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Mechanical maestro

BBC award-winning musician Luke Daniels, who will be familiar to folk fans and for his work in local schools, will be bringing his new project, Revolve and Rotate, to Shaw House, on Sunday, February 7 (7pm)

Trish Lee

Reporter:

Trish Lee

Mechanical maestro

Luke Daniels’ Revolve & Rotate - The Polyphon Chronicles is a unique, inspired project from one of the world’s best melodeon players and critically acclaimed singer songwriter/multi-instrumentalist. Luke is combining his outstanding musicianship with the mechanical music of an authentic Polyphon machine c1880. Through this unique device, he explores the circular notion of UK folk music. 

This folk musician and composer’s passion for our earliest music machine, the polyphon, is helping him embrace the very latest 21st-century music technology. With support from Arts Council England and PRS for Music Foundation, Luke combines his outstanding talents as a guitarist, pianist and melodeon virtuoso with an original polyphon machine – a 19th-century mechanical music device about the size of a grandfather clock, with which Luke has developed a new method of transferring electronic music onto the steel polyphon discs. Revolve and Rotate is a suite of new 100-second pieces composed by Luke, played via 19 5/8” discs with live performance combined during his live solo show. He will also give a talk about his music, the Revolve and Rotate project and his work with West Berkshire schools.

Formerly a Riverdance band-member and soloist on the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit soundtracks, Luke, from Sonning Common but now living in Glasgow, has forged a reputation over the past two decades as one of the folk world’s most respected
multi-instrumentalists — on a series of albums in his own name and as an in-demand melodeon player for the likes of Ian Anderson, Riverdance and as a regular in Cara Dillon’s band. 

Both Daniels’ parents were traditional musicians when he started playing the bodhrán at eight. “I started on the melodeon when I was about nine, having always sung, played piano and guitar, but was known predominantly as a melodeon player,” he said. His instrumental folk albums includes Lost Music of the Gaels, a 2006 album of original and traditional music composed for classical quintet and uileann pipes; the 2011 set The Mighty Box, described in fRoots magazine as “The Gospel Accordion to Luke” and 2013’s Mother Glasgow, with the Glasgow City Celtic Collective, inspired by the city to which he and his family moved the year before.

Tickets are available from Shaw House (01635) 279279 and Newbury visitor information centre (£11 adults, £10 with West Berkshire Card and £6 for young people aged 16 and under (£5 with WBC).
To apply for a West Berkshire Card, go to www.westberks.gov.uk/wbcard

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