The composer

The composer of 'Halsway Schottische' is Nigel Eaton, an English musician who plays hurdy-gurdy. He wrote the melody in October 2011, and shortly after this, Paul James of Blowzabella (a British folk group Nigel once played in) who is also currently the Chief Executive of Halsway Manor, asked Nigel to teach at the annual Hurdy gurdy workshop weekend there. Later, one of Nigel's friends, another Hurdy Gurdy player, Iain Frisk wrote seasonal winter lyrics for the melody and 'The Halsway Carol' was born.

  • More information about the composer and discography: Wikipedia
  • Halsway Schottische and Halsway Carol on Facebook: Facebook
  • Nigel Eaton on Soundcloud: Soundcloud

The lyricist

The lyricist of 'Halsway Carol' is Iain Frisk, an English musician with a background in folk, rock, electronica and classical music. Nigel got in touch during March 2012 asking for some verses for the tune. During the adaptation from the instrumental Schottische to the sung Carol, the tempo of the song was reduced, some notes were replaced with rests for breathing, and some simplification was done to make it more suitable for the voice. Intended to be enjoyed by singers and listeners of all beliefs, the carol is unusual in being both secular and non-commercial. The lyrics refer to the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere, and the ambience that can come about from the changes to the light and colours in the countryside around us, as well as our hopes for future seasons and memories of seasons past.

The promoter

Simon Haines, an English melodeon player, was so impressed and excited by Nigel's composition that he decided to encourage as many musicians as possible to interpret the Halsway melody in their own styles. Simon contacted a BBC radio station who agreed to broadcast the tune. Since then, more and more musicians have picked up and recorded Nigel's music, and many new and wonderful submissions have arrived - as Soundcloud recordings, as YouTube clips and as texts. Because of Simon's previous contact with Paul van Muijen, the webmaster of the Trekzakpagina the melody also became widespread in the Netherlands and all entries were collected together on one page of the Trekzakpagina website. Nigel's music is fast becoming a worldwide phenomenon.