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upright bass (tracks 1, 3, 8, 13)
mandolin (track 13)
accordion (track 13)
fiddle (track 7)
banjo (track 9)
5-string fiddle, piano accordion
clarinet, diatonic accordion
John David Williams
tracks 1, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15
by Yann le Poul
and Thomas le Gallic
by Emilyn Stam and
John David Williams
tracks 2, 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 15
German, Dutch & French
Emilyn Stam and John David Williams
Ontario (Canada) based duo, fiddler Emilyn Stam and clarinetist John David Williams’ new album Honeywood features more than an hour of original and traditional instrumental music.
With both Stam and Williams doubling on accordion, and with musical guests from Ontario and from France on select tracks, Honeywood offers moments of quiet duets (J &C Mazurka, Churfürst zu Sachsen, König von Polen / Et L’Autre Jour) to richly textured group tracks (Laridés, The Hexagon Rondo) Every track is set to folk dances from Western Europe, known today as “balfolk”. Canadian folk dancers may recognize the waltz and the schottische, and perhaps will be introduced to regional French dances the Gavotte from Brittany, the Rondeau from Gascony, or the Bourrée from Auvergne, all distinct and interesting dances and musical forms!
Alongside the CD the duo have released a Tunebook (Tunes from Honeywood and More) featuring notation of the tunes from the CD and 30 additional tunes including unrecorded originals and traditional tunes from France, The Netherlands, and Germany. The tunebook is beautifully designed, illustrated, and assembled by Oksana Hawrylak in a limited edition first printing of 100 copies.
Honeywood is an ode to the place where the duo were married (in 2017), and subsequently held the first two Big Branch Festivals (in 2018 and 2019), a folk-dance and music weekend in September featuring local and international performers for balfolk.
Of course the 2020 edition of the festival is cancelled, and the album’s dedication to community gathering has taken on a new meaning during the pandemic: instead of merely a token of gratitude towards those who contribute to community gatherings it is a wish that we may all gather again soon, offline, and celebrate life together through music and dancing… and in the meantime continue to find creative ways to lift up each-others’ spirits.