“Art music for the soul.”

“Flute and cello? That’s not going to work is it? Is it? Well, it bloody does in the hands of Michael Walsh and Liz Hanks! Beautiful. Art music for the soul.” Colin Irwin (Mojo Magazine)
Born in Manchester and raised in Stockport, England I grew up learning Sligo style flute playing from Marian Egan & Tony Ryan.
Michael Walsh in his home town of Stockport
I am currently working on recording my solo album with Michael McGoldrick over in Manchester and Tom Wright (Nancy Kerr Band, Albion Band) in Sheffield, guests include Liz Hanks on Cello,  Michael McGoldrick on Guitar/ Pipes/ Drones, Kepa Junkera on Trikitixa, Simon Bradley from Asturian folk legends Llan de Cubel on fiddle and a new composition from the incredible Manchester perfomance poet Mike Garry. A few more guests are working on the album and I’ll announce them when we’ve finished their tracks.
I’m back in the studio in December to finish up and record the final guests. I’m really looking forward to sharing my songwriting for the first time with very special co-writers. Sometime the best is worth waiting for. I have a couple of Festival announcements for 2019 to make shortly. Watch this space.

A Busy Summer of Festivals and Fiestas.

Liz Hanks & Michael Walsh

It’s been a hectic summer for me. It started off with the very cool Not Quite Light Festival in Salford. Curated by photographer, musician and creative genius Simon Buckley it covered multiple art genres and new works. I performed with the wonderful cellist and my neighbour Liz Hank and we premiered our multimedia collaboration with Simon Buckley. Sian Astley from https://moregeous.com enthused: “Michael Walsh and Liz Hanks silenced the room”.

Simon Buckley commented:

“ Michael and Liz performed at my Not Quite Light festival in the machine room of a working mill. Whilst they performed we projected images onto them and the wall behind. The atmosphere that they managed to create in this unusual space was, cliche though it might be, simply magical. There was a poetic brilliance of the music, and the performance was absolutely one of the highlights of the weekend “.
Michael Walsh Tin Whistle Workshop @Underneath the Stars. Photo by Gunnar Mallon

Next up were my adventures with my Asturian pals, the breath taking L-R (Leticia González and Rubén Bada ). I am on a mission to bring great Asturian music to the masses. The ‘Asturians in Yorkshire’ weekend started with my Tin Whistle workshop at Underneath the Stars. The tent was packed with 50 whistlers of all levels. At the end of the hour we had all the participants on stage and the Underneath the Stars Tin Whistle Orchestra was born. We whizzed over to Leeds for an Irish Arts Foundation sponsored event where I gave my guided tour to Asturian music (based on my PhD research) before welcoming L-R to the stage of The Inkwell in Leeds. L-R wowed Underneath The Stars, with guerilla Asturian dance classes and a performance that stopped people in their tracks and got the whole tent dancing. I waved good bye to my family and headed to Asturias with L-R. Two intense weeks of PhD fieldwork followed. Learning to dance and catching up with fieldwork contacts who had now become friends. I finally got to see Llan de Cubel. Llan de Cubel fiddler Simon Bradley has already recorded some tracks on my new album. The highlight of the fieldwork was dancing Jota in a tiny village of Baselgas.

I came to England for Whitby Folk Week. We did a secret house concert in Sheffield to warm up and raised some money for Dementia Care. I played 4 concerts with the Liz Hanks, led two flute workshops and a wonderful session and finally made my debut as a singer. We received great feedback from our concerts Colin Irwin from Mojo Magazine…
“Flute and cello? That’s not going to work is it? Is it? Well, it bloody does in the hands of Michael Walsh and Liz Hanks! Beautiful. Art music for the soul.” Colin Irwin (Mojo Magazine).
I’m really excited about what the Autumn brings. I’m catching up with my old pals from Leeds Ceili Band next week. They’ve invited me to lead a session at Leeds Irish Centre on 15th September. I’m tutoring at the Yorkshire Youth Folk Weekend next month Bryony Griffiths, Will Hampson and Jamie Roberts. I’m back in the studio to finish my album and record the final guests. Sometime the best is worth waiting for. I have a couple of Festival announcements for 2019 to make shortly. Watch this space.

Whitby Folk Week 2018

We’re having a wonderful time here at Whitby Folk Week 2018. The concerts with Liz Hanks and special guest Jonathan Vidler went better than we could ever have imagined and we’ve had some wonderful feedback. It was my first outing as a solo singer and some of the material that we’ve recorded for my album. We’re ready to hit the festivals of 2019 with a very sharp set, a completed album with lots of fab guests.

Liz Hanks & Michael Walsh

I also had a busy time teaching flute. The first workshop was full and we had a great variety of participants from different backgrounds learning a new tune. I chose one of my compositions, ‘Celeste’s Jig’ to focus on. We practised learning by ear or listening rather than reading music. The A part was learnt by all. Here’s the music for the jig. For the next workshop on Thursday (11.30 a.m. Middle Earth Whitby) we’ll be concentrating on ornamentation and technique. Here’s the written version of the tune. I wrote this tune for my daughter Celeste.

Copyright Michael Walsh 2016. All Rights Reserved.

I’ll be finishing off Whitby Folk Week with a session in The First In Last Out Pub at 5pm on Thursday 23rd August 2018. All welcome. Thanks to everyone who came to our concerts, the volunteers who kept things running smoothly. The wonderful musicians we shared the stage with and the Festival organisers for booking us. Please leave a comment below to let me know what you thought of our music or the workshops.

Cheers,

Mike.

The Turnpike Gate Reel for Whitby Folk Week #Tunesday

After a summer of fun researching and playing music in Asturias, Lorient and across England my tumble down the stairs in May finally caught up with me. I have a frozen shoulder which I will hopefully have fixed shortly but makes flute playing difficult. So I picked up the Tinwhistle at the last minute to make sure there was a #Tunesday tune for Whitby Folk Week. Here you go, The Turnpike Gate taken from the playing of the great Roger Sherlock on the album ‘Memories of Sligo’.

Speaking of albums, my recording is on hold until I get my shoulder fixed and working again. A good opportunity to get my head down for some serious PhD work, making sense of my work so far. Let me know what you think of the recording below.

Whitby Folk Week Facebook ‘Tunesday’ Music Videos.

A few months ago I was asked by my good friend Sally Smith to help promote The Whitby Folk Week by ‘curating’ a series of videos,posted monthly on their Facebook page, of musicians playing tunes that you might hear at Whitby Folk Week. The ‘not for profit’ Folk Week happens towards the end of August every year when the small Yorkshire seaside town is filled with folk enthusiasts playing tunes, dancing folk dances, telling stories, singing songs, attending concerts and catching up with fellow folkies.

I’m fairly new to Folk Week. It has always been a time of year where I was in Ireland for the All Ireland Fleadh or walking in the mountains of Asturias. My wife’s family have been attending and performing for much of the 50 years it has been running and so when we had family it became part of my tradition, largely carrying dance kitbags for my wife and pushing the children around in the buggy. I love the relaxed atmosphere of the town, Silver Street Fish and Chips, ice-cream at the sea front and sitting watching the North Sea from a beach hut.

A couple of years ago I was asked to run a Trad Irish Flute workshop, which I really enjoyed and last year I got time to get out in the evening to a few of the Irish pub sessions. The highlight of the sessions for me was a tune at The Granby Hotel organised by Whitby bon vivant and bodhrán player extrordinaire, Mr Tommy Randall. It was first time Irish music had been played in there in 35 years. A change of regime and the energy of Tommy, created something special. I hope to keep some of the spirit of that going the videos as well as highlight other styles of music on offer such as English Dance Music and Eurosession.

Production standards are sometimes less than Hollywood standards, as I juggle work, playing, looking after my children and studying. But I’m slowly getting better at it and learning. By the time summer comes they could by looking swish. I hope to catch you for a tune along the way and if you want to add a video of you playing a tune please feel free.

Here’s some of the previous videos and look out for other monthly offerings such as: ‘Toesday’ – Dance videos, Pic-Tures-Day – Archive pictures, Troubaday – Songs and when there’s an extra Tuesday in the month there’s a surprise.

Tunesday is first Tuesday of the month: href=”https://www.facebook.com/groups/129958666651/?fref=ts”>

Further details of the Folkweek:

Videos:

Mike Walsh playing The Beautiful Goldfinch Waltz (written by Marcus Hernon):

Mike Walsh playing The Killavil Jig:

Ciarán Boyle & Mike Walsh playing a festive Willie Coleman’s Jig at Flynn’s Pub, Sheffield. December 2015.

John Garner plays two French tunes:

Brogan McAuliffe & Mike Walsh playing ‘Trip to Birmingham’ by Josie McDermott, recording at The University of Sheffield Sound House. January 2016.

I’ll post further videos when I get permission and/or receive links.