Hi everyone, I have been being mentored in ballad and folk singing by Anne Neilson, since October 2014. It’s been a great journey, so far –appropriately I was with Anne today demonstrating my efforts thus far on “Tramps and Hawkers” a beautiful “Road Trip” song.
I have done cabaret singing for a number of years (on and off) and was familiar with that type of music as I grew up listening to Jazz standards. I was keen to explore the music of my own country and that is what started me on this journey.
Anne gauged my enthusiasm when I initially emailed her by getting me to listen to a number of songs and write about what I thought they were about and how they made me feel. The subject matter was varied (and I have since found out that all are perennial subjects). There was one warning of the perils of marrying an old man-now thankfully outdated due to medical advances! There was another featuring the tragic death of a man at the hands of his own brother and the haunting “ I Wish, I Wish” sung by Jeannie Robertson on the subject of forsaken love.
“I Wish, I Wish” was the first song which Anne, set me and I am still plucking up the courage to give it a real go. I have decided to do this for next time! I have reached that stage through the wonderful encouragement that Anne has given me and by learning other songs and nervously singing them in Anne’s living room. The nerves are starting to abate and I now feel that I can work on pace and pitch and storytelling. I have learned “Fine Flowers in the Valley”, “Farewell to Tarwathie”, “Allan Water” and many others.
I have been along to a number of Anne’s Ballad workshops-I even sang at one of them! Ok, it was a cabaret song after about 2 glasses of wine but still….I have had the privilege of seeing some great singers, meeting some lovely people and learning lots. One particular highlight was getting to see footage of Lizzie Higgins, The Stewarts of Blair, Ray Fisher and a number of others from Doc Rowe’s collection.
I will keep you updated from now on-The challenges for this month are “Mary Hamilton” and “Ance upon a Time” as well as more than wish wishing I can give “I wish,I wish” a shot.