I have been focussing on 3 songs so far and we spent time today talking about where we would go next. The 3 songs so far have been Mary Mild, Far Over the Forth and The Border Widow’s Lament. I love them all, and they are of a similar ilk – dealing with the difficult topics of women in tragic and compromised situations. The women all show incredible strength. I sung the songs to Ellen and she was very encouraging but also gave me the feedback that I should try singing the songs without any emotional colour. This seemed like a strange idea at first, as they are all very affecting songs but the point she was making is that sometimes it’s easier to let the melody dictate where the lifts and phrasing should go in a song than to let the song speak for itself. Only once you can sing the song strongly through every phrase are you ready to put the emotional shape into the delivery. I realised this is exactly the trap I have fallen into before and while I am finding the exercise challenging I am aware that it’s going to be a great benefit in the long run and makes perfect sense.
I was also delighted that having chatted about Duncan Williamson with Ellen at the last session, she found a book of conversation between Duncan and David Campbell; “A Traveller in Two Worlds –The Early Life of Scotland’s Wandering Bard” and gave it to me! What a thoughtful gift.
We are now working on some lighter songs, but still with a similar content. We chatted about songs telling of girls being wedded off by their families, particularly to older men. Some have happier endings than others. I’m working on My Faither was a Gentleman and The Braes of Strathblane.