Nature’s jewels in the News

Loudhailer Psychedelia at it’s most flowery!

There’s a lovely colourful feature about  specialist auricula growers and Chelsea Gold Medallists Robin and Annabel Graham of Drointon Nurseries near Ripon in the Northern Echo Magazine. You can read it below including Annabel’s top tips for growing auriculas and a piece about their lovely new cultivar Primula auricula Loudhailer.
Northern Echo - Living magazine p1

Northern Echo - Living magazine p2

Discover The Auricula Suite

Rich and Lou Duffy-Howard – Visit our Loudhailer Home Page

Primula auricula Loudhailer

Something really unexpected has happened and we are over the moon! It all started because we are musicians with a garden full of Primula auricula flowers.  We are totally chuffed to find out that we have had a beautiful new flower named in our honour by specialist auricula growers Robin and Annabel Graham of Drointon Nurseries near Ripon.

Here it is, Primula auricula Loudhailer, a brand new cultivar of the popular alpine border flower with lovely yellow petals, a pink blush and the most beautiful delicate scent. Click on one of Rich’s photos to see the full flower and scroll through…

It’s called Loudhailer after our music name – Rich and I perform as ‘Loudhailer’ – we host Loudhailer Acoustic nights and our full psychedelic electric band Loudhailer Electric Company has just released our debut studio album, Cursus.

After growing Primula auriculas and investigating the social history behind the flowers we wrote The Auricula Suite – a set of songs telling a re-imagined story of a historical journey to a new land. Inspired by folk tales of the alpine flower and its 16th century journey to England with the Huguenot refugees, it is a tale of love and loss, persecution and a new beginning.

Auricula headerWe worked with Robin and Annabel Graham of Drointon Nurseries to present a number of concerts with Primula auricula shows and launched the songs with a concert and flower show at the National Trust’s Calke Abbey, site of the oldest auricula theatre – a traditional way of displaying the flowers – in England.

Chelsea Gold Medallists Robin and Annabel Graham of Drointon Nurseries have been growing Primula auriculas at their Ripon nursery for over 20 years and hold the national collection of border auriculas.

Robin explains

“A few years ago we germinated about 3,000 seedlings from seed collected from our National Collection® of Border auriculas. From these we selected 8 plants that we think show promise. The rest have been sent to the compost heap! So far, we have named 4 of them and ‘Loudhailer’ is the next in the series.

If you breed a new cultivar that offers something different visually you need to make sure that it has a good constitution before releasing it. So, in the case of a Border auricula, this involves planting them outside for a couple of years and checking that it is robust enough.

We have had the pleasure of working with Rich & Lou Duffy-Howard at several gigs of ‘The Auricula Suite’ over the years and so with the recent launch of their album their band name ‘Loudhailer’ was an obvious choice.”

Previously named flowers include ‘Alice’ after Alice through the Looking Glass, ‘Brunhilde’ from Wagner’s  Ring Cycle, and ‘Charlotte’ released at Malvern soon after the birth of Princess Charlotte. As is usual with a new cultivar, stocks of Primula auricula Loudhailer are limited this year and will be plentifully available from Drointon Nurseries in years to come.

It’s just amazing how this wonderful flower continues to bring people together. Having a new cultivar from Robin and Annabel named after the band is a true honour, the colour, scent and everything about it is perfect.

So, we are absolutely surprised and thrilled. Here’s a big thank you to Robin and Annabel at Drointon Nurseries. You can read the press feature here HDM feature by Hannah Robinson

The songs on our Loudhailer Electric Company album, Cursus, tell a collection of stories, some featuring spoken word poetry and many of them influenced by the East Yorkshire countryside. The album title – Cursus – refers to stories of life along the Neolithic courses which lead to the tallest standing stone in the UK, at Rudston in East Yorkshire. Inspiration for our songs include legends about the Gypsey Race stream which runs through the Wolds, the bleak North Sea – and in the final song we take you on a trip a little further out west – to Lake Windermere.

The Auricula Suite album and Cursus are available from all digital outlets including iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Bandcamp and limited edition CDs are available from the band’s website – search The Auricula Suite or Loudhailer Electric Company https://loudhailer.net/

Web links

The Auricula Suite https://auriculasuite.net/

Drointon Nurseries http://www.auricula-plants.co.uk/shop/

Loudhailer Electric Company https://loudhailer.net/

Michael Chapman and Ehud Banai

Michael Chapman has got a big history, he’s been making records since 1969 and used to play the scene with Mick Ronson when they both lived in Hull around then. He’s had some very cool collaborations, travels and tributes by the likes of Lucinda Williams, Bert Jansch, Maddy Prior and Thurston Moore. His latest collaboration with platinum selling Israeli fusion guitarist Ehud Banai is as comfortable as it is unlikely. Rich and I went to see them play at a candlelit New Adelphi Club last night. Both played their trademark solo songs and then as a duo played a fusion of Yorkshire Hebrew mix up songs, starting with Michael’s seminal Soulful Lady. As Michael said, ‘Psychedelia is alive and well in De Grey Street, Hull’.

Michael Chapman
Michael Chapman photo by Rich
Ehud Banai
Ehud Banai photo by Rich

We came across Michael Chapman again because we both have tracks on the just released Fairview Studio 50th anniversary album. John Spence invited 12 bands/musicians who have a longstanding relationship with the studio to record a track exclusively for the album. When I was in Red Guitars  and The Planet Wilson we recorded at Fairview – our favourite studio –  many times, including the first Red Guitars album Slow to Fade. Loudhailer Electric Company were delighted to be involved – we recorded our funky spoken word number Underneath the Underground as part of Fairview at 50.

The album is a fabulous listen and Michael Chapman’s track is gorgeous, a superb new recording of his song about leaving Hull, Shuffleboat River Farewell.

Fairview 50th CDFairview Studio’s 50th anniversary CD/DVD, just released with 12 exclusive tracks recorded especially for the album. Every track cuts the mustard – Michael Chapman’s Shuffleboat River Farewell is a corker and Bill Nelson’s Playbox showcases his distinctive guitar style perfectly to name just two. The album flows along and a host of videos of anecdotes and chat from all the artists makes it a great package. Look out for it!

Just before you go…have a listen to a clip of our track, Underneath the Underground. Thanks to Charlotte Pugh for the fab original psychedelic art work.

Rich and Lou Duffy-Howard – Visit our Home Page

The Story of the Gypsey Race

There’s a track on our Loudhailer Electric Company studio album called Gypsey Race. In fact, the line from that song: “All roads lead to… the stone at the bend on the Gypsey Race…” is the reason we chose the title of the album, Cursus. And the map below is on the inner sleeve.

So, what’s it all about?

Loudhailer Electric Company Cursus db page3It started when we went walking in the Yorkshire Wolds with my old Red Guitars band buddy John Rowley. John has always been a fantastic story teller and back in the day kept the band thoroughly entertained during many tedious hours of driving between gigs on various Autobahns and autoroutes throughout Europe. Last spring Rich and Dexter and I joined him and a gang of friends on one of his archeology walks – a rollicking good romp through a few hundred thousand years of prehistory. We followed the course of the winterbourne chalk stream – the Gypsey Race – which flows down through the Wolds and east out to sea at Bridlington. On the bend, just where the stream turns east is one of the most important prehistoric sites, the tallest standing stone in the UK – the Rudston monolith. It’s no accident that the stone is situated there as it was once one of the most important places in prehistoric England. Like at Stonehenge there are courses – or cursus – huge miles long structures which lead from all around the surrounding countryside in straight lines to the stones. Just like Avebury on the Kennett where the stream turns east, a corner to meet, and a major neolithic route – the Ridgeway brought traffic and new things as did the cursus and the pathway on the ridge atop the Wolds to Rudston. Prehistorically the Gypsey Race was also used to create fish farms just south east of the stone. A source of fresh water, food and life. Unfortunately unlike Stonehenge and Avebury the land around Rudston has been ploughed intensively over the years and it’s importance cannot be so obviously seen on the ground anymore, but it can’t be under-estimated either.

So, there it is, the Gypsey Race. There are more recent legends and superstitions surrounding the stream, and according to folklore, when the Gypsey Race is flowing in flood the woe waters forebear bad fortune. This happened in the year before the great plague of 1664, before the two world wars and the bad winters of 1947 and 1962. Well, it was in full flow when we were there last spring, and look what’s happened in the world since then…

Anyway, by the time we were heading home the song was pretty much written in my head. I joined up the prehistoric imagery of John’s stories to a much later tale – that of a Roman soldier marching down towards the monolith, along the Roman road on the map. I had a particular soldier in mind – he features in WH Auden’s Roman Wall Blues, brought to life by the sensational Alex Harvey. It first blew me away when I heard it played by Sideway Look who gigged with us – the Red Guitars – back then. That soldier, he’s absolutely sick to death of life on the wall. I’d heard from John Spence at Fairview Studio that the Alex Harvey track was actually mixed at Fairview Studio by Roy Neave – who recorded our Red Guitars album, Slow to Fade so that was a good twist in the tale.
leco cursus
We recorded our Loudhailer Electric Company album, Cursus with John Spence at Fairview Studio last summer, and had a great time there. There are some fab highlights, Rich’s Roman Soldier vocals, Jeff’s Ebow guitar, Chris’s pizzicato violin and that snare before the solo – let’s go!
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There’s a soldier on the wall before the mid-winter sun
Gazing over the heather at the end of the day
If there’s fire in the sky he’ll be ready to march
He’s sick to death of the wall what does it mean anyway?
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Where the river turns east there’s a corner to meet
When night balances day since the beginning of time
There’s shouting and fighting and standing out in the sky
He’s had enough of the wall it’s not a reason to die
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When he gets there he’ll see what the future holds
There’s only bad news coming when the waters flow
It’s time for a change gotta find a new face
Come meet at the bend on the Gypsey Race
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All roads lead to the stone at the bend on the Gypsey RaceI’m the soldier on the wall
Looking out at the sky
I’ve had enough of it all
It’s not a reason to dieI’m that soldier on the wall at the end of the day
I’m sick to death of it all what does it mean anyway?

All roads lead to the stone at the bend on the Gypsey Race

© 2016 Lou Duffy-Howard
Rich and Lou Duffy-Howard – Visit our Home Page

Scale Lane Sound and Light

Playing the Bridge is an inventive collaboration which transforms Hull’s Scale Lane Bridge into an interactive musical instrument as part of Hull 2017 City of Culture. It’s the idea of bridge architect Jonathan McDowell who recognised that like the Gamelan, the bridge can be played by striking the metal work to make tuned sounds. The culmination of the project is Nye Parry and Madi Boyd’s sound and light installation which is open at Scale Lane Bridge, Hull, weekends in April. The installation is impressive – dark, ethereal and atmospheric. Laurence and I have been invigilating the exhibition and we’ve had over a thousand visitors each weekend so far.

Playing the Bridge III
Rich came to visit the installation yesterday and took these photographs. Click on an image to see the full picture and scroll through…
I took these photos while I was invigilating the exhibition yesterday…
And a short phone video clip…
It was great to be part of a group of musicians, Hull Gamelan players led by Laurence Rugg, Hull University music students, York Gamelan players and experimental chamber group The Assembled. Following a series of rehearsals and a weekend of workshops the Playing the Bridge Concert took place on a gorgeous sunny day with a great audience.
Playing the Bridge
The multimedia installation by Nye Parry and Madi Boyd inside the bridge hub, using sounds gathered in the workshops, as well as interviews and sounds from Qualter Hall, the engineers who built the bridge. These are combined with films created through a collage of hundreds of found images of the bridge under construction. The imagery is abstracted and fragmented into a  visual poem that conveys a sense of the complexity of the bridge and reveals the hidden mechanics of the opening mechanism. The installation is open each weekend throughout April, check the Hull2017 website for details. “

Photographs © Rich and Lou Duffy-Howard

Rich & Lou Duffy-Howard- visit our Loudhailer Home Page

Playing the Bridge Concert

How lucky we were to have such a fantastic sunny day – and a great crowd – for the ‘Playing the Bridge’ concert yesterday. Playing the Bridge is a cool collaboration which transforms Hull’s Scale Lane Bridge into an interactive musical instrument as part of Hull 2017 City of Culture. It’s the idea of bridge architect Jonathan McDowell who recognised that like the Gamelan, the bridge can be played by striking the metal work to make tuned sounds. It was great to be part of the group of Hull Gamelan players led by Laurence Rugg.

Playing the Bridge
Playing the Bridge, Gamelan with Siemens in the background

For the first part of the concert the Gamelan was set up in the sunshine on top of the bridge and York Gamelan group and Hull Gamelan players performed a selection of traditional, new and improvised pieces including Alec Roth’s specially commissioned tunes for Hull – Kingston Bells and Bubaran Hull.

The second part of the concert took place inside the bridge, where we performed a soundscape work, directed by composer Nye Parry, using Gamelan mallets on the bridge’s metal panels and girders as the main instrument, accompanied by the  strings, woodwind and electronic sounds of York ensemble, The Assembled. Big gong sounds using huge metal panels from inside & outside the chamber built to a metallic rhythmic pulse and merged into the  drones of cellos, viola, harmonium, wind instruments and bridge parts built to huge ominous crescendos and diminished to delicate hums. The musicians moved around the space and continued to play as they left the chamber where the piece closed with the deep resonant sound of the largest Gamelan gong, the gong ageng.

Rich took this gallery of photographs, click on an image to see the full picture and scroll along…

Playing the Bridge is an artistic commission and performance devised by bridge architect Jonathan McDowell and composer Nye Parry who are both Gamelan players – and coordinated here by Hull Gamelan’s Laurence Rugg.

Playing the Bridge
Playing the Scale Lane bridge Gamelan with Hull Tidal Barrier in the background
The project will culminate in a multimedia installation by Nye Parry and Madi Boyd inside the bridge hub, using sounds gathered in the workshops, as well as interviews and sounds from Qualter Hall, the engineers who built the bridge. These are combined with films created through a collage of hundreds of found images of the bridge under construction. The imagery is abstracted and fragmented into a  visual poem that conveys a sense of the complexity of the bridge and reveals the hidden mechanics of the opening mechanism. The installation will be open each weekend throughout April and easter bank holidays (Friday and Monday) from 10am till 4pm.

Photographs © Rich Duffy-Howard

Rich & Lou Duffy-Howard- visit our Loudhailer Home Page

Spiders from Mars night on BBC Introducing

What a brilliant vibe in the BBC Introducing studio in Hull this week, for a very special show celebrating all things Ziggy Stardust. The show was a superb radio show tribute to David Bowie’s band, Mick Ronson, Trevor Bolder and Woody Woodmansey in their home town. A host of fantastic musicians from round here – Chambers, Holly Tamar and Chris Bilton, Waste of Paint, Urban Rain and Matt Edible played totally amazing interpretations of songs from The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.

BBC Introducing Bowie Night Crew & Co.
BBC Introducing Bowie Night Crew & Co.

I was invited onto the show to play some Ziggy basslines on Spider bassist Trevor Bolder’s Bass, so huge thanks to The Legend Mark Kay and Tom Kay for bringing the bass (complete with original strap and green gaffer tape) into the studio. It’s a gorgeous fretless Kramer, 1970s model with an aluminium headstock and neck frame – Mark showed me pictures of Trevor playing it in Uriah Heep. I was made up!

The 13 year old me at the Ziggy gig way back then would *never* have believed this could happen in a million years. Alan and I chatted about Bowie and the band, and I took in a couple of bits of precious memorabilia (aka teenage relics). Here are a couple of them again, my letter from Angie Bowie – seal of approval from the Bowie family for my first band with my best mate Julie, The Weirdies in the Wardrobe, and my Bowie autograph letter.

So here we are, me and Trevor’s Bass. You can see I’m holding a book, You Rocked We Rolled by Mott the Hoople (also my heroes, the second gig I ever went to after Ziggy) road crew technician Phil John. Phil was also the spotlight operator on the Ziggy Stardust tour, and as fate would have it he sent me a message this week saying some very complimentary things about our Loudhailer Electric Company album. I was so chuffed, who would have thought that could have happened either!

BBC Introducing Bowie Night Lou

The radio show coincides with Woody Woodmansey’s Ziggy gigs in Hull this weekend. You can listen to BBC Introducing Ziggy special on BBC Radio Humberside  95.9 FM/ DAB 25th March 8pm or catch up on line for 30 days.

Big high five to the BBC Intro team, Katy Noone for setting it all up, presenter extraordinaire, Alan Raw, engineer John Anguish and George in the studio.

Here’s Rich’s gallery of photos, click on an image to see the full picture and scroll on…

BBC Introducing on Radio Humberside – listen live 95.9FM/DAB and catch up here: BBC Introducing Humberside

Rich and Lou and Dexter Duffy-Howard – Visit our Loudhailer Home Page

Jackson D – Face

Jackson D Face

It was our buddy Jackson D’s album launch last night. With a cool cat sound, a huge voice and a bag full of the most catchy killer songs, Jackson D and ace percussionist Zachary Theodorou played a storming show to an invited audience at The Back Room. Joined by Sarah Shiels on bass for a couple of numbers and with special guests Fiona Lee and Strawberry Moon to open the show, it was a brilliant night out. Jackson D’s debut album, Face, is a work of art, so stylish, we love it.

Have a look at Rich’s photos…

Jackson D – Discover more on Jackson D’s website here

Rich and Lou Duffy-Howard – Visit our Home Page

Hull UK City of Culture

city-of-culture-in-with-a-bang-dex-lou
Me & Dex at In with a Bang

Pleased to be included in the Hull City of Culture opening show – Red Guitars Good Technology, with some great Hull music buddies, Roland Gift and Fine Young Cannibals, The Housemartins, Kingmaker, and my biggest hero Mick Ronson with David Bowie and Trevor Bolder.

Here is a gallery of Rich’s photos from the evening. click on an image to see the full picture and scroll through…

Rich and Lou Duffy-Howard – Visit our Home Page

Here’s to a Cool Yule

Wishing all our friends the coolest of Yules! Come and join us for a drive through our Lego Winter Village, see if you can spot the real Father Christmas…

 

Thanks to everyone who’s linked up with us this year, visited our website, been to our gigs, played our Loudhailer Electric Company album, been to Loudhailer Acoustic, invited us to play and shared the stage with us. We’ve had lots of fun this year, here’s to the next one!

Rich and Lou Duffy-Howard – Visit our Home Page