Saturday, August 30, 2008

Digital Photography

I bought a new digital camera this year, smaller than a pack of cigarettes, but with amazing capacities. I came home with over 600 photos to sort through. It has taken a bit of time to edit and put them online, but I'm happy to say I have completed my task. My albums are now available for visitors to this site. The 'fiddle school' album contains photos by Richard Wemyss, of Shetland Arts, presented to each student at the conclusion of the 'Frenzy.' From his disc I selected a few and added two of my own (one of him with Catriona MacDonald, one of Annbjorg Lien with her gorgeous fiddle.) Enjoy. Jane

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Back in Beantown

Hard to believe I've been back over a week. In summary, the 'Frenzy' was wonderful. Highlights? Every day. Enjoyed classes with Brian Gear and Violet Tulloch. Also with Mark Laurenson, Annbjorg Lien and Catriona MacDonald. It was special to meet Catriona again: after I attended her workshop at Boston College several years ago, she became my inspiration to fiddle and to visit Shetland. I thoroughly enjoyed her playing/teaching again. The music itself remains exciting, challenging, groovy. I have renewed respect for Tom Anderson's melodic invention, revealed in Catriona' s lovely rendition of 'Ian Robertson' in her new album, 'Over the Moon.' I was also enchanted with an unpublished tune, 'Daybreak' , performed in concert by Brian and Violet (will be included in vol. 3 of Tom's tunebooks, due out this winter.) This year the student concert included 2 tunes from Debbie Scott, fiddler from Papa Stour. I enjoyed them so much I bought her album, ('Debbie Scott') which is quite wonderful, too -- terrific original compositions, great fiddling.

Currently, I'm editing my photos, plan to put up 2008 photo albums by the end of the month. In the meantime, enjoying polishing new fiddle tunes and listening to CD's. Jane

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Postcard - Last day

While it seemed like a plan to post while at the Frenzy, the actuality of getting to a computer in non-fiddling hours is almost impossible. We fiddle or listen to fiddling around the clock. Unfortunately Janet had to leave unexpectedly on Wednesday AM for a family emergency. Today I'm off to Eshaness in 30 min. for a visit to Tom Anderson's birthplace, gravesite. In summary, it's been great. I've learned a lot of wonderful tunes, including some Norwegian ones taught yesterday in Unst.
More blogging when I return. New photos up by end of month.
Tonight, ferry to Aberdeen. Tomorrow, flight to London. Tuesday, flight to Boston.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Day 1 - Boston 2-Step

The evening's festivities featured the Jim Halcrow Dance Band playing dance music for young and old at the Islesburgh Community Center. From bouncing toddlers to springy seniors, nearly everyone joined in, filling in with exuberance any gaps in expertise. We started (and ended) appropriately enough(!!) with the Boston 2-Step, all dances thankfully taught. In between were the Dashing White Sargeant, St. Bernard's Waltz, the Britannia 2-Step, Gay Gordons, Strip the Willow, the Eva 2-Step, the Circassian Circle, Pride of Erin Waltz, and the Canadian Barn Dance. Each dance was done with 2 or 3 rounds. Fueled and refreshed by Highland Spring Water, the assembly joyfully stepped and swung, back and forth, in and out, driven by the vibrant pulse of the band. A good time was had by all. At 10 PM, the last set of the Boston 2-Step finished with a flourish, quickly followed up by the packing up of people, kids, and fiddles to head out into the cool evening 's mist to the Grand Hotel for the evening's final fiddle session.

Postcard day 1

9 AM, Tourist centre open. Brief note, gotta go fiddle! Yesterday met/exceeded expectations - fiddle lessons with Brian Gear and Violet Tulloch, dance with Halcrow band-Janet and I doing Boston 2-step
and session in hotel bar. Before all that, a visit to a few shops including High Level Music - there, we chatted with Mandy, who we informed had given us title of this blog. All's well. Having fun. Jane

Monday, August 4, 2008

Frenzy day 1

We have arrived in Lerwick. Janet and I met at Heathrow, for our flight to Aberdeen yesterday.
We spent a pleasant few hours there, attending an outdoor music festival in various locales. The acts included a steel drum orchestra from Trinidad and Tobago, a steel drum ensemble (youth) from Aberdeen, a folk harpist/singer from Uganda, a drum corps, and a local jazz quartet. Luckily the weather was pleasant for being outdoors. We boarded our ferry for Lerwick around 4PM. On board we met a few familiar faces with fiddles - members of the Riddell fiddles who attended the Frenzy with us last year. We had a pleasant passage with a delicious evening meal on board. The rocking motion of the boat was so soothing, I fell asleep early, missing both a small session with the Riddells, and our entry into Kirkwall. However, we are now fully prepared for a week of non-stop action. Our first stop here (after dropping bags at the hotel) at the Visitor Centre. Once again good luck with the weather - mild, partly cloudy. On to fiddling. Jane