Congratulations to Marie Fielding who have been nominated in Composer of the Year sponsored by PRS for Music in the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards 2015. Vote now!
We asked Marie Fielding of Marie Fielding the following questions.
Tell us about yourself
Hi I am a freelance fiddler/composer/lecturer/examiner, based at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. I’m passionate about our traditions, past and present, as well as connecting with other cultures, using conversation, photography and ultimately composition, to document my experiences. I have been composing since I was 13, taught myself fiddle age 10 and since, worked full time as a musician from the age of 17. I feel fortunate to have a life full of opportunities, challenges, identity, fun and like minded people to share it with. I often work with projects, mentoring composition skills. I have been involved in 2 Distil Shwcase events, as wel as writing music for BBC television. Composer Kuljit Bhamra invited me to join a composition project of his after meeting at Distil. This summer i joined renowned jazz drummer John Rae to perform at the Edinburgh Festival, which included a composition of mine. I work at The Tolbooth Stirling, teaching fiddle and composition plays a part in these classes. My composing styles are influenced by Scotland. Mainly Tobermory, Shetland, Edinburgh, Aberdeenshire and of course many other places. I also have a strong bond with Dingle, Kerry, which has brought a new energy and freeness to my writing. I try to create music that has space for the listener and instrumentalist to add their own thoughts. I would like to think my music sounds original, emotional, melodic and playable. Quite often it is a dance tune as I have played for dancing from an early age but I have also written for harp and recorded a piece with Catriona MacKay.I have learned to accept that not everyone will understand or like my music, just like art, we all see colour and shape differently. Composing is something I will always do. I work hard, give everything my best shot, in the hope that something new will come from it as well as making a difference to others.
Why are you involved in Scottish music?
I grew up surrounded by music from a young age. Trad music captivated me, affecting my mood in different ways. I wanted to experience that for myself and decided that melody was for me. I have never tired of learning new skills and tunes. Scotland has so much to offer, in particular, the younger generation. I am part of that now and extremely proud of what I do. My composing gives me an identity out with performance nd teaching, as well as huge enjoyment. That’s when I feel I am making an intimate connection with others, exposing my soul and character. Music is very important to me and my family and friends would all agree and encourage me hugely. I support festivals as an adjudicator and always take time to speak to and praise the younger generation. Scotland has a unique sound and I am part of it. It has evolved over the years but remains true. I have witnessed changes evolve over the years and perhaps influenced some of them. I’m sure there is a lot more to come. I try to support radio shows, Box and Fiddle Clubs, Living Trad mag etc. Scottish music has shaped me and made me who I am.
Any particular career highlights?
My first prize was age won age 13, as best composer Edinburgh Strath/Reel Society. I have won composer of the year 3 times at the National Acc/Fiddle Assos. and runner up twice. 2 albums I produced on my record label have been nominees, including An Tra 2013 Trad Awards, all of which feature my compositions. I have been a panel member for Scottish Arts Council. Dundee Music, Live Music Now, Trad Awards, Young Trad Musician, . I was a Perthshire Amber finalist and Glenfiddich finalst. I play for the queen once a year and was involved in the televised tribute to Robbie Shepherd. My tunes are broadcast almost weekly on Take The Floor and recently, Capercaillie, Scott Wood Band, Tom Orr and many more have recorded my tunes. I published a 2nd book of compositions this year after several reprints of book 1. All my projects have been self funded. My CD launch Heart Of Dingle at CC was a sell out. I have performed at The Trads a few times and guested on around 70 albums, for musicians such as Finlay MacDonald, Isla Grant, Maggie MacInnes and Alasdair MacCuish. My trio performed live on Travelling Folk in the summer, I have played on countless Take The Floor programmes over the years and appear regularly on BBC Alba. I was a music specialist for Falkirk Council, educating early years staff and children, making music more creative. I did an audit on fiddle teaching which was of significant importance. I suppose a huge highlight is hearing my compositions played by other musicians with their interpretation and arrangement. I feel I am at a point in my career where I’m comfortable with myself and feel very fortunate to love what I do weekly as well as having the freedom to compose and experiment.
What are your plans for the future?
Now that my two children are older, I do have plans and aims. I intend to apply for funding to take time out and push myself in terms of composing skills, away from every day life and work. Perhaps a small Island, surrounded by the sea where quiet surroundings and no time pressures would open up fresh ideas. I like to keep busy and always have a project on the go. I have approached a local artist in residence at Stirling Castle/Tolbooth, about exploring the links between art and music, with a view to sharing this with young and old in the community. I do some voluntary work and wish to continue with that as well as my teaching. Finally, I have invested in a 5 string fiddle and plan to write a suite alongside an ensemble of some sort. I’d love to do a New Voices at Celtic Connections and hope I’m on the waiting list for that!! Composing is a very personal and private experience. It is free and brings endless possibilities to explore. Thanks for taking the time to read my views. Cheers, Marie
If you would like to come along to the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards in Dundee’s Caird Hall call the Caird Hall box office on (01382) 434940 or buy online.