Thursday, 27 November 2014

Happy Thanksgiving


Having people over for dinner?
Have a look at this to give you some courage!

Happy Thanksgiving my Friends :)






Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Misty Mornings

We're having some very misty mornings around here at the moment - spectacular low clouds on the mountains to the front and to the back of us.  And bizarrely our castor oil plant, to the left of the picture above, is in full bloom.  

As you can see we still didn't get the leaves lifted ... I've always loved how in America, the leaves come down quickly and can be cleared just as quickly.   But here they come down slowly - from the middle of August really - and there's still some hanging on by their finger nails.  So you go and lift a pile and more come tumbling after.  They'll have to wait now for a few dry days to get them liftable again.


A wee reminder if anyone is still considering helping out with our Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign - here's the link.   We finish on Sunday and still have a bit to go to reach our target.   I'm starting to feel embarrassed reminding people through my mailing list - I guess I'm not cut out to be a sales person!   But a last push will hopefully get us to within the distance that a family member has agreed to top it up from.   Fingers crossed. 

Normal service will resume next week lol



An Update on my Kickstarter Project for our new CD




Well! We have 4 days left in our Crowdfunding Campaign and still have some way to go to reach our target.  It finishes on the 30th November.

Will you get involved?  

 It's simple:  It is not a scam but a bonefide way for artists to manage cash flow.  

We are asking you to prebuy the new CD or any of the other incentives - singing classes, workshops, multiple CDs etc. thereby helping us reach our goal of £2500 to enable us to complete this CD and get it manufactured and marketed.  

As of now, if 100 people prebuy the CD we'll reach our target - or if 1500 people put in £1 each.   That's the beauty of crowdfunding - many small contributions can achieve the goal.  

To those of you who have already contributed, thank you so much.   Would you consider mentioning it to your friends for extra brownie points?:) 

And to some of you who said you'd be involved but haven't gotten around to it, this is a wee nudge that we are running out of time.   


How do I contribute? someone asked.
You simply click on the link in the video - at this link - http://kck.st/1toyLPI - and then look down the list of items to see which appeals to you, click on that one and follow the instructions.  

The site will ask for your credit card details and your card will only be charged if we meet the full target.  Kickstarter is an all or nothing platform - if we meet our target in the time allotted, then your credit card will be debited and we will receive the money, less the Kickstarter fees.  
If we don't meet our target, then no money is taken from you and we receive nothing.  

So there you go.   Please consider helping.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

St George's Market, Belfast




One of the oldest indoor markets in the British Isles St George's Market in Belfast is simply gorgeous and a real treat for a day out.  It is the last covered in Victorian Market in Belfast and dates from the 1890s - before which it would have been an open market.



Full of atmosphere, on a Sunday it is mainly an artisans market - Friday and Saturday are regular market days - fish, veg etc plus artisans.  

Sunday sees ceramics, silversmiths, wood turning, lots of jewellery, foods from around the world, 
Queueing at the Belfast Bap Co. - the best bread rolls in the world!!!
great coffees, local art, photographs and memorabilia, vintage books, specialist bakers - I love it.   
Coffee anyone?

Oh and I forgot to mention live music - which was superb this weekend.



 Today there was a film being shot adding to the chaos - and the pre Christmas rush is well under way.  
Some of the original Victorian design





Someone's yarn-bombed the main entrance grille


And from the inside ..
















I hope your Sunday was as much fun :)

Irish Songs in a Woman's Key: The Water is Wide

This is a series of folk and particularly Irish songs, in keys that are suitable for women.  




The Water Is Wide 
has been recorded by many many people - from Joan Baez and Bob Dylan to Maura O'Connell, James Taylor, Hayley Westenra and many more.   

This is a magic version recorded at Pete Seeger's 90th birthday in Madison Square Gardens featuring some of my all time favourite singers.   To play along in this key we will do the song in the key of D and put a capo on the 1st fret.   The notes and chords are below.



And if you're interested in the background of songs - this wonderful page has the history of the song

There are many sets of words for this song - I've given both the regular version and the Pete Seeger version as sung in the video above.    First the more simple version that is usually sung around the British Isles.
The Water Is Wide



D                         G                     D
The water is wide;    I can’t cross o’er
             Bm    Em                   A
Neither have            I wings to fly
                  F#m  G                      D       
Give me a boat        that will carry two
         G             D   G        A         D
And both shall row,     my love and I

Love is gentle and love is kind
And love is sweet when first it’s true
But love grows old and when it’s cold
And fades away like the morning dew

There is a ship and she sails the sea
She’s loaded deep as deep can be
But not as deep as the love I’m in
I know not how I sink or swim

The water is wide; I can’t cross o’er
And neither have I wings to fly
Give me a boat that will carry two
And both shall row, my love and I




And the Pete Seeger version

The water is wide, I cannot get over
And neither have I wings to fly
Give me a boat that can carry two
And both shall row, my love and I

A ship there is and she sails the sea
She's loaded deep as deep can be
But not so deep as the love I'm in
And I know not how I sink or swim

I leaned my back up against some young oak
Thinking he was a trusty tree
But first he bended and then he broke
And thus did my false love to me

I put my hand into some soft bush
Thinking the sweetest flower to find
I pricked my finger to the bone
And left the sweetest flower alone

Oh, love is handsome and love is fine
Gay as a jewel when first it is new
But love grows old and waxes cold
And fades away like summer dew

The water is wide, I cannot get over
And neither have I wings to fly
Build me a boat that can carry two
And both shall row, my love and I

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Irish Songs in a Woman's Key: The Connemara Cradle Song

All the guitar books that I've come across, for folk or particularly for Irish songs, annotate the songs in keys that are suitable for men.   Women who are starting to play guitar and who haven't mastered the art of transposing yet ( a subject for another post) try to play the songs and give up really quickly because either the song is way too low or way too high.  This song is part of a series here with particular focus on Irish songs, both traditional and contemporary.  These keys are the keys in which I play and sing the songs.   


The Connemara Cradle Song is a beautiful lullaby first recorded by Delia Murphy in the 1930s. The chords are simple and can be made more simple by leaving out the Am/B move and just playing C on the word 'wind' and G on the word 'deep' and so on which makes it a 2 chord song - always useful to have.   I did a picture post about it here during the A to Z challenge - it includes my recording of the song.

The Connemara Cradle Song 

                             C     Am/B    Am                G
On wings of the wind o’er the dark rolling deep
                                                            C
Angels are coming to watch o’er thy sleep
                          Am/B   Am              G
Angels are com-ing to watch over thee
                                                            C
So list to the wind coming over the sea
G                       C     Am/B    Am                  G        
Hear the wind blow dear,       hear the wind blow
                                                            C
Lean your head and hear the wind blow

Oh wings of the night may your fury be crossed
May no-one that’s dear to our island be lost
Blow the wind gently calm be the foam
Shine the light brightly and guide them to home
Hear the wind blow dear, hear the wind blow
Lean your head and hear the wind blow

The currachs are sailing way out in the blue
Laden with herring of silvery hue
Silver the herring and silver the sea
And soon there’ll be silver for baby and me
Hear the wind blow dear, hear the wind blow
Lean your head and hear the wind blow

The currachs tomorrow will stand on the shore
And Daddy goes sailing, a sailing no more
The nets will be drying the nets heaven blessed
And safe in my arms dear contented he’ll rest
Hear the wind blow dear, hear the wind blow

Lean your head and hear the wind blow



This image isn't great - I will have to find a better way of picturing the sheet music.

All the best till next week.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

The Green Fields of France

Today is Remembrance Day.

In the folk world there have been many anti war songs written, and for me, one of the most poignant is Eric Bogle's wonderful song "The Green Fields of France" or "No Man's Land".   



At the moment, there is some controversy around it.   The British Legion have decided to adopt the song as their theme for the centenary remembrances.    But they have left out the end of the song, which is the most important part - the anti war themes.   Eric Bogle said he wrote the first four verses as a lead up to the main part of the song and isn't best pleased that he wasn't consulted.   What a shame.
The story has been picked up by the Independent Newspaper 



A lot of Irish men fought in the First World War but haven't been remembered until very recently.  As this is the centenary special efforts have been made to include them. 

Monday, 10 November 2014

Songbirds - Bridie Gallagher

In part 3 of Songbirds the First Ladies of Irish Song, the focus is on Bridie Gallagher, the Girl from Donegal, who was the darling of the dance halls and travelled the world to play for the Irish wherever they were based.  

Bridie died in January 2012.








It was such a pleasure for me to meet Bridie in her home back in 2005
I hope you're enjoying the series so far - just a couple more to go and then they're here for as long as they're needed.  
Do drop me a line and let me know what you think...

This blog is Day 30 of my 30 day blog challenge

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Irish Songs in a Woman's Key: Go Lassie Go

All the guitar books that I've come across, for folk or particularly for Irish songs, annotate the songs in keys that are suitable for men.   Women who are starting to play guitar and who haven't mastered the art of transposing yet ( a subject for another post) try to play the songs and give up really quickly because either the song is way too low or way too high.  

Several of my female students ask me for the chords of songs so I thought it'd be good to start a series here with particular focus on Irish songs, both traditional and contemporary.  These keys are the keys in which I play and sing the songs.   

I play this one with the capo on the 3rd fret.   To move it higher, move the capo up another fret or two, or to sing it lower move it back a couple of frets.  Men will usually sing this in the key of C or D


Go Lassie Go is a song with lots of controversy around it. France McPeake from Belfast collected the song in the 1950s - there have been versions around Northern Ireland for a long time before that as well.  But in Scotland the song The Braes of Ballquider has almost identical lyrics.   At one point Rod Stewart took the case to court claiming Scottish origins.

Whatever the case may be, it is still one of the most beautiful love songs in the tradition of these islands and a song that everyone knows and can sing along with. 



Will You Go Lassie Go (traditional, arranged McPeake) 

             G          C          G
Oh the summer time is coming
                   C                             G
And the trees are sweetly blooming                                     
                  C     D             Em
And the wild mountain thyme
                  Am          Am/B      C
Grows around the blooming heather
                G    C     G
Will you go lassie go

Chorus

                  C            G
And we’ll all go together
                C        D           Em
To pluck wild mountain thyme
            Am          Am/B          C
All around the blooming heather
               G      C      G
Will you go lassie go


           G             C        G
I will build my love a tower
                  C                    G
Near yon pure crystal fountain
        C     D            Em
And on it I   will   pile
    Am    Am/B       C
All the flowers    of    the mountain
               G      C      G
Will you go lassie go

 Chorus


          G           C                G
If my true love he were gone
                C                 G
I would surely find another
              C       D        Em
Where wild mountain thyme
    Am           Am/B       C
Grows around the blooming heather
               G      C      G
Will you go lassie go

 Chorus

This is the most beautiful version of the song that I could find on You Tube - unfortunately it's not in my key - but in the key of D.   Emmylou has a high enough voice to be able to stretch to this key.   If you learn it in G shapes, then you can move your capo up to the 7th fret to play along with this version. 


This blog is Day 29 of my 30 day blog challenge
If you are enjoying this series, please do write and let me know.