Dipper Malkin are a captivating new duo, whose beginning was but a whisper. That whisper has
steadily grown to become a clamour over the last year. Dipper Malkin are rapidly earning a reputation
for elevating traditional music to new heights of sturdy beauty and sophistication.
With their debut release, Tricks of the Trade, it is clear that Dipper Malkin realise that they are
the lucky benefactors of previous generations’ invention, celebrating their inheritance through every note, whilst
avoiding the trap of complacency by offering their own inventions.
Dipper Malkin is the “potent combination” (Folk Radio UK) of two musicians that have spent their careers to date
involved in groundbreaking projects. John Dipper (viola d’amore) was one third of The English Acoustic Collective alongside Chris Wood and Robert Harbron and currently works with string quartet Methera, while Dave Malkin (guitar, voice) was a founding member of trio Tandem, stylishly combining traditionally informed compositions with live electronics.
The album provides a new lease of life for the viola d’amore, an unusual instrument from the baroque period with
seven bowed and seven sympathetic strings. “I began investigating new ways to play more complex polyphonic
accompaniments. Discussions with players such as Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, who uses instruments with a greater number of strings, led me to experiment with the viola d’amore. I’ve developed a new tuning system for the instrument, which has allowed new compositions to flourish”, said Dipper.
The duo assembled an illustrious cast to realise their debut release. BBC Radio Scotland Young Jazz Musician of the Year, Corrie Dick, features on two of the album’s ten tracks, contributing percussion which ranges from
dexterous and spacious to frenetic. Tom Dennis weaves lush flugelhorn around Dipper’s viola d’amore on the
album’s second track, King Storm. Meanwhile Malkin’s long-term collaborator, Ben Corrigan, has provided the
duo with the freedom to explore sonic possibilities and production values not necessarily associated with folk
“The greatest compliment we could think to pay to our ancestors, those responsible for this rich and fascinatingly idiosyncratic tradition, is to elevate the repertoire they’ve provided for us”, said Malkin. “It’s important to us both that we look outwards for inspiration. We aim to present work on a par with contemporary classical music in terms of its intrinsic artistic value, produced to the standard of a big-budget release, as thrilling and accurately executed as improvised jazz, but most importantly rooted in our tradition.”
Dipper Malkin can be found on the plains of Eastfolk over FolkEast weekend – more precisely on the Broad Roots Stage. They are then back in our region on Sunday 8 October at Black Fen Folk Club at the NCI Club, Holland Street, Cambridge. CB4 3DL. Show 7.30pm Tickets £6.50 www.blackfenfolkclub.com
See www.dippermalkin.com for more details.