A brief update into what has been going on! The summer has been tremendously busy but absolutely brilliant. I have attended some great events and have likewise been part of some insightful collaborative work! I’m getting ready to head back to University in September so I’d thought I’d jot some of the summers highlights down. Mainly so I won’t forget them myself!
At the tail end of May, the band recorded our first EP, named East. We included 6 tracks, all with a distinct link to the East of Scotland and had Euan Burton skilfully master and produce it at GloWorm Recording Studio in Glasgow. We had a number of musicians involved, which really helped to make a bigger sound. Charlie Grey on fiddle and tenor guitar, Chris Ferrie on guitar and bodhran, Callum Cronin on double bass and Ross Miller on border pipes. Arranging and rehearsing the material was a very enjoyable process, and the EP has had a lovely reception.
I was delighted to have successfully applied for a Young Scot Nurturing Talent Fund grant. Creative Scotland’s ‘Nurturing Talent – Time to Shine Fund aims at supporting young people aged 14-20 by providing financial assistance with a number of application deadlines throughout the year. I’d like to give a huge thanks to everyone who successfully run the fund and say that the contribution was invaluable to the production of the EP.
The band then headed to Folkest International Folk Festival in Italy for 5 days. We performed for 4 concerts at various beautiful wee towns in the East of Italy. Based in Spilimbergo, we travelled to areas such as Travesio, Santo Stefano de Buja, Prepotto and Taipana near the Slovenian border.
This summer, I have performed solo as well as with the band at some lovely folk clubs. Folk clubs really are my favourite – I really love it when the audience joins in with songs and folk clubs really provide an eager, enthusiastic room full of singers and musicians and folk music enthusiasts. Folk Clubs in the summer that really stood out for me was Stockton Folk Club and South Shields Folk Club. It was my first solo jaunt down to the North East of England and it was lovely to see just how transferable British Folksongs and Ballads are. I was also joined by Ross Miller and Luc McNally for a performance at Stirling Folk Club, which was a great night!
I was lucky enough to be able to attend Cullerlie Traditional Singing Weekend hosted in Tam and Anne Reid’s farm and teahouse. The festival, situated at Cullerlie Farm Park brings together a host of wonderful singers from Scotland, Ireland and England and is primarily an unaccompanied song festival with the exception of some informal music sessions. In true traditional style, festival goers find themselves in singing sessions and workshops in 3 very quaint locations: The Bothy Wash House, the Tea Room and a Marquee. Guests this year included Maurice Leyden and Jane Cassidy (Ireland), Johnny Handle and Chris Hendry (Northumbria) Robyn Stapleton, Shona Donaldson, John Dickson, Ewan McVicar and Jim Radford.
I was asked to feature in the new Channel 4 series of Great Canal Journeys! The team, featuring Prunella Scales and Timothy West were travelling on the Cronin Canal (from Ardrishaig to Crinin) and I was invited aboard a restored puffer boat Vic 32 to sing the song, the Cronin Canal!
Myself and the band played at a few lovely festivals over the Summer months including Doune the Rabbit Hole, Speyfest, Aberdeen International Youth Festival and one of my favourites, Portsoy Folk Festival (the 7th Haal) where we performed in the Saturday night concert with The Jeremiahs and Martin Simpson, Andy Cutting and Nancy Kerr.
In mid-august, I found out I was selected for the semi-finals of the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year 2017 award! Very excited to attend a residential weekend in October alongside some fantastic musicians!