About the Night Watch

What do The Night Watch do?

The Night Watch play and sing early music and teach others about its performance and history. This includes Music and History workshops for primary and secondary schools; gigs for folk clubs, music clubs, music festivals; and performances for weddings, celebrations and corporate events.

Who are The Night Watch?

Andy CasserelyAndy Casserley

Andy's playing shines … Mr. Casserley possesses a wonderful voice that is immediately arresting.

Green Man Review, USA

 

Great songs, lovingly sung and arranged … impeccable vocals … what more could one desire?

Flos Headford in Shreds And Patches

 

Ian PittawayIan Pittaway

A superb guitarist whose arrangements are breathtaking ... and a very fine singing voice .... compelling and informing … a virtuoso.

Alcester Folk Festival

 

A fine voice, accompanied by some of the best guitar playing to be heard anywhere.

Folk On The Farm

What is ‘early music’?

The Night Watch play ‘early music’. This means songs and dance tunes from the 12th century (the earliest we have in Europe) to the end of the 17th century. This covers the mediaeval (12th–15th centuries), renaissance (15th– early 17th century), and early baroque (17th century) periods.

Andy and Ian sing in mediaeval, Tudor and modern English, and play period instruments, including shawms, recorders, cornamuse, rebec, oud, lute, gittern, cittern, and renaissance guitars. (To learn more about these instruments, click here.)

Their mission is to perform, involve and educate, sharing this beautiful and exciting music through gigs, recordings, and the delivery of specialist music education through school workshops. Children (and adults, if they wish) will be actively involved and engaged through participation in historical singing, dancing (pavan, galliard, branle) and playing instruments. The Night Watch would also be delighted to help you celebrate a special event such as a wedding, engagement or anniversary (wearing period clothes if you request it).

Why ‘The Night Watch’?

Anthony Holborne (fl.1584-d.1602) was an English renaissance composer for lute, cittern, bandora, and consort. His piece, The Night Watch, refers to one of the duties of the city waits. The waits were bands of musicians who kept night watch on the city gate, and also played music on official occasions, welcomed royal visitors by playing at the town gates, led the mayor's procession on civic occasions, and awoke townsfolk on winter mornings by playing under their windows.

Anthony Holborne arranged The Night Watch several times for different instruments: for cittern and bass viol; for bandora; for consort; and for the lute. This constant rearranging of music was typical of the renaissance spirit, a creative spirit of innovation and reinvention which The Night Watch heartily embrace in their own arrangements, performances and workshops.