Whether you approach it economically, socially, psychologically, culturally…the arts matter. I can talk til I’m blue in the face about all these aspects but let’s start economically since that’s the only thing that matters to this government.
It’s estimated that the arts brings in £10billion a year. Just think how many jobs are wrapped up in arts – everyone who works in a theatre, cinema, concert venue. The many people who work in film and television. Actors, musicians, sound engineers, lighting engineers, directors, road managers, tour managers, agents, drivers. The export and brand value of Britain around the world is massively increased by our arts. When an event is on in town centres people come in and spend money in pubs, restaurants and shops. The vast majority of artists don’t get public money either, it’s not as if we’re all leeching off the government! Most of us are sole traders who pay taxes. So economically it works.
Then we come to what the arts are really all about. You know the way people with dementia transform before my very eyes because of music in to people who smile, sing and remember who they are. You know the way a little child’s face lights up when they see an instrument being played. You know the way I walked past a beer garden yesterday and a table of people were singing along to the song that was playing on the stereo. You know the way songs transport you back to a place in time because you remember the song being played there. You know the way song lyrics touch a nerve and make you cry. You know the way the music in a pub or club when you’re a bit pissed makes you dance. You know the way people smile, cry, laugh or just about any other emotion because of ART.
We need the arts. Without it we’re nothing. Just people existing to work and then die. You might be an enormous music, film, art or theatre fan. You might not be. But however you measure it the arts matter.
I’m not a musician begging to be given shed loads of money or major entitlements just because I’m an artist. I work bloody hard, I always have done and I pay taxes. Prior to the pandemic I had one arts council grant ever and everything else I do is just going about my work and being paid by whoever wants to pay me. I’ve adapted during this time to being an online musician best I can, I haven’t just sat back and waited to be saved. But I will not tolerate being told in an offhand way that we should just retrain and get other jobs because the industry is insignificant, economically unviable and not worth saving because it is incredibly significant, economically crucial to the country and for all of us, well worth saving.
After a few months off owing to sardine-gate, a dodgy shoulder and various other things I shall return to a bit of live streaming! An hour’s set on September 30th at 7pm from the facebook page. Mix of old and new and donations are welcome at the paypal.me page or you can subscribe to my Patreon for exclusive videos and banjo tabs and videos. Let me know if there’s anything you’d like to hear.
It will be nice to get back to some kind of performing again. The drug is always there for me and as much as I’m enjoying my teaching and producing videos and tabs, performing is always something I relish!
I am delighted to announce the launch of my subscription pages on Patreon. Find it here: https://www.patreon.com/danwalshbanjo
I’ve been asked for ages to do some sort of online zone so now seemed the time! On it you’ll find lots of exclusive video performances, banjo tabs and instructional videos. Here’s the full breakdown:
£6 – Just The Performances
For those of you who are followers of me but not banjo players…this tier entitles you to two exclusive performance videos a month, one video a month looking in-depth at a song/tune and occasional perks like first listens, Q&A and giveaways
£12 – Banjo Tabs
All the above plus two banjo tabs per month of various difficulties
£18 – Banjo Heaven
All the above plus video lessons to accompany each tab plus two exclusive videos a month spoitlighting a particular area of banjo technique
There’s a few subscribers on already which I’m very pleased about! Do subscribe and join them! It all goes to a very worthy cause…
So I haven’t written a blog for quite a while. What a strange time it’s been eh? I’ve been up and down like West Bromwich Albion to be totally honest with you. I can broadly divide this year as follows:
1) The buzz of a live gig recording in the UK and then a tour in Australia
2) Returning and looking forward to my tours
3) The dawning realisation that this virus lark might be a bit more serious than swine flu was…
4) The utter devastation and misery at losing two tours of Canada, two band tours, a UK solo tour and a festival season
5) Perking up as I embraced the novelties of live streaming and music making all at home
6) Utter misery as I pined for touring and travel
7) A vague return to normal mood
And I guess that’s where I am…Thanks largely to my banjo students I have maintained an income and had social interaction! I’ve loved the teaching and it genuinely has kept me sane a lot of the time. I have also rather enjoyed the live streams, zoom gigs and recording work too. Particularly exciting was heading to London to record a banjo part on the new Ward Thomas album which was a lot of fun to do…especially as I only had three working left hand fingers at the time owing to an incident with a sardine tin. I’m fine now thankfully apart from a very small numb patch on my finger. Twit.
Otherwise I’m continuing to keep on keeping on. My second tab book is in the works – I’ve been arranging Irish tunes from the legendary O’Neill’s collection so I’m excited to be releasing that quite soon. I’m also writing plenty of new material and as many of you who follow me on facebook and such like will have noticed I’ve been doing my split screen collaborations with some mighty musicians including the legendary Sharon Shannon no less! I’ve got a MEGA exciting one coming up as well. Seriously can’t wait…anyway if you want to catch up on these videos head to my youtube channel.
Stay well everyone!
I’m delighted to say the live streams will return to my facebook page in the coming weeks! I’m doing four album themed gigs:
13 ‘Old Stuff’ – material from Tomorrow’s Still To Come, Walsh & Pound and The Same But Different – 7pm
17 ‘Incidents And Accidents’ – the whole album performed live – 1pm
27 ‘Verging On The Perpendicular’ – the whole album performed live – 7pm
31 ‘Trio’ – the whole album performed live – 1pm
Please note the planned Youtube Live won’t happen – it turns out it’s more difficult than I thought!
Thanks so much to everyone who ‘attended’ my gigs for Oxford Folk Weekend via Zoom and Stafford Live via Facebook. I had such a good time at both, the latter felt a lot like a virtual get together with Stafford chums while Oxford was a lovely experience as the app panned across various audience members clapping from their homes! To actually see an audience again was momentous!
A big thank you also to everyone who tuned in to UFQ TV week. We had a great time in the comments! Head over to our facebook page if you want to see what we did – a virtual gig, two live gigs, a live chat and…er…a cookery show. It was quite an experience and again very emotional too. Sadly it will be a long while I fear before we actually get to play together live again but this was a great way to plug the gap.
So what’s next – I’m live on Sunday thanks to Penrith Plug n Play who have been brilliant at carrying on their lovely gigs during lockdown. Open mic (excellent stuff) from 7 then I’ll be live at 8 for a full set. It’s in their facebook group but you don’t have to be a member or even have a facebook account – just head to https://www.facebook.com/groups/plugplay.email/
So what have I been doing? Well being a musician during lockdown is in many ways quite different from how I’d imagined. And not all in a bad way! It’s sort of pushed me to think about how I do my job in a different way. Skype teaching is the one thing that has remained unchanged and I have been extremely grateful for it! I’ve had to quickly learn how to edit video – I’m in the process of doing some split screen videos with other musicians. I’m also working on an online page of stuff you can subscribe to – I’ll keep you posted! Then I’ve been working on my new book of arrangements of Irish tunes, live streaming of course, writing music and writing arrangements for people. This latter one is something I’ve been doing since not long before lockdown and has been great fun. Someone asked me to arrange Beeswing by Richard Thompson and an old Mississippi John Hurt song…could be a lot worse!
I do of course miss seeing friends, having a pint down the pub, seeing family and of course live gigging and playing with my UFQ chums. I have good days and bad days but overall I’m just fine and I know am considerably luckier than many others. The support from you all in your messages, comments and tuning in to my ‘gigs’ has meant a lot and I am delighted to have brought some cheer with those performances.
Stay safe everyone,
I have to start by saying a massive thank you to all those who tuned in to my Facebook Live gig last Wednesday. Click on the link there if you missed it! I was so touched by how many of you tuned in, commented and donated to my paypal link. It meant the world to me that it seemed to bring people together at this mad time and it was wonderful to be performing again, albeit in a very different way. Huge thanks to my wonderful girlfriend Nicol who set up the room to look nice, adjusted lights, replied to comments for me and provided me with a real life audience!
So when’s the next one then?
APRIL 19TH 6pm-8pm via ZOOM
So please note this is NOT on facebook live this time. Oxford Folk Weekend have had the splendid idea of moving their entire festival online using Zoom. The advantage of this over Facebook Live is you will be ‘in the room’ with me in that I’ll be able to see and hear you. So I can play a load of numbers and in between we can have a bit of a chat, you can ask questions etc. Should be fun!
You can get your tickets here: https://fao.yapsody.com/event/index/524606/dan-walsh?fbclid=IwAR3kKIg7Wdw_JRG-fycMlPAbRTZgju9wwsSD3_kbRctkCYORkk6kD8K7YFs
Don’t worry if you’re not familiar with Zoom. Once you’ve got your ticket which is ‘pay what you feel’, you will be emailed full instructions.
There will be more gigs on the way! One of my many cancelled gigs is also going ahead with the gig but online – thanks to Penrith Plug’n’Play! That gig will be on the facebook group for that particular gig (which is public) and will once again be totally live with a paypal donations page. Then I’ll do lots of gigs from my living room for you on facebook live and youtube live until all this madness is over! Any ideas for show themes let me know – I’m thinking of doing a covers gig, genre-specific gigs, artists that have inspired me. For now though I’ve put dates in the diary for April and May…
So the ‘Home Tour’ for April/May looks something like this:
01 Facebook Live – 7pm (THANKS AGAIN FOR YOUR SUPPORT ON THIS ONE!)
19 Zoom Live Stream presented by Oxford Folk Weekend – 6pm
20-25 UFQ Live Week – my band will be doing a week of live stuff on our facebook page
03 Facebook Live presented by Penrith Plug’n’Play – 8pm
13 Facebook Live – 7pm (‘Old Stuff’ – material from Tomorrow’s Still To Come and Walsh and Pound)
17 Facebook Live – 1pm (‘Incidents and Accidents’ – the whole album performed live)
20 Youtube Live – 7pm
27 Facebook Live – 7pm (‘Verging On The Perpendicular’ – the whole album performed live)
31 Facebook Live – 1pm (‘Trio’ – the whole album performed live)
Hope you’re all well. Funny old time eh?!
Greetings to you all at this quite exceptionally weird time! Firstly, a quick note to say that as for obvious reasons gigs are off for a while I will be doing a facebook live gig on my page at 7pm (UK time) on Wednesday. I’ll be playing for an hour, a bit of everything from my stuff with future gigs likely to be a bit more ‘themed’. Any suggestions or requests welcome! There will be a donations page as I can’t earn from regular gigging so chuck in what you feel 🙂
The enormity of being housebound for so long has probably not really hit me yet. After all, between touring I’ve quite often spent a week or two at home working away on material, teaching, sorting out admin etc. But usually there’s trips out to play at care homes, down the pub for a couple of jars and further down the line GIGS! It’s certainly strange but I’m trying to make the best of it. I’m working on my next book and figuring out one or two potential roads to go down in making money online.
Stay safe folks and I’d love to see you (virtually) on Wednesday night
Greetings from this newly home-based worker! I hope you’re all looking after yourself. Needless to say, the likelihood of any live gigs in the next few months is looking very slim indeed. I’m flattered to have got some lovely messages asking me to do some live streaming gigs – I do intend to do this in the coming weeks with a donations/tip jar page. I remember when I was a young kid in town with my mum, we saw a busker and I told my Mum that’s what I wanted to be when I grew up. I never imagined it would be quite like this…
Like many, I’ve enjoyed watching living room streaming gigs during this time and as a serial performance tart I am itching to get back at gigging, whatever form it may take! To be absolutely honest with you all, to lose my May tour is devastating. I was so looking forward to it as it has been a few years since I’ve done a UK solo tour and I’m not going to lie, it was a big part of my financial plans too and that brings a lot of stress too. Forgive the melodrama here, but I’ve needed time to process it and maybe even mourn the loss of it. But it’s time to move on! So I will see you in the coming weeks for some live gigs from my house to yours. Thanks so much to everyone for lovely messages and especially to my brilliant banjo students who it is a pleasure to teach (and shout out to Ian for suggesting skype lessons eight years ago – bloody good job you did!!).
Trying to keep calm and drink tea! In light of the world situation I thought it worth updating on my touring situation as I have, on paper, a very busy touring period right through April, May and June particularly and beyond. Of course this has been thrown in to doubt but to be honest at the moment, there is no major news. Just a note this is all about my solo work. UFQ will be posting about things in due course (but thanks Guildford for a great gig last night!)
UK tour: As yet none of my public gigs have been cancelled so my April/May/June tour of the UK is, for now, not totally thrown out. All I can really do is monitor the situation like everyone else and make decisions as things change – of course it’s entirely possible that some or all of the gigs are postponed but there’s no real need to make decisions on this yet as it’s mid-March and the vast majority of my solo gigs are in May/June. It will be decided on a case by case basis as it comes up. Much of the tour is in folk clubs and similar venues which means crowds not in the hundreds and quite a few purely on door sales so it leaves a bit of wiggle room.
Canada tours: This I am dreading having to make a decision about. I’m scheduled for a June tour of eastern Canada and an August tour of Alberta, both trips including a big festival appearance. Again, I’m holding off making a firm decision over this until I have to.
So no real news I guess…but I just wanted to check in with everyone. It’s been a whirlwind week where it’s become clear just how serious this all is and how much it will affect the self employed and everyone else.
Not going to lie, it’s scary. A lot is tied up in my upcoming tours for my living and my future and to realise it could all be gone is bloody scary. Tours and festivals are by far my biggest earner. Another income stream is care homes which of course quite rightly has also been cut off. The one saving grace is much of my teaching is on skype so I can at least carry on with that (and perhaps look for more!). I am also looking into the possibility of online gigging during the crisis.
This is all rather a selfish stream of consciousness folks. I know there will be people worse affected than me and people to whom the actual health aspect of this is far scarier. The virus wouldn’t harm me too much I don’t think but I know that’s not true for many. Solidarity with you all – stay in touch. Keep calm and drink tea.