Wednesday, 20 July 2011

John O'Groats

Pat Selfe took this fantastic photo on our last evening from outside The Seaview Hotel where we had our last session. There was a great sense of achievement and the party atmosphere was greatly enhanced by our musical hosts, members and friends of the 'Clapshot' ceilidh band.

We have a vast record of the music, song and dance we gathered up on the way and we know that the real work starts now to make this into an accessible archive. Meanwhile, just in case there was any doubt, we can say that live folk music in the broadest sense is alive and well in Britain today  and we of course only experienced a small sample.

We plan to have the next couple of months off and then get to work on it in the Autumn. Meanwhile it may interest some of you to know 'What we did' ---so:-

We recorded everyone who contributed to the session.

We had two Zoom Recorders, an H2 and an H4; a High Definition Video Camera (Panasonic HDC-SD600) and a note book.

The H2 took the place of a person at the session in order to pick up the ambience - background chatter/silence/applause etc. We ran this for approximately one and a half hours at each session.

The H4 followed the 'performer' ie the person/s singing, playing or leading a tune or song  from the time we arrived to the end of the session. Because of the length of the walking day we could not always be there at the start but only on 2 occasions were later (slightly) than the 9.00pm we aimed at.

We filmed 2 or 3 sequences from each session and also icluded a sweep of the room to give an idea of the numbers, instruments, environment and people. Where there was also dance we filmed this.

We asked everyone who 'performed' to fill in the note book which was arranged in columns: name, where from, what played/sang, where learned, how first started to sing/play and contact details. Although pretty comprehensive this obviously only incuded those willing to fill it in and in some cases those who had remembered their reading glasses!

A huge thankyou to all of you that helped the dream to become a reality.  Far too numerous to name but all those who organised the sessions and took part, that drove for us, cooked, took away our washing, joined us on the walk, put us up, fed us, publicised and informed, gave us midge repellent, sent us messages of support, contributed to the blog and believed we could do it!

We are resolved to make it all worthwhile.