Dave Brown's Musical Blog

Musical activities and Life in France

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  • Streaming (or lack of streaming!)

    There are many streaming platforms these days and many describe themselves as being a great way to promote the music of individual musicians and/or groups and bands. By doing this they endeavour to create a following, usually the artist themselves is responsible for the music promotion through their own websites, YouTube and Social Media outlets such as Facebook, Instagram or TicTock.

    Il existe de nombreuses plateformes de streaming qui sont décrites comme un excellent moyen de promouvoir la musique pour les musiciens individuels. En faisant cela, ils s’efforcent de créer un public. En général, l’artiste lui-même est responsable de la promotion de sa musique par le biais de son propre site web, de YouTube et des médias sociaux tels que Facebook, Instagram ou TicTock.

    Well, if your name is Paul McCartney or Ed Sheeran then probably you could make make a few pennies, but for the ordinary Joe Musician it’s no way to make a living from these streaming systems as the royalty payments are eye-wateringly small. Fact: In the last 3 years I’ve had over 10,000 streams of my music around the world through various streaming companies. Royalty income is less than £25.00. Fortunately, I don’t need the money to feed my family, but some struggling musicians do.

    Si vous vous appelez Paul McCartney, vous pouvez gagner quelques centimes, mais pour le musicien ordinaire, ce n’est pas un moyen de gagner sa vie car les redevances sont très faibles. Fait : Au cours des trois dernières années, ma musique a été diffusée à près de 10 000 reprises dans le monde entier. Les redevances perçues sont inférieures à 25 £. Heureusement, je n’ai pas besoin de cet argent pour nourrir ma famille, mais certains musiciens en difficulté en ont besoin.

    Nevertheless, I remain a subscriber to various platforms and have decided to release an old CD of mine called Gingerbread and Moonshine. The CD was released on multiple platforms in late October 2022

    Néanmoins, je reste abonné à diverses plateformes et j’ai décidé de publier un de mes anciens CD intitulé Gingerbread and Moonshine. Le CD est sorti sur plusieurs plateformes à la fin du mois d’octobre 2022.

    Gingerbread and Moonshine

    The CD was recorded and released shortly after my wife, Patience and I were married in 1997. One of the tunes was called Patience. Readers can find out more about this tune and its companion “Home on the Hill” in my blog post from August 16th 2022 – Tunes with a difference (Part 1).

    Le CD a été enregistré et publié peu après que ma femme, Patience, et moi nous soyons mariés en 1997. L’un des airs s’appelle Patience. Les lecteurs peuvent en savoir plus sur cet air et sur son compagnon “Home on the Hill” dans mon billet du 16 août 2022 – Tunes with a difference (Part 1).

    To listen to this track on Spotify CLICK HERE:

    There were originally 12 tracks, but this latest streaming publication, for copyright reasons, only uses 10 of them:

    Il y avait à l’origine 12 pistes, mais cette dernière publication en streaming, pour des raisons de droits d’auteur, n’en utilise que 10.


    1. FROSTY: Is a set of 2 tunes, both traditional American reels. “Cold and Frosty Morning” and the “Grumbling Old Man and the Growling Old Woman”. Probably my favourite tune title of all time.

    Est un ensemble de 2 airs, tous deux des reels traditionnels américains. “Cold and Frosty Morning” et le “Grumbling Old Man and the Growling Old Woman”. Probablement mon titre de chanson préféré de tous les temps.

    2. NIGHT: These two tunes have an interesting 3 pulse to each bar, but they definitely are not Waltzes. “Night of Fun” and “Rocky Road to Dublin”. Since moving to France and forming our band “Celtiqua” we have found the words for Rocky Road and now sing that from time to time. This recording displays my view that performing traditional tunes is not just a case of playing the tune a few times, but it is about taking the listener, the musician, the tune itself and the dancer on a meaningful journey. As with all journeys, there is light and shade; moments of drama; and moments of reflection. Hear for yourself. NIGHT OF FUN

    Ces deux airs ont une pulsation intéressante de 3 à chaque mesure, mais ce ne sont définitivement pas des valses. “Night of Fun” et “Rocky Road to Dublin”. Depuis que nous avons déménagé en France et formé notre groupe “Celtiqua”, nous avons trouvé les paroles de “Rocky Road” et nous le chantons de temps en temps. Cet enregistrement montre mon point de vue selon lequel l’interprétation d’airs traditionnels ne consiste pas seulement à jouer l’air plusieurs fois, mais à emmener l’auditeur, le musicien, l’air lui-même et le danseur dans un voyage significatif. Comme dans tous les voyages, il y a des ombres et des lumières, des moments de drame et des moments de réflexion. Écoutez par vous-même. NUIT DE PLAISIR

    3. ASHTON*: I wrote these two tunes while I was living in Eckington, in Worcestershire, England. They are marches which have a strong driving pulse. “Ashton Hill*” is the hill between Ashton-under-hill and Eckington on the edge of the Vale of Evesham. I used to enjoy the sunsets through my apartment window as I looked across at the hills in South Wales. The second tune has a sort of Scottish feel, but the “Whickham Jambouree*” takes place in Oxfordshire, in the Southern Midlands of the England.

    J’ai écrit ces deux airs alors que je vivais à Eckington, dans le Worcestershire, en Angleterre. Ce sont des marches qui ont une forte impulsion motrice. “Ashton Hill” est la colline située entre Ashton-under-hill et Eckington, en bordure de la vallée d’Evesham. J’avais l’habitude d’apprécier les couchers de soleil par la fenêtre de mon appartement en regardant les collines du sud du Pays de Galles. Le deuxième air a une sorte d’atmosphère écossaise, mais le “Whickham Jambouree” se déroule dans le Oxfordshire, dans les Midlands du sud de l’Angleterre.

    4. HOME*: See above and on my previous blog post.

    5 LAURA*: “Laura’s Swing*”, “Jig for Catherine*” and “Jig for Bob*” are all dedicated to people who were good friends. Laura is a Dancer: Catherine was an elderly American lady: Bob was an Australian teacher with whom I used to ski.

    “Laura’s Swing“, “Jig for Catherine” et “Jig for Bob*” sont toutes dédiées à des personnes qui étaient de bons amis. Laura est une danseuse : Catherine était une vieille dame américaine : Bob était un professeur australien avec qui je faisais du ski.

    6. ROMANCE*: I wrote this as my bid for Romantic film recognition! (J’ai écrit ceci pour obtenir la reconnaissance du film romantique !) See the previous post:

    7. SWALLOW: The traditional tune “Swallow Tail Jig” appears in several different fiddle playing traditions. This was my version in the 1990s – I would probably play it very differently today. “Protherough’s Jig*” was written to remember Dave Protherough who was a fine Rugby player and the father of one of my pupils.

    L’air traditionnel “Swallow Tail Jig” apparaît dans plusieurs traditions de jeu de violon différentes. C’était ma version dans les années 1990 – je la jouerais probablement très différemment aujourd’hui. La “Protherough’s Jig*” a été écrite en souvenir de Dave Protherough qui était un excellent joueur de rugby et le père d’un de mes élèves.

    8. FUNDAY: was named due to a spelling mistake by the printer. the first tune is the “Bay of Fundy” which is in Canada, just South of Quebec. This great tune is followed by the traditional Reels “The Old Grey Cat” and “Saut de Lapin”

    “Funday” a été nommé ainsi à cause d’une faute d’orthographe de l’imprimeur. Le premier air est celui de la “Baie de Fundy” qui se trouve au Canada, juste au sud du Québec. Ce grand air est suivi par les reels traditionnels “The Old Grey Cat” et “Saut de Lapin”.

    9 REDTAIL*: “Redtail Rag*” was written one afternoon and I had no idea about a title until I looked out of the window and saw a bird with a red tail! (q.e.d.) “Church Flowers*” is a great swingy Hornpipe which I wrote while my other half was out taking flowers to the local church.

    “Redtail Rag” a été écrit un après-midi et je n’avais aucune idée de titre jusqu’à ce que je regarde par la fenêtre et que je voie un oiseau avec une queue rouge ! (q.e.d.) “Church Flowers” est un grand hornpipe swinguant que j’ai écrit pendant que ma moitié apportait des fleurs à l’église locale.

    10 WATERFALL: Two traditional Reels – “Over the Waterfall” and “Rock the Cradle Joe”.

    • Tunes with an Asterix * are my compositions. Otherwise the tunes are traditional or Public Domain. Les airs avec un astérisque * sont mes compositions. Sinon, les airs sont traditionnels ou du domaine public.

    I hope you enjoy these melodies which were originally recorded to support Folk Dance Clubs who were not fortunate enough, or rich enough, to have live musicians at their weekly practices. So, dancers everywhere, please feel free to stream this music for your club members to dance to as often as you want. I’ve even been told that it’s a great accompaniment when doing the ironing, or as one friend emailed me to say, great for marching through the mountains in New Zealand. Who knew?

    J’espère que vous apprécierez ces mélodies qui ont été enregistrées à l’origine pour soutenir les clubs de danse folklorique qui n’avaient pas la chance, ou la richesse, d’avoir des musiciens en chair et en os à leurs répétitions hebdomadaires. Alors, danseurs du monde entier, n’hésitez pas à diffuser cette musique pour que les membres de votre club puissent danser aussi souvent que vous le souhaitez. On m’a même dit que c’était un excellent accompagnement pour faire du repassage ou, comme un ami m’a envoyé un courriel pour me dire que c’était parfait pour marcher dans les montagnes de Nouvelle-Zélande. Qui l’aurait cru ?

    CLICK HERE to find my previous CD OUTSIDE OF THE SQUARE:

  • Tunes with a Difference (Part 2)

    Not all the tunes I write are that different from the traditional sound of Jigs, Hornpipes, Waltzes and Reels, but many have an interesting, personal or current reason for being written. For me this makes the tunes stand out from the vast numbers of traditional tunes which can be found around the world.

    Tous les airs que j’écris ne sont pas si différents du son traditionnel des gigues, des cornesmuses, des valses et des reels, mais beaucoup ont une raison intéressante, personnelle ou actuelle d’être écrits. Pour moi, c’est ce qui permet aux airs de se démarquer des nombreux airs traditionnels que l’on peut trouver dans le monde entier.

    Here are some tunes written for my Grandchildren all of whom live in other countries, so it’s hard to get to see them.

    Voici quelques mélodies écrites pour mes petits-enfants, qui vivent tous dans d’autres pays, et qu’il est donc difficile de voir.

    As these tunes are not entirely written for accompanying Folk Dances, I have allowed myself to be a little more creative with some of the recordings.

    Comme ces airs ne sont pas entièrement écrits pour accompagner les danses folkloriques, je me suis permis d’être un peu plus créatif avec certains des enregistrements.


    Faraway Zoe

    Zoe lives a long way away, in Denmark, so we don’t get to see her too often. I wrote his tune for her around the time of her birth and her Christening.

    Zoe vit très loin, au Danemark, alors nous n’avons pas l’occasion de la voir très souvent. J’ai écrit cet air pour elle à l’époque de sa naissance et de son baptême.


    Aya’s Celebration

    Aya is Zoe’s sister, and therefore also lives a long way away in Denmark. Like the tune above, I wrote this to celebrate Aya’s birth and Christening.

    Aya est la sœur de Zoe, et vit donc aussi très loin, au Danemark. Comme la chanson ci-dessus, j’ai écrit cette chanson pour célébrer la naissance et le baptême d’Aya.

    Aya’s Celebration

    Oscar Rising

    Oscar is our eldest Grandson and he lives in England with his family. He is a lively confident and thoughtful chap. This tune is also lively, and I hope a confident sounding tune, with a few thoughtful moments. Before you ask, I have no idea where the title came from.

    Oscar est notre petit-fils le plus âgé et il vit en Angleterre avec sa famille. C’est un garçon vif, confiant et réfléchi. Cet air est également vivant, et j’espère qu’il a un son confiant, avec quelques moments de réflexion. Avant que vous ne demandiez, je n’ai aucune idée de l’origine du titre.

    Oscar Rising

    Arthur’s Lullaby

    Arthur is our middle Grandson and he is humorous and as equally lively as his brothers. I wrote this tune when he was a small baby and, of course, babies love lullabys (don’t they?)

    Arthur est notre deuxième petit-fils et il est plein d’humour et tout aussi vif que ses frères. J’ai écrit cet air quand il était un petit bébé et, bien sûr, les bébés adorent les berceuses (n’est-ce pas ?).

    Arthur’s Lullaby

    Beauxdy’s Reel

    Beauxdy is our youngest Grandson and is a very happy baby boy. We’re waiting to see his character develop and blossom. When it does I might need to write another tune.

    Beauxdy est notre plus jeune petit-fils et c’est un petit garçon très heureux. Nous attendons de voir son caractère se développer et s’épanouir. Quand ce sera le cas, je pourrais avoir besoin d’écrire un autre air.


    A Bonus Tune:

    I wrote another piece for our Grand-daughters in Denmark, and I thought this would be good to share it here. It’s my attempt to sound a bit Scandinavian!! We use this recording from time to time in our French Dance Club – Danse Pressignoise.

    J’ai écrit un autre morceau pour nos petites-filles au Danemark, et j’ai pensé que ce serait bien de le partager ici. C’est ma tentative de sonner un peu scandinave ! Nous utilisons cet enregistrement de temps en temps dans notre club de danse français – Danse Pressignoise.

    Danish Delight.

    All tunes are © Dave Brown (BROWN, David Lewis):

    For more details, please visit my website

    Please play the music whenever you want, but please maintain the connection between the tune and my name.

    Jouez la musique quand vous voulez, mais maintenez le lien entre l’air et mon nom.

    Thank you et Merci.


  • Tunes with a difference (part 1)

    I have spent many productive hours over the years writing melodies, mainly for country dance, and often to mark a significant life moment. These tunes, and many arrangements, can be downloaded as PDF files from my website. Please help yourself.

    My tunes are normally constructed to match the movements of our traditional dance style. It is rooted in English Country Dance, but has many international derivative dances such as Scottish Country Dance, Irish social dance and American Square and Contra Dance. The music typically has 2 main phrases (A and B) of 8 bars each, which are repeated, making 32 bars in total.

    In this blog post I wish to present two recordings and introduce 3 tunes.


    1. Patience

    CD Cover for Ginger Bread and Moonshine

    In 1998, Patience and I were married in Worcestershire, England and, after the return from our Honeymoon (which involved taking 61 children skiing to the Austrian Alps!), I recorded a solo CD called “Gingerbread and Moonshine”.

    For that CD I recorded a tune which I had written for her two years before called (unsurprisingly), Patience. I think it’s a lovely waltz tune and I really enjoy playing it whenever I get the chance.

    Woollas Hall, Worcestershire – Home on the Hill

    On the CD track you can listen to here, I recorded two tunes together. The first is another favourite tune of mine “Home on the Hill“. The tune reflects the tranquility of the old manor house in which I was living before our marriage. It is followed by the tune Patience. (More musical readers will, hopefully, appreciate the key change between the two tunes.)

    You can listen to the CD track by playing the sound file below and download a copy of the melodies at the end of this blog post.

    Home on the Hill (Ref: 132 ©Dave Brown 1996 ) + Patience (Ref: 133 ©Dave Brown Jan 1996) pub DLBMUSIC

    2. Romance

    On the same CD I recorded a tune which is not in my usual style. I chose to record “Romance”, a piano solo piece.

    I’ve always imagined this piece of music being a “Big Movie” theme and have often thought about how it would sound with a full string orchestra.

    You can Listen to me playing Romance by playing the sound file below. To download a copy, so that you can play this yourself, please visit the end of this post.

    Romance (©Dave Brown 1980 Ref:A076) pub DLBMUSIC

    All music recorded and printed is ©Dave Brown. See individual pieces for copyright information.


    The music is free to play – reproduction by licence – public performances please complete the appropriate Performing rights notification including the copyright information.

  • Apéro Concert

    Once again we enjoyed an evening at the terrace bar at the Hotel, Loges du Parc in La Roche Posay. July 2022.

    Une fois de plus, nous avons profité d’une soirée au bar terrasse de l’Hôtel, Loges du Parc à La Roche Posay.

    Les Loges du Parc

    The band, Trio Valdes, played a great selection of Spanish and South American Salsa, Rhumba, Tango and Beguine rhythms to a host of well-known songs.

    Le groupe, Trio Valdes, a joué une grande sélection de rythmes espagnols et sud-américains de salsa, de rumba, de tango et de béguine sur une foule de chansons connues.

    Trio Valdes

    The resident dancer, a lone man of 94 years, led the dancing in his own individual style.

    Le danseur résident, un homme seul de 94 ans, a dirigé la danse dans son propre style.

    As usual there was a good crowd of locals, holiday makers and good friends all enjoying a selection of Cocktails from the A la carte menu.

    Comme d’habitude, il y avait une bonne foule de locaux, de vacanciers et de bons amis, qui ont tous apprécié une sélection de cocktails du menu à la carte.

    Le Lounge Bar – La Carte

    It was a fun, and relaxed evening and thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. However, I did wonder what all the arriving guests thought about their South American welcome to the Loges du Parc as they checked-in.

    C’était une soirée amusante et détendue, appréciée par tous. Cependant, je me suis demandé ce que tous les invités ont pensé de leur accueil sud-américain aux Loges du Parc lors de leur enregistrement.

    Loges du Parc, La Roche Posay.
  • Soirée Irlandaise

    We have been in France now for nearly 8 years and ever since we moved here we have been delighted to be involved with the Annual Irish Night organised by various social groups in Le Grand Pressigny.

    Previously the Irish group SIANSA had played as the main band, but this year, as Siansa have disbanded, our Celtic Folk Music and Song Band – CELTIQUA was the main band to play during the evening. We were preceded by guests from England, this region of France, Le GrandPressigny, Brittany and Poitiers.

    As always with events like this, there was a great deal of organisation in the background, mainly by volunteers, so we have to say thanks to those who erected stages, put up tents, arranged tables and chairs and organised the food trucks to arrive. Once the evening started, it was full of people, maybe as many as 200. The bar was open food was being served and the atmosphere was conducive to the forthcoming concert of Irish and Celtic rooted music.

    Advert for the Soirée Irlandaise

    How to pronounce Celtiqua:

    As an aside to the all important process of playing music, our band’s name is CELTIQUA. In France this is pronounced with a soft “C” (sell-tiqua). Of course, Celtique (sell-tic) is a Scottish Football team.

    We play music and sing songs which have a “Celtic” (K-eltic) origin. Therefore our band is called Celtiqua (K-eltiqua) except in France of course.

    Celtiqua

    The Programme

    The first group on stage was Dave Henderson (guitar), Geoff Pollitt (fiddle) and their friend Peter O’Brien (Bodhran) all of whom used to be members of the group Siansa. They played a selection of Reels and Jigs, including PaddyLynn’s Delight, Julia Delaney, The musical Priest and The Merry Blacksmith. The jigs included The Miller of Glanmire and Up in the Air. Plus some songs such as the Belfast Mill. Geoff told me that he was pleased to be able to sing the harmonies to the Belfast Mill once again.

    Peter, David and Geoff from the band Siansa.

    The next performers came from Poitiers – Jean-Philippe Nicolas who played the Fiddle, Flute, Whistles, Guitar, and sang songs, and Olivier Bouchard who also played the Fiddle, Flute, and Whistles. They were joined on a couple of pieces by Peter O’Brien from Siansa.

    Peter, Jean-Philippe and Olivier

    Gwenael Quiviger came from Brittany specially for the evening’s concert. An excellent button accordion player and singer he entertained us with Breton Songs and Music.

    Celtiqua

    Then it was the turn of Celtiqua. We played a selection of 20 pieces from our repertoire with a slight bias towards Irish Tunes rather than the usual mixture of Celtic tunes and American versions of Celtic we normally play. We did manage to slip in a couple of more American sets. Our songs, as usual, are nearly all Irish in origin.

    Finally, all the musicians gathered together on stage to play together. What a great sound it made. To see and hear a 10 minute video of the evening’s music please CLICK HERE.

    Soirée Irlandaise 2022 – Grand Finale.
  • Calabash PicNic

    It’s great when there is a cooking school nearby with an international reputation. From time to time, The Calabash organise special events, of a culinary nature, and we, “The I Don’t Know Band” were lucky enough to be invited to play at their recent PicNic.

    The PicNic was set in their extensive garden at the back of the restaurant. People sat in the shady areas of the garden and were offered a special PicNic basket with a variety of specially prepared foods which were inspired by the cuisine of Cape Malay. (see menu).

    We played for approximately 3 hours as the evening cooled down. Our repertoire included “Non, Je ne regret rien” – Edith Piaff; Will you still love me tomorrow; I don’t know how to love him from Jesus Christ Superstar, California Dreaming, and the Hotel California – To name just a few titles.

  • Fête de La Musique

    The I Don’t Know Band on June 21st 2022 at Chez GrandMa’s Restaurant in Le Grand Pressigny.

    Every year, on the 21st June, France holds its National Fête de La Musique. Every musician in the country is faced with the all important decision, “Where do I go to play?” Almost every Village, club, organisation, school or restaurant has an event, so there are plenty of opportunities.

    ​This year we, that is the “I Don’t Know Band” (Dave Brown, David Henderson and Cally Cheetham,) were invited to play at GrandMa’s Restaurant in Le Grand Pressigny. The owners, Henry and Julie put on a Charcuterie meal and dessert, which was thoroughly enjoyed by the 35 guests who booked in to eat. They were joined by many passing visitors who called in to listen to the music and to share a drink.

    ​Traditionally, all musicians play for free on this special night, so you never really know who might be playing for you.

    ​Thanks to everyone who came to listen to us and to enjoy the food and ambiance at Chez GrandMa’s.

  • International Celebrations

    Celtiqua playing in Bar Sol at Gites de La Richardière

    One of the great things about running our self-catering Gites is that we get to meet people from all over the world. It’s even better when those visitors are also friends and musicians.We were delighted when Charlie Pilzer chose to celebrate his “significant” birthday at Gites de La Richardière, with 9 other friends, and we knew we were guaranteed to have a great time. There was a lot of interaction between us all during the week, but the best and most notable part was our musical soirée to which we invited our local musical friends.

    People were asked to contribute to a potluck supper and Patience (my wife) barbecued all the meat and fish based contributions, with some help from our guests. It was a fine feast much enjoyed by everyone.

    The evening continued with music and song provided by the guests. What a variety of genre. Most was from the Folk Tradition – English, Scottish, Irish and American, but there were other genres too with some Beatles songs and a fine rendition of “Non, Je ne regret rien”. A famous Edith Piaff number sung by Cally Cheetham from the Celtiqua/I Don’t Know Bands.Our good friends Jim Craig and Dominique Bourgoise, who perform as the “Old Hat” Band sung some Scottish songs and visitors Annie, Sarah and Dana played the Banjo and sung traditional songs. Dave Henderson also sung a fine rendition of the Gaelic song – ​Siúil a Rúin.

    I re-posted some of the visitors’ Facebook postings on my Facebook page, so please take a look.

  • Soirèe Celtique

    One of the joys of living here in France is the enthusiasm shown by our local friends for traditional dance. Our dance club – Danse Pressignoise, with French, English, American and Dutch members, meets every week in the local Salle des Fetes. We learn Traditional English, American, Scottish and Irish social dances with varying degrees of success. 

    On Saturday May 21st we held a Soirée Celtique for the community with food, drink, music from our band Celtiqua . This was followed by some social dancing. It was amazing how well people coped with the dances even though many had never danced before.

    There were well over 100 people at this event which was very pleasing and somewhat surprising as there were other events on in the village. The evening opened with Celtiqua playing a 90 minute concert whilst people arrived and started their evening by enjoying the food provided by the Traiteurs who were situated on the car park in front of the Salle des Fetes. Burgers and Galettes were the order of the day.

    There was a small interval with some games for the assembled masses of people and allowing the musicians to re-group. We welcomed Geoff Pollitt and Bernard Wattelet as guest musicians while I took to the floor to call dances and to support the new callers from our club Danielle and Dominique.

    We have two teachers, our friend David Henderson and me, and we’re pleased to be growing some new teachers from the members of the club. From time to time we have visitors to the club. These could be unsuspecting holiday makers, or friends who are passing through or even a well-know caller (thanks Rhodri Davies.)



    Well done to all the organisers, Phoenix en Claise, Musicians and Dancers, for creating an excellent evening.

    The evening included simple dances such as:
    She’ll be Comin’ Round the Mountain
    Buggy Ride Jig
    Circassian Circle
    Lucky 7
    Brian’s Reel

    Celtiqua finished the evening by playing CATHARSIS by Amy Cann

    Interested in Dancing?

    Then please join us at the Salle des Fetes, Le Grand Pressigny on a Tuesday Morning.