Simon Mayor with Hilary James and Friends

Tickets are available only from Grayshott Post Office or by phone from Des O’Byrne on 01428 607 096

On December 16th 2011, Simon Mayor and Hilary James came to perform at our first ever “Christmas Special”. They set the bar incredibly high and we have done our best to maintain that standard ever since but can’t believe we haven’t invited them back to Grayshott before now. Tonight, we right that wrong and we shouldn’t have worried too much about the intervening years as we’re sure the ever-youthful Simon and Hilary have their own secret recipe for an elixir of youth.

Simon is one of the world’s leading mandolin virtuosos. He is also a composer and a very funny man. His gigs aren’t stuffy, boring affairs but instead the man is a riot as he engages with his audiences and takes them for a musical ride. He can play virtually any instrument he picks up but it is the Mandolin, that he is best known for. Simon is comfortable playing Traditional Folk in a dingy old pub or club but equally, looks the part as a soloist with one of our top orchestras at our most prestigious venues. A recent performance for the BBC Concert Orchestra at Wembley Arena is one such example.

Simon is that rare beast who straddles many musical genres but makes each, his own.

It was his recent recording of blind Irish Harper, O’Carolan’s music, that drew me back to Simon. I remember reading that during his student days, Simon had seen my favourite-ever Irish Folk band (Planxty), playing live and they had played some tunes by O’Carolan (“Sí Bheag Sí Mhór” and “Planxty Irwin”).

So began Simon’s love affair with that music and what emerged recently, was his terrific album “Carolan”.

‘A demon on the mandolin, an angel on the fiddle.’    Irish Music Magazine

‘Sheer musical brilliance.’                                            BBC World Service

‘Evocative virtuosity… uplifting and a joy’                  The Daily Telegraph

But this will not be a solo show. Simon will be joined by long-term partner Hilary James. Hilary is also a multi-instrumentalist (Guitars, Mandobass, Double Bass), who has the most beautiful singing voice. Her signature instrument is her Mandobass and she owns one of only two in the whole country! Some of you of a certain age may remember Simon and Hilary presenting “Play School” on BBC Television. Together, they have produced endless resources to encourage young people into music and they lead musical workshops all over the World.

Hilary also draws the most exquisite illustrations as can be seen here:

“Sumer Is A Cumen In”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQLaLdRIF10

In the wake of the release of his album ‘Carolan’ (fantasias on themes by Turlough O’Carolan 1670-1735), Simon has gathered together, the musicians who played on the studio sessions:

Florence Petit (Cello), Hilary James (Mandobass & Vocals) and long-time fellow Mandolinquent, Richard Collins (Mandolin, Guitar, Banjo, Bass), as well as Elias Sibley (Mandolin, Guitar, Ukulele) to play a limited number of gigs.

We are delighted Grayshott Folk Club is one of them.

Listen to clips from the album “Carolan” here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=La1JnsuTYMg

https://mandolin.co.uk/simon-mayor-and-friends/

“One of the world’s great mandolinists leads an illustrious, witty and virtuosic collective on mandolins, mandobass, violin, ‘cello, classical guitar and voice.”

Summary... Simon is one of the world's leading mandolin virtuosos. He is also a composer and a very funny man. His gigs aren't stuffy, boring affairs but instead the man is a riot as he engages with his audiences and takes them for a musical ride.

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