Mick started playing the anglo concertina in the late ‘sixties when the instruments could be purchased relatively cheaply. Setting out with a borrowed Lachenal C/G twenty button until by the mid seventies he moved his sights to the more challenging thirty key instrument.
Straight in at the deep end with a C.Jeffries c.1880 in C/G. The publisher of many volumes of traditional music, Dave Mallinson asked him to write a tutor for the Irish style of playing and decoration as used on the anglo.
The rest is history. It proved to be one of Mally’s best sellers and was followed by the very successful Absolute Beginners Concertina in 2000. They are both still on the shelves and selling and the ABC and In Between Anglo are available as downloads with the associated sound files.
He continues as a tutor for the West Country Concertina Players and with individuals on a 1:1 basis. Mick’s Website
Stephen bought an English Concertina in 1972, playing it for barn dance and morris, but was frustrated that he couldn’t get that distinctive ‘William Kimber’ sound from the instrument. Finding a wooden-ended 1880 20-button Lachenal transformed his playing. This led to a search for the ultimate morris anglo.
In the 1990s he was commissioned to write a play (Wonder Working Wire) about Charles Wheatsone, inventor of the concertina. He regularly performs a costumed talk on the life of Wheatstone. Stephen has travelled with his concertina, sailing the oceans and playing concerts for accordion societies in Russia and Sweden, as well as numerous festivals from Europe to Australia.
Stephen teaches concertina, whistle, pipe and tabor and bagpipes and specialises in helping students learn to play by ear and playing for dance.
Morrisman, Folkie and Guitar picker I spent a lot of my working life at sea and bought my first Anglo in Curacao Netherlands Antilles in 1971. The owner of the music shop, who had never been to Europe, played me ‘The Helston Floral dance’ on it. Back on the ship I spent the first week playing it upside down before the penny dropped. It was a 20 key German Red one but it was enough to get me hooked. I have dabbled in the English but my first love is the Anglo. Steve Rowley introduced me to Steve Dickinson who was making concertinas and I ended up ordering what was to be the last ever Dickinson Bros of Great Linford as the instrument was used by Steve D to convince Boosey & Hawkes to let him trade as Wheatstone Concertinas. That concertina has done 10 world cruises on the QE2 and been played on a Square Rigger in the Caribbean.
Like Steve Rowley I play for the Morris. I enjoy working out tunes that are not conventionally Anglo tunes such as Ragtime, Spread a little Happiness, Bring me sunshine, Blue Skies, Makin’ Whoopee and the like. I have no idea how to play the Irish style and am in awe of Mick! Players I admire are Alan Day, Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne and as for Mohsen Amini – well! Biggest concertina regret is that Andrew Blakeney-Edwards died long before his potential could be realised. I currently play that Dickinson, now in Bb/F and a Crabb in C/G.