Here is Gillian Fleetwood’s first Paths to Songs blog.
When setting off to my first session with Ellen Mitchell, I was struck by my novelty of not having my clarsach with me. I hadn’t met Ellen before but I was very much looking forward to it and, especially, to hearing her sing. Being able to focus entirely on that, without the pressure of fitting an instrument in to the dialogue, is a real treat.
She made me very welcome indeed and before long the conversation was bouncing around with ease. She is very easy to communicate with and her knowledge of the songs and singers is an inspiration in itself. The intention of the session was that we meet each other, break the ice and discuss what we both hoped to get out of the project and how we would make best use of the time.
Ellen has sent me off with a huge selection of music to listen to and I am steadily working through these with an ear out for songs which catch me and would like to investigate further. We plan to spend time on interpretation, phrasing and making the song your own, while understanding the singers who sung the songs before you. She is very knowledgeable about different versions of songs and was pressing the importance of listening to a number of versions and taking the time to decide what you feel about the song before settling into it. I feel this is great advice for me.
I feel that Ellen has a lot to pass on, and am excited to see how this project progresses.