Kerry Fiddles Natural Skelligs sunset - image by Lee Tiller

Gill Newlyn

Gill Newlyn © Lee Tiller

Gill was born in Uganda  and spent her early years there due to her father's job as a Development Ecomomist. She spent the rest of her childhood in Leeds where her father taught at the University. Her mother's family are Harringtons. Her Great Grandfather, John Harrington, a Dancing Master, moved from West Cork to London in the 1840's. Gill trained as a horse-riding instructor in 1976 (BHSII) until becoming obsessed with the fiddle. Happily she’s not found much of a difference between riding a horse and playing the fiddle … (balance, rhythm, touch, hair … everything it takes to do anything really, except the hair*)

In the mid 90’s Gill set up and ran Bristol Fiddles, a fiddle school for adults where she introduced hundreds of beginners to music and put on workshops with such fiddle masters as Brendan McGlinchey, Tommy Peoples, Kevin Burke and Paul O'Shaughnessy. Gill played in a World Music band for 6 years, appearing at several WOMAD and Glastonbury festivals. Her fiddle style is a bit of a regional mix, though it’s probably closest to Clare than anything else. (NB ‘Kerry Fiddles’ is a geographical reference.) Gill has a deep-rooted passion for fiddle music and loves to ignite that passion in others.

* The best quality bow hair used to be Mongolian horsehair. Not sure if it still is. But I do know that they don’t use ivory for the tip of the bow anymore – they use woolly mammoth now – dug up from the Siberian Tundra! Don’t know why having a bit of woolly mammoth on the tip of my bow makes me smile, but it does! Gill.

Below is a poem written for Gill, by the poet Ian Duhig, who first introduced her to the music 20 years ago.


The Fiddle Teacher

For G.N.

When Padraig played one lullaby,
The big old door key in his teeth,
He'd stroke it on his fiddle's bridge
To raise a teething baby's cry.

She puts new keys between their teeth
And cuts them on the great and gone,
She breaks the silences they clutch
And wakes the fiddlers underneath.

(Ian Duhig 23/1/2002)

(Padraig O'Keefe (1897 - 1963) the Kerry fiddle player and teacher, did indeed use a key as a variable mute in this fashion).



Chris Liddle

Chris Liddle © Lee Tiller

Gill and Chris were married in 1998. (Gill kept her surname, as the idea of ‘Liddle’s Fiddles’ was too much to bear!)

Chris plays DADGAD and normally tuned guitar... DADGAD to back the tunes and normal for singing songs. Chris also teaches week long courses in both standard and DADGAD tuned guitar.








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