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What's going on?!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Yep, we hear you!

OK, so there's not been much action on here for a while so thought it best to let you know what's going on ...

Kenny moved back to Scotland in 2010 with his family and is currently blazing a trail through festivals in Europe as part of 8-piece Orkney stomp band The Chair. Bob is concentrating on his solo work and has recently released another fantastic album called, Me and Mary Ann. More information about all that is on Bob's website.

Ben the Hoose will return at some point in the future. We're just not sure when :)

Another baby for Kenny!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Aedan was born on 1st April so he's our very own April Fool :) He's a lovely wee chap and doing fine. Evie, the big sister, seems quite keen on him too.

The bottom bit

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Well, it's all over bar the driving home. We played Christchurch, thanks to all those folks, despite very effective persuasion we did not get to the party at (insert name of Irish theme bar here, I can't remember). On to Oamaru.

Ah, Oamaru. By rights this place ought to be heaving in the summer. It's on a truly beautiful stretch of a truly beautiful coast, it's got some of the best old buildings in NZ, and they're right by the harbour. Well, OK right by the rusting industrial area from about Brunel's time that really could be cleaned up, at least a little.

There should be, in the middle of this stone and cobble wonder, lots of people. There also should be a great music club. And there used to be. But sadly it ain't there now, just the sign on the door. RIP The Penguin Club. Thank God we had a bottle of gin.

Dunedin. You're always good to us. We have no idea why. But if you've mistaken us for somebody else, that's your lookout. We had a great time. Moronies - thanks awfully.

The top bit

Monday, March 09, 2009

You have to go a long way out of your way to play the Mussel Inn. Everybody does, and there's plenty reasons for that, but if you check out the food and beer at the place, that's enough reason right there. One of those great music venues, the fact that's it on the far side of Takaka hill probably just mens that only the True and the Elect go there. There are clearly an awful lot of them.... thanks to Andrew and Jane for - well, for this great place. Till next time.

The North Island gigs

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Katikati Folk Club
Thanks very much to Don and Christine for looking after us while we were in Katikati. Food and wine, and some great stories. Cheers! And everyone who came up and yarned to us after the gig: thanks to you too. Apparently there were a lot of Big Sporting Events on that night so numbers were down slightly ... and frankly, if some people would rather sit in front of a TV and watch cricket than listen to live folk music, I'd rather they weren't at the gig anyway :) See you next time Katikati.

Waiheke Island
Indescribable fun ... just far too many mosquitoes. We loved every minute of our gig in the hall in Rocky Bay. What a place. And Alan and Jen's hospitality is second to none. I'm afraid we'll be back ... again, and again, and again ...

The Bunker, Devonport, Auckland
We've said it before and we'll say it again: the greatest folk club in the world. Totally unique and always an 'up for it' audience. Thanks to Roger and Hilary yet again. Your supply of 'Hubbards' cereal appears inexhaustible.

Now on to the South Island ...

Hamilton Gardens Festival

Friday, February 27, 2009

Thanks very much to Hamilton Gardens festival for getting us along to play in the English Flower Garden (that some kind of a joke?!). Beautiful venue but it took us a wee while to find it ... a bit like a hedge maze. The candles certainly helped on the way out :) And it's not often you do a gig and have white doves flying around the stage.

Here's the review we got in the Waikato Times:

Waikato Times Review

What: Ben the Hoose. Bob McNeill and Kenny Ritch.
When: 7.30pm February 26, 2009
Where: English Flower Garden, Hamilton Gardens
Reviewed by: Ben Stanley

No one tells a story better than a Scotsman. And after hearing New Zealand-based Scottich folk group Ben the Hoose at the Hamilton Gardens on Thursday night, I'm inclined to think no one plays the fiddle better than a Scotsman either.

Acoustic guitarist Bob McNeill and fiddler Kenny Ritch played an intimate two-set show at the English Flower Garden. It would be fair to say they held the audience captive for 95 per cent of the time - the other five per cent was hijacked by a nosy dove hoping to steal the show.

Both sets were dominated by traditional Scottish fiddle compositions.
Tracks by the likes of Gordon Gunn feature prominently, though McNeill's own compositions such as the soulful Southland Man's Lament gave the audience a good taste of his own outlook on life.
Little Cascade and Orkney, both from the duo's 2006 album The Little Cascade, were ethereal, with the pair allowing the song to rise and fall easily, bringing a captive crowd along for the ride.

A pleasant surprise, and highlight of the show, was McNeill and Ritch's version of Mark Knopfler's Local Hero theme song Going Home.

Combining Ritch's incredible fiddle playing, and McNeill's voice, which has a real John Martyn-like quality, it was a high point in a thoroughly enjoyable performance.

See the article on the Hamilton Gardens website.

Thank you Titirangi

Sunday, February 15, 2009

We've just got back from Titirangi where we played their lovely folk club last night. It was our first visit and we hope it won't be our last. Titirangi is one of those clubs we'd heard was great but never managed to get to ... well, it's all they say it is, and more. A great venue and a very friendly, enthusiastic, loud audience. We had a fine time. Thanks to Tricia, to Ian on sound, and to Shiree and Colin for artist support, including things too numerous to mention. Thanks to all of you for turning up and making it such a great night too ... see you next time guys xxx

Turakina Highland Games

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Heh heh, now that was a lot of fun. We had a great night in Turakina playing on a wee stage, outdoors, surrounded by very impressive Scots thistles (they don't get that big back home!). Thanks to everyone who came along and tapped their feet, and to Roz Grant for asking us along in the first place. Thanks especially to the young lasses who came up mid-set and did some highland dancing. You were great!

Waipu Festival

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Thanks to all of you who came along to the Waipu Festival in Northland yesterday to hear Ben the Hoose. We had a ball. Also playing were several other fine acts including, musically right next to our own hearts, the wonderful Fiddlelore. Get out and see these guys, y'hear? www.fiddlelore.com

Somebody sign these guys, or they'll sign you.

Ronan Martin's debut album

Monday, December 29, 2008

Our good friend Ronan Martin has released his eponymous debut album. Anyone who's heard Ronan play the fiddle knows what a great touch he has. The album's great. Check it out at Foot Stompin'.

Mugdock International Music Festival

Monday, June 23, 2008

We're just back from Mugdock International Music Festival, north of Glasgow, where we played four sets in two days in the old courtyard at Mugdock Country Park. It's a truly beautiful spot and an excellent site for a festival. We had a great time and hope to get back to the festival at some future point. We also got invited to play at the wee theatre in Mugdock park so we'll add that to our list of venues to play at next time.

A big thanks to Erne Parkin and all the crew for booking us for the event and looking after us so well when we got there. Cheers!

Festival website: www.mugdockmusicfestival.co.uk

Edinburgh Folk Club

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Bob and I met up in Edinburgh yesterday and we made a homage to a couple of Edinburgh's famous music pubs (even managing a drink in one of them!) before heading down to the Pleasance to play our first Scottish gig at Edinburgh Folk Club. It was a great night and we'd like to thank Angus Lyon and Ruaridh Campbell for great tunes and craic, and Paddy Eberhort for getting us along to the club in the first place.

See some photos of our performance here.

Orkney Folk Festival

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Bob and I had a great time at the Orkney Folk Festival over the weekend. The festival gigs all went really well. There were some mighty sessions too. Check out 'Crooked Still' if you haven't already. One of the finest bands around. 'Solas' were fantastic too as was the duo of Kris Drever and

Ben the Hoose Videos on YouTube

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

We've just setup a YouTube channel to host some of our videos. Go and have a look and leave us some comments.

Golden Fiddle Awards 2008

Friday, January 25, 2008

Here's a bit of news for you. Ben the Hoose were selected as finalists for Best Band at the 2008 Golden Fiddle Awards.

From the Awards' website:
"[The Golden Fiddle Awards are] the first national awards system embracing all musical styles, which focuses on nurturing, supporting and rewarding the wealth of violin playing, performance and composing talent in Australia and New Zealand."

The finalists in the Best Band category were:
  • Ben the Hoose
  • Blue Drag
  • Crooked Fiddle Band
  • Davidson Brothers (the eventual winners)
  • Shenzo's Electric Stunt Orchestra
  • Sydney Lyric Orchestra

The awards were presented on Thursday 24 January 2008 at a special concert, held as part of the Tamworth Country Music Festival.

Ben the Hoose @ Te Papa, NZ's National Museum

Monday, January 07, 2008

I've just realised I never put up a news item here about our involvement with NZ's National Museum, Te Papa, and the exhibition The Scots in New Zealand.

Bob and I did a number of interviews last year with the Te Papa team. Cameras were also rolling at some of our live performances. The result is an audio-visual documentary about 'Ben the Hoose' that will now feature in the exhibition until it closes in February 2010.

If you know of anyone making the trip to Wellington, NZ, make sure they go to Te Papa and check us out :) Our CD is featured in the rather lovely and exclusive Te Papa Store.

Classic picture of Kenny's Dad

Friday, November 09, 2007

Just found a photo of Dad on the Orkney Image Library from 1977. That's what he looked like the year I was born :)

Go on, have a look at the handsome chap.

P.S. Dad isn't left-handed. It looks like the photo was scanned from a negative the wrong way round.

Jam Radio Interview

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Louise Evans, from Jam Radio, did an interview with the two of us on Saturday, just before our gig at the Celticanz music weekend in Huia, Waitakere.

It's available online now so go and have a listen to it on the Jam Radio website. It's listed as part of the Folk Music Series, which includes interviews with Kevin Burke and Grada.

Thanks for the interview Louise - you're great. You're also utterly bonkers and that's why we love you.

Celticanz 2007

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Bob and I have just got back from Celticanz, where we had one of the most enjoyable weekends we

Wellyfest was great - and no rain :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Had a fantastic time at Wellington Folk Festival. We got a huge response at both gigs (especially in the final concert) so thanks to everyone for coming along. It was great to get Mike Moroney and Anna Bowen up on stage with us again.

Thanks to all the festival organisers, especially Sue and Kevin for letting us use their lodge for some great Scottish sessions in the evenings. And thanks to England for losing the Rugby World Cup on Sunday morning. A perfect end to our weekend.

There are a lot of photos of the festival available on flickr.com. In fact, here's one of us. And the impromptu fiddle madness open mic slot was a lot of fun.

Thanks to Davy Stuart for the one below. Soundman and photographer. What a guy :)

Ben the Hoose on Radio New Zealand National

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Bob and I had a chat with Eva Radich on Radio New Zealand National the other day, and played a few tunes. The interview was broadcast on the Upbeat programme on Friday 19th October. Thanks to everyone who got in contact after hearing the programme, especially to those of you who bought our CD!

Vodafone Music Awards

Friday, October 19, 2007

Bob and I went to the Vodafone Music Awards in Auckland yesterday. We were invited because we'd won the Folk Album award and thought we'd go just to experience one of these 'things'. What a waste of time. Yes, the free drinks were good, and the food wasn't too bad either, but the actual show was an utter embarrassment. A bunch of presenters with the mistaken assumption that the more profanities they said, the funnier they'd be. (I used to think Petra Bagust was a lovely lady. How wrong I was.)

Some great performances though from the likes of Brooke Fraser, Hollie Smith, and Evermore. If only these events could be about the music (and REAL talent) and nothing else.

OK, that's my rant over ... time for another festival.

Dunedin Celtic Arts 2007 (The beer!)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I forgot to say that we even got our name on the special edition festival beer Celt. Now that doesn't happen every day.

Dunedin Celtic Arts 2007

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Ben the Hoose had a great few days down at the Dunedin Celtic Arts Festival. The first real gig we ever did was at this festival back in 2005 so it was great to return and play some new material. Being billed alongside Dick Gaughan and Sharon Shannon certainly kept the pressure on but I think we held our own.

As usual, we were well looked after by the Moroneys, with one of their cats paying particular attention to Bob's bed. The weather was particularly Scottish most days but that just added to the authenticity of the festival. Our gig in the Glenroy went well. We had some great harp playing to start us off by Annemieke Harmonie and her students. Lovely stuff. Thanks to flute virtuoso Brendyn Montgomery for taking to the stage with us, as well as the fantastic duo Catgut and Steel, aka Mike Moroney and Anna Bowen. You guys made our night.

Check out our gallery for more photos from the festival (thanks to Siobhan Moroney).

Thanks again Dunedin :)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Bob and I really enjoyed our support gig for 'Battlefield Band' and we got a great reception from the (close to) 500 strong crowd at The Regent.

Alan Reid, Sean O'Donnell, Alasdair White and Mike Katz easily proved why they are at the forefront of Scottish music. What a show. Perfectly paced with stunning performances both individually and as a band. 'Ben the Hoose' were asked up for the encore so it was nice to go out on a fiery set of reels. And the 4am session in 'Albar' afterwards was a perfect end to the night.

Huge thanks to Mike Moroney and Lindsey Shields for asking us along. It was unforgettable. And thank you Dette and Mike for the sleeping bags and floor space, and Siobhan for the bacon sandwiches!

Battlefield Band Tomorrow Night!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Hope to see a lot of you at Battlefield Band's gig tomorrow night at The Regent Theatre in Dunedin. Bob and I are looking forward to our wee support slot and catching up with some familiar faces. See you there!


Orkney Folk Festival 25th Anniversary CD

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Well the Orkney Folk Festival is over for another year and, by all accounts, it was a cracker. I just wish Bob and I could have been but popping over from New Zealand for the weekend really isn't an option :(

It was the festival's 25th Anniversary so the committee released a special compilation CD to celebrate. Called 'Orkney Folk: Traditional Music from the Islands' it's a snapshot of the folk music scene in Orkney at the start of the 21st century. 'Ben the Hoose' are featured with the track 'The Little Cascade' so we're more than a little happy, especially since we haven't played in Orkney yet as a duo! All proceeds go to the festival so go out an buy it immediately!

It's available from the following websites (and I'm sure there'll be some others):

All the best fur noo,

e-Interview with Ben the Hoose @ kiwifolk.com

Friday, May 18, 2007

Mike Moroney recently interviewed Bob and me via email. If you've got a spare minute or two, have a read of the interview on Mike's site.

Ben the Hoose on MySpace

Friday, April 20, 2007

We've just finished setting up a MySpace site for Ben the Hoose. Check it out at http://myspace.com/benthehoose.

Ben the Hoose Supporting Battlefield Band

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Bob and I have just been asked to play support for world-famous Scottish group Battlefield Band at their Dunedin gig in June. Needless to say we said yes!

Update: More information about the gig can be found on the New Edinburgh Folk Club website. And, most importantly, tickets can be purchased through Ticketek.

NEXT WEEK - Ben the Hoose on the Good Morning Show

Thursday, March 15, 2007

For those of you in New Zealand, Ben the Hoose will be playing and talking on TVNZ's Good Morning show on Thursday 22nd March from 9am onwards. We still wished we'd got a photo taken of us with the lovely Sarah Bradley but it's too late now. It'll have to wait until the next time ...

NZ North Island Tour - Gig 6, Upper Hutt

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

What a stunning and utterly unique venue to finish off our tour. Bob and I had a great night at the Mayfair Cafe. Thanks to John, Susan, and everyone else who made us feel so welcome. I even met a few Orkney folk!

NZ North Island Tour - Gig 5, Devonport (The Bunker)

Monday, March 12, 2007

We expected things to be pretty warm for our gig in The Bunker but we didn't anticipate quite how much noise our audience would make stamping feet, clapping hands, and generally going a little bit crazy. Thanks so much to everyone who came all the way up Mt. Victoria to see us. Huge thanks to Roger and Hillary for asking us to play at The Greatest Folk Club in the World and for feeding, watering, and billeting us. We felt right at home. Thanks to Harry too on sound - lovely job mate.

NZ North Island Tour - Gig 4, Waiheke

Sunday, March 11, 2007

We have just returned from a dip in the Gulf to wake us up after a fantastic night at Rocky Bay Hall on Waiheke Island. Huge thanks to Alan and Jenny for unmatched hospitality, organisation, sound and victualling. Best gig in NZ! We also highly recommend 'The Legless Arms' to anyone stopping by Alan and Jenny's place ...

NZ North Island Tour - Gig 3, Hamilton

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Oh wow, what can we say?! A 'sold out' gig at Hamilton's Waikato Museum ... and I think quite a few extra chairs were squeezed in at the last minute to accomodate some more folk :) Bob and I had a great night and really enjoyed meeting and speaking to almost everyone during the interval.

A huge thank you to Chris for all her hard work sorting out the gig, Noel for his ticket selling ability, tartan trousers, and MC skills, John for the wonderful sound, and of course a very special thank you to Sarah and the rest of the staff at Waikato Museum for hosting the evening and making us feel so welcome. An exceptional venue. If you'll have us back, we'll be back ...

NZ North Island Tour - Gig 2, Taupo

Friday, March 09, 2007

We had a fine acoustic evening in The Plateau in Taupo last night. Nice food, a few beers, and a lot of tunes. And we've been asked back in October so they haven't seen the last of us. Thanks to Lisa for sorting out the gig - you're a fine lass.

TVNZ: Good Morning Show

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Bob and I were up at the unearthly time of 6am today to get to the TVNZ studios in Avalon. Nevermind, we were treated like best friends by the crew when we got there. Played three sets and did a wee interview with the absolutely lovely Sarah Bradley so that should all be broadcast on the Good Morning show sometime in the next few weeks. Thanks to everyone we met - you were all great. We've been asked back to play some more music and to cook a few of our favourite 'Ben the Hoose' meals so that'll be an interesting experience! Look out for some particularly tasty bacon sandwiches ...

NZ North Island Tour - Gig 1, Wellington

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Last night was the first gig of our NZ north island tour. Thanks to everyone who came out to see us at the Comfort Hotel Wellington. You gave us a great night to start off! Thanks especially to Alistair Cuthill, Catriona Stuart, Tony Hillyard, Tyree and JC, and all at the Comfort Hotel.

Ben the Hoose NZ North Island Tour 2007

Sunday, February 25, 2007

It's just over a week now until we start out on our tour of the north island. Really looking forward to it!

Make sure you check out our list of tour dates.

A photo of our Tui Award speeches ...

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Thanks to Kathy Robertson for the following photo.

The Little Cascade wins Best Folk Album at New Zealand Music Awards

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Ben the Hoose are delighted to announce that their debut album The Little Cascade won the Tui (New Zealand Music Award) for Best Folk Album at Auckland Folk Festival last night. We're over the moon and very proud to have won this award for an album of Scottish Music recorded in New Zealand. Thanks to everyone who bought the album and supported us - Kenny and Bob.

Have a read of the official press release or download it from our Press page.

Whare Flat 2006/2007

Thursday, January 04, 2007

We had a great time at Whare Flat over Hogmanay. OK, so the weather was a bit 'Scottish' but that only helped to add to the atmosphere.

Kenny had his Mum, Dad and sister Shona over from Orkney so they finally got to see 'Ben the Hoose' in concert. By all accounts they enjoyed what they saw :) A huge thanks to the organisers for a stunningly well-run festival - it's easy to take their hard work for granted.

See some of the great photos taken by Andrew MacKay at his website: Whare Flat 2006/2007 Photos at Keaphotos.com.

Highlights were getting Kenny Ritch Snr. and our pal Ronan Martin up on stage with us during our gigs ... and getting beer delivered to us mid-performance on the final night by the Rhondas. You lasses are just lovely. The Ceilidh scratch band was a fine laugh too. Here's to next time!

NZ Best Folk Album Award 2006 - Finalists!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

We're pleased to announce that we've been selected as finalists for the New Zealand Best Folk Music Album Award 2006 with our debut album The Little Cascade.

We've added Auckland Folk Festival to our list of gigs as we'll be appearing at the finalists concert on Sunday 28th January. All very exciting!

Have a read of the official press release

The Little Cascade is in more outlets ...

Monday, December 11, 2006

You can now buy 'The Little Cascade' from the following outlets:

Wellington NZ
Alistair's Music, Cuba Street

Christchurch NZ
Radar Records, 85 Cashel St

Orkney, Scotland
Grooves, Kirkwall
The Reel, Kirkwall
K2 Music, Kirkwall

The Little Cascade now available!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Our debut album 'The Little Cascade' is now available. We played sets from the new album on Sunday on the main stage at Wellington Folk Festival and a great time was had by all. It's great to have the record finally finished and to get back to doing gigs again.

If you live in Wellington, New Zealand, get the album at Alistair's music in Cuba Street. Otherwise Go here to buy it! It'll be available in more outlets very soon.

Sample Album Tracks

Monday, October 16, 2006

Visit our Music page for some samples of our new album 'The Little Cascade'. We're still on track to have the album ready for Wellington Folk Festival on Friday 20th October so we'll see you there.

The New Album is nearly here ...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Well, we didn't think we'd actually make it but it looks like our debut album 'The Little Cascade' will be ready in time for Wellington Folk Festival. A lot of late nights, coffee, and the occasional whisky, have gone into the making of it, so we hope you enjoy.

Hey, while you're here, why not leave us a message in the Guestbook.

Kenny had a baby ...

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Well actually my wife Anna did, but you get what I mean. Evie was born on 26th July and she's lovely. Bob gave her a peedie fiddle, so as soon as she stops crying I'll get it under her chin ...

Auckland Folk Festival ... wow!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Bob and I just got back from Auckland Folk Festival, where we had a fantastic time playing non-stop with Skye fiddlers Ronan and Brendan Martin and our old pal Davy Stuart. The 8 hour kitchen session will never be forgotten! We did a few 'Ben the Hoose' blackboard sets as well as some fiery tunes on-stage with the boys.

Monday night at 'The Bunker' was amazing. Surely this is the best folk club in the world. The venue, the people, all just classic stuff! Well done Roger and Hillary and the rest of the organisers for a great festival. We'll be back next year!

Auckland Folk Festival

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

We're both heading to the festival on Friday and will be cramming in as many open mic gigs as we can manage. Looking forward to some monster sessions. See you there!

Thank you Christchurch

Monday, November 14, 2005

A huge thanks to all of you who braved the weather and came to see us at Christchurch Folk Club last night. Thanks to the Club Committee for inviting us and to Dave Hart and Davy Stuart for a great job on sound. The Scottish Dance Band CD of Andrew Lloyd Webber's classics was particularly ... um ... interesting at half-time :o) A big cheers to fiddler Ronan Martin from Skye for getting up for the last set too. All the best fur noo, Kenny.

Thank you Dunedin

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

A big thanks to everyone who came out last night to see Ben the Hoose at the closing concert for the Dunedin Celtic Arts Festival. We had a great time all weekend, thanks to Richard, Stephanie, Bernadette, Mike and the crew at venue for a lovely stay and great sound. Thanks also to Jock for getting us up at the Accordion Crimes Roadshow on Sunday. xxx Bob

Couldn't have put it better myself Bob. Thanks everyone for a great weekend and especially to those folks who came out to have a listen to us. After that rendition of Spootiskerry with Jock at Accordion Crimes ... I don't think I'll be quite the same again. Cheerio fur noo fae Kenny.

Ben the Hoose confirmed as guests for Dunedin Celtic Arts Festival

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Ben the Hoose will be playing at the Dunedin Celtic Arts Festival in October. The festival also features Waterson:Carthy from England, a chance to see in concert some legendary names from the English folk revival.

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