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Diss Mercury 16th July 2004 (Reporter: Basil Abbott)

Top author can play that mandolin!

With a new best selling novel, an Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree from the UEA, and this Skelton Festival appearance, it was a good week for Louis de Bernières.

In an evening of poetry and music, Ilone Antonius-Jones and Sue Sabin were joined by another flautist, Tina Gandy and keyboard player Liz Vennard.

Louis de Bernières is himself an accomplished musician, as well as a writer. Naturally, one of his instruments is the mandolin. He also read poetry of the Tudor period.

The flute is an instrument which, more than any other, has that magical ethereal sound which expresses historical English music so well.

Pastime With Good Company, attributed to Henry VIII had a merry quality but with that ominous beat.

Greensleeves, the most hackneyed of English songs, came up as though freshly minted.

Many items - A Merry Ronde, music inspired by Kempe’s dance from London to Norwich, and the spry Packington’s Pound – brilliantly picked up on the spirit of the festival.

It was fun and frivolous, celebrating heritage; and always high quality. Skelton was not forgotten. Louis de Bernières read his poem in praise of Henry VIII, the first time this piece has come up in the year’s events.

The concert attracted 95 people to the United Reformed Church, which has become one of the best central venues in Diss.

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