Michael Berkeley is joined by Northumbrian piper and fiddle player Kathryn Tickell. She chooses music from Percy Grainger, Chiquinha Gonzaga and John Cage.
Michael Berkeley's guest is the Northumbrian musician Kathryn Tickell.
Kathryn Tickell is rooted in the remote hill farms of Northumbria; her grandparents were shepherds, and she grew up playing the Northumbrian pipes and fiddle at village dances. By the age of just 16, she was the official piper to the Lord Mayor of Newcastle and had released her first album. 19 more albums have followed. She was the first folk performer at the BBC Proms, was named Musician of the Year at the 2013 Radio 2 Folk Awards (not for the first time) and holds the Queen's Medal for Music. She's done more than any other musician to preserve the rich musical heritage of the North East of England. In a programme recorded at Sage Gateshead during the 2014 Free Thinking Festival, she talks to Michael Berkeley about how she started visiting old musicians, when she was only nine, taking her tape recorder to capture voices and tunes. This was an oral tradition, so recording the tunes was a way of learning them - they weren't written down. What did the musicians think of this young girl turning up to record them? Most of them, she reflects wryly, were related to her anyway.
Kathryn Tickell's lifelong enthusiasm for musical discovery leads to a marvellously eclectic playlist for the programme. She introduces Percy Grainger music for theremin, the Brazilian composer Chiquinha Gonzaga, the Armenian folk-song collector Komitas Vardabet, and John Cage's Sonata No 5 for 'prepared' piano. Plus a comic song from the Tyneside singer Owen Brannigan and a poem in Northumbrian dialect which she warns listeners not even to bother trying to decipher?
Producer: Elizabeth Burke
A Loftus production for BBC Radio 3.
To hear previous episodes of Private Passions, please visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/r3pp/all.