Beating a drum, among others, for Hut People
How many percussion instruments would you need to own before describing that collection as extensive? Maybe 100? Perhaps 300? How about 400?
"I do not own 400," says Gary Hammond from The Hut People in mock horror. "I own 600."
The Hut People, who are gigging at the Dog and Bone in Lincoln on November 10, are accordionist Sam Pirt and percussionist Gary Hammond, who both have bursting CVs in music, having performed with and alongside acts such as The Beautiful South, Nina Simone and The Dubliners.
"This year we have toured from Inverness to the Isle of Wight. We do a lot of gigs in Lincolnshire and work with the Rural Touring scheme," says Gary, who is now based in Hull.
"Sam and I met when we were both running educational workshops and got talking, as musicians do. Sam's house had an extension that looked like a hut, I used to go over to play some music with him – hence the name, The Hut People. It was a lovely studio. With Sam I started playing more folk. I am still discovering all this wonderful folk music but Sam is steeped in it. It's been an educational route for me.
"When we formed The Hut People we did some open mic nights – we really enjoy what we do but we thought 'we need to test this'. We went anywhere we could to play and see what the reaction was.
"We kept developing the work until we had enough to start touring and gigging. It's built from there really including the release of two albums, the last one earlier this year. We are just about to start the next in the new year as well."
The Hut People released their second full album Picnic in April – supported with a nationwide tour.
Gary moved to Hull when he was a musician with The Beautiful South. His first single working with the band was Perfect 10.
He says: "It was an 11-piece band back then but there's nothing like working with someone in a duo. You can be so flexible. Sam and I can play around, each tune is probably slightly different from the last time we played it. Just a look or a glance or a nod and you can keep going and change something. I love the improvisation."
Taking the audience on a voyage across the globe with their varied material, The Hut People perform a unique range of tunes mixed with British, Nordic and European folk.
"It's our third year running, playing at the Dog and Bone," says Gary. "There's a whole world of stuff we play but all around folk music. Our gigs are very high energy and fun. There's lots of percussion instruments everywhere – sometimes 50 or 60 different ones."
Owning six hundred there's certainly no shortage of instruments for Gary to choose from.
"When I was a session player in London I did lots of television and film work, including a lot of sound effects. I collected lots of what was used from the percussion world and just kept collecting. Everything I have got is used and played.
"Sometimes I turn up to a gig with some ridiculous instrument and we work a tune around it. And it's the norm for people to come up afterwards and check things out."
The Hut People play the Dog and Bone, 10 John Street, Lincoln, on Saturday, November 10 (8-11pm). Entry is free.