations around our themes and rehearsing for a concert in Appleby, where Methera invited Mats as a special guest. Soon after the quintet got together again and had a final rehearsal day with some inspired direction from Tim Dalling. Strange Lovers had its premier at the Fiddles on Fire Festival at The Sage Gateshead on 5th May, and went down a storm. Read a review here.
Our show Strange Lovers is a concert of stories, marrying new compositions by Methera with Mats' collection of love stories with a twist. We aim to stretch the boundaries of normality in the unification of contemporary folk music and storytelling. In the process we have shed new light on Methera's ability to use voice, body language and movement on stage, and Mat's ability to find music and dance in his narrative. It's a fascinating journey for all of us!
Our coming plans are to meet again in October 2013 to work on more stories, and Strange Lovers will be appearing at festivals in summer 2014.
Lucy Deakin - cello
Lucy was first introduced to folk music through a Folkworks residency at her secondary school and took up clog dancing and playing the English Concertina as a result. Having played the cello in classical settings since the age of ten, Lucy had been striving to find a voice for her cello within the non-classical world and went to study jazz and contemporary music at Leeds College of Music.
John Dipper - fiddle
John grew up steeped in the traditions of Southern England. His unique playing style, and his traditionally-spirited compositions convey a deep understanding and passion for the indigenous culture of England.
Mats Rehnman - storyteller
In 1985 Mats graduated with a Master of Fine Arts from Konstfackskolan in Stockholm. Ever since then he has been intensely engaged in several roles. Visual arts were soon followed by authorship, and from there Mats unexpectedly fell into the art of oral storytelling.
Emma Reid - fiddle
Emma Reid was brought up in the northeast of England and started playing the fiddle at the age of three with her Swedish mother. During her youth Emma was inspired by both classical and traditional music and devoted her time to playing in chamber orchestras and ceilidh bands alike. Emma has twice been finalist in the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award and was leader of Newcastle Youth Chamber Orchestra during her final year at school.
Miranda Rutter - viola
Miranda took up the fiddle at 5 but soon had her ambitions set on playing the viola. She was a member of Pro Corda, a youth string quartet course, during her early teens but on meeting folk music in her late teens, became enchanted.