The music of North India is mesmerising, and shrouded in tradition and culture. There, raga is the art of life – it is the music of the mind. The tracks in this album focus on three instruments – the tabla, the alap and the voice – all central to the existence of Raga. Each instrument is broken down into the individual sounds that make up the intricate compositions. Performances on all three complete this introduction to the fascinating sound of Raga. This material is drawn from the Open University course AA317, Words and music.
Thanks to Stuart at footstompin for this link. If you really want to know what alap means, try http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alap – needless to say it is not an instrument, despite the confusion of the OU caption writer.
I was most fascinated by the vocables used to describe the different tabla gestures, and also the connection explained by the player of the guitar-shaped instrument between string music and vocal music.
This stanza is preserved in the Book of Aneirin, as part of The Gododdin, a cycle of early medieval poetry from Edinburgh and the South of Scotland. This stanza is actually quite seperate from the rest of the poem, and is about a battle that was fought near Glasgow in the year 642. The poem is in the Old Welsh language of the Strathclyde Britons, who were the victors. Domnall Brecc was leader of the South Argyll Gaels, and he was killed by Eugein, grandson of Neithon, king of Strathclyde. This is a highly experimental performance and I apologise for my poor pronunciation and erratic lyre playing.
On Tuesday 6th July at 12.45pm, historical harp specialist Simon Chadwick will be playing medieval battle music in the ruins of St Andrews Cathedral.
Using his decorated replica of the medieval Scottish ‘Queen Mary’ harp with gold and silver wire strings, Simon will play Scottish music from the thirteenth to the sixteenth century.
The programme will include ‘The Battle of Harlaw’, celebrating the bloody fighting in Aberdeenshire in 1411, and ‘Hei Tuti Teti’, reputedly Robert the Bruce’s march, and later used by Robert Burns for his song ‘Scots Wha Hae’.
This event is part of Simon’s summer series of medieval harp concerts in the cathedral. Performed in the Priors House, a medieval vaulted chamber set within the ruins of the Cathedral in St Andrews, this series brings to life different aspects of ancient and historical Scottish music.
The last concert, in June, focussed on medieval church music and included pieces from the ‘St Andrews Music Book’ – a medieval manuscript compiled and written in St Andrews in the 13th century, which is now preserved in a library in Germany. For August, Simon will play grand Gaelic laments, weeping for the fallen and commemorating great cheiftains and warriors. But this next recital on 6th July will draw together tunes from very disparate sources to paint a picture of the ceremonial and martial music of court and castle in medieval Scotland.
The harp Simon uses is a unique replica of the clarsach of Mary Queen of Scots. The 500-year-old original is preserved in a glass case in the National Museum in Edinburgh, as featured on the BBC’s “Reporting Scotland” last week, with Simon providing musical accompaniment! Simon commissioned his replica from Irish harp maker Davy Patton in 2006-7. With its amazing soundbox carved out of a single huge willow log, and its intricate carved and painted decoration, the replica harp is a precious medieval art object that fits very well into the ancient ambience of the cathedral.
Admission is free. Tickets can be reserved in advance by calling the Cathedral visitor centre on 01334 472563.