Perth Singing Trail for Scotland Sings!

Join Horsecross Voices and choirs from Perth and Kinross as they sing their way horsecross artsaround Perth city centre on the Perth Singing Trail. Each choir sings at the three stages of the trail; the first is in Redrooms Café at Perth Theatre, the second is at St John’s Shopping Centre, and the third and final stage is in the foyer of Perth Concert Hall. The choirs on the trail will perform a varied repertoire covering Scottish traditional, Gaelic, rock, gospel, classical and world music. This year there is the addition of a Youth Choir venue which can be found within Perth Museum and Art Gallery. Here Perthshire’s youth choirs can be heard singing a wide selection of musical styles throughout the day. But you don’t have to be in a choir to join in as Scottish singer Christine Kydd will lead two open-air sing-a-long sessions outside the two Horsecross venues. There really is something for everyone so let’s get Perth singing.

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Auld Grey Beard & Drumdelgie

First of all – apologies for the lateness of these blogs! I have been a busy bee these past couple of months! A holiday to Rome, starting my dissertation at University and the Aberdeen TMSA branch have had some brilliant concerts – Cookney and the Doric Concert in Midmar, so I had my committee member duties to carry out there.

Anyway, on to the interesting information! Geordie and I spent one of our evenings singing through Drumdelgie – a great bothy ballad. Geordie really plays around with phrasing in this which helps put the story across to the listener. I did struggle with this and tune initially but with plenty of practise I am getting to grips with it now!

In our next meeting, Geordie taught me all about the Auld Grey Beard! A funny traditional ballad about a young girl whose mother tries to get her to court an old man. The girl, however, is having none of it! She tells her mother if he is that good – you kiss him yourself! I love this song because it is refreshing to learn a traditional ballad that isn’t about murder or heartbreak!

Last Friday (25th Oct) I competed at the Bothy Ballad competition in Turriff but unfortunately I wasn’t placed on this occasion (Well Done Hector Riddell) It was not a disappointing night as there were fantastic songs being sung throughout and in particular Geordie’s rendition of Drumdelgie nae mare – so that is what we will work on next time.

My Son David

I’ve had two sessions since my last blog and Anne and I have been working hard on lots of different songs to try out new things. I’ve still been practicing ‘Mary Hamilton’, ‘Rothesay O’ and ‘My Son David’ (a variation of the ballad ‘Edward’) and at the most recent session I tried ‘Thomas Muir of Huntershill’ and ‘Whaur Dae Ye Lie my Faither’. I knew the rather unlikely story of Thomas Muir and had heard the song, which I’d describe as a bit of a brave one to sing, so I had a bash at it and wasn’t too bad but got a few good pointers from Anne. I had to do some research on the story of the massacre in Srebrenica as I wasn’t sure of the background to ‘Whaur Dae Ye Lie’ and I do like to know what I’m singing about. Although it’s a very sad story, I believe its a necessity to know these things in order to connect with and properly convey the song.
I help out a lot with Partick Folk Club and at Friday’s club night I decided to give one of the songs a go live and out of the comfort zone that is my sitting room. I chose ‘My Son David’ and was quite pleased with how I done, although there are still a couple of things I could work on. I emailed the recording over to Anne and she was happy I’d given it a try and said ‘a brave choice and a committed performance and it seemed to capture the audience…….I was so pleased and proud to hear this’. So I’m pretty chuffed with that!
You can hear it here if you would like to listen

My eight year old son, Arran is singing along at the start……evidence that I sing around the house all the time!!

The fun of singing!

I was just sitting on the train to Glasgow on my way to a band practice when I realised I had forgotten to write this blog. I remembered because the train went past the Victorian bandstand on the Magdalen or “Medlin” Green which features in Sheena Wellington’s song “Newport Braes”. After being away for two weeks, it was nice to see Maureen again on Monday. I hadn’t had much time to learn the songs she had given me previously so we just went over them. We got through Bonnie Glenshee and Yellow on the Broom with no major issues but after stumbling through the third verse of Tatties and Herrin’ and we just broke down laughing because neither of us could actually remember the words! Every week I’m kept amused by Maureen’s dry sense of humour and we usually end up spending more giggling and gossiping than we do singing which is probably why I spend so much time there. I had to leave a wee bit earlier this week though because I had a driving lesson – and I didn’t stall for the first time!

Soundroutes – Addiewell Prison Choir – Shelter Scotland

Have a read about this great project which raised a substantial amount of money for Shelter Scotland!

“The project was conceived by Shona Brown who set up and runs both SoundRoutes and the prison choir. Shona is an award-winning flautist and singer-songwriter. ‘Changing Key’ is a four-track EP featuring prisoners from Addiewell Prison, West Lothian, and members of SoundRoutes Singers choirs from Central Scotland.

Recorded and released in 2012, the project raised over £3,000 for the charity Shelter Scotland and is available online from iTunes, Amazon and CD Baby. The four-track EP includes Primal Scream’s Movin’ On Up and Behind Blue Eyes by The Who, featuring a solo by one of the prisoners.” – Andy Hurst, Soundroutes

More information can be found at the links below:

SoundRoutes Singers

Shona Brown

Shelter Scotland

The Scotsman

Youtube video:

The Queen’s Baton Relay!

The Queen’s Baton leaves Buckingham Palace today and will travel for nine months around the globe!

“The tradition is for the Head of the Commonwealth, currently Queen Elizabeth ll, to write a message that is carried within a baton until it is finally read aloud to officially open the 2014 Games in Glasgow.

During the next nine months the baton will travel around the globe to the 70 nations and territories of the Commonwealth.

Read the guide to the Queen’s Baton Relay to find out more about the journey.

This blog will share the culture, history and experiences as we join the baton on this adventure.”

Read the full article and keep up to date with the blog here:


The Big Song Relay

‘Hands Up for Trad have been asked by the Commonwealth Games to put together The Big Song Relay across Scotland to celebrate the arrival of the Queen’s Baton! As part of the ‘Big Big Sing‘ (a programme of events to celebrate singing throughout 2014 and the Commonwealth Games) there could be an opportunity for your choir to sing on the QBR (Queen’s Baton Relay/Route).’

Register your interest here:

If you have already registered your interest there is no need to do it again. We have all the forms on record and will be in touch in due course :)

Is singing better for you than Yoga?

There are many studies that prove singing has various health benefits. Physical and Mental health can be improved greatly….just by singing in your local choir!

“So it comes as no surprise that scientists have shown that not only does singing in a choir make you feel good, it’s got health benefits, too. Researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, found that choristers’ heartbeats synchronise when they sing together, bringing about a calming effect that is as beneficial to our health as yoga.”

“Tom George, a Rock Choir leader in Surrey, says singing takes his members’ minds off physical and mental illnesses. “We receive many emails from members telling us how Rock Choir has helped them,” he adds. “People recovering from depression, arthritis, surgery, dealing with the effects of cancer and many other ailments find it a real tonic and have even suggested it should be prescribed on the NHS.”

Read the full article here:

Have a look in the Scotland Sings Singing Directory, and find your nearest choir today!

Newport Braes

Newport BraesAilis Sutherland’s 2nd blog.

Maureen gave me a few local songs this week. Amongst them were “Tatties and Herrin’” a great wee song with a catchy chorus that mentions places like “Aiberdeen and Stonehaven” – Stoney – by the way – has a really good chippy/chipper that do the best chips, cheese and curry sauce I’ve ever tasted!

She also gave me “Yellow on the Broom” – a song about the prejudice attitudes the “scaldies” or town folk had towards travellers. There was also a Sheena Wellington song called “Newport Braes” about getting the “Fifies” (the ferries that used to shuttle across the Tay before the bridge was built) and how children found it really exciting waiting in the queue and then playing and eating sandwiches on the other side.

Since the main theme today seems to be food – I might as well mention that Maureen was reminiscing about the old woman who had a stall in Dundee in the 40s. The stall was a big tent with benches round the sides and an open fire in the middle. She cooked mushy peas and chips which was called a “buster” and it cost 4p! My favourite song from this week was “Bonnie Glenshee”. I already knew the first 3 verses and the chorus but wanted to learn the last 2 that I’d heard Maureen sing before. The tune is lovely and I may or may not have stayed up till 6 o’clock one morning last week recording harmonies on a multi-track app…

Singing in front of a single person

Angus countrysideSinead Leach’s first Paths to Songs blog

Sitting on a bus rolling slowly through Angus, on one of the last days of summer, I was fairly scared of the prospect of what was to come. I had been in contact with Christine Kydd to arrange our first meeting, but the prospect of meeting a completely new person and then of singing in front of her was pretty daunting.  Thankfully Christine is lovely, and I quickly felt at ease.

Although I should say that I still found the experience distinctly odd. Singing in front of a single person is somehow more intimidating than sitting in front of a whole room of people, and when I did sing I was at a loss at where in the room to fix my eyes. I suppose my point is that given that this is a method of learning that many singers have experienced throughout the years, I’d expected it to feel natural and yet I felt more anxious than I normally do.

I could blame this on the fact that I’m far from a Music student. I instead study Arabic and International Relations, and have never had a singing lesson. However this is no excuse. I’ve been singing traditional songs since I was a child. My sister and I would always make up harmonies over the washing up, and my current flatmates can surely agree that I can still often be found singing around the house.

The afternoon really was very pleasant, asides from my initial anxiety. Cups of tea were had and then having explored Christine’s record collection and borrowed a handful of CDs I headed back to St Andrews with plenty to be working on, and already excited for our next meeting.

My homework for next week is to compile a list of all the songs I know without wordsheet, which is reminding me of all the songs I used to know properly, and now only half remember. It’s a lesson to me to be more organised, and perhaps less lazy, and list writing seems a pretty good first step to that goal.

Singing for charity…

It seems lately I’ve been hearing about many marathons for various charities. In fact I Scotland Singshad a few friends take part recently, they trained really hard and raised brilliant amounts of money for their chosen causes, a massive well done to them all!

Anyway I got to thinking about this, and as running is not my forte I decided to do a little research into singing to raise funds for worthy causes. People carol sing at Christmas and raise funds at different times throughout the year by singing, which is fantastic, and there are more people out there doing this than I anticipated there would be, which was a nice surprise.

As many of you will know, our next big Scotland Sings Weekend is 29th November – 1st December, so I thought I would post some links on here for anyone interested in singing to support our project, and perhaps doubling up as a fundraiser for either your own group, or cause. We can publicise your event completely free through the Scotland Sings website and social media. Some of our past events have even received national coverage in various newspapers. This is a great way to take part in Scotland Sings and raise money for your chosen charity!

To join in with Scotland Sings you can tell us about your event by filling in this short form.

It doesn’t have to be for charity it can just be for fun! Help us to establish Scotland as ‘The Singing Nation’ and join in this St Andrew’s Weekend, wherever you are in the world!

If, like myself, your not much of a runner, and you would like to raise money for your chosen charity, you can have a look at the links below which you may find useful.

Linzi :)