I was quite nervous on my way to the first ‘Paths to Songs’ mentoring session with Anne Neilson, I think anyone would be to some extent. Your a young trad singer/musician and your about to meet one of the great tradition bearers…
Well Anne was absolutely lovely, and I got a kind welcome and was put at ease quickly.
The meeting started off with Anne asking me why I wanted to be part of the project, and of course I answered that I wanted to learn and I think it’s important that traditional singing be kept alive by being passed down to younger generations like myself. I can see myself passing my knowledge down to others in the future too!
We started chatting about various singers and songs, and I must admit there were many I hadn’t heard of! We listened to lot’s of CD’s and Anne showed me some of her wonderful books from the Child Ballad Collection and the Greig-Duncan Collection. So then came the tricky part, Anne asked me to listen to and evaluate a song, the singer you ask, well it was Anne of course. I listened intently and almost felt like I was back at school, worrying about getting the answers wrong. I don’t suppose there are right and wrong answers as such, each person hears what they hear. Anyway, Anne and I had rather different answers. Anne picked out more faults than I did, she was but 16 years old in the song I was listening to, and everyone is their own worst critic, but I thought it was great!
I’ve come away from that meeting with lot’s of information and a pile of songs and different variations of them. I love how the story changes from one version to another.
My homework tasks as set by Anne are to listen to and evaluate another track she has chosen, and to learn one of the songs to a melody I was given.
I am very much looking forward to the next meeting, and I’ll let you all know how I get on with my homework…