Jane Siberry, that is, whom I saw in Glasgow in early May. To see an artist like this perform live, in this world, at this time...I was entranced. Thank you, Jane.
Some time ago a friend played me a tune written by Seamus Ennis, a tune called "Easter Snow". I took the version from YouTube, put it up in Audacity, then listened to it, examined it phrase by phrase, note by note, to try to understand it. The surface of Pipe Music rejects your attention; it swats it away. My attention bounces off it - "what IS that noise? " - but hours of repeated detailed listening revealed a beauty of a tune. I put what I could make of it into DADGAD. A simple arrangement of a stately melody. I love playing it.
One post per month...so far.
Having recently been given a wooden flute by an exceptionally generous man (thanks again, Andrew!), I have been having fun with my (elementary) flute-playing drenched with reverb through a Trace Acoustic amplifier.
Playing guitar with guitarist/singer/songwriter Mark Callaghan and cellist/singer Emma Turley in "JEM " at the Tchai-Ovna Teahouse on the last Thursday of each month now. Last time out I brought the flute along and that worked well, judging by the response.
Still tweaking this website, and adding some new tracks to my Soundcloud page. I'm pleased to see that someone in Japan is listening! And I've had some people whom I'd met many years ago when busking in town get in touch via Soundcloud, which is great . That's what I'd hoped might happen when I set up this site.
CGDGAD is the tuning I leave my guitar in these days. I think of it as being derived from DADGAD. In DADGAD your tonic is the D note on the 6th string. If you tune the 5th string A down a tone to G, then the G becomes your tonic and you have a Gadd9 tuning.
If you’re then playing in G and you tune the D note on the 6th string down a tone to C, then you arrive at CGDGAD, with your sub-dominant away down in the bass. It’s a beautiful tuning.
I first came across the Gadd9 tuning when I learned Dave Evans’ arrangement of the Carolan tune “Hewlett”, from Stefan Grossman’s “ Solos in Open Tunings” book. I played that arrangement for many years, often to the enjoyment of people in the street.
Not long ago, I went online and bought the CD “Irish Reels, Jigs, Hornpipes and Airs” so that, after all these years, I could hear Dave Evans playing “Hewlett”. That was a revelation! The arrangement in the book provides a transcription of Evans’ basic statement of the two parts of the tune, but on the recording he goes on to develop a wonderful series of nimble and inventive variations on the basic tune. Also, his playing style is much more percussive than I'd have expected.
So lately I’ve been spending some time listening very closely to his playing on this CD, examing his variations, taking them apart and trying to reproduce them in my playing. This kind of focused listening is for me a very rewarding and fun way to spend time - to get close to the work of a great player.
I put up this site early in June, and it's been mostly dormant since then; I've been wondering what to do with it.
Today I clicked on the STATS button to see what that would do.
To my surprise, MUCH to my surprise in fact, it seems people have been visiting the site while I've been away, otherwise engaged. I've checked quite carefully - 11 visits on 13 July for example, and I KNOW that wasn't me looking at the site as rarely as I do.
So - if people ARE looking at this site, I thought I should try to update the content a bit, and adding a blog seemed a way to start to do that, and perhaps even to find out who those visitors might be.