Monday, November 17, 2008

Island culture

Janet came across an academic journal online which features essays on island cultures, Shima: The International Journal of Research into Island Cultures. The journal originates in Australia, but a couple of articles deal with Shetland topics. Of most interest, in Vol.1, No. 2, Reinventing Springs, a discourse on Shetland fiddle styles and outside influences. Debbie Scott, Catriona MacDonald and Chris Stout are discussed. Vol. 2, No. 2 has an article on Fetlar, which will be one of the sites planned for the 2009 'Frenzy.' Jane

The music plays on

Before last year's 'Frenzy' , music was sent to all registrants to prepare for the final concert. Among the pieces were two - 'Fiddle' and 'Eileen's Waltz' - by Debbie Scott. Unfortunately Debbie did not attend the ' Frenzy', but I loved playing the pieces and became an instant fan. In Lerwick I bought Debbie's one and only album, 'Debbie Scott', a compilation released in 1999. This has become one of my favorites.

I also came home with a new album by Catriona MacDonald, 'Over the Moon.' I greatly admire her lush tone and phrasing, adding new insight to traditional tunes and infusing warmth to her own lovely compositions. Her beautiful rendition of an air by Tom Anderson on the album, 'Ian Robertson', displays Tom's great gift for melody as well as Catriona's great skills. [At a 'Frenzy' concert, Brian Gear played another unpublished Anderson air, 'Daybreak', further proof of Tom's gift. This tune is due to be published in the coming months, in Vol. 3 of his collected works.] Catriona's own lovely air, 'Wonderland', is on the new album.

When I bought Catriona's album , 'Bold' , a few years ago, she autographed it with the inscription, 'Keep Fiddling', which I have. In her new album she wrote, 'Come back soon' , which I intend. At this date it seems like August 2009 will involve family events in the USA for both Janet and myself. Maybe 'Celtic Colors' next fall, maybe back to Shetland in 2010. In the meantime, I keep it going via CD's with Catriona and Debbie, Willie Hunter, Chris Stout, Aly Bain, and Tom Anderson. Good company!