It’s been an epic start to my sabbatical, coming to the Isle of Eigg for three weeks to let off steam romping round the Autumnal landscapes, sharing a fair few drams with old and new friends, reflecting on the last year of musical projects and beginning to assimilate themes and content for a new solo album.
Eigg is my place of pilgrimage. I am utterly in love with its lochs, brooks, forests, glades, shorelines, cliffs, bracken, pastures, rainbows, storms, tides. The people aren’t bad either!
How brilliant to have a proper holiday here after such an intense year of work! I was so lucky to be joined by dear friends Olga, Geri and Dave in the first week, staying in the incredible Laig Beach Bothy. We were joined by the stupendously marvellous Stephen Taberner of the Spooky Men’s Chorale who we lured from Glasgow using various forms of emotional blackmail. Watching him magic people into music making was hugely inspirational and I’ve learned a lot from observing and also being participant to his approach.
I’ve explored new parts of the island and played my kora outside in the balmy Autumnal sun. Today I’m writing a funding application to support the recording of the new album so fingers and toes will be crossed for a favourable outcome.
I’ll be collecting all the recordings from last year’s work on this site in due course as well as blogging about the sabbatical and posting ideas for the album but, in the mean time, here is a live recording of the title movement from the oratorio So Many Beauties co-composed by me and people with dementia which premiered at Manchester Cathedral in April 17. Thanks to Stephen Kilpatrick from Salford University who recorded the live performance.