The music could be described as East-West folk with dance. The songs tell of cultural customs, laments and desires and can be comically philosophical in celebrating the enjoyment of life despite its trials and tribulations. Their performance, whether in front of a large or small audience is, like the music, inclusive and shared with the audience, who, whenever possible, take to the floor for the infectious dance numbers.
From traditional dance music to songs, Beskydy create magic and presence with their exceptional acoustic ability. Voice, strings, clarinet, percussion and accordion define the distinctive Beskydy sound. They are an inspiring ‘must see’ for traditional folk music lovers.
Joanna Foster (vocals) is an actress and singer-songwriter whose work embraces classical and musical theatre, television and radio.
She has performed and toured with Beskydy for 10 years and is in love with the call of the ‘passionate longing’ in Eastern European music.
She also writes and performs with her acapella group, Anima.
Website: Joanna Foster
Gary Bridgewood (violin) has toured globally and brings a multicolored and often unhinged element to the group – adding to Beskydy’s wild and lyrical nature.
Gary has played with the bands, 1000 Mexicans, The Real Tuesday Weld, Michele Stodart (Magic Numbers) and is a current member of Troubadour Rose and The Lucky Strikes.
He is also a seasoned violin dealer, consultant, restorer and maker with more than 30 years experience at Bridgewood & Neitzert Ltd. in Stoke Newington, north London.
Website: London Violins
Peter Murphy (accordion) studied music at the University of Oxford, and played French Horn in youth orchestras under such conductors as John Carewe and the late great Norman del Mar, who gave him invaluable guidance during his early attempts at composition.
He also studied 20th century composition technique at Oxford under composer and Messiaen expert Robert Sherlaw Johnson. As a student, Peter produced a substantial body of compositions, many of which have been successfully performed.
In recent years, Peter has concentrated on performance, particularly of central European folk music.
Website: Key Change
Jacques van Rhijn (clarinet) has been with Beskydy since the early 1990s. He has played in orchestras and composed a techno-opera, “Venus”, which played at the Hackney Empire some years ago.
He is also part of The Real Tuesday Weld, described as ‘antique beat’ and performs and records with them, making frequent trips to the USA, Europe and Russia, where they have something of a following.
Website: The Real Tuesday Weld
Geoff Wass (percussion) is a diverse percussionist. He has an eclectic collection of instruments, most of which he has carefully fashioned himself.
Geoff also plays guitar and upright bass with a Bluegrass band and specializes in improvised jazz on his own instruments.
Julia Doyle (double bass) has been playing her bass professionally for more than 30 years, co-founding The Guest Stars and The Holloway Allstars in her 20s. She toured and recorded with Brian Kennedy (The Great War of Words), and has made many non-commercial recordings (with Klezmer Klub, Los Mareados, Nshuks Bonga, Loverley, Cats Cradle and more).
She also trained as a free improvising community music workshop leader in the 1980s with John Stevens (when she co-edited his book, ‘Open Music Handbook’) and currently teaches music to young people with special educational needs as well as playing on both the improvising jazz,tango dance and folk circuits in the UK.
Britta Eickholt (viola), honorary member and occasional guest player.