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.
Graham has created a rich music full of grooves, unisons, occasional crashing polyphony and high complexity. The players are –
Alan Taylor – bass
Joby Burgess – percussion
Aidy Spillett – percussion
Noel Langley – trumpet
Simon Haram – saxophone
Nick Moss – bass clarinet
Ruth Wall – harps
Huw Davies – guitar
Graham Fitkin – piano
Here is how the Daily Telegraph reviewed the premiere at Cheltenham –
‘With the concert from the Fitkin Band, we could simply sit back, savour the drinks and nibbles at the venue’s cabaret-style tables, and enjoy the ride.
Fitkin used to be the hard man of British minimalism. He had a penchant for one-syllable titles like ‘Log’, and his music was similarly ungiving, assailing our ears with loud repeating patterns shifted in unpredictable ways to give a ‘kick’ of energy.
As this concert showed, the one-syllable titles have remained, as has the dancing energy, but Fitkin has mellowed. He schmoozed the audience like an American jazzer, apologising for his terrible taste in shirts. The old Fitkin sound of hammered keyboards was softened by harp and keening saxophones and trumpets.
In the soft-centred songs, beautifully sung by Melanie Pappenheim and counter-tenors Fergal Mostyn Williams and Tom Scott-Cowell, one might say he’d maybe mellowed a bit too much. But the dance pieces in the first half of the show were terrific, like 70s disco filtered through American minimalism, building up layers of conflicting pulses in an irresistibly energising way.’
Previous gigs include include Queens Hall- Edinburgh, London Southbank, Sound festival – Aberdeen, Bath Spa University, Great Hall – Dartington, Falmouth University, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Ether Festival – QEH London, Salisbury Festival. In 2012 the band performed a new work with the LCO at concerts as part of their track to Track series. Inspired by the 6 minute return journey of the Olympic Javelin Train from St Pancras to Stratford, Graham’s new work for the band was performed at Cadogan Hall and at St Pancras Station as well as London’s Southbank and was broadcast on BBC Radio 3. The band also featured on stage at the Royal Opera House in April 2012 in Graham’s opera, HOME, directed by Jasmin Vardimon.