AN ACCOUNT OF THE INTERNATIONAL PIPE AND TABOR FESTIVAL 2012
HELD IN GLOUCESTER 31st AUGUST TO 2nd SEPTEMBER
This year’s festival promised to be a good one, with a hard core of usual suspects plus newer friends and some brand new ones too. Sixteen of us gathered at the Folk Museum for lunch in the sunny garden before heading up to St Michael’s Tower for the symposium, organised as in past years by Gwilym Davies.
We heard 5 varied and entertaining presentations.
- Gillian Guest set the ball rolling with an account of finding a hitherto unrecorded statue of a taboring angel from the 1320s.
- Michel Bellon then spoke about his selection of pipes, good and bad.
- Marie Hulsens, a new participant in IPATF, gave a talk concerning the string drum, the ttun-ttun, in the Pyrenees.
- Richard Sermon spoke about his interest in the tuning of pipes, with quarter-tones and three-quarter tones being deliberate rather than rustically accidental.
- Maria Gomez Martin, spoke passionately about the tunes exclusively played in her small west Spanish village, and stunned us with her playing of a selection of them.
Friday evening was our enjoyable social gathering as more members arrived. We shared a buffet meal and played and talked all evening.
On Saturday morning there were two workshops for most members in St Nicholas Church, while David Wright ran a beginners’ workshop concurrently in the Folk Museum. Firstly Michel and Caroline guided us through some French dance music, then Procession-master Andy Richards led us in practising tunes for the procession, including his new composition “Jig of the left-handed Viking”. He did promise to tell us the origin of the intriguing title when we were in the pub, but obviously he wasn’t plied with enough beer to loosen his tongue, and it remains a mystery to the rest of us. Andy laughed when first asked, so it must be a good story!
In the afternoon we took part in the Gloucester Day parade, in the sunshine, through crowded streets and were joined by young member Nathan Cornish who had attended the beginners’ workshop in the morning. As last year, we all wore something red and made a grand noise as we processed. It was good to hear that members of the public recognised us enough to say “Here’s the taborers!” or “It’s the pipe and tabor!” so at last our efforts at raising the profile of the instrument seem to be bearing fruit in Gloucester at least. The larger than life town crier, who is the person who has revived Gloucester Day, immediately asked us to take part in next year’s event, and the Civic Society like us so much that they always insist that they must process with us.
Saturday evening was a new event for TTS. We held a French Bal, with Catherine Bellon calling the dances and with music played by Michel and Caroline or Marie Hulsens and Jordi Urioz. Bob Tyson also played for a couple of dances. The dances were interspersed with floor spots from a number of taborers, including a dramatic performance from Atsufumi who ended his interpretation of Hunt the Squirrel by producing from under his shirt a squirrel hand puppet! He has spent the last year practising not only his piping but also the pronunciation of “squirrel”! The Bal was well attended by the local French dance enthusiasts and was a great success.
Sunday continued exercising our brains in St Nicholas church with a masterclass from Marie on playing the ttun-ttun with tunes from the Pyrenean region. Several members had brought their string drums along, and the rest of us used our tabors to attempt to beat four beats while playing six notes on the pipe. Mary-Jo then gave a most enlightening and thought-provoking masterclass on taboring for morris while Fiz, joined by Steve, danced so that we could try out MJ’s suggestions.
A prolonged lunch in the Dick Whittington followed the morning’s work, and this year’s IPATF came to an end.