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The Early Days
The Early Days start around 1978 with the Higgledy Piggledy Band. Bill Whaley was the accordion player, Dave Fletcher played whistle and melodeon and I was the brass section playing a euphonium. At this time Bill and Dave were already well known in the Lincolnshire area as a duo performing in the local folk clubs.
Also at this time there was a popular annual event at Derby Assembly rooms, Dancing England. One year, when we went, the Ripley Wayfarers were the dance band in the main hall and the accordion player had an electronic bass. As soon as he heard it Bill turned to me and said "Could you do one of those for me?". "Yes" was the immediate reply.
Let's Do It
Little were we to know that it would be 20 years later before I got around to it!
By this time both Bill and Dave had left the Higgledy Piggledy Band and their reputation as a folk duo was gaining strength. As a result of this Bill was no longer playing accordion but had gone back to playing the concertinas that he uses to accompany Dave's singing. So we started talking about a concertina-type instrument and I started making a few wooden models for Bill to try out.
Then, in 2002, when I found myself with time on my hands courtesy of my former employer, I was finally able to put some real effort into the development and make some real progress. Making regular trips to visit Bill, the design rapidly became more refined.
The Purple People Pleaser
The beginning of 2003 saw the creation of the prototype instrument. This was still basically the wooden framework and structure that we had used to model and refine the ideas but instead of bare wood and wires hanging out everywhere it was now encased and painted.
"IT'S PURPLE" was how it was first greeted when I showed it to Bill for the first time. "IT'S PURPLE" was what Dave said when he saw it that same afternoon. Yes, it was purple.
Very quickly it got incorporated into the act, replacing the portable
Since those early days it has been carried around the country to folk club and festivals and it has appeared on all of their CD's since then. Bill also used it when they did some backing accompaniment on one of John Conolly's CD's which, incidentally, was when it was dubbed the "Purple People Pleaser", by John of course.
Where Are We Now
Now, more than 3 years on from the first public performance, the Purple People Pleaser is being pensioned off in favour of the new S-Wave Instruments E64 English MIDI Concertina.
This instrument been designed, using the experience gained from the prototype, to be a robust, stimulating, and hopefully stylish addition to the concertina players armoury. An instrument that has a wide range of uses from silent practise at home to a big public concert stage or from a tool for refined composition to a full-on tune session.
Thanks for listening,
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All original content of this website © PD Onyon, S-Wave Instruments 2006-10