So, what's a "SongShare Event" then, we hear you ask? The idea is that these events will encourage participants to share with the wider community their knowledge of traditional Orkney song, both by singing remembered songs and by discussing the background and history of the songs.
The event begins with a short concert of Orkney songs, followed by a much needed tea break (and opportunity to shmooz) and then a workshop, where everyone can learn a new Orkney song. Whether you choose to join in or watch from the side, it's great fun!
In Internet Explorer, hover your mouse over each picture for information.
Another fantastic day in our series of island events - thanks to Alex for his guitar-ing (yes, I know there is no such word..!), and many, many thanks to the community for making us feel so very welcome and entering wholly into the spirit of the afternoon (my cheeks were sore from laughing afterwards!). Over 50 people came along for a concert, a coffee, a craic and a sing, making this one of our busiest songshares yet. Special thanks must go to Billy Budge for his wonderful local songs (I'll never look at OIC councillors in the same way again!), and the excellent Stromabank Pub Choir for their set - a great choir mixing beautiful harmonies with good humour. We received a large number of valuable donations, which are now being painstakingly researched, recorded and preserved by our project co-ordinators. Updates on findings etc. will follow soon.
In the very well attended workshop, we learned Karine Polwart's extremely moving song 'The dreadful end of Marianna for sorcery'. Karine was inspired to write this after reading George Mackay Brown's short story set on Hoy, 'Witch'. She has kindly agreed to the song being used and collected in the project, and this further demonstrates the open nature of what we're trying to achieve, as a song inspired by the work of an Orkney writer but composed by a songwriter from the Borders. We hope Karine enjoys the recording of our Hoy workshop!
I really don't want to say that this was our most enjoyable SongShare yet, as that does a disservice to the previous ones, but what a fabulous afternoon we had! Thank you Shapinsay! First off, we were treated to the Shapinsay Band (see below). They played a set of original and favourite Orkney tunes which had everyone tapping their foot. Then, it was all change as this was a bit of a double-ended affair this week, with the Shapinsay Band playing at one end and the Trio and Brian Cromarty playing at the other!
So, a quick about-face had the audience facing in the other direction and being treated to hearing Aimee, Sarah Jane and Emily being accompanied once again by Brian Cromarty on guitar. He also treated us to 'An Orcadian Cradle Song' and 'The Cock o' Byam'. We were also given a rare treat - an original work in progress! Brian informed us that the song didn't yet have a name, and that we had to use a bit of imagination when he was doing "nothing" as it would have a fiddle bit in it. What a treat!! Can't wait to hear it when it's ready Brian!
Usually the SongShares follow a set routine - we arrive and set up, folk arrive and we begin with a short concert with guests, we have a short break and then a workshop to learn a new song. When everyone leaves we tidy up and go home. Not this time! A conversation with some of the Shapinsay Band about the mandolin Brian used on the workshop song led to a jamming session, which even had the audience joining in! We had been joined on the boat by someone coming especially for the SongShare (Emily...), and she joined the boys on the piano! This was easily our longest musical outing yet. Adele and Kirsty even got to play on the swings!
The Shapinsay Band consist of Kenny Garson (accordian); Ian Eunson (fiddle); his dad Billy Eunson (accordian); Jim Pratt (guitar) and Jim Sinclair (piano). They treated us to:
1. Balfour Village by Bob Groat, and The Shapinsay Polka by Jackie Sinclair
2. Shapinsay My Island Home by Jim Rendall
3. Braefoot Boogie by Jim Pratt
4. Green Fields o' Sands by Caroline Robertson
5. Drystone Dyker by Paul Hollinrake
6. to round off a set of Orkney tunes
We gathered four tunes written for poems by Jim Pratt, a recording of a song consisting of a poem by John Skea and tune by Jackie Sinclair, Shapinsay song by George Corrigall, and two possible songs (or poems), one by Miss Williamson and the other 'The Bonnie Banks of Veniver', author unknown. If you know who wrote this, please get in touch!
This was our last SongShare on the Mainland, as we start moving out to the islands now. Woo hoo! We had a real treat this week, with Thora Linklater singing a song she'd written about faeries for us all! She was ably accompanied by Ali Skene on fiddle and Aimee on harmonies and bodhran. She was a true star!
Once again we were pleased in welcoming Brian Cromarty to our SongShare. He treated us to Sleepyheid (available on Orkney Twister) and Ring on her Hand (original tune from the Balfour collection, words composed and arranged by Brian). The Trio and Sarah Jane also sang for us. Emily had also prepared a display, this time on the loss of the barque Isle of Erin, lost in 1908. The song can be heard on our mp3 page, and there is information on the loss of this ship in the library.
People power! Sarah Jane's mum, Barbara Grieve, received a request from the floor for a song. We were extremely pleased when she complied, as she's been unable to sing at any SongShares till now.
Well, we made the expedition across the high seas for our first island visit, and what an absolutely fantastic welcome we had (if you don't include South Ronaldsay!!)! We had a wonderful response from the islanders, and we are very grateful to all those who attended.
Emily had worked really hard to put together a display on wartime memorabilia and artefacts, which went down really well by attendees and participants alike. We were pleased that once again Catherine Turnbull, editor of Orkney Today attended, as well as Rebecca Marr who was working on the Fortress Orkney project.
Brian Cromarty provided the musical accompaniment this time, but was suffering from a bit of laryngitis. This meant that he was only keen to sing one song - very quietly! We were treated to 'An Orcadian Cradle Song' which was also filmed, and for the first time the BOSP singers are available to see as well as hear on our mp3 page.
Katherine Cooper (photo below) very kindly donated six songs to the Project. We were so pleased! They were all written by her uncle Cecil Sutherland, so we can't wait to hear Oxy's Bonnie Lasses, Flower of Flotta, Flare of Flotta, Hands off Orkney, The Twighlight Isles and The Merry Dances. (Can you see the theme?!)
The song this Share was The Bride's Lament, a really beautiful song with a lot of Tra La Las!
The lasses who sang for us are Chloe Robertson (flowery dress), Erin O'Neill (blue top), Hannah Johnson (grey top). What a brilliant job they did!
Another fabulous afternoon, this time in the St Andrews Community Centre, aka the Tankerness Hall. We were joined once again by Alex Leonard on guitar, and Ann McTaggart who sang a really beautiful Gaelic song. We were assured that Orkney was mentioned, but we had our resident Gaelic speaker on hand, just to make sure! Thanks to one and all who turned out.
Thankfully, no kissing! Yet another complete contrast to the previous SongShare song, this week's helping was decidely funky! A 17th century song, and yet we were all jiving to a very laid back vibe! Aimee and Alex Leonard's arrangment made this very ancient song very modern, and tremendous fun.
Aimee, Sarah Jane and Emily were once again joined by Alex on guitar, and this week we were treated to solos from Lorraine Bichan and Catherine Baikie. Lorraine gave a very poignant rendition of Allie Windwick's 'Sleepy Laddie', whilst Catherine gave us 'Partans in his creel', another Allie Windwick. Sarah Jane treated us to a Davie Towrie song, our closest link to Finstown, and to round off the workshop song 'A Nobleman's Wedding/The Unconstant Lover'. We were also a focus of attention from Alan Hodge from Living Orkney. Read the article in our library or by clicking here (pages 1 & 2) and here (page 3).
A cold but dry and calm day saw around 45 people turning up throughout our Kirkwall SongShare on the 31st. One of the beauties of this type of informal affair is that you can pop in and out as your time allows.
Our opening concert saw the Songshop Trio and some of the Songshop Choir singing Isle of Erin, followed by Bruce Mainland, Billy Jolly and Brian Cromarty all doing their rather brilliant (and solo) thing! Brian sang a song which he'd written the tune for and arranged from an original poem written by David "Porky" Horne, the words of which are available from here.
The workshop was a rather calmer affair than of late, with a gentle soothing lullaby. Not that the kids who came to the workshop were calm! Lots of skirling and running around! What fun! The song "An Orcadian Cradle Song" (or 'Ba, ba lammie' we ended up calling it) is actually a poem written by Robert Menzies Fergusson, which Brian also wrote the tune for and arranged for everyone to sing. It was great fun, and ended up with everyone in the workshop having a cuddle! The next SongShare is on Valentine's Day (14th Feb), so there may be some kissing involved!! [Editor's note - hope not!]
What a brilliant turnout we had for our third SongShare this time in Orphir, with Alex Leonard helping us out on guitar. We had two sets of guests, Orfirisay and sisters Ann Tait & Thora Linklater. We had in all around 35 people at this event and it was certainly a lot of fun!
A few photos below:
Well, what we lacked in numbers we more than made up for in quality! We had two folk singing for us - one agreeing to be interviewed - and received information and donations from the island of Stroma. Ok, not technically part of Orkney but close enough!! Once again Frank Keenan very kindly agreed to take part, and we were also treated to Alex Leonard on the guitar.
The first SongShare took place in the elegant surroundings of
The success of the first event bodes well for future SongShares. The atmosphere was informal and the whole afternoon was most enjoyable. Everyone is welcome at all songshare events. Whether you're interested in participating and contributing or learning a song yourself, or just observing, you are guaranteed a fun afternoon! Check out the photos below for proof: