|left to right: (David J. Smith), Cliff Stapleton, Ossian Brown | photo by Karsten Wolniak|
In a fascinating, in-depth interview, Ossian Brown and Stephen Thrower of Cyclobe guide Russell Cuzner through their shimmering career, discussing the hurdy-gurdy, Derek Jarman, Nurse With Wound, live works and artistic collaborators.
Ossian Brown: Since I first heard the hurdy-gurdy, many years ago now, I've been in awe of the instrument. Hearing it performed in recordings of early Baroque music, and becoming excited by a lot of traditional folk, mostly provincial music from central France, I eventually found a marvellous and extremely beautiful Vielle à roue made by Pajot in the mid 1800s. I felt strongly drawn to Eastern Europe, especially Hungarian and Ukrainian folk music, played mostly by peasants, labourers or travelling street musicians. I found the way they played, taking a raw and less ornamental approach, very exciting. I believe the first time I came across the Hurdy-Gurdy was looking at Hieronymus Bosch's The Garden Of Earthly Delights and another early encounter would've been M.R. James's Lost Hearts watching the old 70s BBC adaptation, which has a fantastically chilling scene of a strange blue ghost child playing hurdy-gurdy at the foot of a young boy's bed ... It's funny that although it's a lute-backed hurdy-gurdy, the sound they use most certainly isn't! But despite that, the scene still had an effect on me. As well as being immensely haunting, it sparked my curiosity further.
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