why

I have not been playing the harp because I have been working on the virtual ANS instead. For my very first experiment (which I put here the other day) I did everything on-screen , sampling the sound of the harp and distorting it rather crudely into a drone and some chime-like sounds.

But one of the things that attracted me to this instrument in the first place was the idea of tactile, hands-on shaping of the sonorities. Continue reading why

An Caoine Rioghaill – The Royal Lament

I was at Balgay parish church in Dundee today, presenting the replica Queen Mary harp and playing some old Scottish harp music. One elderly gentleman who was a member of the church guild and a piper was unable to attend but had sent in a question, saying he knew of a pipe tune which was a lament for the King, and which he believed was traditionally said to have been composed by an old harper out West.

Continue reading An Caoine Rioghaill – The Royal Lament

Punks & hippies

Ealasaid and I were having a discussion about punks & hippies – which one are you do you think? When I started wondering about punks & hippies having Oxford or Cambridge University backgrounds. I think it is fairly likely that a significant number both of punks and of hippies have Oxbridge backgrounds, but my question, was, which is more? Are hippies more likely to have attended one or the other, or punks? I don’t know but it is something to ponder!

Archie Anderson, scots songs

The most popular record at yesterday’s Wighton Centre event was the 1914 disc of Archie Anderson singing Scots songs with a wind-band accompaniment. Some of the Scots Song group who meet weekly in the Wighton Centre were there, and they of course knew the songs and so were very interested to hear this 100 year old recording being played on the antique wind-up machine.

I played his recording of “Jock o’ Hazeldean”, a traditional border ballad re-written by Water Scott, as part of the half hour event. At the end, Sheena Wellington acting as host suggested there would be time for an extra disc before everyone had to leave, so I asked if anyone had any requests, suggesting perhaps a second side of one of the discs we had heard. Archie Anderson’s record was the one called for, so I played the other side, “The Bonnie Lass of Ballochmyle”, a song by Robert Burns.

When I got home yesterday evening I played them both for you to hear as well! I hope you enjoy listening: