Singing Simpkin and other Bawdy Jigs: Musical Comedy on the
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My personal take on Elizabethan composer Thomas Ravenscroft
on BBC Radio 3
Daily Telegraph profile:
‘Bawdy babe of Radio 3'
BBC Music Magazine column
I present BBC Radio 3’s ‘Early Music Show’ (Sundays 2pm) in which I introduce and discuss Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque and early Classical music. Previews appear in my columns in the BBC Music Magazine and Early Music Today.
As a performer, I specialise in the research and reconstruction of early popular and traditional music – in particular 16th, 17th and 18th-century English broadside ballads, street songs and playhouse music, and music of the old Jewish world.
My group The City Waites was a pioneer in the rediscovery and reconstruction of early English popular music. I am also founder-director of The Burning Bush, one of the UK’s longest established
Jewish music bands, performing klezmer and songs from the Sephardi/Ladino and Yiddish repertoire. Both ensembles have made numerous broadcasts and recordings, performed in major London venues, toured throughout the world and contributed soundtracks to feature films and tv documentaries (incl. Polanski's 'The Pianist'; Simon Schama's 'History of Britain'; Peter Ackroyd's Charles Dickens series and art documentaries for Waldemar Januszczak).
My books are: 'Singing Simpkin and other Bawdy Jigs: Musical Comedy on the Shakespearean Stage' (Exeter University Press 2014, co-authored with Roger Clegg): 'The most substantial and authoritative study of this elusive and much misunderstood genre' Stanley Wells, Times Literary Supplement; ''Broadside Ballads' (Faber Music 2006), Winner, Music Best Classical Publication Music Industries Association Awards 2007;''Who Gave Thee thy Jolly Red Nose?' (Recorder Press 2010) ;'Let's Make Tudor Music' (Stainer and Bell 1999), Runner-up TES Best Primary School Book Award.
Appearances as an expert/interviewee include: BBC Breakfast, Chris Evans Breakfast Show, Shakespeare’s Playlist; Songs of Praise. I have contributed articles and reviews to The Daily Telegraph, History Today, Financial Times, BBC History Magazine, OPERA and been the subject of several profiles.
My illustrated Lectures and Workshops have included Globe Theatre Education, Dartington Hall International Summer School, Rose Bruford Theatre School, Handel House, Institute of Musical Research Senate House and the Huntington Library California.
I trained as a violinist at the Royal College of Music, and went on to study singing. I performed with the pre-punk ‘Sadista Sisters’, the Michael Nyman Band, The English Consort of Viols, and The Martin Best Ensemble, while building up my own groups.
Appearances/soundtracks/roles include Polanski's Oscar-winning movie 'The Pianist' and Peter Greenaway’s ‘The Falls’ and ‘A Walk Through H’; for BBC TV: Simon Schama's 'History of Britain', 'Mr Pepys' Diary', Peter Ackroyd’s 'Charles Dickens', 'The Beggar's Opera' (for Jonathan Miller), 'The One Show', and 'Rude Britannia', documentary art films (for Waldemar Januszczak) and 'Sounds of London' for Jools Holland.
Theatre work includes ‘Jenny Diver’ in The Beggars Opera at Regents Park Open Air Theatre, ‘Cinderella’ at Theatre Royal Bath (with Peggy Mount and Jimmy Edwards), ‘The Duenna’ at the Young Vic; and as a musician with the Royal National Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe, Rambert Dance Company and the RSC.
I am a member of the Samuel Pepys Club, Patron of the Finchley Children’s Music Group, an Ambassador/Adjudicator for the charity ‘Live Music Now’ and contributor to the schools’ song-bank, ‘Sing Up’.