A phenomenal musician, Will Pound gave us a night of blisteringly fast tunes, soaring key changes, beautifully restrained melodies and a tour of just about every style of music there is. Playing Castagnari melodeon, harmonica, or both at the same time (!) Will took familiar tunes and turned them into something completely new!
The concert started with a pair of Irish harmonica tunes building to breakneck speed and full of improvisation. Then it was time to introduce the melodeon, with a couple of morris tunes, ‘Constant Billy’ and ‘Dearest Dickie’, before the first of several tunes demonstrating Will’s ability to play the tune on harmonica whilst simultaneously playing the melodeon left hand. This time it was a Swedish tune - ‘Eklunda Polska No3’ in B flat!
Michael Turner’s Waltz followed - well known tune, but barely recognisable after the first few times through as it was treated to the Will Pound treatment! The concert included a selection of morris tunes (Princess Royal, Shooting, and Orange in Bloom standing out) and the Welsh tune ‘Sweet Jenny Jones’ which is also danced as part of the Adderbury morris tradition. A Swedish version of ‘Old Tom of Oxford’ was interesting and previously unknown to me.
A few great examples of Will’s skills were the once-simple morris tune ‘The Nutting Girl’ which ended up in 10/8 time signature; a lovely harmonica/melodeon version of ‘Amazing Grace’; and a very complicated rendition of ‘The Liberty Bell’ (otherwise known as the theme to Monty Python’s Flying Circus) - something completely different!
Will composes his own tunes too, and is a sought-after session musician (most recently heard in the closing moments of the rather odd Warburtons’ Bakery advert featuring Robert De Niro). His composition in tribute to fellow Earlsdon Morris friend Paul Newman, ‘Earl of Newman’ was excellent.
For an encore Will showed off his composition skills again, this time by creating a tune whilst playing it! Wow!
After that excellent concert we had a lovely little session of tunes and songs from those who stayed behind. We had songs from Allison Turner and Juliet Woodin, Ian Price, Dave Walters, Julie Palmer, Phil Preen; and tunes from Nick Murphy, Wil Walker, Anna Pack, David Ledsam, Claire Halliday and Will Pound - who stayed for the session.
A huge thanks for their ‘tunes from the floor’ (to start each half of the concert) to Claire Halliday, who played ‘Rosa’ beautifully on melodeon; and Wil Walker, a lovely ‘Wounded Hussar’ on fiddle.