New Release - Digital Re-Issue - SHHH – Ian Carr & Karen Tweed

When tradition-rooted acoustic guitarist Ian Carr met accordion player Karen Tweed at the Shetland Folk Festival in 1990, it was a meeting of kindred spirits. In the two decades since, the two instrumentalists have reinterpreted the music of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales as a duo and in two folk bands-Swap, featuring Ola Backstrom and Carina Normansson of Sweden, and the Two Duos Quartet, which they share with Andy Cutting and Chris Wood. Prior to their collaboration, Carr and Tweed had been making their mark as musicians for several years. Carr, who began playing harmonica at the age of five and had advanced to the mouth organ and the accordion before settling on the guitar, had played guitar for numerous rock bands and accordion in a ceilidh band, The Harvesters, in his hometown of Penrith. Moving to Newcastle-On-Tyne, he worked with a folk ensemble, The Old Rope String Band. At the time that he met Karen, he was a member of Kathryn Tickell's band. Karen’s earliest musical experiences were the Irish dance lessons she took as a youngster. After trying her hand at the melodica, she was inspired by an older sister to play accordion. In addition to playing with a marching band, led by Joe Coll, she studied classical music with Lawry Eady. Karen’s love of Celtic music was inherited from her parents who encouraged her to become active with Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eirann and to study accordion with button accordionist John Whelan. When Whelan emigrated to the United States, Karen began to play at informal pub sessions and teaching herself to adapt the flute and fiddle tradition of Celtic music to her accordion. When she met Ian Carr, she was accompanying Roger Wilson.

Although they jammed together, at the Shetland Folk Festival, until the wee hours of the morning, their first opportunity to work together came when accordionist Lyn Tocker left Kathryn Tickell's band and Carr suggested Tweed as her replacement in September 1991. Both Ian and Karen balanced their work with the Kathryn Tickell band with a variety of outside projects. While Ian performed with Simon Thoumire, Karen helped to form the all-woman Celtic group, The Poozies, with Patsy Seddon, Mary MacMaster and Sally Barker, and, later, played with Sally Barker And The Rhythm. Ian and Karen launched their duo when, after jamming together so much during soundchecks, their friends asked 'Why not?'. This re-issue presents their debut duo album, Shhh, released in 1995.

Since the late eighties Ian Carr has been touring and recording innovative approaches to traditional music, working both with his own projects; Swåp, Fishut and as a collaborative musician (Kate Rusby, Eddi Reader, Kris Drever, Sofia Karlsson and most recently Sea Road Sessions).

Karen turned professional in 1989, working with singer/songwriter Roger Wilson and then was a founder member of the Poozies.

Her playing is known for being mercurial, subtle, lyrical and expressive, and she regularly teaches on the BA and MA courses at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at Limerick University and at the BMus Degree in Folk and Traditional Music at Newcastle University. She has taught at Folkworks Summer School in Durham, Ashokan Northern Week, Darlington Music Weekend, Hovra Music Camp in Sweden, Musikkonservatoriet Odense and the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki.

She has played in the Kathryn Tickell Band and her many collaborations include the Anglo-Swedish quartet SWAP, her duet with guitarist Ian Carr, The Two Duos Quartet (with Andy Cutting, Chris Wood and Ian Carr). These led her to her 2001 collaboration with Finnish pianist/composer Timo Alakotila and their ensemble, May Monday.

She has also collaborated with Irish piper/singer Christy O’Leary and American guitarist / singer Bert Deivert; with Norweigan fiddler Sturla Eide and English songwriters Reg Meuross and Jackie Oates.

Other collaborations have included Johnny Coppin, Paul Hutchinson, Thomas McElvogue, Nick Wiseman-Ellis, Karen Street, Naomi Frears (artist) and Paul Sivell (tree sculptor). She has toured village halls with Hell Said the Duchess (with Hannah James and Becky Price), The Chase, Nimbus and Beauty or the Beast?  Once in a blue moon she embarks on large scale projects such as her 21-piece all female, all singing, playing and dancing ‘Circa Compania’ or the No 1 Ladies Accordion Orchestra. She was also funded by the Arts Council of Wales to write and deliver a manual entitled 'Training the Trainers'; a theatre show called the 4K Plot with Kerry Fletcher (dancer / choreography), Karen Wimhurst (composer / clarinet) and Keith McIntyre (artist) which was commissioned by the Sage Gateshead and performed at the Baltic Art Centre, Gateshead. She was the musical mentor for Hannah James' solo show 'JigDoll' and was musical director for Parrabbola Theatre Company for their community play about the Chartists. She’s also very happy performing solo.

To purchase or hear more samples visit :

There is also a discount for Tradconnect members of 20%. Simply use the word 'tradconnect' as your Coupon Code and get the album for €8   


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