I hope you’re all enjoying the first signs of Spring! I’ve been pretty busy darting around the country with Lady Maisery but have had a few days to get out and see things waking up. I have to say, I have been overwhelmed by the positive response to Jig Doll so far an have lots of exciting updates. So where to start?
Since my last blog I’ve been working a lot on new compositions and working out how on earth the technical side of the gig is going to work. I’ve decided I will be using some software called Ableton as this will give me the flexibility I need to have a gig that is interesting musically and allows me to step away from the accordion and still dance to my music! I recently discovered MOOC courses (If you haven’t heard of them, check them out – free, well designed, online courses for anyone on all manner of subjects presented by universities, yes really!) and then found that there’s a MOOC from Berkley College of Music that gives you all the basics for using Ableton, how brilliant is that? I then went onto youtube and was searching some other tutorial videos and came across a fantastic bass player and very clever man called David Scarth who has figured out a way to program compositions into Ableton so that you can loop and create really complexed arrangements without having to press any buttons, then he’s made a really well explained tutorial video about how to do it. This is what I really love about the internet, for all it’s floors and it’s ability to show up the worst in people, it’s also a platform for ideas and knowledge to be shared and there seem to be thousands of brilliant people who are happy to help total strangers! I left a message on the video with a question which he replied to really quickly and was really interested in my project and, to cut a long story short, we’ve since met up for a coffee and a chat and he’s advising me and helping me to design my set up! His friend David Ashworth also came along and gave me some other ideas, more on that soon! You can check out David’s youtube channel here
On April 26th I will be running my first workshop as Jig Doll at a fantastic place called the Cowshed just outside Marsden in West Yorkshire. The morning will be for beginners and the afternoon for intermediate and Advanced.
The workshop will be similar to my previous workshops but I will be incorporating some of the new things I’ve been learning with my mentors and trying out new ideas for getting people to be confident and happy to improvise. Specially in the Intermediate/advanced workshop. You don’t even need to have your own clogs for the beginners one so come along and have a go! Details for the workshop here I will also be playing there on March 19th with Tuulikki Bartosik Details here
Lastly (and possibly most excitingly, is that a word?) there’s been a very important development for the project…… drum roll!….. The fantastic people at Shrewsbury Folk Festival have commissioned the first showing of the piece for their festival in August 2015! This means that they are going to fund some of my rehearsals and also means I’ll have a chance to try out the show before the November tour and have lovely video of the first ever performance (She says, trying to stop her knees from knocking together!) So if you haven’t got your tickets for Shrewsbury already, get them! It’s a brilliant festival and what I particularly like about them is that they have the guts to book totally new things and allow new collaborations to unfold in front of peoples eyes! For artists it’s so important to have festivals like this who don’t always play it safe and trust us to create something worthy of booking, and for audiences it means you get to see things that are totally unique and brand new. I’ll also be doing a little Q+A session about the project and performing with Folk Nations. It’s going to be quite a weekend!
The November tour is shaping up nicely and I’m also booking a Spring tour for 2016, dates will be announced soon. The first tutorial videos are also on their way, I’ve had to re-think the way I’m going to make them a bit as people’s requests have been a bit different to what I expected. But keep checking back and sign the mailing list if you haven’t already!
Right now I’m off to pick up Karen Tweed from the airport for our first mentoring session, more on that soon!
Thanks for reading!