Mixing the traditional folk song-story structure of the ballad
with musical traditions from east and west, Halfwise describe their music as
cello, glockenspiel, tabla, trombone, guitar and startling vocal harmony
Winter's day. Edinbugh.
Girl walks into a vegetarian café with a roll of posters. Goes to wall,
takes one poster and blu tac from bag and proceeds to fix poster to
Notices man seated in corner eating, a blue cello case leaning by his
She approaches him and, rather stupidly, says
'Is that a cello?'
Halfwise - poetical fusion folk - is born.
Halfwise is the maverick musical experience formed around
the songs of prize winning folk singer and poet Julie Dawid.
Mixing the traditional folk song-story structure of the border ballad
with classical traditions from east and west, Halfwise explore themes
historical, whimsical, infantile, farcical, factual, and futuristic with
a curious line up of instruments.
Their music is mostly mellow, subdued and pensive in tone, with the
occasional foray into reggae, samba, jazz and songs of the playground.
They have been compared to June Tabor, the Be Good Tanyas and Planxy.
Robin Mason (Bench Tours, Scottish Ballet) delights on cello.
Armeet Panesar (Fleamarket Funk) does likewise on tabla and trombone.
Julie Dawid (Half Moon in Front) sings, writes, strums and glocks,
and The Girl Jed (self published, Kin Artist, Big Word Performance Poetry, Milne's High School Orchestra) bangs, strums, sings, chimes and plays.
Julie and Jed also perform poems, ditties and rhymes in sweet harmonic collissions.
Julie and Jed, both familiar faces on the Edinburgh alternative scene,
have been independently honing their respective writing crafts since
the age of four. Despite having been friends for many years, it was only
after Dick Lee (Bag o' Cats), virtuoso clarinet player and father of
Aberfeldy member Ruth Lee Barrie, left Julie's embryonic folk-jazzz
ensemble that the idea of Jed joining the band arose.
Julie quickly realised that anything Dick could do with his clarinet,
Jed could do with her voice. Now Julie had a partner to join in sweet
harmonies - and Halfwise became what it is today -
A poetical fusion folk group of variety and vivacity.
Jed Picksley pays the rent on one day's work a week. The other six days
see her busy at her art, juggling, music, practical conservation,
poetry and trekking. Edinburgh is the base from which she takes cycling to
its limits. Despite this she is still the heaviest member of the band
(and the smelliest - that's what you get for for being vegan).
She plays piano, percussion, guitar, recorder and whistles, multicross
car-wheel spanner etc.
She prefers trees to kids and wishes she had time to perfect her Johnny
Cash and pre-Coxon-removal Blur covers.
Jed's first poem, aged four:
Flowers have petals and a stalk
But trees are homes for birds to squawk.
Armeet Panesar is an architecture student and a funk and soul dj. He
was the 'bone player in now de-funkt seven piece funk outfit The
Fleamarket for several years. Julie made contact with him after hearing his
other love and talent - the tabla - on a friend's record. With roots In
london and Edinburgh, Armeet is a capital kid. As these things go, he
turned out to be an acquaintance anyway.
When he stated his desire to play the drum kit in infancy his father
gently suggested he took up something 'more melodic'. The school music
cupboard offered up a trombone - and he took it with glee.
He is a lover of fish, a teacher of percussion for kids and a very
He wishes he could play drums like Bernard Purdy.
Age four saw him playing everything the kitchen cupboard could offer.
Also a lover and keeper of fish, professional storyteller Julie Dawid
plays the guitar, laptop and vocal chords.
She is convinced her entire personality can be traced back to the 4
records she listened to in her formative years:
the sad remains of her
parents' 1960s record collection -
Emmylou Harris' 'Elite Hotel', Fairport Convention's 'What We Did On
Our Holidays', The Rolling Stones' 'Sticky Fingers' (in the original Andy
Warhol zipper sleeve, with rusty zipper)
and a tape she
found one day sneaking about in her brother's bedroom - 'Top of the Pops
1981' (sadly now no longer functioning).
Her songs are mostly written while she wanders through the city streets,
which explains why so many of them are about the weather.
Her ballad 'Barbara Allen and the Grapes of Wrath' won 2nd prize at the
Edinburgh folk club songwriting competition in 2004, and this year saw
her win the Young Scot/SSPC performance poetry slam at the Glasgow
(funnily enough, her opponent in the final was the girl Jed, who
resented the second placing not one jot!)
Her love of music encompasses every style she has ever heard apart from
funk, for which she has an inexplicable hatred (though she has her
theories about this, and many other things).
She is the least practical by far of all the band, but does write all
Her plans for the future consist of becoming a midwife and moving to Berlin when she is 30.
Julie's first song aged four:
'i hate you i hate you i hate you i hate you i hate you!'
Luckily she has grown up some.
robin mason amazes...
landscape gardener of a modest scale, classically trained robin harbours fantasies of stirring up big vats of ecofriendly biodiesel in his country cottage kitchen.
His cello journey began when he was 12 - so long ago that he can't quite remember why. And he still finds himself wondering...
Since then he has worked extensively in orchestras and theatre, his current foray into more varied musical pastures relatively new. As well as playing with halfwise he is
serving an apprenticeship in jazz with steve ketley (salsa celtica).
Aged 4, robin was swinging around a tent pole in Kielder, north england.
He drives a white van and has recently acquired a cat called Chloe. He can be seen cycling from Millerhill to Edinburgh, cello on back, in all seasons.
We used to be based in Scotland but moves mean we no longer exist in the line-up heard here -
traditional english folk
eastern european folk
sweet indie pop
and a whole mixed bag of everything else apart from funk