Dave and Anna’s music is primarily dance music, with all the inflexions in the melodies and pulses in the rhythm necessary to drive the dancing. Both musicians are expert dancers, having spent many years absorbing the subtle elements of the different dance traditions they have experienced. This knowledge of the dance is reflected in their music, tastefully crafted to bring out the beauty of the music as well as giving a strong lead to the dancers, firmly rooted in tradition, but forward looking.
Dave has an immense repertoire of fiddle music from England, France, the Low Countries, Italy and Scandinavia. His early influences were Dave Swarbrick and Irish fiddler Martin Byrnes but over the years gradually established his own style based on English dance music (influenced by some of the French and Scandinavian music he discovered).
He has recently been researching English fiddlers’ manuscripts from the 18th and 19th centuries and come across many excellent tunes which he is reintroducing along with reviving long forgotten traditional dances. His interest in European fiddle music and dance underlines the many links and similarities (as well as differences) between English traditional music and European traditions.
As well as playing traditional tunes Dave is well-known for his compositions, some of which have become standard tunes in both England and Europe (The Rose of Raby, William Taylor’s Tabletop Hornpipe). He often adapts traditional tunes and reworks them into more ornate versions or sets them in unusual modes (New Road to Alston, Newtondale Hornpipe).
Anna’s repertoire was originally influenced by the traditional dance music of central France and particularly bands and performers such as Blowzabella, Chris Wood & Andy Cutting, Frederic Paris, Bruno Le Tron and many others. In recent years she has also developed a keen interest in discovering English traditional music, particularly dance music of the 17th and 18th centuries, which she approaches with her strong sense of dance rhythm.
Her playing style is drawn from various sources, having attended workshops led by a variety of diatonic accordion players from France and the UK, and blends together aspects of both English and European styles of playing.
A number of Anna’s compositions also feature in the duo’s repertoire.