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Some reiews of Ilow Splann performances

Music at Mary Newman’s Cottage


On a beautiful July afternoon, visitors were superbly entertained with music performed by Ilow Splann [Cornish for bright/shiny/splendid music]. The talented duo of Maggie Willmott and Carlton Crouch, dressed in appropriate costume, performed music from the 13th century to Tudor times and included troubadour songs and dance tunes.


The earliest pieceswere “Miri it is”

and “Summer isacumen in”. Other

pieces included “Greensleeves” and

Pastime with good company” both of

which areattributed to King Henry VIII.


Instruments featured the bouzouki,
violin, cornamuse, bodhran,
bagpipes, voice and bombard. The
music created a wonderful
atmosphere in the authentic setting
of the cottage.


Refreshments, which
included Tudor delicacies such as
“Elizabethan naughty cakes,” “pastry
knots,” “doucettes” (a sort of custard
tart) and maids of honour tarts, all
prepared by Maggie, added to the

There was also a display table which
featured a variety of herbs, all grown
in the cottage’s garden, which would
have been used during Tudor times.
The whole occasion was most
enjoyable and provided an
opportunity to showcase the cottage
itself, as well as local musicians.


Review: Ilow Splann at St. Wenna's Church April 2018


What a delightful evening we shared listening to the musical talents of Ilow Span at St Wenna’s. The venue was just the perfect setting for this recital, with the combination of subdued candlelight creating ambiance, coupled with the long history of the Church.

The versatility of our local musicians Maggie Willmott and Carlton Crouch was outstanding; is there any instrument they can’t play came to mind. We were treated to the sound of the saxophone, guitar, bouzouki, violin, bodhran, harpsichord and the bagpipes! How fortunate are we to have such talent on our doorstep.

The music itself covered a number of historical periods and cultural styles, ranging from Renaissance to Baroque, whilst also returning to our roots and encompassing traditional and contemporary Cornish songs. All this, plus drinks and homemade cakes in the interval, made this such a delightful way to spend a warm summer evening in our beautiful Parish.

Ilow Splaan generously lent their talents for this concert in aid of ongoing projects for the installation of kitchen and toilet facilities, and the creation of a separate space for community activities at St Wenna’s.

Lesley Brettell

stwennsmagandme res2.jpg

Ilow Splann Sunday 15th April, 2018.
Our Concert Series Organiser, Angela Wunnam, writes ........

A sizeable and enthusiastic
audience came to listen to Carlton
Crouch and Maggie Willmott
performing as Ilow Splann. Carlton
and Maggie had prepared a varied
programme of Cornish traditional
music, both old and modern, played
on a number of different instruments.
There were dance tunes played as
recorder duets, a waltz (played in
4/4 time!), and Boscastle
Breakdown to name but a few.
Maggie played some lively fiddle
pieces with Carlton on the recorder and the guitar.
They explained the origin of each piece and it was very interesting to realise what a
wide tradition Cornwall has of folk music. They further varied the programme by
including songs and inviting the audience to join in with the choruses, which they did
with gusto.
Carlton also included pieces on the saxophone, accompanied by Maggie on the
keyboard and the bodhran drum. They found an ingenious way of surprising the
audience with a subtle and brief chord change leading into something modern and
even outlandish such as Dave Brubeck’s Take Five, the themes from Telstar and
Dr. Who. There was certainly no chance of finding their performance too predictable!
The only indication was the fleeting smile on their faces as the unexpected was
about to be heard.
The afternoon raced by as it was suddenly time for afternoon tea and cake. Maggie
had especially baked and brought a variety of delicious cakes, enough for everybody
to eat as many as they would like.
If you would like to hear more of them, not only playing Cornish but also Tudor and
Baroque music, then please look at their website,
Ilow Splann may be performing again before too long in Stuart House
Look out for news!


Review: Ilow Splann  (Stuart House Newsleter December 2017)

Brighten an October Afternoon: Ilow Splann in concert,
Sunday 29th October

The editor writes ....In fact, it was a bright afternoon
outside, but Ilow Splann added to it! A good
audience – including some new to concerts in
Stuart House - came to listen to Carlton Crouch
and Maggie Willmott on their range of instruments:
border bagpipes, lute-like bouzouki, double-reed
cornamusen, drum (a traditional folk bodhran), four
different recorders and a violin, as well as voices.
There was a wide range of music, both medieval
and Cornish folk, but there were strong rhythms and
lovely tunes throughout, so that by the end of each
piece, it felt like a friend. Some were quiet, such as
Veni Creator Spiritus (10th century plainsong) whilst
others were loud, like the Horses’ Brawl dance
which began the concert. The two songs of courtly
love were sweetly plaintive, whilst one of the
audience observed that the Nine Brave Boys
Cornish dance was a sort of medieval hokey-cokey!
The drum softly kept the beat, the cornamusen’s
extraordinary sound epitomized early music, the violin kept a clear tune, the treble
and tenor recorders were mellifluous whilst the descant and sopranino sparkled, and
the two vocal lines interwove and blended. The audience joined in the finale – Parra
Hearn, a traditional Cornish song which may have been about taxing pilchards or
could have been about a pilchard feast!
And a feast awaited the
audience downstairs, where
Maggie’s ‘olde cakes’ : Fire of
London cakes. Elizabethan
Naughty cake and Tudor
Doucetes, were greatly
appreciated, and our colourfully
costumed performers joined us
to explain more about the
music. A lovely afternoon.
There's a Youtube
link to an extract of "Parra Hearn!" (recorded with audience participation at Stuart
House) and you can search for
other extracts on youtube. Illow Splann are also performing as part of Nadelik Lyskerrys on 1st December (see p.10 ) and in other local events.



Review: Stuart House Newsleter October 2017

An appreciative audience of

approaching 30 thoroughly
enjoyed this evening both
musically and socially. Doors
opened at six, with the
coming and going throughout
the evening producing the
intended relaxed
atmosphere. People listened
in the Gallery while the three
sets of music were
performed, chatted between
pieces, or moved to the Jane
Room (where the ‘Discover Liskeard’s
Doors’ exhibition was re-hung for the night)
for more conversation.

The Gallery was laid out to suit the occasion
with exhibitions, including a specially created
panel of photographs of Tintagel and
Restormel Castles and books referring to the
mediaeval period (some purchased
specially) for browsing. A clavichord
(unfortunately in need of repair) was
brought in as of possible interest to early
music enthusiasts. Musicians and
revelers (including Sarah and Zac) in
medieval costume added to the colourful
sense of occasion. Victor baked very tasty
flans and tarts from old recipes (with
modern ingredients), Maggie also
prepared food including an excellent
variety of sweet and buttery cakes,
peppered ginger bread and tarts, and Eileen provided wine (and the photographs of
the event).

Ilow Splann had researched and arranged early music and re-arranged Cornish
dance tunes to suit the mediaeval and early music atmosphere. Maggie’s use of gut
violin strings enhanced the early music sound as did the addition of her drum and
Carlton's cornmusen and bouzouki playing. Jan helped with some extra drumming.
The event started with a fanfaresque bagpipe and recorder duet "Horses Brawl" The
first two sets of music mixed mediaeval music with Cornish folk tunes before heading
to the Elizabethan era and then to 18th-century Morval in the third set.


Carlton thanks those who put in so much skill and effort in various ways, and hopes
there will be support for other such events in the future. We thank Carlton for his
initiative and continued enthusiasm after the cancellation of the original Mediaeval
Feast, and, of course, for the musical pleasure that Ilow Splann performances bring.

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