Medieval Music in the Dales – Latest News

This is an online version of our latest Medieval Music in the Dales newsletter – though don’t forget if you want to get the newsletter as an email, just get in touch. We’ve been really busy with fundraising over the last couple of months, and here’s what we’ve been up to…

I’ve made three applications for funding so far. The major one is the Grants for the Arts application to Arts Council England – this is for about 55% of the total funding, so is obviously fairly significant!  It was clear to us that MMITD is a pretty unique event that will involve a huge number of musicians and crafts people, and it seemed perfect… With all the pressure on the public purse at the moment, nothing can be taken for granted, but we will  know by the end of January if our bid will be successful. Please keep your fingers crossed – it was a major undertaking just completeing the paperwork!!!

bagpipe society logo new.pngI also considered special interest groups that might like to back MMITD. I was really delighted to hear that The Bagpipe Society were offering grants. They were really happy to support MMITD, specifically and for the most part to fund the travel expenses to the UK of Danilo Turchetti of Musica Inspirata, who is busily reinventing the medieval bagpipe to exquisite effect.

I’ve also looked at local funding sources, and recieved good advice  from the Dales Tourism Business Network. And I’m delighted to announce that the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority Sustainable Development Fund has granted us £700 to support the marketing of the event. Open to any individual, business, community group orvoluntary sector body, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority Sustainable Development Fund provides a simple and accessible source of money for a range of projects that result in positive benefits fro the National Park, its envYDNPA 5cm CMYKironment, its economy and its communities, while enhancing and conserving local culture, wildlife and landscape. It’s wonderful that they have decided to assist MMITD in this way.
More information about the Fund here:

How You Can Help One – Crowdfunding in February

Our crowdfunding campaign will be our other major means of fundraising for MMITD. Crowdfunding is a great way of cooperating to make something happen and another great boon of the internet age. Sites like Kickstarter or Crowdfunder allow causes and projects to promote themselves to anyone interested, in the hope of gaining financial support. Supporters can contribute to the project financially by making pledges, and in return they get rewards.

From the start, we thought this would be a great model for MMITD as a way for supporters to book advance tickets – at the most excellent prices, naturally – and other benefits. Thus people who can’t actually come along to MMITD might be interested in the CD or DVD of the event or one of the other commemorative items. Crowdfunding also opens up the option for supporters to sponsor aspects of the event, and indeed to make contributions just because they (rightly!) love the whole idea!

Crowdfunding campaigns typically set a target that they have to reach. on this model, if the target is not reached, the campaign fails and all support is cancelled. So we really want to encourage everyone to get on board and book their tickets good and early so that the campaign will succeed and we can go forward with the clearest idea of our total funding.

Our crowdfunding campaign will begin in mid-Feburary and run through to Easter- and make no mistake, you won’t be able to miss it! Here are the key facts :

  • The campaign will run for six weeks, from mid-February to Easter 2016
  • There will be a range of tickets available as supporter Rewards.
  • One of the Rewards will be the Performer Pass – the cheapest ticket of all and only available as a crowdfunding Reward. This is for those who want to take part in the Open Stages and be part of the music-making.
  • Crowdfunding tickets will be cheaper than those available later!
  • Crowdfunding tickets will be the only way to reserve the limited camping pitches
  • Crowdfunding ticket-buyers get priority on their choice of workshops and concerts
  • You can make more than one pledge!
  • If you are feeling especially generous, crowdfunding offers the opportunity to sponsor a concert or a workshop – all such offers are gratefully received…
  • When you make your Pledge to buy a ticket, I will be in touch with a booking form. As appropriate, you can specify all your choices for workshops on this and – if applying     for a Performer Pass – also give details of your performance, instruments, repertoire etc.
  • And – most important – we’ve got to reach the target by Easter!!!

Full advance details of the full range of pledges and rewards will be released in the first half of February. Please help us all out by joining in the Crowdfunding Campaign.

How You Can Help Two: easyfundraising-logo-2

This is a frankly splendid idea. I caught on to it because I saw a Facebook post from the Oxford Folk Weekend announcing that they had raised several hundred pounds for their very splendid event via this ‘’. I looked it up and saw it could be a great way to raise money for MMITD. Here’s how it works.

Whenever you buy anything online – from your weekly shop to your annual holiday to your car insurance – you could be raising a free donation for Medieval Music in the Dales There are nearly 3,000 retailers on board ready to make a donation, including Amazon, John Lewis, Aviva, thetrainline and Sainsbury’s – and it doesn’t cost you a penny extra!

It’s really simple, all you have to do is:

  1. Join – Head to,uk and sign up for free as a supporter.

  2. Shop – Every time you shop online, go to easyfundraising first, pick the retailer you want and start shopping.

  3. Raise – After you’ve checked out, that retailer will make a donation to your good cause for no extra cost whatsoever.

There are no catches or hidden charges at all – it’s a win-win all round. For example, I most recently bought a few Christmas presents at John Lewis and got a £1.35 donation! A £40 train ticket booked through thetrainline earnt £0.64. Even a film rented on Amazon bought a few pennies.. I’m sure you can see how it can all add up – but we really need a few more of you good people to sign up as supporters. Give it some thought?

Once you’re signed up, you can also install an easyfundraising Donation Reminder on your computer, which will give you a handy little reminder whenever a donation is available when you’re shopping online – so you never miss the chance to donate. When you see the alert, just click to activate your donation. It’s as easy as that! Shoppers who use the easyfundraising Donation Reminder raise five times more donations for their cause because it helps them remember. You’ll love it and we will too! Find out more and help raise five times more for Medieval Music in the Dales here.

Also, if you shop on your mobile or tablet, you could get the free easyfundraising app and again you’ll never miss a donation. To get it, visit the App Store or Google Play and search for ‘easyfundraising’ or find out more here.

Other new developments since September

There have also been exciting developments on the line-up front since September. Our line-up for the luthiers’ exhibition is now as follows:

  • Ardival Harps (wire and git-strung historical harps)
  • Atelier Elbock (flutes of many kinds)
  • AtelierTri Nox Samoni (flutes of many kinds, lyres, early guitars)
  • Early Music Shop (wide range of historical and folk instruments)
  • George Stephens (medieval gitterns, lutes, harps)
  • Kalum Hewitt (medieval soundbox instruments of many kinds)
  • Jim Parr (bagpipes and shawms)
  • Leaf Trading Post (bone flutes, percussion)
  • Margotton Lutherie (soundbox instruments of many kinds)
  • Musica Inspirata (bagpipes)
  • Phil Bleazey (flutes of many kinds)
  • Philippe Bolton (recorders)

And there are a couple more very likely but still to be confirmed (we like to keep you guessing a bit…) Full details will be confirmed in the next newsletter – out in early February.

Finally – more on the location for MMITD: The Yorkshire Dales

There’s no getting away from it, the Yorkshire Dales are one of the most splendid areas of outstanding natural beauty in the country. Being able to have our event in such a stunning location is a definite plus.

The Yorkshire Dales is the second largest national park in England  after the Lake District. One of its most distinctive features is its network of drystonepress-askrigg-wensleydale walls, and there are 8689km of them! They are formed from the limestone that is the bedrock of the Dales and which contributes so much to its unique character.

The Yorkshire Dales have been shaped by thousands of years of human occupation, with each dale having its own special character. One of the most fascinating finds in the area is the Iron Age bone flute found near Malham – so MMITD is part of a very long musical heritage indeed!

Pictures courtesy of The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority.

For all general enquiries or to join the mailing list please email:

There’s also our spanking new website:

You can like the Medieval Music in the Dales Facebook Page:

You can also contact Trouvère
by email:
by phone: 07720118406
and our website is:







Medieval Music in the Dales – Update (March 2015)

new collage

September 2nd – 4th 2016s 

Bolton Castle in Wensleydale

At Trouvère Towers, we have been very busy for the past six weeks or so on our new CD, Magna Melodia (of which more news very soon), but i am now able at last to return to the subject of our major new event for next year – Medieval Music in the Dales.

Since we posted up the first notices of the event in mid-January we have had such a very positive response, with expressions of interest from across the UK and even further afield. it’s been grand to see. Performers who’ve so far expressed an interest include (apart from Trouvère of course!)…

Leah-Stuttard-webAt Cordesgaita

Steve Tyler and Katy Marchant, Gaita Medieval Music, Sarah Fuhs, Leah Stuttard, De Mowbray’s Musicke, A Merrie Noyse Minstrels, Merrie Din, Claire Hannah and Capriole, Graham Wright, Maranella, Tom Hughes, Richard York, Charlotte Ewart, Lizzie Gutteridge with some or all of Blondel, the York Waits and the Colchester Waits, Vagarem, Waytes and Measures, Slag ende Stoot, Clare Goodall, Roughe Musicke and Le Caste Nymphe.

clare goodallSteve Tyler and Katy Marchant 1blondel

Now, not everyone of these will be able to come along in the end –  but it’s clear that already we are going to have a grand array of medieval music-making such as has not been seen or heard in Bolton Castle for many a year! And there’s room and time for more yet…

We have also had nice interest from luthiers, including George Stevens (to be confirmed), Benjamin Simao Trinox Samoni, Jean-Daniel Talma of Atelier Elbock, Eric and Jane Moulder, and Alberic’s Workshop. Lizzie Gutteridge will also be selling her incomparable rommelpots, and we hope that more instrument makers and other suppliers will join in as word gets about. Likewise, we will be on the lookout for great traders for our medieval market.

There are some tempting prospects for workshops – beginners’ bagpipe from Tom Hughes, more advanced hurdy gurdy from Steve Tyler, medieval dance from Charlotte Ewart amongst others, medieval harp st oswaldswith Leah Stuttard… We shall be returning to ask for preferences on workshops in due course and all ideas are welcome in the meantime.

It looks very likely that we will have the use of St Oswald’s Parish Church at least on the Saturday. This is a great medieval setting standing in the shadow of the castle – a fourteenth century church contemporary with Bolton Castle and a lovely intimate space for concerts.

What do we mean by medieval?

Fundamentally, it’s all about repertoire. So often a lot of music gets lumped together as medieval when there is nothing medieval about it at all, apart from a general impression or feel. Our golden rule for Medieval Music in the Dales is that all music performed at the event should be medieval, and by this we mean it should be sourced to the period 500 – 1500 CE. A thousand years of notated music give us plenty to play with! And on the other hand, that does mean a few ‘no-nos’:

  • no ‘well, they are described as old, so they’re probably medieval’ – yes, we are looking at you, various branles from Arbeau…
  • no ‘everyone thinks it’s medieval so it would be a shame not to’ – you know what we mean, no Greensleeves!
  • no ‘it’s all part of a long folk tradition so must go back’ – so no ‘traditional’ carols unsourced before 1500
  • no original compositions in ‘a medieval style’ (so no Clannad ‘Robin of Sherwood’ music, lovely as it might be!)

No one’s going to come and throw a band out for playing something 16th century, but we really hope that everyone will keep these guidelines in mind, and that way Medieval Music in the Dales will offer a uniquely medieval musical experience.

What about instruments?

It’s already clear that there will be wealth of quality replica medieval instruments on show and in use at MMITD, and it’ll be great to hear their particular qualities. We encourage the use of medieval instruments at MMITD, but it is not a hard-and-fast rule as we know many people enjoy playing excellent medieval repertoire on more modern instruments. That said, we’d rather avoid any bowed psalteries… no, seriously, the most important thing is that the material played should be medieval in origin.

Costume or not?

One of the many nice things about Bolton Castle is that it offers several venues for our daytime music-making and we are thinking that at least one of these venues will be a ‘costume not necessary’ space. Obviously, many medieval musicians enjoy presenting the music in appropriate outfits, but some folk would probably rather die than dress up(!) and we still want them to be able to share their medieval sounds. This might also be the best format for people presenting medieval repertoire on more modern instruments. But we hope that there will be plenty of medieval ‘looks’ as well as medieval sounds, especially as we will be in such a perfect period setting…

What’s next?

We are intending to apply for arts funding to cover some of the key elements of the event and this application will be submitted this autumn, once a firmer line-up of key performances and workshops has been settled. In the spring of 2016 we shall be starting a crowd-funding appeal to supplement this funding and this will also be a vehicle for buying advance tickets. More on this in due course!

In the meantime as well, please support Medieval Music in the Dales by spreading the word and by submitting any ideas or wishes you have for the event. We Trouvères might be organising the whole thing but we totally rely on the continued interest and input of all the other medieval music lovers who want the event not just to succeed but also to flourish into future years. So – for example…

  • if you are a trader or performer yourself, and might be able to exhibit ‘Medieval Music in the Dales’ leaflets, please get in touch and we’ll get some to you…
  • If you might be interested in volunteering at the event as a steward, let us know…
  • If you have an idea for a source of funding, ooh, let us know…
  • If you can offer a suitable workshop, let us know…
  • If you have press contacts that might be interested in featuring ‘Medieval Music in the Dales’, let us know…
  • If you know of a medieval instrument maker, let them know about the event as we’d love to have them along…

You get the idea!

That’s all now folks. Back with another update soon. We’ll have undertaken a full site visit in April so should have a clearer idea of the various spaces and how they interact. Watch this space…

‘Tudor Dance’ is out!

We are really pleased to announce that ‘Tudor Dance‘, our new resource for schools – and anyone else who’s interested really! is now available.

Tudor Dance (4 panel double CD)_Page_1

Tudor Dance is a two-disk resource pack for anyone wanting to make a start at Tudor Dance. One CD is a straightforward audio CD with the music for all the dances featured in the pack played on a glorious array of period instruments. The other CD features an easy-to-use interactive PDF document which includes

  • a guide to loads of Tudor steps, from the simple to the galliard, with descriptions, diagrams and audio and video to help users learn and practice the steps
  • ten dances fully described in stage-by-stage detail with audio practice tracks
  • two further dances presented in worksheet format for users to construct their own choreography
  • historical background and ideas for further exploration of the subject

We are doubly pleased right now, because we were able to produce Tudor Dance as a Kickstarter project. Backers from all over the world – well, from California to Australia – generously supported the project, helping us to fund its production. We have just recovered from sending out all the rewards!

It’s the fruit of long labour – having presented many Tudor music and dance sessions with school children and others, we originally produced a guide to ‘Medieval and Tudor Dance’ over ten years ago, as an A4 booklet + CD pack. This sold very well, but we were keen to go interactive, as we knew video and audio would support and aid the learning process immensely. Having decided to rework the original guide, we overhauled all the choreographies in the original, revisited the descriptions of the steps and – very important – added more complex steps and two whole new dances to the collection – a Galliard and a Country Dance. These two broadened the scope of the new guide considerably. While recording the audio for these new dances, we also re-recorded much of the original material.

Tudor Dance will be available soon from our website, but if you are desperate to get your hands on one, just get in touch via email or Facebook and we will attend to your order with all due despatch: the pack costs £12 + p&p.  This handsome – and pretty unique – resource is also available to museums, music and book shops who are interested in stocking it – again, just get in touch!