News

29th November: "GurdyBird's Yule Tides: Parte the First" released!

Introducing the first installment of festive tunes that will have sequels over time. Included is a what happens when GurdyBird reworks a particular tune and infuses it with the spirit of the procession from "The Wicker Man", also a new original composition about a ship crewed by heavenly beings, an original piece taken from "Different Ships, Different Long Splices", written for The Glorious Company of the Egyptian House, in Penzance for the Montol celebrations in mind, and a freebee soundtrack to the trailer and end credits for the upcoming video, currently being lovingly handcrafed, featuring the samples from the donated footage of Miss Von Trapp, Fey Pink, Martin H Wattinger, Titi von Tranz, Carol Tanner, and Venus de Vilo over a GurdyBird backing! Yowza! Streaming from the music tab on this website, and available for purchase in dowload form via my Bandcamp Page

11th October: The Rogues Gallery, The Barnfield Theatre Exeter

Really had a fantastic time on my first theatre staged set, sharing the bill with some of the most creative acts the South West has to offer. Massive thank you to the wonderful audience who clapped along to my tunes and roared the house down for each act and also to Jay "The Rev" Hadland and the Theatre for having us! Can't wait for the next one in March! Photos by 01 Paul Betowski, 02-05 Virtual Image. More can be seen here.

GurdyBird at the Barnfield Theatre from Tamsyn Swingler on Vimeo.

18th September: Album Release

It's been done! The album is finished! And available for purchase in it's physical form and/or digital download through Bandcamp via Paypal. I'm also hawking 38mm badges in 4 different designs and if you buy a CD version you get a badge of your choosing for free! Big thanks to My family for their support through all this, to Paul for all his artwork and mixing, my brother Ian Widgery-Webber for mastering the tunes, and to all of my friends and fans who helped me actually see this through! You rock!

20th September - The Rogues Review. An intimate fundraising gig for The Hall in Stepcote Hill in Exeter. A relaxed and fun evening involving Luna L'amour, Miss Von Trapp, The Copperfield Ensemble Project, Angelique Dominique and myself. Luxurious raffle, rude jokes, fun, singing along and getting a steampunk march on!

18th September-Bob Devereux's Big Frug Number 1 for St Ives September Festival. An acoustic performance with a number of taleneted singers, musicians, poets, and a contact juggler!

27th August-"Horatio's Carol" released

I was going to wait until the CD comes out but thought I can share another as there will be a couple of new ones on there I haven't released yet. I wrote this for a friend who revives ancient Cornish festivals and traditions. Hoping much will be explained soon!Link to audio in the music tab!

Hello all! I am aiming to get the nine tracks out into a physical CD form! I have just started work on compiling them, considering artwork, and the whole EP will be remastered by my brother, Ian Widgery-Webber. If you have are a supporter of my work, aside from being utterly grateful to you, I can email you the new remastered copies when they are done, and also if you have bought all my work so far you will get a deal with the physical CD if you would like that too. Just send me a message! Thank you again for your fantastic support of this independent muso!

21st August Pirate Day at Land's End

A day of roaming, playing, popping up in various places and meeting Pirate friends!

5th August Smugglers Day at Lands End

Here I roamed and had the privaledge to provide atmospheric background music for the stories of the phenomenal storyteller, Mark Harandon. Filmed by Paul, here are a few snippets from "The Tale of Jack Rattenbury".

22nd July

Lafrowda Day, St Just, 19th July

What a fantastically relaxed, creative day! I am thanking the universe for not raining like the report was forecasting! The parades are always full of fun and incredible sculptures full of the unexpected at Lafrowda! This years theme was "Lights, Camera, Action!" and there were so many fantastic and imaginative interpretations in terms of acts, costumes, shop windows and beautiful sculptures. I popped up throughout the day on the streets and stall areas and played as Sweeney Todd offering tunes and a shave to passers by, (one of which being R2D2.)

Photos in the collection so far by Peter Carter by Paul Betwoski, Len Davies and Alan Burton.

"Defiant 'til Tyburn" released, 12th July

I had been meaning to write a tune about the Tyburn Tree for a while now. It had started off as a waltz in reference to the three sides of it, but I decided to write a more heavy track from a condemned's point of view, the executional procession starting off from Newgate prison, being thrown roses by some spectators, being thrown rotten fruit and excrement from others, passing the taverns and The Church of the Holy Sepulchre and finally to the gallows itself. The condemned in this piece regrets nothing, and as a simultaneous folk hero and villan, meets the end in a most defiant manner.

Available to buy from the music section of this website and from my Bandcamp page.

Photograph by Peter Carter.

Seraphina's Steampunk Ball, St Austell, July 5th

Splendid evening at the historical Market House in which I played as part of the fabulous Cornish dance group Tros an Treys, all steampunked up and Alex in full chough regalia! We also had the pleasure of Miss Von Trapp, accompanying on the cello. Also had a solo gurdy moment at the end of the evening.Photograph by Paul Betowski.

Mock Mayor Elections and Mazey Day Adventures: 26th - 28th June.

Well, the orignal plan was to roam around on Mazey Day, playing a few tunes in nooks in a Mexican Calavera costume. The plan turned into running as a collective for the Mock Mayor elections, as the Buccaneers of Salem: Eddie Williams, Denise Taft, Kymm Sandum, Salem Sourpuss (an 18 year old cat who is also our leader) and Myself, Tamsyn Swingler.

There were 3 other contestants and the competition was very close, and a huge well done to them, we need fabulous folks like them to help keep traditions like this alive. After our acts, speeches, tests, and having our creative skills being put to work, The Buccaneers of Salem were voted Mock Mayors of Penzance 2014 and we all had a folky rave at the Admiral Benbow. Photographs by Shane Davis and Kymm Sandum.

The next day we were interviewed by the good people of Penwith Radio and played a couple of tunes for the listeners, thank you for having us! Photo by James.

The next day was Mazey Day, and as Mock Mayors we headed up the Civic Parade, with a heroic sculpture of Son of Cornwall, inventor Sir Humphrey Davy. This photo is from The Tweet Bus.

I couldn't make the other parade as it clashed with my set but it looked fantastic! Thank you universe for not raining! Second set I took to the original plan of Calavera Catrina persona and roamed about too. Fantastic to meet you if I did, in whatever form you caught me in! Thank you for having me and us, Golowan. Photograph by the mighty Paul Betwoski. More photos here.

The Carnivale of the Peculiar: Exeter Phoenix: 14th June: My first solo theatrical stage performance.

Next Gig: Carnivale of the Peculiar, 14th June at the Exeter Phoenix



Pirates on the Prom from The Cornishman

I also did my first solo gig at the Blue Anchor Spingo Tent on the 25th May. Big thank you to all who helped and thank you to all who attended in their finery and donated to the good cause, the RNLI. We will reclaim the record next time! With Kymm of Salem's Lot. T-shirts available from the Bag o'Rags.





11th May: This weekend, we were aboard the good ship Irene, getting up to piratey business with the Crew, the crews of Penlee Lifeboat and the airbourne crew of The RNLI, all lifesaving heroes and the reason why we are hoping to get 20, 000 pirates on the prom of Penzance to regain the world record on the 26th May as part of Pirates on the Prom. Each entrant to be counted pays a pound and this goes to the RNLI and their courageous work, fantastic! Let's raise as much as we can for this amazing institute!





Hello all, first thing's first, welcome to my new webpage! I thought it would be a good idea as it would be the hub where all the info could be, instead of on various sites, and incomplete in places. I will include all my social pages on here and more. I also thought, as this year sees me take to various stages, events and adventures here in the Southwest of Cornwall and also Exeter, a nice, concise URL would be useful as a base also! So a massive thank you to the ever so multi-talented Paul Betowski for his help. You can find him here DesignbyPaul and also as Leadox in his musician form: Leadox Many thanks also to those kind enough to allow me to use their photographs in my various shenanigans, those who have supported me so far in liking, sharing, buying and being generally fantastic sorts through everything. My most heart-felt appreciation, maties!

Music

“Breathtaking! – A New Star Arising! – The Full 10 Pips!”

Easily recognisable in distinctive pirate-minstrel attire and rarely unaccompanied by intriguing melodies produced upon a hybrid symphonie (a box-shaped, medieval hurdy-gurdy) – Tamsyn Swingler performing as GurdyBird has become a well known and welcome attendee on the fringes of many a Cornish and Steampunk gathering over recent years.

Now, following a summer of main stage appearances which have firmly established a reputation for outstanding musicianship and wonderful live performance – Gurdybird has delighted old friends and new fans alike with the release of her first album ‘Different Ships, Different Long Splices’.

From tributes to the heroes and villains of seafaring legend such as ‘Horatio’s Carol’ and ‘Defiant ’til Tyburn’ through to a rather wicked remix of Steampunk Convention (GurdyBird Remix of BB BlackDog classic feat. Professor Elemental) – ‘Different Ships, Different Long Splices’ is a blending of traditional folk music presented with a distinctive yet delicate modern interpretation delivered with style, grace and humour.

All in all, this excellent first offering is a genre defying treat that should appeal across many a musical palate.

A pleasure to present with a full 10 Pip Recommendation!

- Atticus Oldman Steampunk Almanac Website

Events

22nd November, Tudor Banquet at Trerice House, Near Newquay, Cornwall

An evening of merriment and revelry, 7-10pm. The evening will be filled with live entertainment, music and song from a bygone era. With a Four Course Meal. £30 per person, bookin essential, call 01637 879434.

13th December, The Steampunk Yule Ball, The Exeter Phoenix

The Steampunk Yule Ball is back for its second year with the crème de la crème of the UK and US Steampunk scene. An unusual evening of Music, Comedy, Performance Art, Cabaret, and Elegant Couture. Featuring: Professor Elemental, The Mysterious Freakshow, BB Blackdog, Birthrite, Lord Montague Jacques Fromage, The Wattingers, Miss Von Trapp, Inna Sketchi Manna, Blonde Jon, DJ Louie-Louie, DJ Practically Perfect, The Steam Queen, Interactive performance art, Steampunk Christmas Market, and still more acts to be confirmed. Watch the highlights of last year’s Yule Ball here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Te9YyBB65-o Tickets and information can be found at: Facebook Event Page is here £10 in advance, £12 on the door, £8 concessions Facebook event page.

31st January, Imbolc Fairy Ball, The Acorn Penzance

Saturday 31st January 2015. 8pm till midnight. Acorn theatre Penzance. The Faery Ball returns to The Acorn Theatre in Penzance!!! Featuring: Professor Elemental, Seas Of Mirth, & Gurdybird… A night of Faery Steampunk in a Pirates of Penzance style! Ticket price for the Faery Ball is £20 and for the faery event's page: click here

March 7th 2015-The Rogues' Gallery Rogues Gallery Vaudeville Tour.com

June 6th 2015-The Rogues' Gallery Rogues Gallery Vaudeville Tour Facebook Page

Photographs

Photographers:

Peter Carter of Eye of the Beholder, Carman Photography and This Wonderful Land, Penwith, Cornwall

Paul Ligas

Paul Ligas' Facebook Page

Nigel Cheffers-Heard from Virtual Image

Tina Varcoe, One and All: The Many Faces of Cornwall

Tina's Facebook Page

Paul Betowski

Simon Colgan

Social





About GurdyBird

“Like a folky Nine Inch Nails.” - Matt Lee - Revolutionary Radio on Phonic fm

“Think: Pirates of the Caribbean, Robin Hood, Round the world in 80 days. For some gothic, punk, soundtrack magic, catch the hurdy-gurdy bird. Unplugged and let loose in festivals and events, often in a tricorn or a top hat (but always cranking the handle of her Symphonie) GurdyBird Tamsyn Swingler adds a touch of costumed drama to our streets this year. Playing her medieval hurdy-gurdy, let Tamsyn woo you with her evocative repetoire of traditional folk and olde tunes of bawdy days.” - Lafrowda Festival 2014 Programme

GurdyBird, or Tamsyn Swingler is a Cornish artist/illustrator/poet/designer and craftmaker who has been playing her beloved Symphonie since late 2010 (with a 6 month break whilst recovering from illness) and has composed, programmed and perfomed for art pieces and short sketches with The Pink Bear Club and Kayleigh O'Keefe. She loves to perform in costume
and frequents relaxed events and festivals, playing in the sidelines and talking about her instrument. 2014 sees the start of her work on stage.

She plays a hybrid symphonie/symphony/symphonia which is an early, box-shaped, medieval member of the hurdy-gurdy family. It has a drone, two chanterelles and a trompette string. If you are unfamiliar with hurdy-gurdies, the best way to describe it is as a mechanical violin. The handle turns a wheel that bows the strings and the keys control the tangents which press the strings at individual notes. The wheel ensures a constant sound, and the trompette string has a loose buzz bridge, which kicks the soundboard when short, sharp flicks are given from the wrist via the string. She is always happy to show those ineterested around the workings of her symphonie, if asked at a convenient moment.

As a side but important note, she also has light sensitivity. The event organisers and photographers she is working with are being most excellently helpful with this aspect. PLEASE, no rapid fire flash photography and no flash lighting effects in her vicinity.

Contact: tamsynswingler@gmail.com or via social media sites