AGENT STARLING, the dynamic musical duo of Quentin Budworth and Lou Duffy-Howard, are celebrating following the news their latest album, ‘Clandestine,’ has received the esteemed ‘One World Music Radio’ award for ‘Best World Music Album.’

Showcasing Agent Starling’s extraordinary talent and captivating fusion of folk tunes, ‘Clandestine’ emerged as the top choice in the category following a thoroughly competitive selection process.

AGENT STARLING (Image (c) Richard Duffy-Howard)

“The world is awash with music and making a living as a creative artist these days is very much a labour of love, we were extremely very pleased to have been nominated and to win the award,” said Lou.

‘Napoleon in Morocco,’ from Agent Starling’s award winning album, ‘Clandestine’

Both Quentin and Lou possess impressive musical pedigrees. Lou, an original member of the recently reformed prophetic UK Indie band ‘Red Guitars,’ has remained an active performer and recording artist, currently leading the psychedelic rock band, Loudhailer Electric Company.

Quentin, formerly part of Suns of Arqa, has gained recognition as a hurdy-gurdy specialist and serves as the driving force behind the world fusion medieval rave band, Celtarabia.

“The background to Agent Starling is that I have played bass in Quentin’s band Celtarabia – world fusion, medieval rave band – for nearly 30 years,” added Lou.

“We mostly play the green and pagan festival circuit. During lockdown when the festivals were all cancelled I asked Quentin if he would like to remotely record a few new tracks for a new project – which became Agent Starling. We got on a roll and recorded three albums without meeting up. My son, Dexter, was at home and he became our guest violinist.”

‘Clandestine’ comprises a collection of melodies inspired by Quentin’s immersive year-long quest across Europe, where he learned from renowned Hurdy-Gurdy players and folk musicians from diverse traditions. His travels took him through France, Spain, Crete, Germany, Holland, and even Preston, Lancashire.

Quentin Budworth and Lou Duffy-Howard (Photo (c) Richard Duffy-Howard)

“I’ve played the hurdy-gurdy professionally for most of my adult life and am very aware of being part of a unique musical culture that spans a millennium and the continent of Europe from Spain to Sweden from England to Italy,” explained Quentin.

“The hurdy-gurdy with its drone, chanters and buzzing trompette creates a unique, musical world encompassing the ancient, modern, and modal. When played as a solo instrument the hurdy-gurdy creates a delightful universe of sound in its own right needing no accompaniment.”

“Typically for each track we started with a conversation about the framework of the song, the general feel, tempo, key, time signature,” continues Lou.

“Then Quentin would record a hurdy-gurdy part and send it to me. I would use it as inspiration, adding rhythm tracks, playing bass, my main instrument, so the bass grooves are central to the tracks. I’d write lyrics and add vocals, vocal harmonies and build up the textures using found sounds I record around the house and manipulated samples.

‘La Sansonette’ – ‘Clandestine’ opening track

“We then had the tracks professionally mastered by an engineer in Oregon who is known for his work on Hip Hop and EDM music. It makes for an interesting mix of traditional instruments with a modern sound.”

Catch AGENT STARLING live on November 2nd, at Scarborough’s ‘Old Parcels Office.’




Twitter: @AgentStarlingUK


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