VAMP & VENEER

Two new albums from FITKIN – Graham’s 9 piece band joined by wonderful Melanie Pappenheim and 2 Bee Gees style countertenors.  The music of VENEER celebrates disco from a modern perspective, with twisted lyrics and unexpected combinations of Fitkin energy and Donna Summer like grooves. VAMP is a rollercoaster ride of minimalism, jazz, energetic foot tapping tunes. Journalist and cultural compass Mark Kermode tweeted ”Fantastic evening seeing amazing band blur the boundaries between prog, avant garde, jazz and skiffle. Mind duly frazzled.”

Image by Lottie Davies

Vamp, Veneer, MacGuffin – FITKIN band

2016. In the summer we recorded at Peter Gabriel’s beautiful Real World Studios near Bath and produced two new albums.  We toured the UK in the Autumn and will be releasing the new CDs early in 2017.

The music mixes minimalism and contemporary musics in Fitkin’s irreverential and exuberant fashion.  Combining piano, percussion, guitar, harps (bray, lever and concert harps), and brass section with Bee-Gees style countertenors, the new albums are characterised by infectious rhythms and intricate grooves.  The music for VENEER celebrates the emancipation of dance and social freedom in the disco era but from the twisted perspective of our current celebrity icon-tumbling era, featuring the wonderful Melanie Pappenheim.  VAMP focuses on the high energy instrumental works for the band written by Graham over the last 7 years.  Listen to extracts from both albums here:

MACGUFFIN is a presentation book with Graham’s writings on his approach to music, lyrics from all the Veneer songs, compositional sketches and photos by the insanely imaginative National Portrait Gallery Award winner Lottie Davies, with design by Ed Wall.

FITKIN gratefully acknowledges support from Arts Council England.

Image: Lottie Davies. Video: Ryan Sharpe.

LOST – FITKINWALL

FitkinWall released their new album LOST in November last year  www.fitkinwall.com . They have toured in UK, Brussels and Italy and on BBC Radio.  Ruth performs on concert and wire stung harps and Graham on moog synthesizer, red box, fender rhodes and autoharp.

 

Trace excerpt

Mapping excerpt

Highwire excerpt

LOST – FITKINWALL

LOST was released in November 2015  www.fitkinwall.com . After a tour to Brussels and Italy FitkinWall performed the new show in the UK at venues including Kings Place, Nottingham Lakeside and at the 2016 Ted-X at London Science Museum.   Ruth performs on 2 harps and Graham on moog synth, red box, fender rhodes and autoharp and features visuals by Ryan Sharpe.   The music and visuals for ‘Lost’ hint at the nature of being lost or of losing something, whether a faculty such as memory, speech or hearing, or losing understanding of where we are geographically, politically or morally.   The show is both intimate and intricate and was inspired by FitkinWall’s work with aerial theatre company Ockhams Razor.   Rhythmic patterns are built up to climaxes and are juxtaposed with bare and stripped away sound worlds. 

FitkinWall gratefully acknowledges support from PRS for music foundation.

Image: Ryan Sharpe

 

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THE THREE HARPS OF CHRISTMAS

A beautiful selection of carols for Concert harp, Gaelic wire strung harp and the Renaissance bray harp, in exciting new arrangements by composer Graham Fitkin.

Stille Nacht

We Three Kings

The Angel Gabriel

THE THREE HARPS OF CHRISTMAS

In December 2012, in 10 foot of Dolomite snow, Ruth and Graham began work on a new album. The music is a selection of their favourite Christmas carols, rearranged for Concert harp, Bray harp and Gaelic wire strung harp by Graham. The candlelit recitals take place in stately homes and castles throughout Great Britain,  and are introduced by Graham, who traces the history of the carols, while Ruth performs the carols alongside medieval music and gems from Piazzolla, Debussy and Satie.

Ruth and Graham will be touring the show again in 2016.

New album available on iTunesamazon and fitkin.com

 

Previous TOUR DATES in 2013/2014 – for full details see diary

Scorrier House Cornwall, Culzean Castle Ayrshire, Kellie Castle Fife, The Sage Gateshead, Falkland Palace Fife, St George’s Hall Liverpool, Sutton House London, Holkham Hall Norfolk, Lacock Abbey Wiltshire, Gelndurgan Cornwall, Dornoch Cathedral Sutherland, Hill of Tarvit Fife, Fyvie Castle

 

To listen to excerpts from the carols please visit https://soundcloud.com/ruth-wall-harp 

Harps – Ruth Wall

Composer – Graham Fitkin

Images – Steve Tanner

Videos – Morgan Lowndes

 

KATHRYN TICKELL and THE SIDE

Northumbrian piper Kathryn Tickell’s new band has been touring now for nearly 3 years. Last year The Side released their first album, and features Ruth on lever, wire and bray harps, Amy Thatcher on accordion, Louisa Tuck on cello and Kathryn on pipes.

Channeling their diverse musical experiences into a powerful new sound The Side stay true to the spirit and essence of Kathryn’s own Northumbrian folk tradition whilst showcasing the talents of each musician.

‘Evocative slow airs move seamlessly into life-affirming jigs and reels; Amy storms into a clog dance; Kathryn’s dizzying rapid-fire piping contrasts with the power and richness of Louisa’s cello and Ruth’s sparkling harp playing melds it all together – a very special evening is in store in the company of Kathryn and The Side.’

  • Kathryn Tickell – Northumbrian pipes, fiddle
  • Ruth Wall – harps
  • Amy Thatcher – accordion, clog dancing
  • Louisa Tuck – cello

LOST – FITKINWALL ALBUM

FitkinWall continue touring their latest album LOST after touring Italy, Belgium and UK last year. Buy here: www.fitkin.com/cds Ruth performs on 2 harps and Graham on moog synth, red box, fender rhodes and autoharp.    The music is both intimate and intricate and the live show features visuals by Ryan Sharpe.   Rhythmic patterns are built up to climaxes and are juxtaposed with bare and stripped away sound worlds.

more…

THE MANXMAN

Hitchcock’s The Manxman was given a gala performance as part of 2012 London Film Festival at the Empire Leicester Square. Ruth performed Stephen Horne’s new score  on lever and wire harp, as part of a small ensemble to a rapt audience. Below is a review of the show by ithankyouarthur:

‘This was the final restoration premier for the Hitchcock Nine and the BFI series went out with a bang… a piano, fiddle, oboe and two harps! Presented as the London Film Festival‘s archive gala, the screening took place at the Empire Leicester Square, a former music hall where the Lumière brothers staged the first commercial projected film shows in 1896.

Now it’s one of the cinemas of choice for blockbusting premiers so, there could be no bigger or better venue for the culmination of the BFI Hitchcock project.

The Manxman was Hitchcock’s last purely silent film (Blackmail was made in both formats… although it’s better as a silent in my opinion) and as Robin Baker, the BFI’s Head Curator, said in his introduction, showed the director’s mastery of the form.

The restoration team had the benefit of the original negatives amongst others and their thousands of hours of labour showed in yet another crisp print projected into the Empire’s huge screen. The restoration process has been painstaking and as Baker said, it has taken longer to restore than films than Hitchcock took to make them.And, what can you say about the new score from Stephen Horne? Having blown us all away with his music for The First Born at last year’s archive gala, he repeated the trick this year… adding appropriately Celtic touches to reflect the dramatic landscapes of the Isle of Man.

Inventive, controlled and passionate the music was performed by Stephen with an expert ensemble made up of Jennifer Bennett (fiddle/viola), Joby Burgess (percussion), Janey Miller (Oboe and the aptly-named Oboe d’Amore) and Ruth Wall (Lever Harp/Wire Harp and a passing resemblance to Anny Ondra…)

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OCKHAMS RAZOR

Ockhams Razor are a stunning aerial theatre company who combine circus and visual theatre.  In 2012-13 Ruth has been touring with the company, performing a new score by Graham Fitkin for multi harps and choir. The music is strong and complex, building up rhythmic layers and sinuous textures.

‘dazzling aerial theatre’ The Independent

‘physically thrilling’ The Sunday Times

more…

FITKIN OPERA – HOME

In April 2012 Ruth performed at the Royal Opera House in Graham Fitkin’s new opera. Graham’s new short opera, Home, commissioned by the ROH for the Linbury Theatre, was premiered in April 2012.  Jasmin Vardimon directed the opera which is scored for two singers (Melanie Pappenheim and Victoria Coupar), three dancers (Luke Borrough, Esteban Fourmi and Aoi Nakamura) and the nine musicians of Graham’s band.

The Stage, UK

“Fitkin manages to work a sense of form and development into his typically punchy score – his amplified band, sneeringly noir at the climax, is pungently shot through with trumpet, soprano saxophones and hectically strumming guitar and harp .”

The Guardian, UK

“Perhaps the most accomplished opera in the series to date….Fitkin’s sophisticated minimalist score evolves organically, never relaxing its hold on the audience’s attention. ”

more…

FITKIN BAND

In 2009 Graham Fitkin put together a stellar line-up of players to form a new nine-piece band. The music is fast, loud, with a hint of gypsy bawdiness described by The Guardian as ”a delight that defied all fashionable labels and simply conjured its own whirlygig of ideas with such spontaneity and control.”  Ruth performs with FITKIN on bray harp and lever harp.

more…

THE THREE HARPS OF CHRISTMAS

A beautiful selection of carols for Concert harp, Gaelic wire strung harp and the Renaissance bray harp, in new and wonderful arrangements by composer Graham Fitkin.  Festive recitals took place at historic houses and castles throughout Great Britain. Album available on iTunes, amazon and fitkin.com

TOUR DATES 2014

4 December 2014     Scorrier House, Cornwall

6 December 2014     Culzean Castle, Ayrshire

8 December 2014     Kellie Castle, Fife, Scotland

9 December 2014     The Sage, Gateshead

10 December 2014    Falkland Palace, Fife

11 December 2014     St George’s Hall, Liverpool

13 December 2014    Sutton House, London

 

To listen to excerpts from the carols please visit https://soundcloud.com/ruth-wall-harp 

Harps – Ruth Wall

Composer – Graham Fitkin

Images – Steve Tanner

Videos – Morgan Lowndes

 

STEVE REICH

Ruth has performed Steve Reich’s music many times in the last 2 years. She received permission from Reich to perform Piano Phase on harp and has given performances of this at London South Bank QEH, Gateshead Sage, Sound Festival Aberdeen, Cheltenham festival and Tate St Ives.  She also performed Reich’s gigantic work Four Organs in Krakow, alongside Will Gregory, Graham Fitkin and Ross Hughes on Farfisa organs. The performance took place on an enormous old steel factory, in the now desolate communist district know as Nowa Huta.   The Sacrum Profanum Festival in Krakow dedicated a week to Reich’s music, in honour of his 75th birthday. Steve Reich attended the concert and loved the performance. She has also performed Clapping Music and Sextet.

RECENT TV, FILM and PERFORMANCES

FitkinWall performed at TEDx London in June 2016, playing music from LOST, in a line up including Stephen Hawkins, Francesca Beard and Talvin Singh. She features on lever harp throughout LOVING VINCENT – the world’s first fully painted animated film with music by Clint Mansell, and on solo harp in Ben Wheatley’s 2012 award winning film SIGHTSEERS, soundtrack by Jim Williams. 

 She recorded on concert harp with Bafta winning composer John Lunn (of Downtown Abbey fame) for the BBC series THE WHITE QUEEN and features on bassist Charlie Jones’ latest album, LOVE FORM, trumpeter Noel Langley’s album EDENTIDE and saxophonist Simon Harem’s album MONO’DIA.  

Ruth appeared as soloist in the Radio 4 play ‘THE FAIR MAID OF PERTH’, featuring David Tennant. She plays Gaelic wire strung harp and sings.  Music was composed by Ross Hughes.

In April 2012 Ruth performed at the Royal Opera House in Graham Fitkin’s new opera HOME. Jasmin Vardimon directed the opera which is scored for two singers, three dancers and the nine musicians of Graham’s band.

In March 2012 Ruth performed with Nolwenn Leroy at the French Grammys , the Victoires de la Musique in Paris.  Nolwenn had been nominated for an award, following on from the success of her new album ‘BRETONNE’ which features Ruth’s wire and lever harps.

In November 2011 Ruth performed with Goldfrapp again in their Little Noise Show in aid of Mencap. The show featured many of the beautiful tunes from their SEVENTH TREE album.  She also toured with her 3 harps and performed Reich’s Piano Phase on harp at QEH London and Sage Gateshead in December. In October Ruth performed on concert harp in New York in a packed Lincoln Centre show of the stunning new score by Will Gregory and Adrian Utley which accompanies Carl Theodor Dreyer’s 1928 cinematic masterpiece – The Passion of Joan of Arc.

 

 

POLAND – REICH 75th BIRTHDAY

Recent highlights include performing Steve Reich’s gigantic work Four Organs in Krakow, Ruth performed alongside Will Gregory, Graham Fitkin and Ross Hughes on Farfisa organs. The performance took place on an enormous old steel factory, in the now desolate communist district know as Nowa Huta.   The Sacrum Profanum Festival in Krakow dedicated a week to Reich’s music, in honour of his 75th birthday. Steve Reich attended the concert and loved the performance.

Recent FILM, TV and RADIO

Ruth plays solo lever harp throughout Ben Wheatley’s award winning film SIGHTSEERS, music composed by Jim Williams.  She features on the BBC series THE WHITE QUEEN, music composed by Bafta winning John Lunn (of Downtown Abbey fame). The series features Ruth on concert harp. In 2013 Ruth appeared as soloist in the Radio 4 play ‘The Fair Maid of Perth’, featuring David Tennant. She played Gaelic wire strung harp. Music composed by Ross Hughes.

 

 

NEW ALBUM

In 2010-11 Ruth is working on a new album. This will feature her Bray, Wire and Lever harps and will expore her obsession with ancient harp ornamentation. Collaborators include Alex Lee, Will Gregory, Adrian Utley, Graham Fitkin, gavin Bryars.

This year she has recorded again with Nolwenn Leroy on her new album ‘Bretonne’ (produce by Jon Kelly) which has just gone platinum in France.

Highlights from 2010 include performing with BBC concert orchestra, Charles Hazelwood and Will Gregory in the South bank’s Electronica series, playing John Cage with Rhodri Davies and 19 other harpists at the Baltic and touring with the amazing new 9 piece FITKIN band

THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC

One of the early cinema classics, Carl Theodor Dreyer’s The Passion Of Joan Of Arc (1928) has been hailed a towering masterpiece of silent film and inspired countless generations of filmmakers including Sergio Leone. Now Portishead’s Adrian Utley and Will Gregory of Goldfrapp have created a new score, soundtracking the powerful and moving story of Joan’s trial, imprisonment, torture and execution. The live performances takes place alongside a screening of the film,  conducted by Charles Hazlewood, members of the Monteverdi Choir, 6 guitars and Ruth on 3 harps. Performances so far have taken place at Bath Abbey, Alexandra Palace as part of ATP, Lincoln Centre New York, Sacrum Profanum festival in Krakow, Brighton Dome, London South Bank and most recently in 2016 at Wells Cathedral.

For decades the original film negative was feared lost in a fire until, incredibly, it was discovered in a cupboard in a Norwegian mental institution in 1981.

THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC, QEH

28th April 2011

The Passion of Joan of Arc
Ether Festival QEH

Carl Theodor Dreyer’s classic silent film accompanied by a new score composed by Goldfrapp’s Will Gregory and Portishead’s Adrian Utley. Performers include six electric guitars, Will Gregory,  choir, percussion, horns and Ruth on 3 harps and keyboard.

THE UNCOMMON HARP

Ruth performs works for solo harp by Howard Skempton, Gabriel Jackson, Peter Maxwell Davies, Laurence Crane, Michael Parsons, Graham Fitkin and Philip Glass. The CD comprises recently written music by working with tonality and modality today, and includes three of Ruth’s works.

Farewell to Stromness

Jim and Pam and Pam and Jim

Peninsula Run

Encomium for Matthew Greenall

THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC, ALEXANDRA PALACE

24th July 2011

The Passion of Joan of Arc
Alexandra Palace

Carl Theodor Dreyer’s classic silent film accompanied by a new score composed by Goldfrapp’s Will Gregory and Portishead’s Adrian Utley. Performers include six electric guitars, members of the Monteverdi Choir, percussion, horns and Ruth on 3 harps and synth. Curated by Portishead and ATP.

FITKIN, CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL

2nd July 2011

FITKIN
Cheltenham Festival

FITKIN – Fabulously energetic 9 piece band lead by composer Graham Fitkin. Brass, winds, piano, guitar, bass, percussion and Ruth on bray and lever harps.

FITKIN, SALISBURY FESTIVAL

3rd June 2011

Fitkin
Salisbury Festival
www.salisburyfestival.co.uk

FITKIN – seriously exciting, highly rhythmic 9 piece band lead by composer Graham Fitkin. Brass, winds, piano, guitar, bass, percussion and Ruth on bray and lever harps.

FITKIN BAND

Ruth performs with FITKIN on bray harp and lever harp.  In 2009 Graham Fitkin put together a stellar line-up of players to form a new nine-piece band. The music is fast, loud, with a hint of gypsy bawdiness and as The Guardian put it ‘a delight that defied all fashionable labels and simply conjured its own whirlygig of ideas with such spontaneity and control’.

Vamp

South

STILL WARM

Composed by Graham Fitkin, Still Warm takes the intimate and beguiling sound of the harp far from of it’s angelic connotations.  Ruth performs on lever harp, Gaelic wire strung harp and buzzing bray harp against an electronically generated canvas of scattered beats and pixellated timbres.

Snow Clamp

Constant Shame

Come Come

Battery People

Powder Trap

Close Hold

KAPLAN

This 63 minute work for sampling and synthesized keyboards is performed by Ruth and composer Graham Fitkin. Inspired by the Hitchcock movie North By Northwest the music takes the listener into a densely rhythmic and multi-layered soundworld.

K2

THE ENCHANTED PALACE

Ruth’s harp music is featured in theatre company Wildworks spectacular installation in Kensington Palace,  in the Room of Palace Time alongside metal work pieces designed by Boudicca.

In this innovative ‘animated exhibition’, set against the backdrop of the magnificent State Apartments, visitors discover the hidden stories of Kensington Palace. Featuring specially commissioned contemporary fashion installations (by leading designers and artists including Vivienne Westwood, William Tempest and Boudicca) woven into fascinating tales from the palace’s history, The Enchanted Palace enables visitors to explore the extraordinary lives of Kensington’s former royal residents.

more…

NEW ALBUM

In 2010-11 Ruth is working on a new album. This will feature her Bray, Wire and Lever harps and will expore her obsession with ancient harp ornamentation. Collaborators include Alex Lee, Will Gregory, Adrian Utley, Graham Fitkin, gavin Bryars. more…