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Hi folks, in April’s newsletter I promised a big announcement so I’ll get straight to it (imagine the drumroll)…
Mairi Campbell: Pulse will be playing in August at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – the largest arts festival in the world!
So, for 24 days between 3rd and 28th August 2016, Pulse will be on at the Summerhall, in the Old Lab at 2.25pm. Tickets went on sale YESTERDAY from www.edfringe.com and will be available from the Summerhall box office next month. So if you haven’t caught Pulse yet or just fancy seeing it again, do book now. There are BSL interpreted performances on 18th and 25th. And there are no performances on the 15th and 22nd.
Even though I’m born and bred in Edinburgh, and the Fringe takes centre stage in the city in August, I’ve only ever done one-off gigs over the years. To be jumping into the full experience is really exciting, a little daunting too – but very good to be able to get home to my own bed every night.
Book Pulse at the Fringe here: tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/mairi-campbell-pulse
Pulse at TradFest
We welcomed a full house of festival goers, fans, family and friends, including my pal Karine Polwart who loved the show. She said she felt ‘emboldened by it’ which is important. Karine is creating her own solo show this year too, Wind Resistance, which is a glorious blend of word and music. So it’s lovely to be supporting each other at this point. karinepolwart.com/home/blog/wind-resistance-solo-shows
We try to embolden one another in this tough world for artists. That’s one of the most precious aspects of the Scottish traditional music community to me. It’s about relationships and people and supporting each other in our messy, complicated lives while trying to make music.
Up on Lismore
Kath Burlinson (Pulse’s director and co-creator) and I recently co-led a Sounding Authentic retreat on Lismore. We were working with 10 creators: writers, poets, painters, videographer, storyteller, musicians, dancers and actors. We’ll be doing the same next year, so if you’re interested in joining us, drop me an email and we’ll talk.
Learn more here about Kath’s Authentic Artist 3-day retreats, which would ideally be attended before coming to Sounding Authentic.
We also had a ceilidh in the new community cafe at the Heritage Centre, and even a Gaelic ceilidh down at Duncan Laggan’s place.
My great grandmother, Jane Livingstone, was from Lismore and spoke Gaelic although it wasn’t passed down. As a musician, I like to play around and respond to this complex relationship to a lost tongue and to the emotion of shame that comes with this. We have this mysterious sense of deep familiarity and alienation at the same time, like so many cultures in this world that have experienced the loss of their language and sense of identity.
Upcoming Lismore retreats
So, just a reminder that I have a few music retreats/courses running on Lismore in summer and there are still some spaces left on them.
The course from 9 – 12 June is for fiddlers only. We’ll explore harmonies, technical support for bowing, tone, tuning and style. All levels are accommodated from the post year one beginner to the professional player. Maximum 7 participants.
The course from 8 – 11 September is for fiddle and voice. These retreats aim to create a supportive environment and opportunity to meet others in music and discover your voice.
And the course from 27 -30 October is for fiddlers only.
Working in the studio
I’m continuing to work with producer Dave Gray at his Sound Café recording studio in Edinburgh. Dave and I worked together to produce the music for Pulse, and we’re in the studio together most weeks at the moment.
I’ve been doing a lot of free improvisation to see if it turns into anything strong. It doesn’t always. Then again, sometimes it does. Dave then adds guitar and usually some percussion too, and spends days messing around with stems and riffs… I love the way we work. Spacious and supportive.
There’s one song in particular that we’ve been working on and I’ll be taking that to gigs with me to do live. In the longer term, some of these tracks may be for the next album or next show.
For details of my upcoming gigs please visit: mairicampbell.scot/gigs/
Big up from Mike Harding
Mike has presented the annual BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, and from 1997 to 2012 he presented the weekly BBC Radio 2 flagship folk and roots programme, The Mike Harding Show. In 2013 he launched his own internet radio show, the Mike Harding Folk Show, which broadcasts at 5pm every Sunday and is available as a podcast and on iTunes afterwards.
Last Sunday Mike played Side by Side from our album Pulse. And just before he plays the song, around the 29-minute mark, he gives me what is quite possibly the biggest compliment of my career to date. He says “Mairi Campbell is one of the most fascinating women on the planet and one of the most interesting folk musicians / singers ever”. Nice!
Listen to Mike’s latest show here.
So, to end with a quote:
“During this time of tremendous planetary change, a shift of the ages right now, music is a medicine. Because music carries the frequency. And this world is all about vibrations. So we want to tune into most subtle, finer, and higher vibrations, to free the soul, and liberate the soul through music and art”. – Peter Sterling
Hope to see you soon.