Naragonia is one of the best folk-dance groups in Belgium and, since their formation in 2003, have become known throughout Europe for the sensitivity of their playing and the beauty of the tunes they write. The group comprises the husband-and-wife duo of Toon van Mierlo and Pascale Rubens, both of whom are expert performers on the diatonic accordion (melodeon). They have made several highly acclaimed CDs, some as a duo and others as part of a quartet.
Pascale Rubens originally studied classical violin, but when she was 19 she fell in love with the diatonic accordion (melodeon). Although best known for her work with Naragonia and with the Naragonia Quartet, playing diatonic accordion and violin, she has also played with Musaraigne and Griff and represented Belgium at the International Radio Festival in Gdansk. She teaches diatonic accordion at the music academies in Scoten and Genk and has acquired a reputation for high standard tuition at workshops throughout Europe.
Toon van Mierlo
After studying oboe at the music academy in Turnhout, Toon van Mierlo began playing uillean pipes in 2000 and soon widened his expertise to include diatonic accordion, bagpipes, oboe, clarinet and saxophone. In addition to his work with Naragonia, he has played with several bands including Hot Griselda and Embrun. He has also become known as an outstanding tutor of the diatonic accordion and bagpipes, teaching at the music academies of Genk, Herentais and Maasmechelen and at workshops worldwide.
Saul Rose first picked up a melodeon at the age of eleven and was taught his first tunes by his father, who introduced him to morris and folk dance music. From these beginnings, he developed into one of the finest melodeon players in Britain. In his early twenties, he joined a ceilidh band called Phungus, which evolved into the highly regarded band, Random, which recorded two albums and played widely at folk festivals.
In 1994, he joined with Eliza Carthy and Sandra Kerr to form the Kings of Calicutt and subsequently joined Waterson-Carthy, touring extensively with both bands and in a duo with Eliza Carthy. Amongst his other projects, Saul has played in Faustus, Whapweasel, Ruth Notman’s band, the Jim Moray band and in duos with Maclaine Colston and James Delarre. In 2011, he took the part of the Songman in the West End production of War Horse, in which he played, sang and acted.
Over the years, Saul has also acquired a reputation as one of the finest melodeon teachers in Britain, teaching workshops at festivals, tutoring at melodeon weekends at Witney and elsewhere and undertaking a season in 2016 with his fellow members of Faustus as artists in residence at Halsway Manor.
Brian Peters has been described as “one of the very best performers in the field of English traditional song and music.” He is a true all-rounder, on the one hand a passionate singer able to tackle big songs, and on the other a multi-instrumentalist acknowledged as one of Britain’s leading exponents of the melodeon and Anglo concertina and a fine guitarist. He has performed to wide acclaim in Britain, Europe, America and Australia and has recorded several well-received CDs.
While he has researched and recorded many fine traditional songs and tunes, with a particular focus on those from the North of England, his repertoire also includes adventures in unexpected genres, including blues, rock and roll, country, Tex-Mex and ragtime.
Over the years, Brian has also acquired a reputation as an outstanding teacher and workshop leader, having tutored at North American summer schools and many English folk festivals. He has been one of the most regular teachers at the Hands-On Music melodeon and concertina weekends at Witney, as well as working for Melodeons and More, Squeezing Shropshire and other events.