Dipper Malkin is the “potent combination” (Folk Radio UK) of two musicians who have spent their careers involved in groundbreaking projects and they are going to be at the Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre this October.

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 and several other ensembles. Dave Malkin (guitars and voice) was a founding member of trio Tandem, which combined traditionally informed compositions with live electronics.

“We are really excited to perform at the Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre!” says John. “While we have spent the festival season performing on big stages, it’s the small venues that we enjoy the most, where the audience is close and they can hear every nuance of the performance. Our music was originally created and developed to be played acoustically in intimate settings, so the Discovery Centre is a perfect fit.”

On Saturday, October 20 John and Dave will be giving a day of workshops at the Centre on fiddle and guitar, from 10am to 4.30pm, followed by an evening concert. As well as looking at tone and technique they will be discussing how they interpret music from old manuscripts and create new work informed by the rich resources of the British Folk Tradition. “We always like to give the audience a background to the material, where we learned it and what it means to us,” says John.

At the heart of Dipper Malkin’s approach to music lies their respect and admiration for the cultural legacy we have all inherited. As John explains, “The greatest compliment we could think to pay to our ancestors, those responsible for this rich and fascinatingly idiosyncratic tradition, is to explore the repertoire they’ve provided for us.”

Dave adds, “It’s also important to us that we look outwards for inspiration. We aim to create work on a par with contemporary classical music in terms of its intrinsic artistic value, as thrilling and accurately executed as improvised jazz, but most importantly rooted in our tradition.” Their debut album Tricks of the Trade also features BBC Radio Scotland Young Jazz Musician of the Year, Corrie Dick, on two of the album’s ten tracks, contributing percussion which ranges from dexterous and spacious to frenetic.

Alongside Dave’s guitar, John plays viola d’amore, an unusual instrument from the baroque period with seven bowed and seven sympathetic strings. As John explains, “I began investigating ways to play more complex polyphonic accompaniments. I’ve developed a new tuning system for the instrument, which has allowed new compositions to flourish. The extended range of my viola enables us to swap the traditional roles of melody player and accompanist, so we can both take whichever role suits the repertoire, allowing the music to be spoken through both voices.”

Expect a day of fun and insightful music making and honing, and an evening of beautiful melodies, blistering reels and impassioned songs with lyrics from our ancestors mixed with modern day musings.

"John Dipper's duets with the guitarist Dave Malkin are perfectly judged, the latter's unassuming vocals adding just the right measure of grit. Exquisite..." - The Sunday Times

Tickets are available now from the centre’s front desk at £10 per person, £8 for concessions.