8th May 2009
Big Whistle Weekend, Bury.
Take an unlikely event, such as a festival which concentrates primarily on the humble tin whistle. Take an unlikely setting for such a festival, such as Bury in Greater Manchester. What you get is the Big Whistle Weekend. Our chums, The Battlefield Band, were performing on the Thursday night and Friday saw us make the trip south to play a concert with that jazziest of tin whistle players, the brilliant Cormac Breatnach. After his set, we played our usual song-based stuff whilst attempting to please the whistle loving audience with extra whistliness at all times, including a spontaneous rendering of our old favourite from 3 Ravens days, "Mary's Dream", which we originally got from Mike Katz of the Battlefield Band, thereby closing the circle nicely!
On Saturday morning the non whistlers were obliged to leave the area, ostensibly due to their plebian ignorance of the dark arts of the tin whistle, but actually to fly to Denmark for a tour while Mark, the only paid up member of the Whistlers Circle took part in a workshop entitled "The Tin Whistle and Me", wherein aspiring members of the Whistlers Circle asked pertinent questions like "Why aren't we learning to play something a bit more sexy, like the flute or the pipes or something?"
So whether we use it as an entry in to music generally or make it our main instrument, here's to the tin whistle, cheap and common little thing that it is. Where would we be without it?