Tag Archives: traditional music

Andy Turner sings and plays at the Kent Gathering

Andy Turner sings at the Kent Gathering


Andy Turner will sing and play at the Kent Gathering, both on his own and with leading
local musicians Chris Taylor, Dan and Matt Quinn, and Oxfordshire friends
Dulcie and Tom Miller

Andy Turner sings, plays anglo-concertina and one-row melodeon. He was born and bred at Ashford, and first became involved in the folk scene in Kent.

In the 1980s, he danced with Oyster Morris, was an occasional member of the Oyster Band, played in a duo with Chris Wood and, along with Chris, was a member of local dance bands including Polkabilly and the Old City Band.

Finding that songs from Kent were under-represented in published collections, he also began to research local singers, and was fortunate to meet Charlie Bridger, a fine singer from Stone-in-Oxney. Andy brought Charlie
along to the English Country Music Weekend at Frittenden in 1986, and this was one of the last times Charlie sang in public before his death in 1988.

Andy has lived in Oxfordshire since 1987. In addition to his solo performances, he is a member of English Ceilidh band Geckoes, Oxford-based concert band Magpie Lane, West Gallery choir The Christminster Singers and in a duo with Bampton fiddler Mat Green.

Despite being so busy living in exile, he maintains a strong interest in songs and singers from Kent, and has recorded several Kentish songs, both under his own name and with Magpie Lane. His repertoire includes items noted down in the county by early collectors such as Cecil Sharp and Ralph Vaughan Williams, from the post-war collection of Francis Collinson, and from singers recorded in the last few decades by Mike Yates and others – including George Spicer, the travelling Willett family and, of course, Charlie Bridger.

You can also find him at Myspace.

Here are some short samples of Andy’s excellent singing. The first is of Andy singing with his wife Carol Turner, and is a version Sharp collected from James Beale of Warehorne.

Spencer the Rover sample

The second is a version of Spencer the Rover collected by Vaughan Williams from Mr & Mrs Truell of Gravesend.

Bold Fisherman sample

Nigel Hobbins at the Kent Gathering of Traditional Music

Nigel Hobbins sings his songs he learned from his grandfather, who was a well known singer around Challock (pronounced ‘Chollock’), after moving into the village in the late 1890s.

Grandad worked for many years for the local council, and was responsible for the stretch of road between Challock and Boughton Aluph, but he also worked part time as a gardener and cobbler. However, it’s his singing for which he seems to have been best remembered, and Nigel himself has many clear memories of his grandfather singing at family occasions. Clearly, the young boy must have been impressed, as he made the effort to learn his grandfather’s songs.

Nigel himself is a carver in wood and musician. He studied fine art at Canterbury and helped to establish the Whitstable Artists & Musicians Collective.

Click here for more on Nigel Hobbins.

The Millen Family of traditional singers travel to the USA

Kent’s Millen Family of traditional singers sing for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival

The Millen Family singing at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, where they represented Kent’s contribution to the life of Virginia

Earlier this year, Kent Gathering’s top-of-the-bill Millen Family of traditional singers were invited to represent Kent at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, an international exposition of living cultural heritage held each year on the National Mall of the United States in Washington DC.

Apart from their singing, we gather one of the most entertaining moments of their shows was their attempt to explain the differences between West Country and Kentish ciders, which I gather involved some very funny and improbable ‘true tales’ about local characters around the village of Bethersden.

I’m told that some of these were toned down for the stage, but perhaps they can be persuaded to tell us the truth on the 29th March 2008! And some of the people of Frittenden know something about cider too…