SISTERE – audio album by INTARSIA – Oct 2020

Available to buy at and

1 Mam Tor – Jo May – The beginnings of this tune had been in my head for a while – but it suddenly evolved into this after a beautiful walk up Mam Tor early one New Year’s morning.

2 Les Doigts De Carmen / Round The Corner – Evelyne Girardon / Andy Cutting – Two fabulous schottisches from two great composers within the tradition.  The first from a respected and influential French Hurdy Gurdy player; the second from our very own Diatonic Accordion wizard!

3 I Once Had A Sprig Of Thyme / Playing For Thyme – Trad / Doug Eunson – A wonderful traditional song reflecting on the speed at which life seems to pass us by.  Nestled in the heart of the track is this cheeky five time piece with a very appropriate title.

4 See No Evil / Hear No Evil / Speak No Evil – Sarah Matthews – Written in 2015 for Stone Monkey Rapper Sword Dancers as they entered D.E.R.T. with their version of the traditional Earsdon Dance.  I wanted to create something new that mimicked the traditional tunes.

5 Double Figures – Jo May – Written in alternating 7/8 and 3/4 time, and finished on the 22nd of the month – hence the name.

6 The Barmaid’s Song – Bill Caddick – Perhaps one of his best known songs, this is the song-story of a lonely hard life.

7 The Silk Mill Jig / From Shuttle To Clog – Sarah Matthews – These two tunes were written around the same time, in 2012, reflecting on the importance of the mills in Derbyshire.  The first was named after an iconic industrial museum in Derby.  The second was written whilst listening to the rhythms of the machinery still working at Masson Mills, Matlock Bath.

8 Always A Smile – Jo May – This tune came to me whilst I was driving away from the hospital after visiting my amazing sister, Karen, just a few weeks before she passed away.  She was a true inspiration and always had a smile on her face.

9 Wooden Boat – Take That and Billy Mann – Taken from their Beautiful World album, we found that this little acoustic reflective number translated well onto our instruments and straight into our set.  Not only is it great to sing along to, but it is such a succinct way of expressing the phases of life, and how you just never know what is waiting for you.

10 Le Bandeau Perdu / Time For Tea – Sarah Matthews – At the St Chartier Festival years ago it was very hot and I lost my hairband, and had lots of long hair everywhere – the lost hairband was much mourned that day and a tune was written.  This is followed by a tune written for Jess Arrowsmith for a particular birthday – can you guess which one?

11 Lost At Dusk – Jo May – Written after a walk with a friend when we nearly were!

12 Running Through Tall Grass – Jaime RT – In 2006, Sarah travelled to Canada where she first met this fine fiddle and viola player and composer, and was thoroughly impressed with this seven-time piece of music.

13 Amber’s Great Adventures / The Lizard At The Bar / Sweetness In The Cheeks – Sarah Matthews – Another set composed for Stone Monkey Rapper Sword Dancers, this time in 2011.  Amber was one of my chickens who escaped – A LOT!

14 Somewhere In Between – Jo May – The name of this tune was suggested by an audience member during one of its first outings, after Sarah introduced it as being in 7/8, somewhere in between 3/4 and 4/4 time.

15 Sol Sistere – Sarah Matthews – A new song written and recorded remotely during lockdown 2020 to celebrate the wonder of our universe and the Summer Solstice. Our sincere thanks go to all the singers who added their voices to this track: Mo, Ian, Sandra, Steve, Jon, Jen, Arwen, Jane, Christine, Jackie, Ais, Barry, Fi, Claye, Sam, Anj, Sarah, Steve, Julie, Charlotte, Clare, Gary, Katriona, Matthew, Jenny, Nick … and Mr & Mrs Blackbird.


Engineering, mixing and mastering by Doug Eunson at Old Hall Farm Studios, Derby. Additional engineering on track 15 by Dave Sturt and Sarah Matthews. Flutes on track 8 by Frances Watt. Sleeve design by Sarah Matthews. Photography by Mel Biggs. All tracks performed and arranged by Intarsia. Our thanks go to Gavin Repton for his superb video-making skills … and everyone who has helped us and inspired our music so far…

Sistere (verb, Latin): To stand still

Intarsia (noun, English): A style of knitting with different strands of varied colours and textures. An elaborate form of marquetry using inlays of wood.  Our desire is to create an acoustic intarsia: An intricate blend of patterned musical sounds using wooden instruments and voice.

Jo May: Balafon, Tan Tan, Cajon, Conga, Pandeiro, Spoons, Sansula, Bodhran, Bass Drum, Renaissance Drum, and assorted foot pedals and hand-held percussion instruments

Sarah Matthews: Vocals, Fiddle (Sivori), Viola (Ron Wilkinson), Octave Violin (Elodie Wary), and Tenor Guitar (Colin Kendall)  

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