Well, there were lots of things – one great bit of the teaching involved playing movements from Jonny Dyer‘s new nyckelharpa suite. I wanted to have a go at recording some of it – and as it’s a trio it needs multi-track overdubs again.
I had a first go yesterday using the setup with the Raspberry Pi I have described before. However there were definitely problems. First, I have still not mastered playing a second time along whilst listening on the headphones to the previous track, and trying to keep exactly in time; the precision was definitely poor! Secondly, I wondered about some clicking and popping in later tracks. I sent the result to Vicki who gave me some advice and analysis. Then I had an idea …
Last year Marwyn got a new laptop which meant that her old Mac Mini was retired. Apple have stopped supporting the Mac Mini anyway, I could no longer update the operating system. However it still works – and it has a fan that’s pretty quiet. I installed Audacity on it and decided to give it a go today.
Here’s the result:
I made a lot of takes of each part to give the Mac a lot of work – 7 for part 1, 4 for part 2 and 3 for part 3. Basically I kept going until I had a take with hardly any fluffs that I could use in its entirity.
Yesterday I got back from a wonderful course at Halsway taught by Vicki Swan. It was a lot of hard work but fantastic fun. I have lots of playing improvements to work on, and lots of new tunes to learn. This year will be remembered as the year of the scaffolding!
Back from a fun time at the Chester folk festival – the photo is definitely the best I took (though I didn’t take many as the music was too much fun). It’s Ratty of course 🙂 We only stayed overnight on the Saturday but still saw a lot. Very much enjoyed Les Barker on Saturday lunchtime, then the afternoon concert with 5 acts including Will Pound’s “Through the Seasons” which we had heard a lot about on several radio folk programmes so were interested to see it. It was good though I felt the story was a bit disconnected at times. Hannah James with her accordion was superb, as were The Trials of Cato (fantastic mandolin player), and of course Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer were well up to their usual fantastic standard.
Thanks to Trevor Buck and Phil Lyon for alerting me to a house concert this evening – we went along to hear Ditte Andersson (nyckelharpa, fiddle, voice) together with Ewen MacPherson of Shooglenifty, Salt House … (guitar, voice) and Sarah Hoy (fiddle). A great evening. I’ve been very lucky to hear lots of nyckelharpa in the past few weeks – Peter Hedlund, Väsen, and now Ditte Andersson. Fantastic!
The Greenbank Buskers played a wee gig today in St Mary’s Kirk, Haddington, as part of their summer concert series. We normally play for dancing at ceilidhs (for charity), but today had been asked to do a performance – so our bandleader Hazel had finally got me to play the nyckelharpa (I don’t really do reels on it yet). We formed a trio from the band – Fiona on fiddle, Tom on guitar and self on nyckelharpa, and gave them three Swedish tunes. It meant that I had both fiddle and nyckelharpa there; the nyckelharpa seemed to go down well with the audience. Continue reading →
Another fantastic Northern Streams festival well and truly underway! Today I attended three great workshops, the first with the brilliant Peter Hedlund (featured photo) who taught us three great tunes. It was great to see and hear Peter’s “number 3” nyckelharpa, built in Kjell Lundvall’s “Nyckelharpverkstan” in Söderhamn. This workshop with Peter alone had four nyckelharpas present – I believe the largest number in one room in Scotland, ever! There have been five at the festival – one of the V-Dala Spelmanslag has one as well.
Over the weekend it was great to meet up again with some of the fine musicians who go to the sessions at the Steam Packet Inn in Isle of Whithorn. Fortunately the nyckelharpa is welcome there, and although I usually do some drone accompaniment for most of the jigs and reels, I am increasingly finding that I can play more tunes on the nyckelharpa. They are also happy to play Swedish tunes and have even brought one or two into their repertoire.
The photo teaches me a lesson – not to leave my little session friendly camera two stops underexposed when I have been playing with it for other things. I’ve done the best I can with tweaking and will try harder next time!