Jordi Savall in Salisbury

Jordi Savall, master of the viola da gamba at St Thomas Church, for the Ageas Salisbury International Arts Festival June 7th 2013. A superb musician and utterly cool.

Loudhailer UK

We were lucky enough to meet the exceptional Jordi Savall once again this weekend at St Thomas Church, Salisbury, as part of the Ageas Salisbury International Arts Festival. Jordi played the most beautiful concert of Les Voix Humaines, mostly on his 17th century seven string English Barak Norman bass Viola da Gamba.

Jordi Savall at St Thomas Church
The programme was soulful and elegant.

He is also very cool and gave Dexter a wink at the end of his third encore.

Click on an image to enlarge, and scroll through.

Rich took these beautiful photos © Richard Duffy-Howard

Rich & Lou Duffy-Howard

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Into the Sun

Here begins Valentina’s tale. Young lovers, Valentina and Raoul separate when she escapes persecution and comes to England as a refugee. Valentina boards a boat for the East Coast of England, leaving her lover behind to an uncertain fate, possibly death.

She brings Primula auricula flower seeds and the skills to grow the little flowers here as a reminder of home. The Huguenot people were skilled artisans and were well accepted in their new land. Although Valentina misses her loved ones she is relieved to be travelling over the sea into the unknown and a new life. Valentina says she’ll never forget Raoul…

I’ll be heading down to the harbour
Gonna be setting sail on the next high tide
You know the world may seem much smaller now
but it feels too big to me
I’m gonna be far away from here
by the time it’s light

Gonna be thinking ‘bout you baby
when I’m back on the ground
How we were heading
straight into the sun
With my flowers tucked up
and all safe and sound
I’m gonna be missin’ you baby
when I’m gone…

….The waves are so high
that I get vertigo
And seagulls swoop down
I’m spinning round and round and wonderful
And so high
up on the northern sea
And we are drenched
spray like waterfall
Our river flows to meet us
in East Anglia
And I get vertigo

The waves so high

I don’t know where I’m going
But I know where I’m from
Heading out to the sea
I’m looking into the sun

Into the sun, into the sun


Round and round and round and round…
…and wonderful

© 2012  Lou Duffy-Howard

Auriculas grown and photographed by Richard Duffy-Howard


Kings and Weavers

A huguenot
A Huguenot by John Everett Millais

Kings and Weavers is the next song in The Auricula Suite. It introduces the history of the flower, the Primula auricula, whose origins are in the Alps. Imagine how it will have been trampled underfoot by the Roman Legions travelling across the continent two thousand years ago. By the 16th century the auricula became a symbol of wealth and was grown in what is now France and Belgium by the first people to be known as ‘florists’ – The Huguenot people. They were also craftsmen and women, weavers and silk workers. In our tale the Huguenot people made auricula growing popular in England when they came here as refugees in the 16th century.

‘Kings and Weavers’ introduces the young couple in our story, Valentina and Raoul. Although Valentina and Raoul are fictional, they represent many people fleeing persecution and making a new life in a new and strange land, even here, today. I imagine Valentina and Raoul are similar to the couple standing in the walled garden in Huguenot Victorian artist, John Everett Millais’ painting, A Huguenot on St Bartholomew’s Day.

Flower of kings and of weavers
Crushed underfoot on the mountainsides of Gaul
Leaves of green for a queen and a thousand different colours
Comfort of the soldier on the wall
I will come for you
I will find you…
Your flower theatre will remind me
Of the gardener and the skillful artisan
Of Reformation time, and the people
On a journey to find a new homeland
I will come for you
I will find you…
The flower of kings will live forever
The flower of weavers will go on
Spell or cure on a starry night
The moon in the middle of the flower shines bright
I can see it too babe
I will come for you
I will find you…
Flower of kings
Flower of weavers
Green leaves for a queen
And colours for all
From high in the mountains
To the Huguenot gardens…
I’m thinking of you…standing by the wall

Valentina and Raoul, in the Huguenot garden,

Valentina and Raoul, by the wall…

© 2012  Lou Duffy-Howard

The Same Sky Overture

We have recorded a set of songs written to complement the project story.  You can hear the first one here. It’s the only instrumental in The Auricula Suite,  featuring guitars, hammer dulcimer and a beautiful lonesome hurdy gurdy solo; The Same Sky Overture.

The Auricula Suite is our set of songs telling folk tales of a journey to a new land; a story of love and loss, persecution and a new beginning – inspired by the small alpine Primula auricula and the folk tale of its 16th century journey to England with the Huguenot refugees.

The Same Sky is Raoul’s lament. His lover, Valentina, has escaped persecution on a ship to England, but Raoul stands by his faith and refuses to go.   It’s a sad song, now that his lover has gone. He looks up at the heavens and feels comfort in knowing that wherever she is, she’ll look up and see the same moon, the same stars……The Same Sky

© 2012 Duffy-Howard