‘Earthly Joys’
…..and here’s the proof!


There’s a whole load of information about the album at Earthly Joys.

We’re planning a launch ‘do’ at The Sun Inn, Clun, on Tuesday 3rd January, with chips and everything, and we’re hoping that the event will turn in to a good old sesh, so, if you fancy coming, bring your instrument, your voice, your dancing shoes or just your ears.

If you really want to push the boat out and order a copy of ‘Earthly Joys’, let us know with an email (rapsquillion@hotmail.co.uk) or via the Contact page on here, or our Facebook page.

There’s a link to a little video we made to accompany our rendition of Street Calls/Sea Coal here. Hope you enjoy it!

December 2016
Well, the CD is finished, the sleeve notes are ready for the printer and we’re hoping its going to be done, dusted and delivered before Christmas. We’ll let you know through here and our Facebook page how that’s progressing.

In the meantime T has managed to turn what was designed to be a nice quiet weekend away with friends into a ‘do’.

We’d decided that, as we’d run out of Gwaun Valley beer, we’d head down there for a weekend, meet up with Greg and Lindsay Rowlands and Paul Frowen, have a bit of a sing at the Saturday night session at the brewery, chill out and have a generally relaxing time.

That was until Hyperactive Hedges had the great idea of helping the Fishguard Folk Festival with a fundraising concert, so now we’re singing in The Royal Oak on Friday 9th December at a ‘food and folk’ style event, and we’ve roped in Greg and Paul, as well as Paul Hayes, another good friend of ours from Pembrokeshire.

We are looking forward to it, and to meeting up with the lovely people from Fishguard and the Festival. And then THAT’S IT for 2016, we promise (yeah – pigs may fly!)


October 2016
We have one of those busy little spasms that seem to occur from time-to-time.

Our new CD! Yes OUR NEW CD!!
We’ve been working very hard to polish up the tracks that we’re going to be putting on…..tadah!…..our new CD!! Yes, our new CD!!

We’re working with the brilliant Paul Cobbold for a couple of days in the middle of the month, at his studio in Hereford, to put together a selection from the music we’ve been playing and singing recently. With the working title ‘Earthly Joys’ we’re going to be joined by some of the people who have spent time with Rapsquillion helping to make the last couple of years the most successful yet. Sue Lawrence and Nancy Ketchen will be back with us, and there will be guest appearances by Susie Stockton-Link and our great friend Jon Bell.

We’re very excited about it. We’re hoping it will be available towards the end of November and we’ll be having a bit of a do when we get it – we’ll let you know about the arrangements.

Wallasey Folk Club
We’ve been invited to sing at Wallasey Folk Club on Sunday 23rd October.

We’ll be straight out of the recording studio and raring to go, so we hope you Wallasey-ites will have your best joining-in heads on!!

Andy Ketchen
Sadly, the Wallasey gig will be Andy’s final fling with Rapsquillion.

We’ve had a brilliant couple of years singing and playing with him and he’s helped take Rapsquillion in exactly the direction we needed.

We thank him, wish him and Nancy well and hope that they enjoy wherever their music takes them.

Bridgnorth Workshop
We’re running a harmony workshop on 31st October, for the whacky bunch who make up the Bridgnorth Ukulele Band.

We think it may be sold out but I guess if you’re wildly interested you could try contacting them to see if they can squeeze you in.

We’re heading back to TLC in Montgomery in November for another natter and sing. It’s a private do that we enjoyed very much last time – it’s nice to talk about our music as well as singing it, so we’re looking forward to that.

September 2016
Where have we been? What have we been up to? What day is it? We can’t believe it’s six months since we did a catch-up on here – but it is, so here’s a bit…….

Bedstone Charity Concert
We were happy to take part in a concert at Bedstone Village Hall to help raise funds for the Air Ambulance.

We joined Grace and Galen, Moon River and George Byatt to provide a bit of music to a packed hall. Thanks to George for inviting us, and to the organisers for providing us with excellent food and wine.

The evening had a tinge of sadness as the original line-up had included Nik and Fiona Vickers (Harlequin). We were all shocked to hear of Nik’s untimely death in August and were privileged to be asked to join with Moon in a rendition of his ‘Alleluia’ in Nik’s memory.

Nik Vickers

Newtown Food Festival
We were very happy to be asked once again to perform a set at Newtown Food Festival in September.

The Festival seems to be growing year on year, and although the weather was a bit of a challenge there were still plenty of people around.

Thanks to Geoff and Esta Bielby for the invitation, and to the brilliant sound engineer who solved our usual demands perfectly.

Rapsquillion Putting It About!
Although we’ve been away for a while it hasn’t stopped us singing in various combinations.

Dave and Jenny have continued to run the very successful fourth Thursday sessions at The Sun Inn, in Clun, debunking A E Houseman’s assertion that the town is one of the ‘quietest places under the sun….’

They also went to Ireland, singing at various venues including the Fastnet Maritime and Folk Festival in Ballydehob, Western Cork.

Andy and Nancy have continued supporting sessions in the area as well as taking over the running of a song session at The Horse & Jockey in Churchstoke, on the second Thursday of each month.

Kay and Trevor have carried on with their aim of annoying as many sessions as they can. The last few months have seen visits to clubs in Beverley, Cottingham, Spalding and Chichester – thanks for the lovely welcomes.

Whack It Smack It!
A couple of us had an excellent soirée with ‘Whack It Smack It’ at Theatre Severn. T played the Tin Can Slide, a One-Stringed Crutch and the Kitchen Sink Guitar while K was on the Drainpipe Flute and the Elephant Horn. We were accompanying Mal Brown and Martin Hugill who were playing the Pan-De-Monium, Elephant Horns, Pop Tubes, Xylo Chairs, Roundthebendaphone and other junk instruments inspired by world ethnic music and rhythms based on the global heartbeat. We were also joined by a great samba band from Church Stretton School. The Walker Theatre was full as happiness was distributed via bins, buckets and bowls.


June 2016

Fishguard Folk Festival was excellent, possibly the best yet. We were very busy with workshops, concert sets and singarounds, as well as an excellent sing at Gwaun Valley Brewery (which came as a bit of a surprise – we thought we were joining in with a singaround, we actually did a couple of sets, and had a really good time.)

Our thanks to Jude and Tony Whitehouse and the rest of the Festival committee, and to Sarah and Leonard Davies of Gwaun Valley Brewery (if quiet, friendly, basic campsites are your thing, with excellent ale and good music added, you won’t find better.)

gwaun-valley-breweryWorkshop 1Fishguard 2016

May 2016
Fishguard Folk Festival

‘What?’ we hear you say ‘Another update to the site within six months of the last?’

Well that’s because we want to make sure you know all about Fishguard Folk Festival, which is running over the Whit Bank Holiday weekend, 27th -30th May 2016.

It really is a great weekend and we defy you to find a better festival where the vast majority of the entertainment is absolutely free.

OK, there are a couple of ticketed concerts with artists of international repute – people like Les Barker, Alaw, The Hut People (fantastic!), The James Findlay Trio, Blackbeard’s Tea Party and others, but everything else is free.

The venues are excellent, especially, in our view, Ffwrn (right in the middle of town) and The Ship Inn (Lower Town) and the music is continuous from the time people emerge yawning and sniffing the good sea air to as late as you can survive – singarounds, playalongs and sit-and-be-entertainedalongs (I think we just invented a word!)

We’re going to be busy: we have a harmony workshop (have a look at on our ‘Watch and Listen’ page for past efforts) on Saturday 28th at 2.00pm in TS Skirmisher (the Sea Cadet headquarters on the bridge in Lower Town) – as well as learning a couple of songs, this year we’re going to have a look at joining in with improvised harmonies in singing sessions; then we’re singing in The Yacht Club in Lower Town at 4.30pm, a set of about half an hour. On Sunday we have a full set of songs in Ffwrn at 2.00pm (a different programme to the Yacht Club one) and then Rapsquillion’s Legendary Singaround in The Ship Inn, Lower Town, from 5.00pm, where we will be attempting to remove the roof from the pub.

We’re also going to be joining in on Sunday evening with a session at Gwaun Valley Brewery at Kilkeffeth Farm. It’s not officially one of the Festival’s venues but over the years has become a firm favourite with us and many others.

And, of course we’re going to try and get to as many other events over the weekend as our constitutions will stand!

The line-up will be the current one (Andy, Dave, Jen, Kay, Sue and Trevor), although we hope we’re going to be joined along the way at various times by other friends, so, we hope we get to see a few of you – over a beer, a tune or a song (or all three preferably!)

The Sun Inn, Clun

….and don’t forget it’s the regular fourth Thursday session at The Sun on 26th May. We’ll be trying to save our voices for the weekend, but these things do have a bit of a habit of getting out of hand………!

Genevieve Tudor’s Sunday Folk

Just in case you haven’t heard us crowing about it, we were invited in to the BBC Radio Shropshire studio by Gen, to talk about our ‘Desert Island Discs’ tracks, and to sing a couple of songs while we were there.

The whole thing was a bit of a giggle, and an excellent experience. Gen was very gentle with the more nervous of our merry band (although Dave did threaten to put everyone off their stroke with his Lesley Philips-style ‘H-e-e-e-ll-o-o-o’, followed by Andy referring to his ‘vitals being touched’ – and listen carefully for Sue snorting).

Our tracks were: Jen – ‘Asikhatali’, sung by The Lalela Capetown Choir; Kay – ‘Paes Dinogad’ by Ffynon; Dave – ‘Listen to the Ocean’ by Nina and Frederik; Trevor – ‘Nettle Wine’ by Ralph McTell; Sue – ‘Bourree Mon Habit’ by Heretique; and Andy – ‘The Malpas Wassail’ by The Watersons.

A very eclectic mix you will notice, and it’s interesting that such a wide range comes from a group of people who are close friends and make music together all the time.

We finished with our renditions of ‘Lyke Wake Dirge’ and Chumbawamba’s great ‘Walking In To Battle’.

The broadcast is on ‘Listen Again’ at the moment, at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03twqm5, and if you’re stuck for time and can’t listen to the whole show (which was excellent), our bits are at 32:10, 1:06:20 and 1:31:32.

Ludlow Song House

We had a brilliant time at the new venue in Ludlow, The Song House, which is held at The Blue Boar (Facebook page here).

We were honoured to be invited as the inaugural guests and we were joined by a very enthusiastic and skilful audience for an hour and a half of singing.

Embarrassingly, we also won all the raffle prizes! We’ll be going there again then!!

Thanks to Trevor Hewett and Sheila Thackwray for their organisation and to the floor singers and audience who made it an excellent night out.

Ludlow Song House

The Song House, Ludlow. Trevor’s aura shines out!!

MAY 2016

We’ve been on our hols! But we’ve also been having a good time singing, and we have another busy little spasm upon us.

Here’s a little update of what’s up and coming and what’s been and gone:

Ludlow Song House

The Song House is a monthly acoustic song night, held in Ludlow’s cosiest venue, The Sitting Room at The Blue Boar.

We’re honoured to be their first guests on Friday 20th May and we’re going to be performing a couple of sets of songs with a fair bit of new material as well as some of our more familiar stuff.

Genevieve Tudor’s Sunday Folk

We’re going to be on Genevieve’s show on Sunday 22nd and we’re going to be talking about our ‘Desert Island Folk Discs’, as well as singing a couple of songs.

The show goes out at 6.00 on Sunday on BBC Radio Shropshire and Hereford & Worcester, and online, and will be available on BBC iPlayer for a month as well.

Fishguard Folk Festival

Whit Bank Holiday (Friday 27th – Monday 30th May) will see us heading off for one of the highlights of our season, the annual Fishguard Folk Festival.

We reckon this will be our fifth appearance and we have a busy schedule of concert sets, workshop and singarounds.

We’ll put more detail on our Facebook page a bit closer to the time – wooh, we’re looking forward!!

Nancy Ketchen

One sad bit of news to report is that Nancy Ketchen won’t be with us for our forthcoming gigs as she’s decided to pursue her music in a slightly different direction. We’ve enjoyed having her around for the last eighteen months or so and we’re already missing her distinctive voice, her great Scouse sense of humour and her bodhran, with which she kept us all in line. We wish her good luck with her music in the future.

Nancy Ketchen

Sue Lawrence

Whilst we’re sorry to lose Nancy’s talents, the silver lining is that Sue Lawrence will be coming back in to the Rapsquillion fold for the summer.

Sue was a Raps regular for a couple of years before itchy feet took her travelling but, luckily for us, a little gap in her exciting life of boats and caves coincides with our commitments over the next couple of months.

She is a singer, flautist and fiddle player, so we’re looking forward to being on stage with her again, despite her propensity for giggling at inopportune moments!

Welcome back Sue!

Sue Lawrence

Dror Kessler

We were very happy to be asked to support Israeli singer/songwriter Dror Kessler on the local leg of his UK tour.

We first met Dror and his partner Sigalit a year ago when he visited the music session at Gwaun Valley Brewery. We were impressed by his original music and so we were chuffed to hear that he was coming again to the UK this spring, and even chuffeder when he asked us to join him.

We had an excellent evening at Bishops Castle Town Hall, with a very appreciative audience enjoying both Dror’s set, and our 2016 offerings, as well as a final rendition of Robert Herrick’s ‘To The Virgins…’, to a new tune by Dror, arranged by us.

We must have done something right because two sets of visitors who were at the concert turned up at the Clun session the following Thursday.

Ellesmere Port Shanty Festival

We were joined once again by Jon Bell for the Easter weekend at the National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port, at the brilliantly organised Shanty UK Festival.

Julia and Derek Batters had done their usual excellent job of bringing together a huge group of singers to provide three days of continuous music in half a dozen venues – the whole place rings with song for the whole weekend, and alongside the organised sessions are rip-roaring singarounds in the real ale bar.

This year we ran a workshop for the first time and managed to get a pretty good sound from the poor, unsuspecting victims – thanks to those who came.

We heard while we were at Ellesmere Port that there is some doubt about the festival continuing at this venue. We think it would be an awful shame if these fears were realised – our impression is that the shanties are enjoyed not just by the participants but also those who are there for the boat festival and the throngs of general public who turn up over the bank holiday.

Sing in the Spring, The Fleece, Bretforton

We decided that we’d have a weekend off and go and listen to some good music in a beautiful Cotswold setting at this lovely little festival.

We had a great time – camped in a blossom-filled orchard, drank beer in a beautiful, historic pub and heard some cracking music from The Teacups, Paul and Liz Davenport, Marrowbones, Ninebarrow and Daisybell. (We were particularly enamoured with Daisybell’s support team, Imogen and Florence, who led the dancing and breakfast community singing.)

We also ended up running a workshop, the third of the weekend, and joining in with the final concert.

We loved the whole thing and hope we can get there again next year.

The BBC Folk Awards

T & K went to the Royal Albert Hall for the Folk Awards at the end of April. Unfortunately they weren’t recognised by the security staff and were shown to seats in the audience rather than with the award nominees. We reckon it was Kay’s long frock that confused them.

Nevertheless, it was a great night out, capped by our friends The Young ‘Uns winning ‘Best Band’ for the second time (and incidentally, if you scroll through David Eagle’s blog archive you will find an interview with Trevor where he describes a potentially tragic encounter with a member of the royal family – the real one, not the Caroline Ahearn/Ricky Tomlinson one!)

K&T go to town


So, we’ve emerged from the Rapsquillion hibernaculum, had a look round, slept for another couple of weeks, yawned, stretched and had a cuppa, and now we’re fully into the swing of a new year of music.
“What’s been happening recently?”, we can hear you asking. Well ……….:

Bishop’s Castle Arts Festival

A welcome (for us) return to our local patch for our second visit to this excellent little festival in the beautiful heart of South Shropshire.

Our bit of it was a harmony workshop, which had about thirty people turn up to make a great job of the material we gave them, followed by the Festival’s closing concert in the Town Hall – a cracking venue, and a really enjoyable, standing-room only, event.

It was good to be able to give a few new pieces an airing, and it was great to see familiar faces in the audience, some of whom had come a fair old distance. We were also really pleased to see a couple of rows of Hyssington Hecklers, neighbours who took the rare opportunity of a Rapsquillion ‘home’ fixture to make sure we were kept on our toes!

We had a right cracking sing, and our good friend John Russell set the tone perfectly in his role as MC. Thanks to everyone for making it such an excellent day, and we’ll see if we can find a bit of film of the evening to put on our video page.

We also enjoyed being in the audience for the ‘Folk Showcase’, organised by our friends and colleagues Val Marciandi and Keith Whiddon (Bouzatina). An excellent evening of music from Sue Harris and Fiona Warburton on hammered dulcimers, Devil’s Chair, Castle Voices and Bouzatina themselves.

We understand that the festival as a whole was a great success. Other folkie offerings included a Morris workshop led by Shropshire Bedlam and Marth Roden’s Tuppeny Dish, a Samba drumming workshop, and a Balkan dance evening. Add to that exhibitions by local artists, tours, markets, talks, open mike sessions and orchestral performances and you can imagine the town buzzing even more than usual. Congratulations to Sue Willmer and her team for an excellent few days.

Rapsquillion giving it the beans at Bishops Castle Arts Festival

Christmas and New Year……

…..passed in the usual blur, made even more special this year by the appearance in the world of a new recruit to the band in the form of Iona, the new granddaughter of Kay and Trevor. We’ve heard her sing already – we thought Trevor was loud………!!

We sang and wassailed our way through the festive season, enjoying in particular the wassail at Longtown, where we managed a very impromptu collaboration with members of The Village Quire on the Welsh carol ‘Ar Gyfer Heddiw’r Bore’.

We also visited the tiny Capel Sardin in Cwm Camlais, in the beautiful Brecon Beacons, where we’d heard there was a traditional ‘plygaiin’ service taking place. We were made to feel very welcome, and enjoyed the service and the music very much.

New Year’s Eve

Rapsquillion’s traditional New Year’s Eve bash was conducted Bollywood style. Music, food and costume were, as usual, magnificent, with Dave taking top honours for authenticity, and Kay for scary faces.

Anyone who knows Kay will recognise the “Don’t take a photograph of me!” face!!
Errrrrmmmm, yeah, well!

Llantrisant Folk Club

Our final proper booking of 2015 took us to the fantastic Llantrisant Folk Club, for a sing at their Christmas party.

Llantrisant is a real singer’s club and we had a load of fun with a pretty mixed set, culminating in a clutch of Christmas songs. We even managed to get people up and dancing to the An Dro part of our arrangement of French carols. It was great to meet up with old fvriends, in particular Greg and Lindsay Rowlands, Paul Frowen and Anne Abel, all of whom have been so encouraging of Rapsquillion over the years. Pat Smith and Ned Clamp were, as usual, in great form, and the raffle was as crazy as ever!

We were lucky to have a couple of guests on stage with us: Jon Bell, our great friend from Aberystwyth, who has joined us a couple of times in 2015, particularly helping us out by playing concertina in our shanty sets; and Susie Stockton-Link, who comes from Builth Wells and has a voice to die for! It was great to have them with us for a couple of songs, and a big joint effort at the end of the set – thanks a million to those two.

Thanks for the invitation – we had a ball, and we hope you did too.


Yes! We’re still here, despite the fact that this old page hasn’t been updated since September. Fact of the matter is that we’ve been up to our collective ears in work, music, sessions, gigs and rehearsals, and the poor old website has been neglected, so sorry for that. Here’s a bit of a catch-up:


We have a pretty busy schedule in the week of 14th December with the Clun session on the Tuesday (see below for more details), Llantrisant Folk Club’s Christmas party on Wednesday (and, boy, are we looking forward to that!!), a dash back to do a bit of wassailing locally on Thursday afternoon and, if we’re still awake, The Horse and Jockey session in the evening (again, details below). And then on Friday we have our traditional Rapscoff Christmas meal before we all head off to family stuff over the festive period.

The Great Music Hall Silliness

It’s a long story…..

We somehow managed get ourselves, individually and together, collared to organise/direct/perform at an ‘Old Time Music Hall’ in Hyssington Village Hall a few weeks ago.

Ever heard of Madame Etherea? The Great Stupendo? Imagine Kay performing as part of a geriatric can-can group, Trevor doing a sand dance, complete with Max Wall-style tights, or Andy wielding a gavel with lugubrious and tautologous palavery?

It’s all there on YouTube but we’re not going to make it easy for you!!

Humbrella & Eclectics

We all more or less survived soakings during what masqueraded as holidays (see below), and on our return we catapulted ourselves down to Swansea for a cracking day with the Humbrella and Eclectics singing groups.

The workshop was very well attended by some very skilful singers and we managed a great sound between us. We shared the bill at the evening concert and, again, some cracking harmonies, original arrangements and a general joie de vivre meant, we hope, that a great time was had by all.

We were looked after superbly, with a party hosted by Jeni of Eclectics on Friday, accommodation with Val Pinheiro and Janet and Robin Hall, and lovely food on Saturday provided by various members of the two groups.

Thanks to everyone involved for all the effort you went to make the event a success (although Kay did partly dislocate a shoulder whilst embracing Stuart’s warm-up exercises a little too enthusiastically!)

We hope we get the chance to tie up with you all again at some point in the future.

South Shropshire Mini-Music & Eisteddfod

The format of the event was modified at pretty short notice after a shortage of entries meant that the Eisteddfod part of the event had to be put on hold.

Rapsquillion tried something new for us – a kind of hybrid concert-come-workshop affair where we sang a few songs and taught a few others. It all seemed to go swimmingly and those who were there had a good afternoon.

The festival included a ‘Whack It – Smack It’ workshop run by our good friend Mal Brown and we were lucky enough to be joined by some of the participants in time for them to dance through one of our African numbers.

If you haven’t been to one of Mal’s workshops yet do keep your eyes open for them – they are a great way for kids of all ages to spend an afternoon. Mal’s website is at http://www.whackitsmackit.co.uk/ – highly recommended by us!


The Clun session goes from strength to strength. In case you’ve forgotten its usually the fourth Thursday of the month at The Sun Inn. The sessions are mixed, with a wide variety of songs and tunes and regular visitors from far afield. Everyone is welcome to either contribute a bit of music or just a listen and tap of the fingers on the table.

Please note that the December session is being held on Tuesday 15th (Jenny and Dave reckoned you may have other things on your mind on Christmas Eve!) and there’s sure to be some fairly raucous festive-style singing. Come and join us if you can!

Various Rapsquillion members try to get to The Miners Arms at Priestweston on the first Wednesday of the month. The session is a long standing one (in fact Rapsquillion was born out of meetings between people attending the session some twenty years ago). Its ably run by Bill Johnson and, again, there’s a good mix of tunes and songs. (Bill’s partner has been unwell recently – we understand that Catherine is now on the mend and our good wishes wend their way from us to her).

There’s also a new session at The Horse and Jockey in Churchstoke. It’s on the third Thursday of the month if you’re passing.


Well, here we are, Dave and Jenny touring Ireland in their motorhome, Andy and Nancy sampling the delights of Northumberland and Trevor and Kay sheltering from the stair rods on the sunny and glamorous Cote d’Azur. After weeks of work and grandchild-watching the Rapsquillion holiday season is in full swing!

But we’re working hard, believe it or not, thinking about Christmas and 2016, (the bookings are already arriving) as well as looking forward to a couple of upcoming gigs.

Unfortunately we’ve had to withdraw from this year’s Liverpool Shanty Festival over the weekend of 2nd-5th October, for reasons completely beyond our control. We’re very sad about it and we trust that everyone will have a great time – we hope we’ll be back at Ellesmere Port next Easter. (We understand that the programmes were already printed when we contacted the organisers – we’re so sorry about that, but we emphasise that we can’t be there.)

Swansea – Eclectics and Humbrella

On Saturday 10th October we’re going to be in Swansea with the Eclectic and Humbrella singing groups. We have a workshop in the afternoon and a concert in the evening, and we’re really looking forward to it. We’re very grateful for our friends’ hospitality and we’re expecting a great sing. If you fancy it as well there are details below and on the Humbrella website at http://www.webjam.com/humbrella.


South Shropshire Mini Music Festival and Eisteddfod
We’re very excited to be involved with this new venture in our local area.

November 14th promises to be a big day for music in South Shropshire with this event being held at Craven Arms Community Centre.

Rapsquillion will be running a workshop, adjudicating the vocal classes and performing alongside the winners of the various classes, and other guest artists, at a Gala Concert that evening.

More details are on the website at http://shropshirehillsmusic.org/ and the event’s Facebook page.

Newtown Food Festival
Once again, we had a very enjoyable afternoon singing at this event, which seems to be gaining in popularity year-by-year.

The weather, as last year, was glorious – we hope that the food festival thrives in years to come, and that we can continue to be involved.

Llanymynech Folk Weekend
We were happy to be involved in this event, which seems to be settling in to a pattern of every other year.

ur workshop was well attended and the singaround session was distinguished by some French visitors, who were completely mystified by the French song performed in their honour by Trevor. They asked to see the words, which left them none the wiser! We hope that he has more success ordering a beer while he’s on holiday with Kay in France – we suspect he may!!

Dror Kessler
We were very pleased to welcome our Israeli friends Dror Kessler and Sigalit Aharoni, talented artists and writers from the town of Sderot, which is home to many singers, instrumentalists, composers and poets.

We enjoyed a couple of excellent evenings of food, nattering and music and were joined by Genevieve Tudor of BBC Radio Shropshire, who conducted an interview with Dror about his activity in developing traditional and acoustic music in his home country.

We even talked about Rapsquillion heading for Israel to play some music – now THAT would be an adventure!!

More can be found out about Dror and his work on his website, http://www.drorkessler.com/.

JULY 2015

Just a quickie – Andy and Nancy now have their own site here. Please pop over and have a look – tell them we sent you.

And there are a few new photographs on our ‘Gallery’ page, as well as a couple of new videos on our ‘Listen and Watch’ page. One is a short clip from our workshop at Fishguard this year with the group having their first runthrough of Graeme Miles’s ‘Sea Coal’. The second is a video taken at ‘Making Waves in Welshpool’ and we just couldn’t resist posting it, in the spirit of all those great out-take programmes. See Dave, Andy and Trevor showing their stagecraft, professionalism and potential for unintended comedy! (OK, here are the links in case you can’t be bothered to click on the menu!:‘Sea Coal’; and ‘Rapsquillion – join the professionals’

JULY 2015

Gosh! Where are the weeks going? July already, and although looking at our ‘Where Are We?’ page it looks as if we haven’t been particularly busy we seem to have been singing somewhere or other practically every week since the end of May. Here’s a round-up of some of the things we’ve done:

May – Fishguard Folk Festival

We had, as usual, a great time at this mega-friendly event. Although the audience was, shall we say ‘select’, for our spot on Saturday in the Yacht Club we enjoyed our sing and we hope that the people who were there had a good time too.
We ran our workshop on Sunday for probably the biggest group we’ve ever had and they produced a wonderful sound, very quickly. We were also very chuffed when Judy Whitehouse, chair of the festival, turned up and invited the participants to perform on the stage in Ffwrn later in the day – their rendition of ‘Sea Coal’ was received with great enthusiasm by the packed room. We also went on to No 14, the lovely chocolate shop and café, where we once again ‘flashmobbed’ the unsuspecting staff and customers (and were asked for an encore!).
We also had our customary singaround session in a packed Ship inn, courtesy of our host Richard Davies, and, as usual, did our best to raise the rafters.
This festival is one of our favourite weekends of the year – if you’ve never been, you’re missing out!!

June and July

We seem to have done a lot of singing in the last month, together and in various combinations.
Kay, Trevor and Jon kicked off the month with a visit to The Baltic Fleet in Liverpool for a shanty session organised for the filming of an episode of Michael Portillo’s train-journey programme. After we’d been briefed by a seemingly very harassed producer the man himself turned up, Bradshaw’s in hand, and joined in with a couple of ‘spontaneous’ renditions. He hung around for twenty minutes or so and then we carried on with an excellent session. We believe the film is due for broadcast early in 2016 – we’ll keep you posted.

Jenny, Dave, Trevor and Kay have had a couple of forays into Wales in June. Susie Stockton-Link organised a midsummer party. It was great to meet up with some old friends, and make some new ones, with the added joy of excellent music and the odd drop of cider!

The four also went down to Swansea for a trip and a sing with Copper Folk aboard Copper Jack. The weather was lovely, the company good and the music excellent. We have a link to information about these trips, where else but on our ‘Links’ page!

We were all together for the ‘Making Waves in Welshpool’ canal festival. It started well with a few people wandering around and stopping for a listen but then at the start of our second set the heavens opened! The PA was fizzing and flashing, a huge puddle grew in the space we were standing and the few people who were around crowded around the burger tent. We pushed on with our songs, a few people joining the odd chorus but we were relieved to be able to wring ourselves out when we finished.

The Sun sessions, in Clun, continue to be very well attended – its good to feel welcome. If you happen to be around there are two chances in July – the regular 4th Thursday session on the 23rd, and an extra one to tie in with the carnival on 30th.

The Llanymynech Folk weekend is back this year on 14th, 15th and 16th August. We’re doing our bit on Saturday – hosting a session in the pub from 12.00 until 2.00, and then running a workshop for the rest of the afternoon. More details via the link in the usual place.

MAY 2015

Fishguard Folk Festival

We’re really looking forward to Fishguard Folk Festival over the Whit Bank Holiday weekend. We’re going to be singing in the Yacht Club on Saturday 23rd at 12.00 – it’s down in Lower Town, on the quay, but we hope we’ll see some of our friends down there. We’re also running one of our workshops on Sunday at 11.00, at TS Skirmisher, and we’re hoping to provide our victims with a bit of a treat – you’ll have to come along to find out what that is!! And, of course, we’re going to be setting up Rapsquillion Base Camp in The Ship Inn where we’re going to be sampling Richard’s excellent hospitality once again and hosting a session at 8.00pm on Saturday evening. Roll on!!

The Sun Inn, Clun

The fourth-Thursday sessions at Clun are continuing with enthusiastic support (and chips!) from the new gaffers, Tony and Jenny.

We had an extra go over the Bank Holiday weekend, tying in with The Green Man festivities, with plenty of gusto being added to the music by visitors in for the weekend. We didn’t quite get around to singing ‘Roll Out The Barrel’ but it wasn’t far off! Sanity was restored by a couple of good sets from Keith and Val of Bouzatina and we think a good time was had by all!

Swansea CopperFolk

A couple of us had a lovely afternoon out, singing on board Copper Jack, a boat operated by a community project, motoring for a couple of hours along the Tawe from Swansea.

The music was excellent, the craic was good and it was nice to meet up with old friends for a sing.

The cruises are a monthly event, organised by Carole Etherton and Andrew McKay andyou will find more information at http://copperfolk.wix.com/copperfolk.

The Young ‘Uns

We can’t let this update go by without mention of our glee on hearing that Sean Cooney, Michael Hughes and David Eagle, collectively The Young ‘Uns, had won the 2015 Radio Two Folk Award for Best Band. We were listening to the broadcast whilst away in France and there was much whooping and hollering when the result was announced.

We met the boys at Tredegar a couple of years ago and were impressed with the range of their material and their superb harmonies. We remember that their set took place in a marquee that was rocking and creaking in a howling breeze – a bit scary at the time but they were completely unphased.

We’ve heard them all over the place since (and went out for a curry with them after one gig) and they continue to perform with real quality. Most recently we saw them at Shrewsbury a couple of weeks ago at the start of their tour tying in with their new album ‘Another Man’s Ground’. They manage to mix hilarious repartee with very, very touching and sensitive music – we had tears in our eyes on both counts.

We don’t usually impose our views on readers of our ‘News’ page, but on this occasion we’re going to make an exception – if you get the chance to see The Young ‘Uns, grab it with both hands!!

APRIL 2015

Shanty UK Festival, Ellesmere Port


We’ve had a busy couple of weeks, what with sessions to keep up with, new members to brainwash and shanties to sing but here we are again, at the other end with only minor scars, fatigue, sore throats and holiday fever to temper an excellent spell of music.

As we mentioned, our good friend Jon Bell joined us for the Ellesmere Port Shanty Festival and so we, and Jon in particular, had a fairly intensive couple of weeks making sure our collaboration worked. We have to thank Jon for his efforts in getting to practices in our neck of the woods from Aberystwyth and for doing so much to get up to speed amidst what may be seen by some as a quirky – nay, chaotic – approach to practice. He also brought some songs and tunes with him which have been valuable additions to the ‘Rapattoire’, and his lovely wife Fran has taken over the role of ensuring we’re fed, watered, wined and in the right place at the right time – and, boy, is that a valuable addition to the team! We’re now thinking about how we may continue to work together, and looking for more opportunities to make the most of the work that’s been put in.

The Festival itself was, as usual, great fun. Julia and Derek Batters of Shanty UK do a brilliant job of organising things – we have all the information we need, when and where we need it and its a sheer pleasure to be able to join such brilliant musicians and just get on with it.

We had our usual six sets over the weekend as well as joining some excellent sessions in the bar. The venue, The National Waterways Museum, is so interesting and we very much appreciate the various places we’re asked to sing. Our favourite this year was the Conference Room Foyer – good acoustics and plenty of room and light. The Classroom wasn’t so good – it’s a great resource but a bit out of the way for attracting passers-by.

We met lots of old friends and made some new ones (we hope!). This event is a real good way for us to start our year – long may it continue.

(There are some photographs just here if you fancy meeting some of the characters who were around at the weekend).

Jon Bell
Jon Bell

UK Shanty Festival, National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port
UK Shanty Festival, National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port

The Miners Arms

We were lucky enough to have Pembrokeshire singers Andrew MacKay and Carole Etherton stay with us on their way up to Ellesmere Port and, as it was the first Wednesday of the month we popped down to The Miners Arms at Priestweston for a bit of a sing. Bill Johnson was, as usual, doing a sterling job in the chair. It was nice to see the regulars and, also as usual, the standard was very high.

The Hungry Horse Folk Club

We went along to this club on The Wirral for its traditional ‘eve-of-festival’ singers night. Again, the standard was very high, brought down only by Rapsquillion starting a song in two different keys (well, it was Trevor really!!). The lift back to the museum was much appreciated – thank you John Owen.

Hungry Horse Folk Club
Hungry Horse Folk Club

The Sun at Clun

After a couple of month’s hiatus we’re glad to say that The Sun session is back on, with a sympathetic landlord, the backing of the brewery and added chips!!

There was a brilliant turnout with Greg and Lindsay Rowlands and Paul Frowen making the trip up from Newport, John Biggs coming from deepest, darkest Herfordshire and most of the usual suspects from in and around the local area.

We’re so glad that its up and running again under the watchful eye of Dave and Jenny Wright, although they’re away for the April session so chaos may well ensue, depending on who stands in!! (we’re saying nothing about the candidates although there will be a televised debate……..)

Knighton Community Centre

Not content with singing on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday we thought we’d better try to avoid being bored on Monday so we went and joined a little fund-raiser at Knighton Community Hall. We’re not sure how we much we added to the fund raising effort but we enjoyed ourselves.

Raps singing for their lunch at Knighton, easter Monday
Raps singing for their lunch at Knighton, Easter Monday

And now we have various grandchild-sitting duties (Dave and Jen), shed building work (Trevor) and sitting on a Mediterranean beach with a bottle of rose tasks (Kay) for a couple of weeks. Next up for us is a couple of private dos and then full steam ahead again for Fishguard Folk Festival with Andy and Nancy back on board the good ship Rapsquillion.

See you later….

MARCH 2015
The Flying Toads
Nancy and Andy have performed a couple of times lately with Val Marciandi and Keith Whiddon, and they have given us a couple of evenings of excellent music. Val and Keith also perform with a band called The Flying Toads – their website is at http://www.flyingtoads.co.uk/ and there’s a sample of their wares at https://soundcloud.com/flyingtoads/palm-sunday, and they’re well worth a listen.

They have a concert followed by a ceilidh on Saturday 11th April, at The Three Tuns in Bishops Castle. Unfortunately we won’t be there as Kay and Trevor have an appointment with a bottle of rosé and a French beach, but we’re sure it will be a cracking evening.

Genevieve Tudor’s Sunday Folk
Great to hear Andy Ketchen on Genevieve’s show tonight.

For anyone who wants to hear a couple of tracks from his CD, including ‘Raffa’, as performed on the show, the link is here.

Bishop’s Castle Arts Festival
Well, here we are again, on the other side of a successful outing at Bishops Castle Arts Festival.

We have to be honest, we were thinking we may see half-a-dozen people at our workshop, and maybe a few more at our end-of-festival concert that evening in the Town Hall.

However, around 25 people put their lives and dignity on the line to brave the workshop, and the Town Hall was sold out!

Nancy and Andy worked very hard to get up to speed with the Rapatoire, and we had a couple of new items as well, including a couple of sets of jigs and hornpipes worked up by Andy. The whole thing seemed to go down very well and we’ve had some excellent feedback.

And the great news is that they will also be with us at Fishguard Folk Festival at the end of May, and for the ‘Making Waves In Welshpool’ event in July.

We’re also really pleased that we’re going to be joined on stage at the Easter shanty festival by our old friend Jon Bell. Jon is an anglo concertina player of considerable skill and he’s going to add much to the Rapsquillion performance at Ellesmere Port (see below).

5th Annual Sea Shanty Festival, Ellesmere Port
We’re polishing our hooks and whittling our scrimshaw in readiness for Shanty UK’s annual festival at the National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port, over the Easter period.

The festival is brilliantly organised and with about forty performers from the UK and Europe, as well as stalls, exhibitions, talks, children’s workshops and a boat gathering, it promises to be a packed weekend with something to tickle your fancy, whatever that may be.

We’re going to be performing six times – twice each on Friday, Saturday and Sunday – and we’re delighted to announce that we’re going to be joined on stage by our great friend Jon Bell.

We’ve spent a lot of time with Jon over the last three or four years and have always enjoyed his singing, and playing of the anglo concertina (in fact we’ve seen him sing, play and dance simultaneously – no promises for Easter though!), and we’re really glad that he’s going to be with us for the whole of the event. We know that you’ll enjoy what he will bring to Rapsquillion, so, if you happen to be near The Wirral over the Easter break please come and say hello.

More information is on the Shanty UK website – http://www.shanty.org.uk/our_festival/index.html, and on their Facebook page.


Fishguard Folk Festival
We’re delighted to confirm that Rapsquillion will, once again, be performing at the wonderful Fishguard Folk Festival.

This really is one of the highlights of our year and we’re going to be singing a set, running a workshop and hosting a couple of singarounds in The Ship Inn.

We’re pleased to be able to confirm that Andy and Nancy will be with us once again so if you’re interested in hearing the 2015 version of Rapsquillion, make sure you’re around the Yacht Club in Lower Town at 12.00 on Saturday 23rd May (that’s the Whit Bank Holiday weekend). We’ll post more about this nearer the date, but in the meantime the website is here and the Facebook page here.


Here we are again, Christmas and New Year done and dusted with the usual rather silly Rapsquillion New Year’s Eve party just a bad memory. This year’s theme was Strictly Come Dancing. There were costumes, music, a glitter ball and some minor spinal injuries, but generally speaking we all had a good time and it’s only taken three weeks to get over it all.

So now its down to the serious work of preparing for our first few gigs of 2015.

The big news is that Rapsquillion will have two new voices for our performance at Bishops Castle Arts Festival on Sunday 22nd February, in the form of Andy and Nancy Ketchen. Andy has been a stalwart of the folk scene in Shropshire for many years. His self-penned songs and poems prove him to be a wordsmith of considerable talent and his singing and playing of Anglo concertina and guitar (although not always at the same time!), will add considerable scope to Rapsquillion’s set. Nancy’s vocal interpretation of Andy’s words, as well as those of folk standards, is sensitive and compelling, and the range of her voice fits perfectly with Jenny and Kay. We’re working very hard on a set list that will include lots of new stuff made possible by the collaboration, as well as some of the Raps old favourites.

Andy has recently produced a CD of his own songs. We’ve added a couple of tracks from ‘Songs From The Hill’ to Rapsquillion’s Soundcloud page, so, if you fancy a listen to ‘Raffa’ and ‘Black Crows’ follow this link to ‘Songs From The Hill’. If you would like to purchase a copy of the CD please use our ‘Contact’ page to get in touch.
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Nancy and Andy Ketchen
Nancy and Andy Ketchen

As far as Bishops Castle Arts Festival (link here) is concerned, events start on Wednesday 18th February and we’re doing our bit on the final day, Sunday 22nd. We have a workshop from 2.30 – 4.00 in the Cadet Hall (and its FREE!!) and a concert in the Town Hall (7.30 for an 8.00 start). Tickets are £8.00 in advance, available on-line from http://www.ticketsource.co.uk/date/144062, the Town Hall or get in touch via our ‘Contact’ page. You will also be able to purchase tickets on the night (room permitting) but they will cost you £10.00.

We have a booking at Pwllheli Sailing Club on Saturday, February 7th to help with fund raising for the British Heart Foundation. It is ‘Wear Something Red’ Day, very appropriate for Rapsquillion of course. We’re very happy to be involved, and we’re looking forward to Sue Lawrence joining us again for a couple of sets of our usual fare. Tickets for the superb ‘Heart Friendly’ dinner, and of course entertainment by Rapsquillion, are £22.00 and available from the club on 01758 614442 (or call Neil on 079357 58511).

Looking ahead a little further, over the Easter weekend we’re performing once again at the Shanty Festival being held at the National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port. Quite apart from the great music performed by musicians from all over the UK and beyond, the venue is just superb with loads of really interesting exhibits of things to do with the Waterways system. Its well worth a visit – we’ll put more details on here and our Facebook page nearer the time.

You may have read that the excellent monthly session that Jenny and Dave organise at The Sun on the fourth Thursday has been stopped – it seems that, once again, the serving of food and accommodation of singers and musicians are somehow incompatible.

We’re hopeful that the situation may be retrievable with the installation of a new licensee. We’re trying to set up a meeting with the MD of the brewery, who seems to be sympathetic to and supportive of our cause, and the new incumbent – watch this space, and keep an eye on your emails if you’re on our mailing list, or the other social network pages dealing with folkie matters in the area (particularly Sabrinaflu, whose main site is here, and Facebook page here.

That’s it for now – we hope we get to see you somewhere along the way over the next couple of months.

December 3rd 2014
Gosh, its a long time since we updated this page, but we seem to have had little time this last couple of months between holidays, grannie duties, car breakdowns and gigs, not to mention a pretty significant change in the look of Rapsquillion. Anyway, enough with the excuses – down to the news.

Our last few gigs of the autumn seemed to go well. We went to Newtown Food Festival again, there was a good turnout and the sun was shining. We also had a return to Knighton Community Market where, once again, we serenaded the happy shoppers. Well, when we say ‘serenaded’……. there’s always a lot of background noise at the market so we imagine that those visitors who stopped for a nice quiet cuppa on the tables near to where we were standing went away with their ears ringing!

We also had a little sing at St Margaret’s Church, Ratlinghope. We performed with local poet Nigel Sustins and our old friend Val Littlehales, who regaled us with more of her hilarious stories presented in the beautiful South Shropshire dialect.

After holidays for us all in October (and the wedding of the year for the Hedges family!) our one outing in November was to Michaelchurch, Herfordshire, where we were asked to run a mini-workshop and sing a few African songs as part of a fund-raising event for the Hegongo Holy Cross School in Tanzania. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves – we’d brushed up on a set of Swahili, Zulu and Xhosa songs, Raps ladies were all dressed up and the audience picked up the lovely harmonies very quickly to make an excellent sound. In the absence of Keith and Liz (see below), Dave Wright stepped up to the mark, and we were really pleased to be joined by one of our exes, Sue Lawrence, who is back from her travels and is living on a boat in Pwllheli. Her partner Neil also reverted to his previous role in Rapsquillion by providing an epic picnic for us.

Raps ladies hit the dressing up box for Michaelchurch and Hegongo
Raps ladies hit the dressing up box for Michaelchurch and Hegongo

The last weekend in November saw us on a visit to Bedworth Folk Festival. We had a little sing at a pub session but were primarily there for a weekend off and to listen to other people doing their stuff. We enjoyed hearing our friends Patti Smith and Ned Clamp (as always), and were also impressed by the Celtic harmony group Caim (we’ve added a link on our ‘Links’ page), and the very entertaining Notts Alliance.

The sessions at Clun have been packed and we’ve been delighted to welcome friends from Pembrokeshire, Llantrisant Folk Club, Telford, Longtown and Yorkshire, as well as the regulars. There’s been some excellent playing and singing and the session seems to be going from strength to strength.

Keith and Liz
We were sad to hear in October that Keith and Liz had decided to pursue their musical interests in a different direction and that they would be moving on from Rapsquillion.

Keith and Trevor have been singing together for nigh-on twenty years and founded the group in the late 1990s. Keith has been responsible for most of the music that Rapsquillion has performed over the years, either pinching (sorry, adapting) other people’s arrangements or, more usually, writing his own. The size of the task and the amount of work involved has been massive (imagine trying to write five-part harmonies for sea shanties – and we’re not even Bellowhead!!) and we’re going to miss his input a lot.

Liz joined Rapsquillion in 2009 and has sung the alto part in most of our arrangements. She has dealt with a lot of the administration of the band and was in charge of the bank account, having won the arm wrestle for control of the cheque book!

We wish them well with their new ventures.

Meanwhile, Rapsquillion dances on, now in it’s tenth reincarnation (apparently, we can change the rules to allow us more than thirteen lives, as per a Time Lord). We already have bookings which are going to mean a busy start to 2015 and on in to the spring. We’re working on maintaining the very ‘full’ sound that Rapsquillion is known for, as well as, of course, having the fun that so many people have commented on in our stage performances.

Watch this space!!

Tuesday 12th August 2014
Where the devil have we been!!

That’s what we’d like to know as well – six weeks since our last update!

Well, to begin at the beginning, as a famous Welshman once wrote……….

The first Wednesday of the month saw us at The Miners Arms, Priestweston, again. The pub was absolutely packed with no spare seats at all in the little snug that’s used for the session. It seems to be going from strength to strength there with a pretty high standard of performance from regulars and visitors alike. Give it a whirl if you find yourself in the area.

The second Tuesday of the month saw Rapsquillion dividing to conquer with Dave and Jenny heading for The Boat at Jackfield where, by all accounts they joined in a great sing with the crowd over there, while Trevor headed for the wilds of Herefordshire for a session at The Crown, Longtown, run by our old friend from Black Hill Folk, John Biggs. He was surprised to bump in to Ann and Terry Parsons from Newport Folk Club, escaping for an evening to visit the place where they met over a hundred years ago!

The weather had, of course, been glorious, right up until the weekend of the superb ‘Festival At The Edge’ at Much Wenlock. The organisers managed to get the field set up in tropical conditions only for a huge storm to hit on Friday night. It didn’t seem to dampen the spirits however and although tents were a bit soggy (one of them flat on the floor!) there were still lots of smiles. Our set was at 12.00 on Saturday morning and there was a fair size audience in the Silver marquee, although on the recording we made the pitter-patter of the rain on the canvas added a percussion that we hadn’t bargained for! We also managed to set a new record for us, with three starts to one of our songs after two of our number in succession forgot what we were supposed to be doing!! We think we got away with it though and the bonus was that by the time it was our turn to be in the chair for the singaround the sun was shining again and we were able to sit outside the beer tent. There was some pretty good singing, and we were even asked for an encore!! Our thanks are due to Genevieve Tudor for the invitation, and to Claire for looking after us so well on site. Hope we’re invited back next year!!

Raps battle the sound of the pouring rain on stage in the Silver Marquee, Festival At The Edge.
Raps battle the sound of the pouring rain on stage in the Silver Marquee, Festival At The Edge.

There were two sessions at The Sun in July. The regular fourth Thursday one was good, well attended by regulars and a couple of visitors, and then a second bash the following week to coincide with the start of Clun Carnival. The latter was a smaller group of regulars – a high standard, naturally – and a fair number of non-singing visitors who were in town for holidays or the Carnival and who were duly entertained in true folky style!

July was rounded off and August welcomed by a visit to the little festival at The Trout, Lechlade, organised by Crispin Bartlett. Rapsquillion visited The Trout last winter when they gatecrashed a session of the Riverfolk Club and Kay and Trevor decided that they would take the opportunity of a weekend off to return and have a bit of a sing at this beautiful Thames-side venue. It was a cracking couple of days with lots of old friends, plenty of music and nattering and a general ‘feel-good’ ambiance about it. Thanks to Crispin for setting it up and Derek and Mary for their slaving over a hot barbie.

T&K forget the words again, Lechlade.
T&K forget the words again at Lechlade.

They finished the weekend off with a visit to Forest Folk at Lydney, in the Forest of Dean. It was good to bump into Lindsay and Greg Rowlands, and to have a sing in the brilliant acoustics of the function room at The Miners Arms (another one!), although it meant a very late night home to Hyssington.

A couple of quiet weeks now as Rapsquillion head off variously for holidays, baby sitting and lolling around at home, before we’re back on stage at Newtown Food Festival, followed by Knighton Community Market and a little concert at the lovely Ratlinghope church.

(Please note that Rapsquillion not be appearing at The Bagbury Bull Festival in Hyssington, as previously listed, although Keith and Liz will be singing at the event on Saturday 6th September)

Monday 30th June 2014
‘Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana….’

Gosh! A month since our last update – unnerving how time seems to be accelerating isn’t it, but what a cracking time we’re having!

We’ve had a couple of sings at local sessions over the last month – Kay and Trevor went to The Miners Arms at Priestweston at the beginning of the month, they were joined by Liz and Keith at Corvedale Folk Club for one of the Friday sessions at The Swan, and we all went to our ‘home’ fixture at The Sun Inn, Clun, last week – it was absolutely packed – somehow we all managed to fit into the snooker room. It wasn’t ideal but the music was good despite the crush and the heat. Apart from the usual suspects we had visitors from Black Hill Folk, Folk Down The Track at Knucklas, a couple from Bromyard who were holidaying locally and a visit from two new Clun residents. Dave and Jenny had their hands full making sure that everyone had their fair share but it was generally a good evening with a high standard of music.

Alcester Summer Festival

The weekend of 20th – 22nd June saw us heading off to Alcester Summer Folk Festival. We’d had to miss the Winter edition so we were looking forward to having a sing at this highly regarded event, and we weren’t disappointed.

The line-up was excellent and we particularly enjoyed the sets from Tom Perry & Clive Brooks, and The Sound Tradition.

We met Tom at Fishguard where he was appearing with shanty crew Nine Tenths Below, and joined us for a sing at The Ship – we loved his relaxed style. Clive reminded us that we’d met about a hundred years ago when Rapsquillion, in a much different form, had sung at a ‘Food & Folk’ event at Rushwick Folk Club (we actually nicked an arrangement from something we heard him perform that night, and still use it!)

The Sound Tradition were great. They performed excellent sets with very tight, unaccompanied harmony singing (no surprise that we would enjoy that then!), all sung with obvious enthusiasm for the music. It was good to meet Linda, Dave, Catherine and Moose – we hope our paths cross again before long.

We ran a harmony workshop on Sunday morning with a small but (obviously) very discerning group. It was, as usual, great fun and although we only had an hour the sound coming from the snooker room at The Swan was, according to someone on the other side of the door, ‘beautiful’.

Our concert set was on Sunday afternoon in Alcester’s beautiful seventeenth-century Town Hall. It was packed, and rivalled last year’s Folk on the Lawn for ‘singing in the sauna’ honours. We had a particularly energetic group of songs and were in danger of expiring by the time we finished. We managed to survive, although rapid rehydration was needed afterwards – no hardship there then!

We enjoyed the singarounds we took part in and our thanks go to Marje Stanley and the organising team for giving us such a great time.

A couple of other bits of info for anyone who finds themselves in the Alcester area – we found an excellent café, Orangemabel, with cracking cakes, superb salads and a very witty woman – well worth a visit. We also had a couple of the best Indian meals we’ve ever had at The Cellar. Try them if you have the chance – we’ve added links on our ‘Links’ page..

West Somerset Folk Festival
We finished June by going to this lovely festival at Carhampton, on the edge of Exmoor.

Mike & Di Dibble organise this charity event every year with this year’s proceeds going to Headway, the organisation which supports those with acquired brain injury and we were very happy to support such a good cause.

It was a beautiful weekend and we were given a great welcome by the very friendly regulars. It was good to meet up with old friends, particularly from Newport Folk Club, and we also enjoyed making new acquaintances, sharing the craic (and the odd bottle of wine) and making music with some brilliant singers.

Again, we ran a workshop, this time with a group of about twenty, most of whom we’re sure have forgotten more about harmony singing than we’ll ever know! Needless to say, the sound was fantastic and stood us in good stead for the joining-in bits of our concert set later.

The Saturday evening concert was excellent, MC’d expertly (as usual) by Ann Parsons and we particularly enjoyed Peter Collins, Marianne McAleer and Andrew Mackay & Carole Etherton. We were lucky enough to be asked to close the concert and we had a great time with a lot of support from a very enthusiastic and skilful audience – including brilliant ‘mouth trumpet’ accompaniment to ‘Java Jive’ from Marianne!

The evening continued into the early hours with a cracking singaround. Holy Joe’s session on Sunday morning was a bit of a struggle to get to, but well worth it for the lovely sounds.

Our weekend was also made special by a reunion with a couple of Rapsquillion ‘exes’ – Jac Wills and Sue Lawrence, who have both moved away from Raps’ stamping grounds. It was a real treat to see them again and share the gossip and a few glasses of wine.

All in all, a lovely weekend – thanks again, Mike and Di, Ann and Terry Parsons, Neil Roberts (and congratulations Neil & Tracey on your great news!), and all the others who put in such a lot of effort so that we could all have such a good time whilst helping to support a very deserving cause.

And now we have a couple of weekends off before The Festival At The Edge – more news about that soon…….

Trevor, holding up proceedings at Carhampton (as usual!)
Trevor, holding up proceedings at Carhampton (as usual!)

Thursday 29th May 2014
Well, we had a great time at Fishguard!

We started with a listen to Winter Wilson – superb – before taking up residency in the wonderful Ship Inn in Lower Town, where we enjoyed sessions run by all sorts of people, including our old friend Stan Zervas (who, incidentally, supported the first ever Rapsquillion gig, some 15 years ago), and the excellent 9/10 Below.

Our first proper sing was in Ffwrn (the former St Mary’s Hall) on Saturday afternoon. It’s a really good venue, good ambience, great acoustics and it was absolutely packed by the time we got on stage. We enjoyed an hour of singing with some fab joining-in support from the audience.

We went more or less straight from there to our workshop and were chuffed that 20 people turned up and made a great noise. There are a couple of clips, the first showing a warm-up exercise, ten minutes or so in to the event and the second
is the first run-through of a chorus (hence the group is sitting down and the tempo is a little slow).

Our last bit of official business was a singaround in The Ship on Sunday afternoon. Again, it was packed, and the singing was just fantastic, really raising the rafters. Our weekend was rounded off with a great set from The Young’Uns, in their best, hilarious form.

It was good to meet up with old friends, to make new acquaintances and to join in with some really high quality music.

Our thanks are due to Judy Whitehouse and her organising team, Mike Chant who was in charge of sound and made us feel as if we knew what we were doing, Richard Davies for his great hospitality (please visit The Ship if you go to Fishguard), Jon & Fran Bell and John Russell for their support and everybody who helped to make it such a good weekend.

Oh, and for regular followers of this page, there were no high-tide related incidents involving The Rosabella this year, despite one wag leaving a very naughty note on the windscreen (you know who you are Fran!!).

We’re trying to get a clip from our Saturday session on the website – we’ll let you know when that’s done.

A couple of weekends off now, and then we’re heading to Alcester Folk Festival for the weekend of 20th-22nd June. We have a workshop and a singing slot on Sunday 22nd – we’ll let you know details of times and so on as soon as we have them.

Come and say hello if you’re around!

Rapsquillion giving it the full beans at Ffwrn, Fishguard, 2014.
Rapsquillion giving it the full beans at Ffwrn, Fishguard, 2014.

Monday 19th May 2014
And now we’re all fired up and looking forward to one of our favourite outings of the year, Fishguard Folk Festival, which is taking place next weekend.

We have a concert in Ffwrn (what used to be St Mary’s Hall, in the centre of the town) at 1.00pm on Saturday, a workshop in HMS Skirmisher at 3.00pm that afternoon, and we’re running a singaround in The Ship, Lower Town, at 4.00pm on Sunday.

We’re also looking forward to hearing some of the great artists who are performing over the weekend (we’re particularly looking forward to hearing Miranda Sykes and Rex Preston, and, of course The Young ‘Uns).

And, naturally, we’re going to be looking for as many other chances to sing as we can at what is one of the friendliest festivals of the year.

In case you haven’t twigged, we heartily recommend that, if you have a bit of time to spare this weekend, you get yourself down to Pembrokeshire – it’s well worth the trip!


Thursday 15th May
We were saddened to hear last night of the untimely passing of Claire Bartlett, our friend from Newport Folk Club. We last saw her at Upton Festival where we had the customary hug and kiss and she seemed in fine form. Our thoughts and love go out to her husband Crispin, and all her family and friends.

Monday 12th May
Where have we been for the last couple of weeks?

Well, as we mentioned below, we took part in the Bishops Castle Musicathon on the Saturday of the last Bank Holiday. We only played a very small part with a short concert with Bishop’s Castle Orchestra in St John’s church on the Saturday evening but it was very well attended. We’ve heard that the whole 24 hour event raised over £2000 for Amnesty International, so congratulations to all those people who worked far harder than we did!

Bank Holiday Sunday saw us at Upton Folk Festival where we were able to sing a couple of songs as part of the Newport Folk Club’s session there. The town was, as usual, packed. The atmosphere was great – as many Morris sides as you could shake a stick at!

Luckily, Dave and Jen went to the pub when they got home that evening, and purely by chance spotted a sign saying that we were singing there the following day as part of The Green Man Festival! It came as news to us but, as it happened, we had a lovely session all afternoon with quite a few visitors and some fairly lusty singing!

The following week we went to a packed session on Thursday evening at the Corvedale Folk Club, at The Swan, Munslow. Not only were there plenty of singers but also massive competition from a 21st birthday party in the function room! I think we shaded it!

On Saturday there was an interesting do at Llandrindod Wells – Folk Up The Track meets Folk Down The Track. The idea was that people from Llanelli Folk would travel up and meet regulars from the session at Knucklas for a joint sing. Unfortunately something seemed to go awry with the communication because no-one turned up from Knucklas. Nevertheless Rapsquillilite (Keith and Liz couldn’t make it either) had a sing and met a good crowd of people from South Wales.

The last outing of a very busy spell was to Ludlow last Sunday where we took part in a musical event to mark the start of The Great War. It was organised by our friends from Rockspring Community Choir and despite the biting wind there was a pretty good crowd of people at Millennium Green to hear a mix of songs popular at the time, readings, and half-a-dozen war-themed songs from us. Lovely!

Monday 21st April
We’ve had a busy couple of weeks of music – this spring is simply flying by!

We enjoyed singing at Knighton Community Market the other weekend and managed to raise a few quid for Amnesty International while we were at it. Thanks to the organisers – the market is an excellent enterprise and shows what can be done with imagination, commitment and effort.

The Easter weekend saw us at our first big do of the year, the Shanty Festival organised by Shanty UK at the National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port. It’s one of our favourite weekends of singing and the organisation was, as usual, superb.

Quite apart from our sets as part of the festival, we were involved in a couple of great singarounds in the bar. The enthusiasm and passion in the music made Friday and Saturday real nights to remember.

Just in case we hadn’t had enough singing we went to the Hungry Horse Folk Club on the night before the festival and to the Wallasey Folk Club on the Sunday when we’d finished our bit at Ellesmere Port, and managed to get a bit of a sing at both venues.

On Thursday it was the regular session at The Sun in Clun, not quite as well behaved as normal in the absence of regular MCs Jen and Dave, and then, last weekend we were back in the pub singing at a party to mark a moderately important birthday for a friend of the band. The Sun was packed with well wishers for Helen Brown and, again, we had a good sing.

On Saturday of the forthcoming Bank Holiday weekend we’re taking part in the Bishops Castle ‘Musicathon’. We’re on at 5.00pm in the church, if you happen to be in the area. On Sunday we’re heading for a day out at the Upton on Severn Folk Festival where we’re having a sing at the session organised by our good friends from the Newport Folk Club, and on Monday, yay!, we’re having a day off, although I’m guessing that some of us will be turning up at the Clun Green Man festivities, just in case it goes quiet for a minute!!

Please come and say hello if you’re around any of these places.

Monday 7th April
What a lovely day, being a part of ‘The Big Busk’ in Shrewsbury! Town was absolutely packed and there was music on every corner.

With over 60 artists it must have been a massive job for the organisers so congratulations to them for what appeared to be a really well put-together event. We hope it raised loads of money for The Shrewsbury Ark.

Next Saturday is more of the same again for Rapsquillion. We’re singing at the excellent Knighton Farmer’s Market from about 11.00am until 1.00pm-ish and we’re hoping to raise a few bob for Amnesty International while we’re at it, so, if you’re in the area, why not drop by and join in?

See you there!

Friday 4th April
Twenty four hours to go to ‘The Big Busk’ in Shrewsbury! We’re really looking forward to doing our fifteen minute slots in Butcher Row at 12.00, the top of Pride Hill at 12.40 and in the Market Hall at 14.00, as well as hearing some of the excellent musicians who are also going to be out on the street tomorrow raising funds for The Shrewsbury Ark (see our ‘Links’ page).

We’ve also heard that there will be a ‘big sing’ in one of the shopping centres during the afternoon.

It’s going to be a great day (and evening) of music in Shrewsbury, the weather forecast is good so we hope we get to see a few familiar faces while we’re out on the street. Come and say ‘hello’ if you see us as well as slinging some money our way for The Shrewsbury Ark.

Wednesday 26th March 2014
We enjoyed our second foray in to the world of Eisteddfod, even though we slipped a bit compared to last year’s results.

We were given second place, with a commendation no less, in the ‘Folk Song’ category. The winner was a superb soloist who was given the highest mark of the event so to be only one point behind her is pretty satisfying.

We also came second in the ‘Harmony’ class, this time to a group of young men who had put together a medley of high-energy songs which they performed with great gusto. Again, there was only one point in it, so there we go! The adjudicator commented that we should sustain our legato with a little more support (it’s our age you know!) but that he enjoyed the provocative nature of our performance of ‘Java Jive’. ‘Provocative’ eh. He should have been there when Jac was in full flow! We knew those hats would make a difference!

We’re now looking forward to getting in to our singing season. The calendar seems to be filling up at an alarming rate and our next couple of outings are busks. On Saturday 5th April we’re singing as part of ‘The Big Busk’ in Shrewsbury, in aid of The Shrewsbury Ark, and the following Saturday we’re singing at Knighton Farmers’ Market where we’re raising funds for Amnesty International.

Come and say ‘hello’ if you’re passing.

And, of course, before that, we’ll be at The Sun in Clun on Thursday 28th March. Be good to see you if you’re that way.

Wednesday 19th March 2014
Kay and Trevor are back, suitably relaxed and suntanned (although their weekend at the hands of our friend Tim Boldry in Perpignan has left a couple of party-related injuries!), so now its back to singing.

We had a good sing in Marton a couple of weeks ago and now, this weekend (22nd), we’re putting ourselves up for ridicule once again at Minsterley Eisteddfod. The thought of a public adjudication is quite scary although last year’s judge was very kind and, as regular readers will know, awarded us a first and a second place along with a trophy, rosettes and a cash prize, which we managed to demolish the same evening with visits to the chippy and off licence.

If anyone’s around on Saturday evening there is some excellent music to be heard in Minsterley Parish Hall, and there’s a link on our ‘Links’ page.

The eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed the new photograph at the top of the page – we hope you like it.

More news of ‘The Big Busk’ in Shrewsbury on April 5th soon. We know we’re going to see a few of you there – the more the merrier and the Shrewsbury Ark, for which the event is a fund-raiser, is a very worthy cause indeed.

Tuesday 4th March 2014
Thursday night at The Sun was excellent – packed with talented musicians and singers, some of whom had come a long way to be involved. It was good to see the Knucklas contingent, the Black Hill Folk folk and the visitors from Telford, as well as the regulars. Dave Wright did a great job of chairing the evening (although he had to stand up as there were no chairs left!) and managed, miraculously, to make sure that everybody had their fair share of music-making. If anybody is interested in coming in future, remember, it’s the fourth Thursday in the month – you’ll be very welcome.

Our 2014 programme kicks off this week with a visit to the good people of Marton and Chirbury for a natter and a sing. We’re looking forward to that.

Immediately after that gig Trevor and Kay are whizzing off in search of some sun for a couple of weeks, under strict orders to practice whilst lying on a Canarian beach because we’re taking part in the Minsterley Eisteddfod on March 22nd. We found the thought of competing and being adjudicated quite scary last year, but it did turn out to be a useful and enjoyable experience – we had a first and a second place in our categories so the only way is down!!

We’re also very excited about signing up for The Big Busk in Shrewsbury on Saturday April 5th. There are going to be lots of musicians on the streets of the town and it seems that it will culminate with a mass sing in one of the shopping centres. We’re going to be singing 15 minute sets at 12.00 in Butcher Row, 12.40 in Pride Hill (near Waitrose) and 14.00 on the balcony in the Market Hall. It’s shaping up to be a great event – come and say hello if you’re in town. (We’ve put a link to The Big Busk website on our ‘Links’ page).

We have a photo shoot on Wednesday so that we can bring our publicity up to date (ie Jac-less!) – that should be fun!

Thursday 26th February 2014
Well, here we are again!

Rapsquillion has emerged from its hibernaculum, had a scratch, a yawn and a bit of a sniff around, noticed the snowdrops, had a shower and brushed its hair, cleared its throat and is ready to find out what 2014 has in store.

Jac is well and truly ensconced in her castle in Devon, Trevor has finally retired, Kay has a new job, Jenny and Dave have decorated the kitchen and Keith and Liz have bought a new telly (already tested by the band at a special showing of ‘Oh Brother, Where Art Thou’, screened in order to figure out whether any more songs can be lifted).

We’ve been to a few really good sessions over the last couple of months, mostly separately but, on occasions, all five of us. We’re thinking that this site might be a good place for readers to get information about pub and club sessions, so get in touch if you know somewhere that we can go for a good sing and we’ll try and give it a bit of publicity.

Another project we have in mind is to try to get all the lyrics of songs that we sing into some kind of archive on this site. It will be a big job, will probably be fraught (particularly bearing in mind copyright issues), but it may be of some interest and value to somebody, somewhere.

We also want to pick up the work we have done towards our next CD. There have been a few problems, which we think we have resolved now, and we’re looking forward to seeing some outcome of our labours soon. Watch this space!

Things seem to be shaping up nicely for 2014 with a couple of outings every month already booked and, if previous years are anything to go by, more dates will be added as the weeks go by.

As it stands, we’re all ready to launch in to our 2014 programme with a visit to the good folk of Marton on Wednesday 5th March and another nerve-wracking foray into the wild world of Eisteddfod, at Minsterley at the end of the month.

We’re writing this as we get ready to leave for our regular session at The Sun in Clun. Time to clear the tubes, we think. If we don’t see you there we hope our tracks will cross with yours before too long.

And…..we’ve just heard that tomorrow (Friday) is officially the last day of winter! Yay! The snow forecasted will be warmer!!

Saturday 21st December 2013
Phew! We did the stuff at Church Stretton and Llanymynech – workshops and concerts that went very well and which were great fun, and now, having sung more or less every night for a fortnight, that’s more or less it for 2013.

We’ve had a fantastic year and we owe a big ‘thank you’ to the friends, old and new, that we’ve met on our travels. There have been some super sings, excellent evenings, fun-filled festivals and smashing sessions.

Now we’re having a rest for a few weeks (apart from the traditional Rapsquillion New Year’s Eve party of course) before getting back together in February to work out our 2014 repertoire, to complete work on our next CD and to get the Satnav out to work out the best way to criss-cross the country again.

We’d like to wish everyone we’ve come into contact with during 2013, whether in person or in this virtual version of the world, a very happy and peaceful Christmas and we hope that 2014 brings you just what you want.


Jen, Kay, Keith, Liz and Trevor (and of course, our absent sister, Jac). xxx

Monday 2nd December 2013
We’re in the middle of a busy spell at the moment.

We had a good evening out at Hyssington Village Hall last Thursday. We did the lot – sorted the hall out, brought the wine (Beaujolais Nouveau, carefully procured by Kay and Trevor during their visit to the Boulogne Herring Festival), even cooked the mince pies! We had a great sing and it was so nice to be able to walk home after the concert, and be back for 10.30pm.

Then we all headed off for our annual ‘working-on-music’ weekend, this year in a manor house at Bourton-on-the-Water, in the Cotswolds. We did actually get through a lot of work, including making a start on some fairly challenging new material. Of course, we also had time for a bit of messing about (including use of a marvellous hot tub!) and, on Friday night, a visit to Lechlade Riverfolk Club where we joined in with some great singing. Hopefully we’ll be doing something more with the folk from Lechlade before too long.

Back now, and looking forward to singing in the tea shop in Cardingmill Valley, Church Stretton tomorrow, as part of the entertainment for their late night shopping, and then on Wednesday 4th, very exciting, we’re singing our jazz repertoire (both of them!) at Montgomery Jazz Club at The Dragon Hotel. A couple of us are regular audience there and we’re really looking forward to getting up and having a sing.

Later in the week we’re having a social evening with our ex alumni workshop victims from Rockspring Centre and then on Saturday 7th we have a workshop and concert at St Agatha’s, Llanymynech – more news of that later.

Monday 18th November 2013
We thought that with the last of Jac’s ‘goodbye’ parties done, dusted and recovered-from, we could get on with a bit of work putting the finishing touches to the programmes for our two, all new, Winter Workshops. That was the idea, but she does keep turning up at practices!!

She has had her last couple of gigs with us though. We had an excellent weekend up on The Wirral, courtesy of Gill and George Peckham, who extended their wonderful hospitality to us once again.

We sang on Saturday at Ashville Lodge with Wirral Society for the Blind and Partially Sighted, complete with a fab supper of scouse and pickles. Then on Sunday, after a relaxing day mooching the galleries in Liverpool, we sang at Wallasey Folk Club. There were some great voices – it really is a real singers club. Gill and George treated us like royalty and there was a lot of music, laughter and friendliness for the whole weekend with Jac only crying a tiny bit.

We now have another one of those busy spells that seem to crop up from time-to-time. Next weekend (22nd-24th November) Kay and Trevor are heading for France to sing at the celebrated Fete du Hareng (Festival of the Herring) at Boulogne-Sur-Mer. The Festival coincides with the release of the Beaujolais Nouveau, so unfortunately, they will be bringing some back to help practices along…..

Then on Thursday 28th November we have our ‘home’ fixture at Hyssington Village Hall. It will be nice to have a sing within walking distance (for four of us anyway), although, of course, there is the downside of having to face the neighbours if it all goes wrong!

On Friday 29th we’re all off to the Cotswolds, to Foxes Manor, Bourton-on-the-Water, for our annual Rapsquillion, so-called, ‘concentrate-on-the-music’ weekend. We’ll be having a few friends coming along as well, and we’re hoping to pop over to Lechlade Folk Club on the Friday evening, if they’ll have us.

Back home on Monday and then on Tuesday (3rd December) we have our first Christmassy-type event at the National trust Centre in Cardingmill Valley, Church Stretton. It really is a great setting and we’re sharing the stage with the trailblazing Kaleidoscope Theatre Group who, as those who have seen them will confirm, deliver superb, moving, performances. It’s going to be a good one!

Looking further into December we have workshops in Church Stretton and Llanymynech, and a concert, also in Llanymynech. More news about those in the next update.

We’ve also been practicing with The Hyssington Wassailers for a couple of outings that they have planned over Christmas, and the bookings are coming in for 2014, so, no rest for Rapsquillion, thank goodness!

If you’re interested in further information about any of the above please get in touch via our ‘Contacts’ page, by email (rapsquillion@hotmail.co.uk) or through our Facebook page. You can also keep up with us on Twitter (@Rapsquillion) – hope we get to see you soon….

Saturday 19th October 2013
So, back from holidays, Rapsquillion are all together again and preparing for a weekend of singing in the north west with a charity gig on The Wirral on Saturday 26th October and a return to Wallasey Folk and Acoustic Club on Sunday.

The sad news is that this will be Jac’s swansong with the band as she moves on to pastures new in November when she goes to live in Devon.

Jac has been singing with Rapsquillion since 2009 when she joined us on one of our musical forays to south west France. She’d come along as a friend and supporter but then refused to go away when we returned home. As, by then, she knew most of the words to our repertoire (which is more than could be said for the rest of us!) we couldn’t think of a good enough reason to bar her from practices and she’s been with us ever since.

Jac has been very good for the older members of the band in that trying to work out what she’s talking about, like cryptic crosswords or Sudoku, very definitely requires an agile brain. She has also brought an element of glamour, even creativity, to Rapsquillion’s fashion sense.

She and Trevor worked together in the real world, sharing an office, and even a desk, for much of the past twenty years. When Kay joined the same organisation she and Jac very quickly became ‘best buddies’ – Jac introduced Kay to Trevor and the rest, as they say, is history.

We’re going to miss Jac very much and we wish her well in her new life as a mermaid.

Jac looks forward to the simple life....
Jac looks forward to the simple life….

Thursday 26th September 2013
A busy week seems to have crept up on us unannounced!

We had a Raps trip down to the inaugural Stroud Folk Festival last weekend. We particularly wanted to see The Young’uns, and they didn’t disappoint – laid back, as usual, and brilliant harmonies. We also took the opportunity to marvel at the musicianship of Spiers and Boden again. They are just superb and we can see how, with the rest of Bellowhead, they’re proving to be inspirational to young people who may never have considered traditional music to be ‘cool’.

We managed to have a sing in one of the pubs while we were there. There are a couple of things that need ironing out, as you would expect with a new enterprise, but, all-in-all, it was a good weekend.

Practice as normal on Monday night, with three new songs that we’re working hard on ready for a run out before Christmas, and then last night we visited the new ‘Shrewsbury Acoustic Folkus’ club at The Lion Hotel in Shrewsbury (see our ‘Links’ page). There were some very good floor singers in the fantastic setting of the Adams Ballroom – great acoustics meant that the whole thing was completely ‘unplugged’ – just up our street.

We had a little sing – thanks Richard and Genevieve for being generous with out time slot – and we finished the evening off with a ‘raise the roof’ version of ‘South Australia’. We really enjoyed ourselves and will definitely visit again (if they’ll have us!).

We were shocked and saddened last week to hear of the untimely death of Sarah Morgan. She was very helpful to us with a couple of songs she’d written or arranged and at The Lion, Jenny, Kay, Liz and Jac sang her arrangement of ‘Crossing the Bar’, dedicated to Sarah. As a result, Genevieve asked us to sing it on this Sunday’s (29th) show. We’ll be on in the first half (between 6.00pm and 7.00pm) and if you don’t already listen in to this excellent show on BBC Radios Shropshire, Stoke and Hereford & Worcester, now’s your chance.

On Thursday 26th we’re singing at our regular haunt The Sun in Clun, as part of the monthly session there (fourth Thursday of the month) and on Saturday 28th we’re part of an event at Minsterley Public Hall. You may remember that we entered the Eisteddfod for the first time this year and came away with a first and a second place (and haven’t we made the most of being an ‘award winning band’!). There was heavy snow on the day of the competition and fewer people attended than were expected so this weekend’s event brings together some of the winners for a gala concert. Proceedings kick off at 7.30 – it should be a good evening.

Sunday is Genevieve’s show and straight after that we have our first run through of some – wait for it….Christmas music. Yes, some 90 days before the turkey hits the plate, its that time again and our contribution to the ‘Hyssington Wassail’ is about to start rolling – sorry folks!!

In the meantime, some of us have an appointment with a beach in the South of France so Rapsquillinews may be sparse for a couple of weeks. See you when we get back! 🙂

Sunday 8th September 2013
Well, a quietish spell for Rapsquillion with various of us away sunning ourselves/paddling our own canoes/fixing houses/babysitting and various other assorted summertime activities.

Rapsquillilite (four of us) went to The Unicorn in Ludlow on Friday last for the restart of the regular sessions there after the summer break, and today we’re off to sing at the Newtown Food Festival for the first time.

We’re going to Trefaldwyn Ladies Circle (TLC in Montgomery – sounds good to us!) on Wednesday evening for a sing and a natter and then on Saturday 14th we’re all back together for a Raps night out to see John Connolly at Corvedale Folk Club, The Swan, Aston Munslow. We’re hoping to get a sing there as well, although, guess what – we won’t be doing ‘Fiddlers Green’ (John wrote it!).

A couple of snippets about our website. We recently had a load of hits from someone in Brazil, and we were also viewed by somebody in Eire who had put in a search to find the quickest route from Fishguard to Blandford Forum – we’re the fourth entry that comes up on Google with those search parameters. It seems like the word about Rapsquillion is spreading, even if it’s by mistake!!

I’m afraid the concert we had booked at Chapel Lawn on 19th October has had to be postponed by the organisers. Sorry about that – we’ll keep you up to date about any new arrangements as soon as we get them.

Monday 12th August 2013
We’re really pleased to report the excellent news that we’ve come to an agreement with the Genuine Folk label, who will be recording, producing and distributing our forthcoming CDs.

Genuine Folk was set up by Alastair Cameron and Mel Adams. They have a passion for traditional and contemporary folk, and they believe that by recording and working with folk musicians themselves, on location where possible, the vibrancy of live performance can be conveyed.

Alastair is a professional musician himself – a pianist, conductor, composer for film and TV, alongside his work in audio-production. He has worked across a range of genres including classical, musical theatre, jazz and even cheesy pop.

Mel is a musician with an eclectic taste, ranging from the traditions of the early Renaissance to contemporary world, dance and folk fusion. Having travelled extensively, through her work in international development, Mel has developed an understanding of different cultures and musical traditions and appreciates bands that bring these together in new and exciting ways.

Genuine Folk already record the acclaimed West Gallery group The Village Quire – we’re very happy to be joining such illustrious colleagues.

We’re looking forward to working closely with Alastair and Mel. We know that their ideas about how our type of music should be recorded will be of real benefit to us. We’re going to be starting with them more or less straight away and we’ll let you know how we progress with the project.

Have a look at the Genuine Folk website here.

In the meantime we have added another event to the schedule. We’re going to be hosting a singaround at the Llanymynech Folk Festival, in The Cross Keys, at lunchtime on Saturday 17th August, and we’re going to be adding our voices to the West Gallery-style service in St Agatha’s, Llanymynech, at 11.00am on Sunday 18th August.

See you there maybe?

Monday 15th July 2013

What a fantastic spell of weather we’re having (although at least one member of Rapsquillion has been getting overly hot and grumpy since the heatwave set in I’m afraid!).

A couple of things to report since last week; on Tuesday we picked up the master copy of the work we did in the studio at Shrewsbury. Thanks are due once again to James and Jim for their hard work,and to Ian Round for the guiding hand; then, last weekend, we were performing at the lovely ‘Folk on the Lawn’ festival in the beautiful setting of Tintern, in the Wye valley.

The sun shone with a vengeance to the point that it felt as if we were singing in a sauna (not that we’ve ever sung in a sauna you understand – well not as a band anyway!)

We were there courtesy of our friends from Newport Folk Club and we also enjoyed a lovely singaround under the stars on one of those balmy evenings that we thought were figments of our childhood imaginations.

Rapsquillion-lite found themselves singing again on Sunday as three of the band had other engagements. We appreciated the hard work put in by the folks from Newport, and their colleagues from the Rhymney Folk Club, to make sure that club singers were well represented at the festival.

On Thursday of this week (18th) we’re heading for Knucklas, to the Castle Inn, for a sing with the organisers of ‘Folk Down The Track’ – it would be good to see you there.

Next week will be the regular session at The Sun in Clun and we’ve also just heard that we will be singing at an extra little ‘do’ there on Thursday, 1st August, to help get the Clun Carnival weekend off to a good start. Again, if you can make it, it would be good to see you.

Oh yes! One other thing – we’ve been nattering with our friends in the Dragon Jazz Band, about collaborating on a version of ‘Java Jive’ with them – a proper band! Can’t wait! It will definitely be worth a visit to The Dragon Hotel in Montgomery when we do get around to it. We’ll keep you posted……

Rapsquillion singing at Folk in the Sauna, Tintern, July 2013
Rapsquillion singing at Folk in the Sauna, Tintern, July 2013

Sunday 7th July 2013
We had a most excellent evening at the workshop with Rockspring Community Choir in Ludlow on Wednesday.

We managed four songs and the sound was superb. It’s always a pleasure to work with such enthusiasm and we hope that the Choir will go from strength to strength.

This coming week we should be hearing the long awaited master of the recording we made in Shrewsbury a few weeks ago. We’re looking forward to moving forward with the EP project and hopefully will have more news in the near future – keep watching!!

Rapsquillion get down and jiggy with Rockspring Community Choir!
Rapsquillion get down and jiggy with Rockspring Community Choir!

Sunday 30th June 2013
“Summer is a cumin in”…… apparently! Well we wish it would hurry up!!

A couple of us went to the Alcester Folk Festival last weekend and had a good weekend of singing, particularly with our friends from Newport Folk Club (and only had one soaking!).

We also had a sing at the ‘Folk Down The Track’ evening at Knucklas – our first time there and definitely not our last – and there was a superb session last Thursday at The Sun in Clun. The place was packed, with lots of guests from as far afield as Ross on Wye and Builth Wells.

We start July with a workshop for the Rockspring Community Choir on Wednesday 3rd July. It is open to all and more details, and a booking form, can be found at http://www.furniturescheme.co.uk/harmony-voices-workshop/.

Later in the month we’re aiming to be at Folk On The Lawn in the beautiful setting of Tintern Abbey, and we’re hoping that we’ll be able to give an update on our EP project. Stay tuned!!

Monday 17th June 2013
We’ve just been pointed in the direction of a great little film which more or less sums up the 2013 Fishguard Festival. It’s here, although you’ll have to watch carefully to catch the highlight…….

We’ve also added a link on our ‘Listen and Watch’ page where there are a couple of other bits and pieces that you can have a look at should the mood take you – and we’ll be adding some more clips this week so we’ll let you know when they’re ready.

Friday 14th June 2013
Strangely quiet in team Rapsquillion – mainly, we suspect, because Jac, Jen and Dave have been away on hols (the latter two are still exploring the banks of the Dordogne in search of the perfect croissant).

Those of us left behind have been singing through some new material, in order that we can make the others feel inadequate when they return.

We have a couple of things coming up in July, the first of which is a workshop with Rocksprings Community Choir in Ludlow on 3rd July, from 7.30pm to 9.00pm.

We always have great fun at these events, even if the poor unsuspecting victims realise too late just what they’ve let themselves in for and, in case the more masochistic amongst our readers would like to try it out for themselves there is a possibility of infiltrating a limited number in to the Rocksprings event. If you are interested please contact us.

We’re also hoping to be having a sing at Folk On The Lawn at Tintern Abbey later in the month. Watch this space and we’ll keep you posted.

We await with bated breath the delivery of the master of our forthcoming EP and we’re hoping to be having a natter in the near future with someone who may be able to work with us to help bring our EP project to fruition. Again, watch this space.

In the meantime we hope you’re being able to enjoy the summer. If not, don’t worry, it will soon be over and we’ll start getting warm again!!

Tuesday 28th May 2013
Well, what a great weekend!!

We’re now back from Fishguard, well and truly worn out, having had a wonderful time at this superb festival.

From singarounds in The Ship and The Royal Oak to concerts in Theatre Gwaun, and from the workshop and resulting flashmob, to the set in the wonderful St Mary’s Hall, we thoroughly enjoyed the whole event.

Thanks of course to Jude, Tony, Bryan, Wendy, Mike on the sound, and all the others in the organising group that we didn’t get to meet, for the graft, stress and sleepless nights that we know from experience go with putting together an event like this, and to the performers who provided us with such a high standard of music.

But we also want to say a massive ‘thanks’ to all the other people who, by their presence, make a weekend like this such fun. We’re short of surnames, but it was good to spend time with Helen and Gary from Bristol, Jon Bell and Fran from Machynlleth (who turned our Monday singaround in to a marvellous dance workshop!), Ned Clamp, Pat Smith, Ian Wall, Stan and Chris, our three friends from All Spice, The Vagrants Crew our ‘flashmob’ at No 14, and all the others who’s company was very much enjoyed and appreciated.

There will be pictures on the gallery page very soon, and a description of Kay and Trevor’s version of ‘We Didn’t Mean To Go To Sea’ for those of you who have not yet heard the story involving their motorhome ‘The Rosabella’, a high tide and a pair of levelling chocks!!

Diolch yn fawr, a hwyl, Fishguard….

Monday 20th May 2013
Had a great sing at Greg & Lindsay’s party at the weekend and we’re just about recovered from that! (Jenny & Dave and Trevor & Kay both reported seeing a reindeer riding a bike on the outskirts of Merthyr on the way home. Those mushrooms in the Frankie & Benny breakfast were obvious very dubious…)

And now, Whit Bank Holiday weekend is coming up and that means it’s time for one of our favourite events, Fishguard Folk Festival. We’re doing various bits and pieces over the weekend – on Saturday we’re hosting a singaround in The Ship from 4.30 – 6.00; our harmony workshop is at HMS Skirmisher on Sunday from 10.30 – 12.00; later, we’re in concert in St Mary’s Hall from 5.45 – 6.30; finally, on Monday, we have another Apart from all of that we’re looking forward to seeing some of the great artists who are performing over the weekend, as well as having a sing with old friends wherever the opportunity arrives. Please come and say hello if you’re planning to be there.

Fishguard Folk Festival - Gwyl Werin Abergwaun
Fishguard Folk Festival – Gwyl Werin Abergwaun

Friday 17th May 2013
We had an interesting time in the recording studio last night.

We’re aiming to produce a series of EPs, each on a different theme and yesterday we were working on material to do with war and conflict. We also have it in mind to get together tracks of songs with a sea connection, harvest and Christmas.

We worked well with James and Jim at the SCAT studio in Shrewsbury and they seemed as chuffed as we were with the amount that we got through (and as worn out at the end of it!)

We now wait for the first edit which we’ll review and work out how best to achieve the exact sound we want, at the same time as working on cover and insert content and design.

It’s a fascinating process for us. The production of ‘Geriatrica’, our first effort in a proper studio, was a real challenge and quite absorbing and the current project is already proving similar as it gradually begins to take shape. Watch this space!

And in the meantime, we’re off back to South Wales on Saturday of this week, to help celebrate a birthday and wedding anniversary with Greg and Lindsay Rowlands of Newport Folk Club, and gearing ourselves up for a pretty busy time at Fishguard Folk Festival over the bank holiday weekend.

Maybe we’ll bump into you somewhere along the way…..

Rapsquillion having fun in the studio
Rapsquillion having fun in the studio

Monday 13th May 2013
What a cracking weekend at Tredegar House!

Bob Fox was on great form and it was a pleasure to be supporting him on Friday evening. We also managed to involve ourselves in an excellent singaround in the Morgan Room, with our friends from Newport Folk Club.

On Saturday, Rapsquillion Lite (three of us had to leave on Friday evening) sang in the Main Marquee as part of Llantrisant Folk Club’s afternoon, and we were lucky enough to see Flossie Malavialle and the brilliant Young’uns.

We enjoyed their performance so much that we went back to hear them again on Saturday evening. If you ever have the chance to see them, take it, they’re excellent (we’ve put a link on our ‘Links’ page).

We also bumped in to John Morris and his two colleagues who make up The Morning After and it was a real privilege to sing with them, The Young’uns and loads of other people in the real ale bar. As you might expect with three close harmony bands and a crowd of Welsh singers, the sound was superb.

Thanks to all involved for a great weekend – we hope we can come back next year!

Wednesday 8th May 2013
This weekend it’s Tredegar House Folk Festival, where we’re supporting Bob Fox in the Morgan Room at 8.00pm on Friday, courtesy of our friends at Newport Folk Club.

Some of us are heading down on Thursday and are hoping to be at the club that evening. We’re all looking forward to what should be a great weekend of music.

Monday 6th May 2013
What a lovely Bank Holiday weekend!!

We managed to have a bit of a sing at Upton Festival on Saturday, bumped in to lots of old friends and enjoyed the wonderful (and sometimes weird and whacky) dancing.

There was a really good singing session in The Sun at Clun yesterday, helping to celebrate The Green Man festival. Lots of music and some very welcome guests – Gill and George from Wallasey Folk Club, and Jude and Tony from Fishguard Folk Festival.

And then today, beautiful weather for the battle on Clun Bridge between The Green Man and The Ice Queen, won, of course by The Green Man which means that the sun is going to shine all summer, farmers crops are going to be mega-successful, prices will come down, the pound will rise against the Euro, happiness will break out on all sides and Rapsquillion will get loads of bookings!

But for now, practice tonight and loads of hard work preparing for upcoming workshops and next week’s session in the recording studio!!

Friday 3rd May 2013
We have another busy little spell upon us. This weekend, on Friday we’ll be at the excellent session at The Unicorn, Ludlow; Saturday some of us are going to Upton Folk Festival, hoping to meet up with our friends from Newport Folk Club. Then on Sunday we’re singing in The Sun at Clun as part of The Green Man festivities. We, and, we hope, a number of other local folkies will be in the lounge from about 2.30.

On the 10th May we’re pleased to be able to say that we’re supporting the great Bob Fox at the Tredegar House Folk Festival. Bob has toured extensively throughout the UK, Europe, USA, Australia and New Zealand, working mostly solo and producing beautifully-crafted arrangements for voice and guitar, as well as collaborating with many top musicians in various projects over the years. He’s always creating music and recordings of the finest quality, rewarded by accolades and awards in abundance. In 2011, he was invited to play the role of the Songman in the award-winning National Theatre production of War Horse in London’s West End, where he has consistently turned out superb performances singing and playing the melodeon. We’re going to be playing the Morgan Room and the concert starts at 8.00pm. There’s a link to the festival’s website on, believe it or not, our ‘Links’ page.

On the 16th we’re back in the recording studio working on the next offering. We aiming at producing a couple of EPs with some new material – watch this space.

On the 18th we’re heading back down to Newport for a celebration of someone achieving a great age!!

Then at the end of the month we’re off to one of our favourite events of the year, Fishguard Folk Festival, which is, as usual, being held over the Bank Holiday weekend. We’re in concert on Sunday 26th in St Mary’s Hall at 5.45, after running a harmony workshop at HMS Skirmisher from 10.30 – 12.00. We’ll also be trying to keep order at singarounds in The Ship Inn on Saturday 25th between 4.30 and 6.00, and again at HMS Skirmisher on Monday 27th from 10.30 to 11.30. I dare say we’ll be carrying out the odd raid on other venues in the town over the weekend. Again, we’ve put a link up to the Fishguard Folk Festival site.

We can’t wait! We hope we get to see you somewhere along the way – please come and say ‘hello’ if you’re around.

Saturday 13th April 2013
A couple of us popped down to Newport Folk Club this week to see one of our all time favourite singer/songwriter/guitarists, Steve Tilston.

Steve was, as usual, just brilliant and we decided to add ours to the bonfire of guitars being built outside by others who had decided they didn’t have enough hands and fingers to compete!

Steve was joined on stage by Stuart Gordon on fiddle and Keith Warmington on harmonica and seemed to be having a ball.

Rapsquillion were also given a plug by Newport MC Terry Parsons when he talked about the Tredegar House festival, where we’re supporting Bob Fox on 10th May (he did make passing reference to Bob as well!)

Thanks are also due to Greg and Lindsay Rowlands who accomodated us and who, the following morning, served up the biggest breakfats in history!

Sunday 31st March 2013
So, back from helping out with a bit of singing in church and the curtain comes down on a very busy, very satisfying week.

Yesterday we sang at the Ellesmere Port Shanty Festival, superby organised by Julia and Derek Batters and their team. We enjoyed a couple of great sings with loads of participation from people in the audience, and what a brilliant venue the National Waterways Museum is.

Another biggie for us was being introduced by Hughie Jones – whoever would have thought, when we were shedding a tear at those farewell tours all those years ago, that one day we’d almost be sharing a stage with him. Brilliant!!

It was also nice to see familiar faces – George and Gill from Wallasey Folk club, and John, who we met at a workshop at Fishguard last year.

We’d love to come back again next year Julia and Derek, if you’ll have us – and we’ll organise things so that we can spend the weekend with you. We also hope that we may get to see you again at The Baltic Fleet before too long.


Saturday 30th March 2103
Another very late night last night after our visit to The Valley Folk Club at Pontardawe, but boy, was it worth it!

Again, excellent floor singers set the bar very high for us and then when we did sing, the accompaniment from the club was just fantastic.

We were glad that Jude and Tony Whitehouse from the Fishguard Folk Festival Organising Committee were able to get to The Ivy Bush – it was great to see them.

Something that we all felt last night, and at Llantrisant on Wednesday, was the massively energising factor that we gain from such enthusiastic and welcoming people – its a huge pleasure to sing when its that way and they help us to reach places that may be out of reach without them. We feel that we’re beginning to understand what ‘hwyl’ means.

Thank you all so much for inviting us to come and sing with you – we hope we’ll get to meet you again before too long.

Thursday 28th March 2013
We had a brilliant time at Llantrisant Folk Club at The Windsor Hotel last night. Everyone was so welcoming and the standard of floor singing was very high. We felt that we had a lot to live up to and we hope we managed it.

It was good to see a few familiar faces and the atmosphere was great. Trevor was grateful that Anne tipped him off to delay going to the loo until after the raffle was called. Those of you who have been to Pont y Clun will know what we’re talking about – it’s just hilarious and needs to be experienced.

We did a couple of sets as a showcase and we hope we’ll be able to come back and do some more before too long.

Those of us who headed for home after the gig got back to Hyssington at about 2.00am – rock AND roll!

The others stayed over with Pat Smith, so thanks to her for the invitation to the club. and for her hospitality which included a fab trout pie for supper. Thanks also to Ned Clamp for his help and support. We hope we’ll meet up with you again at some festival or other over the summer.

Monday 25th March 2013
Well that was an interesting experience last night, performing live on Genevieve Tudor’s Sunday Folk Show, from the Legendary Middle Studio at Radio Shropshire.

We sang ‘John Barleycorn’ and ‘Wo Worth The Time’ before Kay and Trevor went in to the studio with Genevieve for interrogation about Rapsquillion. Kay managed to sneak the word ‘sod’ in to the broadcast without any alarm bells, sirens, bleepers or public apologies and we finished with the ‘Padstow Farewell Shanty’.

We were given due recognition for being an ‘award winning band’ (I wonder how long we’re going to be able to make a meal of that) and all-in-all it was a good way to spend a Sunday evening, especially the nerve-settling drink in The Abbey afterwards.

Practice tonight, and then the next leg of the marathon week, Llantrisant Folk Club on Wednesday evening.

Rapsquillion on Genevieve Tudor's Sunday Folk, BBC Radio Shropshire. Allan Price, out of shot, throwing peanuts into band members' mouths!
Rapsquillion on Genevieve Tudor’s Sunday Folk, BBC Radio Shropshire. Allan Price, out of shot, throwing peanuts into band members’ mouths!

Sunday 24th March 2013
Part one of our mad week was at the Eisteddfod, and we came away with a first in the ‘Harmony’ class and second in the ‘Folk Song’.

For most of us it was our first experience of this kind of event and it was really interesting and quite a challenge.

We were all pretty nervous about the whole thing. We were prepared for pain in the adjudication but on the whole the judge seemed happy with our performance, with a couple of comments that will help if we do this again.

We now have another trophy (to add to last week’s PTA quiz triumph!), as well as a couple of cheques, which were more or less blown on the post-competition chips!

Onward today with our appointment in the studio with Genevieve Tudor on her Radio Shropshire Sunday Folk show……

Monday 18th March 2013
We have a busy old stint coming up next week.

We’re singing at Minsterley Eisteddfod on Saturday 23rd – we’re performing in the ‘Harmony’ and ‘Folk Music’ categories (funnily enough!). We’ve never done anything like this before so we’re looking forward to it and a bit curious as to how it will go.

Then on Sunday 24th we’re really excited about being on Genevieve Tudor’s Folk Show on Radio Shropshire. It is available on the internet so our world-wide fan base (yeah right!) will be able to listen in.

Wednesday 27th we’re off to sing at Llantrisant Folk Club, then back for the regular session at The Sun at Clun on Thursday 28th.

Friday 29th (Good Friday) we’re singing at The Valley Folk Club in Pontardawe, and looking forward to meeting up with some old friends there and then on Saturday 30th we’re heading up to Ellesmere Port where we’re performing a couple of sets at the Shanty Festival.

And just in case we haven’t had enough, we’re back home and singing in church in Hyssington on Easter Sunday before collapsing in a heap for the rest of the Easter period!

There are links to all of these on our ‘Links page’ – we hope we get to see you somewhere along the way…….

Monday 4th March 2013
A couple of us went to the regular session at The Unicorn, in Ludlow, on Friday night (first Friday of the month).

The standard was, as usual, high and there was a really good mix of styles in both singing and tunes. We were really taken with the singing of Penny, who celebrated St David’s day with a couple of Welsh songs, including a beautiful rendition of ‘Myfanwy’. There was also a great performance by someone, who’s name we didn’t catch, of ‘Sally Wheatley’, beautifully accompanied by Roger Champkin. It was just lovely.

It also reminded us of the fact that we’re singing as support to Bob Fox at Tredegar House Folk Festival in May. Bob has said that ‘Sally Wheatley’ is one of his most requested numbers – it won’t be appearing on the Rapsquillion set list for that weekend!

Our part of the Tredegar event is being organised by our friends at Newport Folk Club. Their sessions are going from strength to strength and the organising group deserve a real pat on the back for providing good music every week, and a chance for the likes of Rapsquillion to perform further afield. More power to them!

Tuesday 26th February 2013

Fishguard Folk Festival - Gwyl Werin Abergwaun
Fishguard Folk Festival – Gwyl Werin Abergwaun

Fishguard Folk Festival has been one of the highlights of our year for the past few summers. And the poster for 2013 looks great!

Saturday 16th February 2013

Valley Folk Club, Pontardawe
Valley Folk Club, Pontardawe

We’re looking forward to this outing to Pontardawe in March. We’re obviously in very distinguished company as part of the Valley Club’s spring programme. See you there then…

Friday 15th February 2013
We had a good sing at Welshpool Music Society last night. The new material was performed without the aid of a safety net and seemed to go down well.

It was also good to see some old friends in the audience, three of whom were at Rapsquillion’s very first performance at The Dog, some 15 years ago. Peter and Gill (Peter made a video of an early Rapsquillion performance, and advised us on sound recording in the early days), and Stan Zervas, who played with us on that evening.

We rounded the evening off with an excellent meal at Zorba’s. They did very well to fit in 9 people late on Valentine’s Day, and the food was excellent (we did carry on with a bit of singing while we were in there – sorry about that folks!)

Tuesday, 12th February 2013
Our thoughts and condolences go out to family and friends of Paul McMullen and Trevor Grills of the Cornish shanty group Fisherman’s Friends, who died as a result of an accident prior to a performance in Guildford at the weekend.

We in Rapsquillion have a great bond of friendship and understand the connection that band members have with each other. We know that Paul and Trevor will be sadly missed and we send our love.

Monday, 11th February 2013
We’ve been working hard on new material for Thursday night’s performance for Welshpool Music Society.

We were all worn out last night after a complete run-through of the two 45-minute sets but we will have recovered for Thursday and are really looking forward to meeting the Society’s members and having a sing with them.

We’ve also decided on another new departure for us – we’re going to enter an Eisteddfod!!

We’re hoping to sing in the ‘folk’ and ‘harmony’ classes at Minsterley in March – watch this space!!

Saturday, 2nd February 2013
Rapsquillion had an afternoon off today to go and hear the fantastic Northern Harmony in concert at Clee St Margaret. If you ever have the chance to listen to their joyous music for goodness sake take it, with both hands.

We’ve seen them five or six times now, and attended their workshops on a couple of occasions and we would venture the opinion that this may have been the best yet.

The average age of the group members is around 22. They are obviously very skilful musicians and under the direction of Larry Gordon produce a unique sound whether singing music from the American shape note tradition, Corsican liturgy or South African work songs.

Definitely a must see, we’ve put a link, funnily enough, on our ‘Links’ page.

Friday, 1st February 2013

We had our usual good time at The Dukes in Presteigne last night, singing at the ‘Balladeers and Chancers’ evening. The two acts we shared the stage with were great. Jack Brett played an excellent set on his lap-slide guitar, some self-penned, some standards and, wow! was he good. The Almshouse Band combined humour, a big guitar, a violin and a sax to tremendous effect.

We always enjoy the Balladeers experience of good humoured to-ing and fro-ing with the audience, and we had a great sing with some really good voices giving us a hand with choruses.

Thanks to Stephe Watters for his good organisation and hard work in keeping live music on the agenda in Presteigne.

Thursday, 24th January 2013

3rd Ellesmere Port Shanty Festival, Easter 2013.
3rd Ellesmere Port Shanty Festival, Easter 2013.

We’re looking forward to this. We can only be there on Saturday but the whole weekend looks great. There’s a link on our ‘Links’ page.

Tuesday, 15th January 2013

Those of you who have met Rapsquillion in the last couple of months will know that our next outing (apart from The Sun in Clun on 24th January), is our St Valentine’s Day ‘recital’ for Welshpool Music Society, mainly because we’ve mentioned it at every gig (we’ve never been asked to do a ‘recital’ before)!

We’ve been working hard on some new material which we hope we’ll get to share with you soon. We have to get it all sorted because we have a very busy Spring in front of us, We’re all looking forward to meeting up with some of you again and hoping that there are going to be loads of opportunities to have a bit of a sing with you.

One other thing – we’ve nagged Genevieve Tudor in to letting us come and make a row on her Sunday Folk Show which goes out on Radio Shropshire, Radio Hereford & Worcester and Radio Stoke & Staffs. Hopefully, that’s going to happen on 24th March – we’ll keep you posted, and thanks Genevieve.

14th January 2013

It looks as if we’re going to be making an appearance on Genevieve Tudor’s popular ‘Sunday Folk’ show, broadcast by the BBC across the Midlands.

Rapsquillion will be singing and talking in the LEGENDARY Middle Studio on Sunday, March 24th.

Remember, Genevieve’s programme now starts at 6.00pm on Sunday evenings.

2nd January 2013

Long frocks and tuxedos were the order of the day when Rapsquillion’s annual New Year’s Eve Extravaganza for 2013 went ahead on Monday evening.

The event was even more spectacular than usual as members of the band took to the red carpet for the inaugural ‘Rapsquillion Awards Ceremony’, South Shropshire’s answer to the Oscars.

There were many tears of joy as the acceptance speeches ranged from the moving to the moving out, setting a standard that will be hard to meet in future.

Full details of the awards and winners can be found elsewhere on this site.

November 2012

Rapsquillion will be supporting folk legend Bob Fox at the Tredegar House Festival in June 2013

This was 2015

Saturday 7th February: Pwllheli Sailing Club

Sunday 22nd February: Bishops Castle Arts Festival
2.30pm – Workshop, The Cadet Hall, Bishops Castle
8.00pm – Concert, Bishops Castle Town Hall

Friday 3rd – Sunday 5th April: Annual Shanty Festival, The National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port

Monday 4th May: Green Man Festival, The Sun Inn, Clun 

Sunday 17th May: Purslow Garden Party

Saturday 23rd – Monday 25th May: Fishguard Folk Festival
Sat 23rd – 12.00 noon, The Yacht Club, Lower Town and 8.00pm, The Ship Inn
Sun 24th – 11.00 am, Workshop, TS Skirmisher

Sunday 5th July: ‘Making Waves in Welshpool’ Canal Festival

Saturday 15th August: Llanymynech Folk Weekend
12.30 – 2.00, Singaround session
2.00 – 4.00, Workshop

Saturday 5th September: Newtown Food Festival

Saturday 10th October: Felindre Village Hall, Swansea – Workshop and Concert with Eclectics and Humbrella

Saturday 14th November: Shropshire Hills Mini Music Festival, Craven Arms
Morning, Workshop
Evening, Gala Concert

Wednesday 16th December: Llantrisant Folk Club Christmas Party


This was 2014:

Wednesday 5th March: Marton WI

Saturday 22nd March: Minsterley Eisteddfod

Saturday 5th April: The Big Busk, Shrewsbury

Saturday 12th April: Knighton Community Market

Friday 18th – Sunday 20th April: Fourth Annual Shanty Festival, Ellesmere Port

Thursday 24th April: The Sun Inn, Clun

Saturday 26th April: Private Party, Clun

Friday 2nd May – Saturday 3rd May: Musicathon, Bishops Castle

Sunday 4th May: Upton Folk Festival

Monday 5th May: Green Man Festival, Clun

Saturday 10th May: Folk Down The Track, Llandrindod Wells

Sunday 11th May: World War One Commemoration Event, Millennium Green, Ludlow

Friday 23rd – Monday 26th May: Fishguard Folk Festival

Saturday 14th June: Private Party, Clun

Friday 20th – Sunday 22nd June: Alcester Folk Festival

Friday 27th – Sunday 29th June: Carhampton Folk Festival

Friday 18th – Sunday 21st July: Festival At The Edge, Much Wenlock

Thursday 24th July: The Sun Inn, Clun

Thursday 31st July: Clun Carnival – The Sun Inn, Clun

Thursday 28th August: The Sun Inn, Clun

Sunday 7th September: Newtown Food Festival

Saturday 13th September: Knighton Community Market

Sunday 14th September: Ratlinghope Church

Thursday 25th September: The Sun Inn, Clun

Thursday 23rd October: The Sun Inn, Clun

Saturday 15th November: Music For Hegongo, Workshop & Concert, Michaelchurch

Thursday 27th November: The Sun Inn, Clun

Thursday 18th December: The Sun Inn, Clun

This is how 2013 turned out for us:

Thursday 24th January: The Sun Inn, Clun

Thursday 31st January: Balladeers & Chancers, The Dukes, Presteigne

Thursday 14th February: Welshpool Music Society

Thursday 28th February: The Sun Inn, Clun

Saturday 23rd March: Minsterley Eisteddfod

Sunday 24th March: Genevieve Tudor’s Sunday Folk Show, 6.00pm, Radio Shropshire, Hereford & Worcester and Stoke & Staffs

Wednesday 27th March: Llantrisant Folk Club

Thursday 28th March: The Sun Inn, Clun

Friday 29th March: Valley Folk Club, Pontardawe

Saturday 30th March: Third Annual Shanty Festival, Ellesmere Port

Thursday 25th April: The Sun Inn, Clun

Sunday 5th May: The Green Man Festival, Clun

Friday 10th May: Tredegar House Folk Festival

Thursday 23rd May: The Sun Inn, Clun

Friday 24th – Monday 27th May: Fishguard Folk Festival

Thursday 27th June: The Sun Inn, Clun

Wednesday 3rd July: Harmony Workshop, Ludlow

Saturday 13th July: Folk on the Lawn, Tintern

Thursday 18th July: Folk Down The Track, The Castle, Knucklas

Sunday 21st July: St Etheldreda’s Church, Hyssington

Thursday 25th July: The Sun Inn, Clun

Thursday 1st August: Clun Carnival, The Sun Inn, Clun

Saturday 17th August: Llanymynech Festival – Lunchtime Singaround, The Cross Keys

Sunday 18th August: Llanymynech Festival – West Gallery Service, St Agatha’s, 11.00am

Thursday 22nd August: The Sun Inn, Clun

Sunday 8th September: Newtown Festival

Wednesday 11th September: TLC, Montgomery

Thursday 26th September: The Sun Inn, Clun

Saturday 28th September: Minsterley Eisteddfod Support Event

Sunday 29th September: Genevieve Tudor’s Sunday Folk Show, 6.00pm, Radio Shropshire, Hereford & Worcester and Stoke & Staffs

Saturday 19th October: Chapel Lawn (postponed)

Thursday 24th October: The Sun Inn, Clun

Saturday 26th October: Ashville Lodge, Wallasey

Sunday 27th October: Wallasey Folk Club

Thursday 28th November: Hyssington Village Hall

Friday 29th October – Sunday 31st November: Foxes Manor, Bourton-on-the-Water

Tuesday 3rd December: Winter Songs, Long Mynd Visitor Centre, Carding Mill Valley, Church Stretton

Wednesday 4th December: Montgomery Jazz Club, The Dragon Hotel

Friday 6th December: Rocksprings Centre, Ludlow (private party)

Saturday 7th December: Workshop & Concert, St Agatha’s Llanymynech

Saturday 14th December: Workshop, Long Mynd Visitor Centre, Carding Mill Valley, Church Stretton

Thursday 18th December: The Sun Inn, Clun


The Rapsquillion Awards were inaugurated in December 2012 with the aim of recognising the talents and achievements of Rapsquillion members and supporters. The winners for 2012, with their citations, are below. All the wnners would like to thank the adjudicating panel for their perception, perspicacity and passion without which this auspicious occasion would have plummeted to the pavement.

Throughout 2012, David has proven beyond any question that he is truly deserving of this award. From his varied dietary needs to his wearing of yellow goggles, and from his blowing up the wrong hole of his harmonica to the fitting of his pacemaker, Flatline Dave has been attention-seeking at every turn. The zenith of his endeavours was reached when, as part of a group walk along a benign riverside track, he contrived to launch himself from the track into waist-deep mud, on the way grasping at brambles in order to become caked in blood as well as slime. The adjudicators recognise the effort that this, and his other ‘moments’ have taken, and also know a case of Munchhausen Syndrome when they see one.

“Is it OK if I miss practice next Monday, I live in Milan”.
The Rapsquillion HR team treated Sue’s request with understanding and compassion – attendance at practice would mean a round journey of some 1,942 miles (we checked) and she may have been too tired to play a full part in proceedings.
However, the next, feeble in the opinion of the adjudicators, reason for non-attendance really took the ship’s biscuit. “I’m living on a boat in Alicante” may well impress the glitterati who make up the bulk of Rapsquillion’s audiences, it may be a round journey of 2,882 miles, (we checked again) but when the rest of one’s time is spent lolling in a marina on the business end of a gin and tonic are we really expected to believe that practice is once again, justifiably off the agenda? Off course not. It is an EXCUSE, the best we’ve ever heard.

The standout occasion in this category occurred on 1st September, in St George’s, Clun. At the start of a lively rendition of ‘We Call Ourselves Rapsquillion’, the first section of the first verse was completed without fault. However, as a protest against the almost overwhelming workload foisted on them by their so-called ‘Musical Director’, the rest of the band decided to take industrial action for the duration of the repeat of the second section. All eyes were on Keith to see how he would cope with this wildcat action. He, of course, continued manfully, completing the whole piece without hesitation, repetition or deviation despite the giggles of his erstwhile opponents. For this dedication to the ‘bonnie lass’ and ‘greeny grass’ (whatever that means), the award of Soloist Of The Year, 2012 can go to no other.

Although this is the first time the ‘Foot In Mouth’ award has been, errm, awarded, this honour is seen by the adjudicators as a recognition of a lifetime of achievement. The outstanding performance in 2012, despite not being part of a Rapsquillion outing, was witnessed and verified by the awarding committee and is thoroughly deserving of this award.
The moment in question occurred in a coffee shop often frequented by members of Rapsquillion. The recipient decided that, as an accompaniment to her coffee she would have a piece of traditional Welsh tea-bread. The person waiting on the table confirmed Jac’s order as a piece of “bara bridd”. However, an unfortunate speech impediment meant a curious pronunciation. Jac was fascinated by this and responded “Oh, is that how you say it – can you just say that again please….?” For her fortitude in turning victory into defeat this award can only go to Jac Wills.

There is a crucial moment in a Rapsquillion performance. The line ‘Drop your nickel in my pot, Joe’ can provide a fulcrum for success or failure of the whole ‘Java Jive’ experience. Over the years the phrase has been subject to much bastardisation at the hands of, in particular, Jac and Keith, usually resulting in rolling of the eyes by Liz. In addition there have been a number of attempts at recreating the sound of said nickel hitting said pot, in the main by Trevor and, in the main, unsuccessful. These, frankly useless, efforts have including use of a paper cup, a full pint glass and feedback from Dave’s pacemaker. None, however, reached the standard achieved on one particularly boozy evening at The Glen, when an actual nickel was dropped in an actual pot (whether or not it was Joe’s remains a mystery and irrelevance). For his achievement of authenticity of sound, perfection of timing and embracing of a crucial musical moment, this award can go to no other than Mr Neil Cotton.

Although others have tried, no one has met the standard of uncontrollable mirth set by the winner. Who can forget the faces of the soprano section, red with the strain of holding in giggles, when considering ‘the yellowed underwear’ of the Hills of Shiloh, or the senior bass collapsing during a test rendition of the words ‘Crooch-ma-Cree’? Neither of these incidents approach the occasions when Jenny has had to retire from a conversation with tears rolling down her face and, although she has battled on during performances, this citation is in honour of a late effort during Rapsquillion’s stay in Dorset (yes , we’d recommend it to anyone), which resulted in colleagues being overcome to the point of hyperventilation. Trevor had thought it may be a good idea to explore Jenny’s reaction to the sound of a biscuit being crunched during her second solo in ‘Shores of Old Blighty’. The mere thought of it had him almost cracking and Jenny’s reaction when confronted not only with the sound but also Trevor eyeballing her with a frightening intensity, could not have been more satisfying as she was completely unable to continue with this thought-provoking and evocative song. Unfortunately, neither could anyone else. In fact one was forced to sing from outside the room, an action which resulted in even more leg-wetting action from Jenny. Time will tell whether this beautiful piece will ever be performed again.

EASY OF THE YEAR – Kay Smillie
We all make resolutions, whether on January 1st or at other times throughout the year. Resolutions are usually made with some idea of betterment; to enhance the feel-good factor, to be healthier, to set an example to one’s peers. Most of us fail to keep them. Sometimes it’s a matter of weeks, more often days. This award is being made in recognition of the recipient’s ability to renege on a resolution within minutes of it being made. She has shown continued resolve coupled with the steely determination not to achieve. Almost every week of 2012, Kay Smillie has expressed the intention to ’only drink at weekends’. There is absolutely no evidence that this commitment has lasted any longer than a few minutes at a time. Despite the use of twisted logic – “Monday is part of the weekend”, “Tuesday is Holby so shall we have a little drink while we’re relaxing?”, “Trev’s not working on Thursday so Wednesday is part of the weekend’”, and “I’m not working on Friday so Thursday is part of the weekend” – there is no finer successor to the great Groucho Marx, who declared that he could ‘resist anything except temptation’.

STROP OF THE YEAR – Trevor Hedges
‘Strop’ is not a word that one would normally associate with Rapsquillion. The band is renowned for its generosity of spirit, it’s ‘hail fellow, well met’ approach; members’ tolerance of one another under extreme provocation is something which has been commented on by many watchers. However, there was one occasion in 2012 which was the exception necessary for proof of the rule. After all, with no dark one would not recognise the light. With no sour what meaning would ‘sweet’ have? Without The Joker, would Batman have needed to exist? On the long, tedious, late-night journey back from Newport Folk Club, under the onslaught of helpful hints and tips from the sopranos, (who, fuelled with red wine and emboldened by esprit-de-corps, had plotted to explore their chauffeur’s limits) the driver’s tolerance finally cracked. Bonhomie was despatched from the window as he enquired whether his travelling companions intended to keep up the banter for the whole journey, and whether they really would prefer to hitch-hike home. The only clues to his mental state were the volume and pitch of his voice and the slight flecks of spittle hitting the steering wheel. There was silence, from that point on, for around 30 seconds, as the shocked ladies came to terms with the outburst and then, as one, decided not to ignore it. They giggled for the next twenty miles. For breaking at the first sign of provocation, for rising so beautifully to the perfectly cast bait and for vowing never to be alone in a car with the miscreants again, this award must go to Mr Trevor Hedges.

There are others in the band to whom one may expect this award to be made. There have been, throughout 2012, a number of occasions where the vernacular has overtaken propriety. Even, in some instances, on stage during performances the rogue element, has, in order to add what he (sorry, they,) consider to be colour to proceedings resorted to words that would not be used at the dinner table (although having said that, the Rapsquillion dinner table is no place for parents, maiden aunts or the faint-hearted, although plumbers would probably be able to play a full part in the conversation). However, the adjudicators decided to bestow this honour in recognition of the fact that surprise can add to the effect of the vocabulary of the gutter. The occasional oath, when passing the lips of Liz Woodcock, becomes all the more expressive. As we recall the phrases “it’s b****y p*****g down again” and “what a load of b******s”, imbued with Liz’s chief librarian inflection, it proves to us that we may be able to take the girl out of Stourbridge but we can never take Stourbridge out of the girl.