Alex Hodgson has written one of our brand news songs for February’s Renewing the Tradition workshops, Mauchline Belle. The brief was to write a contemporary song inspired by the life and work of Robert Burns.
- What was the inspiration behind Mauchline Belle?
Inspiration came from Rabbie’s wife Jean Armour also known as ‘The Belle o’ Mauchline’. The Kirk session, on being informed Jean was pregnant to Burns outwith marriage, summoned them both to sign the Kirk register of their sin. On signing, Jean shed a few tears which can still be seen today within the pages.
- Which came first – the music or the lyrics?
The lyrics came first.
- What the most interesting thing you learned about Burns during your research?
While looking for inspiration I found out that Burns had been taken from his grave after 19 years and placed in a new cemetery in Dumfries. His skull was measured during this procedure and found to be larger than the average man’s.
- What is your favourite part of the songwriting process?
My favourite part of songwriting is the process from discovery through the rough draft till it takes shape and comes to life.
- Who would you most like to sing one of your songs?
A singer for any of my songs would have to be Kate Rusby. It would be interesting to hear her arrangement of them.
You can find details of the five workshops in Alloway, Lauder, Birnam, Oban and Inverness here.