Sore Fingers October Weekend 2022



Here's the list of classes and tutors for the October Weekend 2022. We have some new classes to announce, read on.

Ukulele is back and Percy Copley is rounding up Uke player from far and wide to make this class a success. We hope it flies and that we can carry the enthusiasm onto next Easter. So, come and join us.

It is likely that Andy MacKenzie will be back with another creative class of guidance on applying aspects of Music Theory to become creative with your Bluegrass playing and expand your horizons well beyond the basic three chords.

An altogether new class for Mandolin players, an introduction of a Brazilian Choro. This will be an interesting variation for all Mandolin players. Highly recommended as it will challenge your technique and help you be even more versatile with your lead playing. Think of it as supercharged mandolin! Choro specialists Mike Pryor and Dave Griffiths of Bristol based Choro band "Brejeiro" will be teaching this course.

Finally, we are exploring the possibility of running some Dance Classes, more to come on that.

All in all, the October Weekend is building up into something quite exciting!


Lyn Jones - AUTOHARP

Lyn Jones The Autoharp class will be overseen by two of the best British teachers of this instrument.

Lyn Jones (who will be joined by Heather Farrell-Roberts see below) was a headteacher who, when leading a music based initiative at her special school, hired Mike Fenton, the premier English Autoharpist and was completely blown away by the music of the autoharp.

She followed up this interest by arriving “harpless” at Sore Fingers, where she borrowed an instrument and became committed. She became a regular student at Sore Fingers and also travelled to the US seeking out the best teachers she could find. She is now on the teaching team of the UK Autoharp Association teaching across the UK. She plays solo, and in various groups that celebrate the traditions of music in the UK, Europe and America.

She plays both chromatic and diatonic autoharp and will support you on your personal journey in practice, playing and arranging.


Heather Farrell-Roberts - AUTOHARP

Heather Farrell-Roberts Heather has virtually run the Sore Fingers Autoharp department for the best part of fifteen years. Ultimately qualified to do the job, she has selected the best tutors from here and the US to teach at Kingham.

At Easter, Heather takes the beginners and helps them to integrate into the main class, a job she does well as a retired teacher.

However; she is also a master player and always delights the S.F. audience with a beautiful piece in the Tutor Concerts. Her appointment as the main tutor is long overdue.

Heather has been part of the S.F. machine for as long as the Autoharp has featured and knows the format, the spirit, and her instrument. So, you’re in good hands, there will be no messin’ in her class! And if you think “Oh she’s in England, I can see her anytime” you’d be wrong as she lives in deepest Devon – a long way from most places that! – and this is an opportunity to spend a couple of days with a master player and teacher.

Get your forms in, this one could fill up fast….


Eugene O'Brien - BANJO

Eugene O'Brien Many will remember Eugene as the talented banjo player for European band, Sons of Navarone. Retirement from the band and his demanding job in Brussels means he has more spare time and, fortunately for us, we are at last able to call upon Eugene's vast experience to teach at Sore Fingers. This is a welcome development.
A founder member of the "Sons", one of the Europe’s foremost bluegrass bands and well known in the UK, Eugene started playing banjo in the Irish and American folk world but graduated to the bluegrass dark-side and has been there ever since.

He played with a number of bands in the UK. Later relocating to Brussels to take up a job, he’s now moved to the South West of France for a well earned rest.

Or has he? He’s still Chair of the EBMA, teaches at several workshops, collaborates with festivals and other events including Sore Fingers.

His playing is essentially Scruggs based with more than a smattering of melodic style and some bluesy licks. Some influences apart from Scruggs are Munde, Vestal, Trischka, Keith, Block, and Eldridge.

Eugene has taught privately and gives workshops at festivals. His approach to teaching is to demystify the banjo and help each individual to be a better banjo player whether it is improving on basics and timing or exploring the depths of the fingerboard.

Rest? No way!, This man has energy to use up and he will be doing that without restraint at our October Weekend. Lots of experience will come your way from a great player of the 5 string banjo.
Good to have him back.


Sam Quintana - BASS

Sam Quintana Anyone on the British Bluegrass scene will be familiar with Sam as an original member of the North East band: The Kentucky Cow-tippers. He made his name alongside his colleagues in that energetic band who played far and wide across the UK.

Two of his musical collaborators are past tutors at S.F., Evan Davies and Niles Krieger. This is a first time at S.F. for Sam who is well qualified for the job and will carry on that vital mission to turn you all into skilful Bass Players!

Surrounded by music from an early age, Sam Quintana took up electric bass at 12 years old and double bass at 18. Since graduating from the jazz course at Leeds College of Music in 2014, he has become an active member of the city's thriving music scene. He has shared the stage with some of the finest musicians from across the UK and frequently performs alongside renowned artists from the jazz, folk and pop idioms.

As well as being an in demand sideman, Sam is a member of an array of diverse creative projects and tours frequently around the UK and internationally. He has played at esteemed venues and festivals, embarked on lengthy tours and has several television appearances to his name. Sam has performed overseas in Iceland, France, Germany, Holland, Belgium and Ireland.

Sam composes for and leads his own group 'Wandering Monster', who are signed to London based jazz label 'Ubuntu Music'. In the bluegrass field he performs with 'The Often Herd' (winners of the 2018 band competition at La Roche Bluegrass Festival) and 'Jaeja'.

As an educator Sam has years of tuition experience, has led workshops in schools and higher education institutions and has worked as a guest lecturer at Leeds Conservatoire, where he also works as an accompanist.



Martin Froud - DOBRO

Martin Froud Many of you who have been to the Easter Week will have been greeted outside Top School by this man. He’s just great at directing, parking cars and telling people where to go! A long time collaborator of ours at lots of events we have either organized or been closely involved with, he’s one of the good guys - great company and we are pleased to welcome him to teach the Dobro class this Autumn.

The great thing about the October weekend is that it is less demanding than the Easter Week and serves as a perfect entry gate for those wishing to make headway on this fabulous instrument.

If you are starting out, Martin’s your man. With his background in full time teaching he is well equipped to trigger your inspiration and boost you forward with a series of musical formulas, scales and runs to help speed up playing ability. Martin knows the Sore Fingers spirit having been on several occasions both as student and tutor. Go on, give it a go - you might just surprise yourself!

Martin has played in many bands over the years, some Bluegrass and some not so.

As an experienced performer and meticulous player he has all the secrets one needs to get up to speed with playing dobro in a band.


Kieran Towers - FIDDLE

Kieran Towers If you've been to Sore Fingers before, Kieran will be no stranger. He’s a permanent fixture at both October and Easter events as a staff member - an excellent one at that!

He’s also fine musician and that’s what brought him to Sore Fingers in the first place many years ago and, fortunately for us, he never left!

Originally rooted in Old Time, he has since, through the necessities of being a professional musician, been actively widening his horizons and is developing into a versatile player covering Old Time and Trad Bluegrass and venturing into Jazz with his latest band project “Jaeja”.

Just recently, he was the absolute star fiddle player at the 2022 Crossover festival, He was to be found everywhere bringing his fiddle to life on stage and off.

At his own request, he elected to teach Bluegrass Fiddle this time as he’s been studying some of the Bluegrass Greats and is eager to pass on that knowledge. You get there by putting in the hours and analysing every detail of how the wonderful players from yesteryear did it and taking it to new places. Kieran has done that and has become a sought-after fiddler playing with several line ups including a duo with Charlotte Carrivick, Pet Yeti, The Hot Rock Pilgrims and others.

You just couldn’t be taught by a nicer chap, friendly, patient, compassionate. A great fiddle class is in prospect.



Bragi Olafsson - GUITAR

Bragi Olafsson Often Bluegrass players move into Jazz to get more challenges. This gent however, has gone the other way. After attending a couple of London sessions he became hooked on Bluegrass! And looking at the list of people he cites as his influences, he’s certainly up for a challenge.

By October Bragi will have attended Bryan Sutton’s guitar academy in the US and will most likely bring back some more playing secrets with him. He is a tutor who’s not afraid to keep learning from his peers.

Born and raised in Iceland, Bragi (Bry) Olafsson studied music from an early age and graduated from Iceland’s most prestigious jazz school, FIH, and obtained a degree in guitar performance.

Soon after moving to the UK for further studies, he was introduced to Bluegrass Music, which quickly became his focus.
Bragi’s background in jazz gives him the skills to break down and analyse the melodies and chord-structures of Bluegrass Tunes in a way that students can understand.

He is a technically accomplished player with a comprehensive understanding of Bluegrass Guitar playing from rhythm technique and theory to fiddle tunes and improvisation.

Bragi currently plays with newly formed alt-bluegrass band Jæja. His influences include Bryan Sutton, David Grier, Tony Rice and Julian Lage.




Andy MacKenzie Continuing our theme of brining applied music theory into play and giving instrumental and vocal students an opportunity to learn how to apply music theory to the creative art of music making. We are in the process of devising a short course for the October Weekend. No need to worry, you are not required to know how to read music for theses courses, the aim is to explain why the things you already know work and expand your horizons to open up your creativity. The course will be taught by our champion Andy MacKenzie.

Andy Mackenzie has over forty years of experience as freelance recording and live performer covering a wide ranges of musical styles and still preforming up 150 live concerts a year!

Alongside his live and recording work, Andy is currently the Jazz guitar tutor at Bangor University and has delivered several classes in Jazz and improvisation including prestigious institutions such as LIPA. He also co-authored Masters of Jazz guitar published in 1999 and continues to write reviews for the music press.

And to top that all, Andy is a proficient Flat-pick Bluegrass Guitar and banjo player!

His knowledge of music, scales, harmony and chord sequences equip him perfectly to deliver the great class we believe this new venture ids going to provide!

Welcome back, Andy is definitely part of the woodwork at S.F. now!


Evan Davies - MANDOLIN

Evan Davies Evan is a mandolinist, guitarist, singer and composer based in Leeds, UK. He currently performs and writes material for his band The Often Herd as well as refining his solo performance set. Not content with that, he also distinguishes himself as a member of progressive Bluegrass band Jaeja.

Never missing an opportunity to take to the stage he also performs Bluegrass and Folk in various professional and casual outfits.

Evan teaches Mandolin and Guitar and since September 2017 has been a Mandolin Tutor for Leeds College of Music's BA in Folk Music.

Evan has gained lots of experience playing in the UK over the last 5 years. With his own band The Kentucky Cow Tippers he has played festivals across the UK and travelled Europe, playing in Germany, Belgium, Netherlands and France, where the band took 2nd place at the La Roche Bluegrass Festival band competition.

Other musicians/bands Evan has worked with include Ben Somers, Toby Noble in various projects, and UK bluegrass stalwart Kevin Garratt.

He took up guitar at age 12 and by age 15 was composing music using computer software for his heavy metal band. This is where Evan found his passion for creativity, exploring the endless possibilities of melody, harmony and rhythm.

A brilliant opportunity to learn with one Britain’s finest Mandolin players.




Sore Finger Students are an inquisitive lot - quite rightly of course! - and as a result of a evening elective held at last Easter's event, Mike Pryor got a lot of mandolin layers intrigued by Choro music which originates in Brazil. As you can imagine, it's uplifting and dynamic but here's an proper introduction from our resident expert:

Immerse yourself in Choro!

Choro is the joyous, infectious and uplifting musical style from Brazil which people like Mike Marshall and John Reischmann have been championing for many years.

It has been called the original Brazilian music which can be traced back to the mid 1800’s and is the precursor to well-known styles like Samba and Bossa Nova.

In this mixed-instrument course Dave Griffiths and Mike Pryor will explain the social and political origins of Choro and teach you to play five landmark Choro tunes.

They will lead you through all the fundamental rhythms, structures, and dance forms of Choro and equip you to be able to join in Rodas (i.e. sessions).

The course is suitable for players of intermediate and advanced abilities, who have a good knowledge of their instruments.

The pieces will be taught in standard musical notation, tablature and chord charts, and can provided in advance of the course.

Once you start playing Choro it is difficult to stop, and Dave and Mike are on a mission to spread the Joy of Choro to everyone. Read their bios below.



Mike Pryor Mike Pryor began playing music in 1969 and since then has performed as a semi-professional musician in acoustic-based groups on mandolin, cavaquinho, double bass and guitar.

Performances have included television, radio and numerous festivals in UK and mainland Europe, including Glastonbury.

With these groups he has recorded numerous CDs including the British Bluegrass No.1 Small Town. He currently plays with Cavacante, The Bill Smarme Rock’n’Roll Trio, Los Adjustes and the Pond Skaters.
Mike has studied mandolin under Mike Marshall, Simon Mayor, John Reischman, Butch Baldassari and Andy Townend; he has studied guitar under Stefan Grossman, John James and Chris Moreton, and double bass under Danny Thompson.

Mike has taught private students and has tutored group classes at various Festivals, Sore Fingers Bluegrass Summer Schools and at BMG Federation Festivals. He was a regular contributor to British Bluegrass News and Mandocrucian’s Digest and helped organise the original Didmarton Bluegrass festival for ten years.

Well there’s a busy man and that’s just music! So, we are lucky to have him join our team of tutors to lead us in a slightly new direction. Whatever you already play on a mandolin, you need to have a look at Choro and Mike is just the man to take you to the right place.


Dave Griffiths - MANDOLIN CHORO

Dave Griffiths Dave Griffiths is a blues, choro and jazz mandolin player and an accomplished jazz bass player. He started playing mandolin in the 60's influenced by blues, ragtime and jug band music. He has performed at concerts and music festivals in the UK, Europe and the USA including Radio and Television appearances.

He has worked, toured and recorded with “Tight Like That”, “Paul Brett”, “Dave Paskett”, “Smile”, “Eddie Martin”, “Mingus Fingers” and “Brejeiro".
Dave has been Brazilian Choro music with his band Brejeiro for over fifteen years and currently plays with “Cavacante” and “Jim Reynolds".
Dave is an experienced workshop leader and educator running Bristol Jazz Workshops for ten years and courses for BMG, Sore Fingers and Creative Vacances in France. This isn't Dave’s first appearance at Sore Fingers having previously joined us to help with take Bass players beyond the basic “Root/Fifth” so common in Bluegrass and Old Time.

This time though, he’s going to take Mandolin players to new places! A fine man to do the job too.



Jock Tyldesley - OLD TIME FIDDLE

Jock Tyldesley Jock Tyldesley nurtures a long-time passion for Southern Appalachian Old Time Fiddling.

He is much in demand as a private and workshop tutor and has taught for several years at Folkworks Summer Schools and The Burwell Bash, as well as being a visiting tutor at Blazin’ in Beauly, The London Fiddle School and the Folk Degree course at Newcastle University, plus many international festival workshops.

Jock is an instinctive tutor, teaching by ear and concentrating on the feel and rhythm of the music as much as the tune and trying to bring out the ˜drive’ in peoples’ playing. He will also be exploring bowing patterns and different fiddle tunings during the course.

His versatility is demonstrated by his fiddling in Cajun bands such as The Flatville Aces and the Bearcats, as well as more off-the-wall antics with The New Rope String Band and The Chipolatas. He also tours worldwide with regular bands and US acts such as Eddie LeJeune, The Dirk Powell Band, Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble, Martha Scanlan, Beverly Smith and Carl Jones and Balfa Toujours. He’s also often seen at festivals with his partner, the talented Vera Van Heeringen.

We extend a warm welcome back to this fine musician.


Sue Pomeroy - SINGING

Sue Pomeroy With harmonies at the heart of her performances and song-writing, Sue Pomeroy has always been steeped in bluegrass, old-time and country music.

She has hardly missed an opportunity to soak up influence from the masters herself by attending workshops with the likes of Val Mindel and Alice Gerrard (and by being a staunch attendee at SFSS!).

It was the quality of vocal harmonies in her previous band The Woodberrys which won them the band competition for Ely Folk Festival in 2012. Sue now performs in a duo The Rye Sisters with versatile singer Ishani Siriwardena. The Rye Sisters won the ‘BBC Song for Lincolnshire 2016’ song-writing competition. As a result of this, and their growing reputation from their busy gig schedule, they are becoming known for beautiful singing arrangements and harmonies in American music with wide appeal.

They also love old-time song harmonies and recently performed at Orwell festival to much acclaim.

Both teachers by profession, Sue and Ishani can easily demonstrate and impart the techniques and knowledge for singing powerfully and in perfect harmony.



Ishani Siriwardena - SINGING

Ishani Siriwardena Ishani Siriwardena, singer and fiddler, was born and raised in the Lincolnshire fens. She has a classically-influenced background, learning piano and violin from an early age.
The singing class will be lead by two of the UK 's most wonderful singers who regularly perform under the guise of the "Rye Sisters" or as we know them, Ishani and Sue! Read on....

During her youth, Ishani spent much time on stage performing musical theatre, jazz and as a member of multiple youth choirs and orchestras. She sang and toured with Pembroke Chapel Choir between 2008 and 10, only venturing into the folk and country music scene in 2015 with the emergence of The Rye Sisters.

Now she is enjoying writing performing, playing and singing with fellow Rye Sister, Sue Pomeroy, with whom she has been collaborating closely in recent years.

Both Ishani and Sue taught at the October Weekend a few years back and went down a storm, harmonies from heaven!



Simon Robison - OLD TIME BANJO

Simon Robison Simon Robinson is a folk musician, music facilitator and workshop leader from Leeds, Yorkshire, who has taught the banjo, guitar and ukulele privately from his home for a number of years.

After touring extensively and releasing 3 albums and an EP to critical acclaim with the “Sci-Fi Folk” band Maia for 12 years, Simon has gone on to explore the more traditional roots of acoustic music, releasing two solo albums of traditional material (The Wandering Boy, 2018 and When The Sun Goes In, 2020) and performing around the country solo as well as with the bands Redwood River Band, Moorlanders and Sugarwell Hill.

Simon's ethereal pure voice is enhanced and supplemented perfectly with his hypnotic banjo and guitar playing. His arrangements of the mainly traditional material, drift deeply into the audience bringing a unique spirit to the music of the people from both sides of the pond. The album "When The Sun Goes In", released in Autumn 2020, was his second solo release, after "The Wandering Boy" in 2017. Simon has also released Brother Green EP with Redwood River Band in 2018.

As well as his career in music performance, Simon is also a passionate music educator and facilitator, teaching banjo, guitar and ukulele privately, as well as working in a number of SEN settings and Care Homes. He works for a number of charities and organisations, including Live Music Now, The Amber Trust and Artforms delivering music workshops and concerts all over the country and internationally. He also is a champion of community music, and runs the Leeds Old Time Session once a month and other online group music sessions - a monthly Lockdown Singaround Session and a weekly Ukulele Singalong session on Zoom.

Simon has to be one of Britain's best kept secrets as far as Old Time Banjo is concerned. He was discovered almost by accident when surfing the web and finding a short clip of Simon playing with our Mandolin tutor Evan Davies. He is a fine Banjo Player and will be joining us at Sore Fingers for the first time. We expect to hear a lot more of him on the British scene, he cannot remain a secret for much longer!



Percy Copley - UKULELE

Percy Copley Mr Copley is another who counts as a an S.F. long standing collaborator and he even allowed The Captain into his band - ONCE! Anyway, spurred on by the enthusiasm shown at last Easter's Sore Fingers Week during his elective, we have decided (with a push from the man himself) to bring back a Ukulele class to the 2022 October Weekend. We really hope to build a momentum we can take into a five day class next Easter. So, here's the lowdown about your tutor.

Percy Copley performs solo, or accompanied, using different types of ukulele - tenor, soprano, resonator, uke-banjo - singing a variety of songs from 20s/30s to more modern too. Jazz, blues, country, etc all with energy and fun! Songs, chords, strums, right hand rhythm... Music theory for ukulele. Fingerpicking, chords and solos...

Learn new techniques, improve your own style - take the uke beyond the group session for more personal enjoyment and playing.

Percy’s first instrument was ukulele, playing old songs from the 20s and 30s. At a young age he played in many places doing George Formby numbers and magic tricks! He has an infectious sense of humour but behind the façade, there is a real professional at work. His class is guaranteed to be fun but expect to meet a dedicated master of his art. This is a man of many talents who is equally adept on Mandolin, Banjo (tenor and five string) Guitar and Bagpipes!

He has taught several times at Sore Fingers (on other instruments too!) as well as many other workshops/camps in UK and Europe.