Gleowien is a middle English word meaning to make music and merry. This album is dedicated to that, containing English traditional and Swedish pipe tunes and songs from Child Ballad to self penned, accompanied by a multiplicity of instruments both English and Swedish.



English traditional and Swedish pipe tunes, a song based on a child Ballad and some self penned songs. There are vocals from both Vicki and Jonny.

Vicki plays Scottish Small pipes, Swedish nyckelharpa and wooden flute.

Jonny plays guitar, accordion and Swedish cittra.

Gleowien
Rosey Jones : Pine Dance : Gleowien (Dyer)
Gleowien is a middle English word meaning to make music and merry. This tune set is dedicated to that very pastime. Best served with a pint.

William
Lyrics and Melody - Dyer
This is our synthesis of the Child Ballad #3 'The Smart Schoolboy’. Following the pattern of the New Brunswick version (False False Fly), this song is further changed in two ways; The lyrics highlights the boy’s vulnerability as an orphan and ‘the baddie’ is a man dressed in gold - representing greed and corruption.

Åsavägen
Skön Åsa : Norrahammarsvägen (Swan)
Skön Åsa means lovely Åsa. Spelt differently, but pronounced almost the same, Sjön Åsa would mean Lake Åsa so be careful how you say it. Norrahammarsvägen is the name of a road in Sweden, many happy times spent at both.

The ‘Dood’ Night Kiss
The Little Pard (Swan)
Lyrics - Robert M. Swan, Melody - V. Swan, arr V. Swan
A poem written by Vicki’s Great, Great Grandfather about his grandson - Vicki's Grandfather (confusing isn’t it?), set to music by Vicki.

Whist
The Revelstoke Wedding : Whist with a Twist (Swan)
We couldn’t get to the Revelstoke Wedding in Canada, but the game of whist really did happen.

Follow Me Home
Lyrics and Melody - Dyer
A chorus song calling the family home from the fields. Obviously not traditional - everyone is way too content.

Time Out
Time Out : Clattering About : Sticky Ticket (Dyer)
A set of rhythmic tunes pulling the smallpipes away from their Highland heritage. Clattering about was written to the gentle but repetitive noise of the Channel Tunnel Train - this probably explains the rhythms.

Fikavalsen
Fikavalsen : Iste Vista (Swan : Dyer)
Fika is the Swedish act of drinking coffee and eating cinnamon buns a lot. Yum! Iste Vista is the view from Iste. What else would it be?

The Roses Three
Lyrics - Trad, translated V. Swan, Melody - Trad, arr Dyer
A traditional Swedish song of love, horse riding, painting and happy endings.

Puget
Vintage Puget : Bare Bones : Turn the Wheel (Swan : Dyer : Dyer)
‘Vintage Puget’ was the name of a home-made red wine whilst Turn the Wheel could be an e-ceilidh Tune.

Lord Ullin’s Daughter
Lyrics - Thomas Campbell, Melody - Dyer, arr J. Dyer
Boy and girl run away. Grumpy dad comes chasing after. Weather poor. Gale warnings. No-one lives happily ever after.

Trad II
Rory McLeods : Highland Pibroch : Banks of the Allen (Trad)
What is says on the tin, our second set of traditional pipe tunes.

1
Gleowien
2
William
3
Asavagen
Sample not available
4
The Dood Night Kiss
Sample not available
5
Whist
Sample not available
6
Follow Me Home
7
Time Out
Sample not available
8
Fikavalsen
Sample not available
9
The Roses Three
Sample not available
10
Puget
11
Lord Ullin's Daughter
Sample not available
12
Trad II
Sample not available

Folk North West

Derek Gifford

When I first read the title of this latest CD from Vicki and Jonny I thought it was a new way of spelling 'Gluwein' - oh good, I thought, this'll be a wino's album - just the job for me! It isn't of course, Gleowien is middle English for making music or to make merry. Ah well, at least I wasn't totally disappointed because this is an intoxicating album.

All the songs and most of the tunes are penned by Vicki and/or Jonny. Vicki plays Scottish smallpipes, Swedish nyckelharpa (a sort of keyed fiddle - don't ask!) and wooden flute while Jonny plays guitar, accordion and Swedish cittra ( a chorded zither) with both of them vocalising along the way. Mark Southgate adds bass guitar, Pete Flood percussion and Roy Jones bodhran effectively on some of the tracks.

Of the songs written by Jonny 'Follow Me Home' is very catchy and lilts along nicely and his riddle song 'William' is equally as good. The other songs are adapted from the Swedish and British traditions with one from a poem by Vicki's Great Great Grandfather called 'The 'Dood' Night Kiss'.

It is however, the tunes that feature most prominently on this album with the smallpipes and Vicki's Swedish influences very much to the fore. 'Fikavalsen' (Fika is the Swedish act of drinking coffee and eating cinnamon buns) written by Vicki is a lovely tune and 'Vintage Puget' which is the name given to a home-made red wine - I knew I'd find some booze in there eventually! - is another cracker. Jonny replies with 'Time Out' and 'Clattering About' on another track  illustrating very well their joint talents as tunesmiths.

This album is so entertaining that I think it might just find its way into my car for a while as 'music to drive with'. Good stuff.

Spiral Earth

Vicki Swan & Jonny Dyer

Swan & Dyer get better with every album, Gleowien is the much anticipated new album from this wonderful duo. Vicki is one of the very best contemporary pipers, with Jonny there is a kind of alchemy going on, blending a whole cauldron of influences and coming up with something provocative yet warming to the heart.



Netrythms

David Kidman

Just to put your mind at rest, Gleowien is a middle-English word meaning to make music and merry: a decidedly worthy activity to which Vicki and Jonny's fourth album (and third for WildGoose) is dedicated. As was apparent right from their days in Serious Kitchen, Vicki and Jonny certainly enjoy making music at any time, and with each of their records (and live performances, come to that) I'm brought up sharp by their natural and apparently effortless multi-talentedness. Gleowien is a glorious celebration of that trait, sure, but it also marks a further milestone in their development as musicians.

Not only are Vicki and Jonny both continuing to grow in stature as singers and song-interpreters, but they're also expanding their available instrumental sound-palette. In the latter respect the most striking element is the latest addition to the duo's already impressive instrumental armoury: Vicki's fairly-newly-acquired nyckelharpa (that determinedly unwieldy-looking but wonderful Swedish instrument), which provides yet another string (or 16!) to her bow (!). She adds its distinctive, haunting timbre to a goodly number of the tracks (but to her credit, she refrains from over-exposing the instrument's delights). Textures are sensibly well varied over the course of the disc, with Jonny's trusty and friendly guitar overlaid and/or counterpointed by a melody (or harmony) line or two from Vicki, who flits mercurially between Scottish smallpipes, wooden flute and the aforementioned nyckelharpa. Jonny also adds further colours to the mix with accordion and cittra (a Swedish zither), while there are some wondrously subtle yet inventive guest contributions from a neat little rhythm section comprising bass guitarist Mark Southgate, Bellowhead's mad percussionist Pete Flood and bodhr�n player Roy Jones.

The disc more or less alternates between instrumental sets (seven) and vocal items (five); all but one of the former consist of original compositions in traditional style by Jonny or Vicki - and by traditional I mean Scottish, English and Swedish, and often you can't feel the join, so authentically are they managed. Pick of these for me is the central Whist, which pairs a beguilingly reflective slow air with a more vigorous depiction of a game of cards (the real deal!), while the more rhythmic Time Out set ingeniously pulls the smallpipes away from their Highland heritage. Similarly, the songs range over (or are strongly influenced by) the traditions: first, there's two fine examples of Jonny's creative synthesising of classic ballads (Child #3, here called William, and Lord Ullin's Daughter), on which at times I can't help hearing the spirits of that admirable Australian duo Cloudstreet (no aspersions intended!) in terms of tone, manner, phrasing and presentation. Then there's Vicki's translation of an enchanting Swedish love song (The Roses Three), and a delicate setting by Vicki of a charming poem (The 'Dood' Night Kiss) written for her grandfather by his own grandfather! Arguably the most enduring of the vocal tracks, though, is Jonny's genial and memorable (if gentle) chorus song calling the family home from the fields (Follow Me Home).

With its exceedingly well balanced menu and a light, airy and thoroughly infectious vibe amply befitting its title, this refreshing CD communicates every scrap of the musicians' enjoyment of their craft while managing to quietly impress without needing to shout or boast.

EFN

Andy Stevens

From the first skirl of the pipes this is evidently another excellent album of songs and tune set compositions from the renowned local duo.  Vicky features both her Scottish smallpipes and Swedish nyckelharpa on this album, accompanied by Jonny on guitar and accordion.  Both composers work with evident folk traditions, mainly celtic but with two Swedish style tune sets on this CD.  Both musicians are strong singers. "William", the first of Jonny songs, is based on a well-known Child Ballad, but my favourite on the album is "The Roses Three" a quest-love song.  The lyrics of Vicky's "Dood' Night Kiss", a Victorian type sentimental ballad were actually by and about her grandfathers.  These songs are balanced by strong rhythmic piping tunes from Vicky supported by Jonny, and sometimes guest musicians.  

A well-produced album from these talented musicians, well-known in local clubs and regional festivals, but who deserve better recognition nationally.


EDS

Clive Pownceby

This fourth duo release since the demise of former band Serious Kitchen sees Vicki and Jonny throwing all the right shapes in what is a bold and fully-realised work. Building on the strengths evidenced on 2007's Sliptease, they're on solid ground with a mix of trad and own-writes plus a variety of instrumentation that takes in Scottish small pipes and Swedish nyckelharpa (Vicki) with guitar and accordion (Jonny). Vocals come courtesy of both and there's plenty of creativity in evidence here, rather than arty experimentation for its own sake.  The record begins and ends on a visceral high with the title track being a simmering instrumental set, while the traditional pipe tunes, termed 'Trad II', that close proceedings have a sense of quiet turmoil that's similarly potent.

Elsewhere there's an incongruously jaunty, yet noteworthy, version of Child no.3 ('Fause Knight On The Road') in 'William', contrasting with the sun-dappled ambience of Jonny's 'Follow Me Home' and demonstrating how Swan and Dyer get it just right with a good balance of the slightly muscular with the subtle/gentle. Together they fashion some perfectly weighted, tasteful music that's an object lesson in less-is-more.

Hardly putting a foot wrong, focused and with a deeper ambition whilst remaining egoless and enjoyable, this is rightly an album that takes itself seriously and aptly mirrors its title �verb, 'to make music, to make merry' (Middle English). You suspect that Swan and Dyer are only just coming into their own.

Taplas

Keith Hudson

YOU have to hand it to these two. Each album they make comes up fresh as a daisy and, in some ways, significantly different from its predecesser. Previous releases have been either predominantly instrumental or vocal, but Gleowien mixes both in roughly equal measure.

Gleowien is a middle English word meaning to make merry and very apt it is as a title for this album, which opens with a set of three gorgeous tunes, the third bearing the same title. All three are Dyer's compositions and are delightfully played on Scottish small pipes by Swan. Her sublime piping features on several other tracks, but she's also adopted a nyckelharpa and the pair seem to be fostering a love affair with Sweden. Norrahammarsvagen may not have the same ring as Route 66 but it's a great road tune. Other pieces written in a Swedish style also impress.

Dyer's contributions on accordion and, in particular, guitar shouldn't be underestimated and his voice seems to have acquired a little more robustness. His songs include William, which he's loosely adapted from a Child ballad, and Follow me Home, which summon the family home from the fields.

Vicki and Jonny have charmed before and here they do so again.


Taplas, October/November 2009

fRoots

David Kidman

Gleowien: Middle?English word meaning to make music and merry ?a pleasurable activity to which Vicki and Jonny have subscribed from their Serious Kitchen days and to which their fourth album (third for WildGoose) is dedicated. With each successive record (and live performance, come to that) I'm taken anew by the duo's natural, apparently effortless multi?talentedness, Gleowien marking a further milestone in their development as musicians, singers and song?interpreters.

They're also audibly expanding their available sound?palette, most strikingly perhaps with the latest addition to their already impressive armoury: Vicki's fairly?newly?acquired nyckelharpa. Although its distinctive, haunting timbre appears on a goodly number of the tracks, textures are still sensibly varied over the course of the disc, with Jonny's trusty and friendly guitar overlaid and/ or counterpointed by a melody (or harmony) line or two from Vicki, flitting mercurially between Scottish smallpipes, wooden flute and the aforementioned nyckelharpa. Jonny also adds further colours to the mix with accordeon and cittra (Swedish zither), while there are subtle and inventive guest contributions from a neat little rhythm section (bassist Mark Southgate, mad Bellowhead percussionist Pete Flood and bodhran player Roy Jones).

The disc more or less alternates between instrumental sets and vocal items, all but one of the former being original compositions by Jonny or Vicki in traditional (Scottish, English or Swedish) style. Whist pairs a beguilingly reflective air with a vigorous depiction of a game of cards, while the Time Outset ingeniously pulls the smallpipes away from their Highland heritage. The songs are similarly strongly influenced by the traditions: Jonny's penchant for creative synthesising of classic ballads is represented by Child #3 (here called William) and Lord Ullin's Daughter, while Vicki contributes a translation of the Swedish love song The Roses Three and a setting of a charming poem written for her grandfather by his own grandfather. Arguably the most enchanting of the vocal tracks, though, is Jonny's genial and gently memorable chorus song calling the family home from the fields (Follow Me Home).

With its exceedingly well balanced menu and a light, airy and thoroughly infectious demeanour amply befitting its title, this refreshing CD communicates every scrap of the musicians' enjoyment of their craft, also managing to quietly impress without ever needing to shout or boast.

R2

Oz Hardwick

The title, in case you're wondering, is a Middle English term for making music and making merry, and it's pretty apt here. Swan is best known for her prowess on Scottish smallpipes, Dyer on guitar and accordion, but there's also both instrumentation and inspiration from over the North Sea here, with Swedish cittra and nyckelharpa entering the mix.

Those expecting tune sets from the duo will be more than satisfied with those herein, both traditional and original, which bring into sharp focus the cultural dialogue between north-east Britain and Scandinavia - Swan's uplifting 'Asavagen' and 'Whist' being particular highlights. It's testament to the quality on offer that the songs hold their own in such company, but an enthralling take on Child #3 and a clutch of originals make for a beautifully balanced and rewarding collection.

Around Kent Folk

Kathy & Bob Drage

Gleowien pronounced GLAY?OR?WE?EN, 'middle English for `to make music, to make merry'. This CD from the excellent Wild Goose label does that and more. We found ourselves mystically transported to misty woodland valleys whilst listening to the tunes. Scottish smallpipes, Swedish cittra and nyckelharpa, wooden flute, guitar and accordion all add their own ambience to the tunes and songs. A lovely combination.

The songs `Follow Me Home' (Dyer) ? you can almost hear the horses coming home from the fields. `Lord Ullin's Daughter' (lyrics Thomas Campbell, melody Dyer) a historical song of the road. `The Dood Night Kiss'? a poem written by Vicki's great, great grandfather about his grandson.

This is true folk music ? passed from one generation to the next. The CD insert quotes: `Exciting new tunes, ballads and songs, nuff said'.

Very, very true.

Mardles

Anahata

This is Vicki and Jonny's third duo album on the Wild Goose label, though their studio friendly musical talent has also led to their collaboration on two other Wild Goose albums recently.

Gleowien (pronounced "Glay-or-we-en", we are helpfully told) is a middle English word meaning to make music and merry. They certainly know how to make music, whether it's their own compositions or based on traditional tunes from Sweden, England or Scotland. To their previous sound palette of smallpipes, flute, accordion and guitar they now add a nyckelharpa, Jonny's Swedish Cittra and Vicki's solo voice, and their recent research into the Swedish half of Vicki's ancestry has provided some unusual source material, though in all cases the final product is very much their own. Some tracks feature guest musicians Mark Southgate on Bass guitar and Roy Jones on Bodhran and especially Pete Flood's superb percussion.

The opening title track is a medley starting with the spine-tinglingly majestic slow air Rosey Jones, followed by Pine Dance, a jig and Gleowien, a syncopated reel, all written by Jonny. "Best served with a pint", they say, perhaps with an eye on the typical club and festival audiences for their live set.

The 'Dood' Night Kiss is Vicki's setting of a poem written for her grandfather when a small boy by HIS grandfather! I don't recall having heard Vicki's voice solo before, and it's gentle slightly dark tone suits this song perfectly.

Apart from that and Jonny's Follow Me Home, with it's memorable and catchy chorus and deliciously blended harmony singing, it's the instrumentals which really caught my attention, with their usual faultless playing and superb arrangements. Vicki is making some sweet sounds on her recently-acquired nyckelharpa, and if only a few other "folk piano accordion" players (or guitarists, in some cases) could listen to and emulate Jonny's sensitivity!

As the interpretation of "Gleowien" goes, the merry making side of it is more refined than you might expect, but no matter - the whole album has a very polished air about it, and is a delightful listening experience.

FolkWorld Germany

Adolf gorhand Goriup

Gleowien is a Middle English word meaning to make music and merry. I don't know if the two British musicians are actually married, but they definitely make great music together. Vicki Swan is a second generation piper following her father's footsteps and plays wooden flute and nyckelharpa while composer and award winning guitar player Jonny Dyer also adds the accordion and the Swedish cittra to the line-up. Together with guest musicians Mark Southgate (bass), Pete Flood (percussion) and Roy Jones (bodhr�n) the duo recorded ten self-penned songs and tunes as well as two traditional tracks.

They start off with the title track, an instrumental set by Dyer, and the playing together of accordion and pipes. A fine romantic air is followed by two dance tunes rhythmically supported by bass and percussion. Both musicians have beautiful voices and the five songs are perfect showcases to prove it. Dyer wrote �William� inspired by an old child ballad. His lead vocals as well as Swan's harmony vocals are hauntingly beautiful and the accompaniment by guitar, bass and nyckelharpa match perfectly to the old time style song. Swan who speaks Swedish fluently composed the melancholic tune �Asav�gen� in the typical Swedish style and they bring it forward with nyckelharpa, accordion and cittra. She also brought to music a poem by her great great grandfather Robert M. Swan, �The 'dood' Night Kiss�, and the result is a wonderful lullaby with Swan's superb singing. A majority of the songs and tunes are rather melodic, but then they also play intoxicating dance sets and catchy rhythms. Dyer's �Time out� is a remarkable set with modern grooves played on bass, guitar and percussion and Swan's terrific piping makes it to my favourite track. A waltz in Swedish style by Swan and Dyer, �Fikavalsen�, and a Swedish traditional song, �The Roses three�, follow behind and bring the listener back into a melancholic mood before Swan gets back to her Scottish Small pipes to play another self-crafted set with a beautiful slow air and a great ceilidh tune. To close up the album Swan plays three traditional pipe tunes rhythmically driven by Dyer's terrific guitar playing.

With their forth album Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer install themselves on top of the British folk scene. They are brilliant musicians, gifted singers and exquisite composers and their mix of Swedish and English style music distinguishes them from the mass of traditional musicians.

Whats Afoot

Colin Andrews

I had the pleasure of seeing this talented duo perform last summer at the Bideford Folk Festival, but I think this is the first of their albums that I have personally reviewed. Strangely enough, I preferred the album to their live act, probably because I could listen to them in a leisurely manner rather than keeping one eye, as the compere, on the clock.

Their music I find very relaxing. Jonny's guitar or accordion blending very well with Vicki's Scottish small pipes, flute or nyckelharpa (that's a sweet sounding Swedish fiddle-like bowed instrument with keyed notes played a bit like a hurdy- gurdy). The title, Gleowien (a middle English word meaning to make music and be merry), is the last tune of the opening medley, and sets the gentle tone of the instrumentals. Other Dyer and Swan compositions feature in the Swedish style Asavagen and Fikavalsen, and most of the other sets of tunes.

On the whole I found the instrumentals more satisfying than the vocals, but that is very much a personal preference rather than a criticism in any way of their singing. Vicki translated the lyrics of a traditional Swedish song, to give us The Roses Three, an idyllically happy song (unlike Lord Ullin's Daughter where all perish in the storms!) There's a family connection, in the 'Dood Night Kiss, written for her grandfather by his grandfather.

Jonny can fairly turn out some pretty good songs of his own. Follow Me Home, a chorus song calling the family home from the fields, isn't traditional and doesn't sound so. William, on the other hand, is a cleverly re-crafted version of False Knight on the Road,, or Child Ballad No.3 The Smart Schoolboy, and only reference to the sleeve notes gave away its recent authorship.

Vicky Swan & Jonny Dyer offer an interesting blend of original material, accompanied by instruments not often seen around the club and festival circuit.

Lira Swedish Magazine

Acoustic Folk Duo. The first impression one gets of the multi-instrumental duo Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer is a trace of musical touch of Kathryn Tickell. Swan plays Scottish smallpipes with Tickells speed and breeze, and Dyers accordion contributes with delightful counterpoint. But Swan and Dyer have more colours on their palette. Swans tune Fikavalsen, Sk�n �sa and Norrahammarsv�gen are clearly Swedish inspired melodies. And Swans nyckelharpa has both fine tone and exemplary smoothness.

Dyers songs are austere and styalized, whilst Swan sounds relaxed and natural. His follow me home is long, despite fine guitar playing. Whilst her sweet, lullaby-like The "Dood" Night Kiss, with the text from her grandads grandad (about his grandson), is the CDs best song track.

It is however as instrumentalists that they give me the largest impression. The pair of tunes The Revelstoke Wedding/Whist with a Twist (by Vicki Swan) lifts forwards both Dyers guitar playing and her uncriticiseable control of the Scottish Smallpipes. But the best track is Time Out, that consists of three funky bagpipe tunes written by Jonny Dyer.

Shire Folk

Jonathan Roscoe

Gleowien, a Middle English word meaning to make music and merry, is the third album on WildGoose from multi-instrumentalists, Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer. And without doubt it's their best so far. A mixture of mostly self-penned songs and tunes that contrast the rousing, such as the title track, with the more thoughtful and brooding.

Their songwriting is coming on a treat as well, especially a poem by Vicki's Great, Great-Grandfather to his grandson that she's put to music called "A 'Dood' Night Kiss", "Follow Me Home" a song by Jonny calling the family home from the fields and "William" Jonny's take on one of the Child Ballads about a little boy meeting a gold-suited devil on the way to school (as seems to happen in the folk world).

As you would expect from two such fine musicians, the album is instrumentally stunning. Vicki's playing of the Scottish small pipes is as good as anyone's in folk, especially on "Puget" and "Trad II", whilst the addition of the extraordinary Swedish nyckelharpa only adds texture and interest. Not to be outdone, Jonny weighs in with not only the more conventional guitar and accordion, but also the Swedish cittra. With several of the tracks based around Swedish life and stories you can see a bit of a Swedish theme developing - apparently Vicki even speaks fluent Swedish!

The Living Tradition

Kevin T Ward

VICKI SWAN & JONNY DYER - Gleowien

Wildgoose WGS363CD



Since it begs the question it's 'Making music and merry', and the dedication of the opening tune set on this fourth album by experienced duo Vicki (vocals, Scottish smallpipes, Swedish nyckelharpa and wooden flute) and Jonny (vocals, guitar, accordion and Swedish cittra), who formerly recorded as Serious Kitchen.

Supported very ably by guests Mark Southgate (bass guitar), Pete Flood (percussion) and Roy Jones (bodhran), they provide a rich smorgasbord of tunes and songs. There's plenty on the menu and a wide tonal palette - mellifluous then melancholic (perhaps the essence of the nyckelharpa which is, at times, quite enchanting), at times ancient in feel, at others plaintive and keening, then light and airy, stately and formal, shimmering�. then simmering with taut and tight rhythmic dance music.

The pipe playing is very deft and fluid and Jonny's guitar work, beautifully recorded incidentally, is excellent in its balance and empathy. There are ten self penned songs and two traditional pieces arranged as seven instrumentals and five pieces with vocals (both have very good voices). Vicki's ancestry inspired some of the significant Swedish influences including the charming and beautifully melodic Fikavalsen tune � the 'act of drinking coffee with cinnamon buns a lot' apparently! Their intensely harmonious rendition of Lord Ullin's Daughter is another stand out track.

The overall feel is smooth and fine with highly polished arrangements and melody always to the fore. In short, lovely balanced music. One minor recommendation � a little more rhythmic syncopation and use of chords in the supporting bass (perhaps fretless) might enrich their music even more.