Archive for the ‘music’ Category

Open Stage and some practice recording

Posted: 15/09/2016 by Alternate Celt in music, Songs

Last night was Open Stage again, and it was another great night. Guitars, bouzouki, bass and lots of voice, we had a wide range of music and loads of talent to enjoy. I played, although I wasn’t really sure I was up for it. Many thanks to the wild water of life for changing my mind ;). I played Dead Flowers by the Stones and Blaze of Glory by Jon bon moving, then promptly forgot the words to Before the Dawn halfway through. Must get on top of that wee issue. 

Blaze of Glory (rough)

It’s my wonderful guitar teacher, Anne Chaurand’s classical guitar workshop and performance on Sunday, so today I’ve turned my focus on to the pieces I need for that. Among others, I’ve been polishing up Fandanguillo for that. Really looking forward to the day. Eva Popov will also be there, so it promises to be an excellent workshop. 

fandanguillo September

Courses, blogs and music, oh my!

Posted: 06/09/2016 by Alternate Celt in Extracts, Ghàidhlig, Life, music, musings, writing
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I’ve signed myself up for two very different courses to keep me busy and growing all winter long. In my thirst for self improvement I decided I need to revisit Creative Writing from a formal perspective, so I’m doing the first level course with the OU, starting next month. I’m also revisiting Scots Gaelic with an online course with the school in Skye. Between the two of them, they will probably tax my wee brain to it’s limit, so I will likely not be posting a great deal here for a while, although there are still a few exciting wee treats to come. 

I will be serialising Pearls on the Road for FTP (fuck the patriarchy) magazine, which is a new and exciting feminist mag covering the whole world of issues and culture with a bit of pith and passion. Once the Girls are go on the site, I will post links to the parts here!

The summer has been busy, largely with music and baking, but also with life. The winter will be busy with learning. As a sop, I’m posting a new wee snippet of Burn, since that’s been my main writing project over the summer. I will be sad to put it aside as Tighe has really grown on me as a character. Looking forward to checking back in with her and her boys next year.  Anyway, here’s their first gig!



I realise, just before the lights go up on the tiny stage we’re crammed into, that I have never been so fucking terrified in my life.  I have a dozen flashbacks; black and white freeze frame vignettes; the first time Dad put me in hospital, my first time as a hooker, my first cold turkey, my first beating from Shane.  It seems like just about fucking everything, including the crash that morning, all passing by my eyes as the stage lights spark into life and none quite measures up to the fear clutching my heart and squeezing my throat closed.  Oh shit.  We cannot afford to fail.  I cannot afford to fail, because I have to get out of the bullshit life that just flashed in front of my eyes.

Light floods the stage, my throat miraculously opens and I step up to the mic.

“How the fuck are you doing, people?” I yowl, wildcat like,  as Zack makes his guitar growl  behind me, echoing me.  I feel spikey, bitchy and dangerous and I am going to make these people pay attention to me.  The crowd, noisy and more concerned with drinking than music until then, goes suddenly hushed.

“That good, huh? I’ve had a shitty day too,” I chuckle darkly at them.  Zack makes his guitar snigger then howl like he can’t decide to laugh or cry.  I feel ears prick up all around the room.  Ché comes in then, on a low, soft chugging riff  under which Emilian creeps.  Zack gets pulled down into the growing  song by them and Jason snaps to, tumbling into the beat. I hear the song solidify and I know where I am.

“We are Tighe Blackheart and the Highwaymen.  Y’all oughta know this song,”

We’d argued all the way across the North District about the song we were going to open with.  Ché had been set on Welcome to the Jungle but after the shit we’d been through there was no fucking way I could start out singing that.  Ché had been busy arguing that Axl Rose had always sounded shit on his first song when Jason chipped in with For Those About To Rock. No fucking way I’d been about to exclaim when Zack and Ché both gasped “yes!”.  I suggested a dozen other songs, all pulled out of the air, and they were looking at me skeptically when Emilian suggested Crazy Train, which won the coin toss against some other song I don’t fucking remember now.  It doesn’t even matter, because we absolutely kill that fucker and the place is jumping.  

What can I say?  We’ve got Chémistry, and it doesn’t even matter that we haven’t had time to change out of our bloodied, ripped and filthy clothes, or that we’ve been to hell and back today, once we start playing together we play like we’re fucking possessed. It’s awesome, like the best drug you can buy and the only one you can really share.  

My voice warms up, the boys loosen up and the drinks start flowing our way.  We tear through our improvised set, playing by wire.  The stage is cramped, so I spend a lot of the night back to back with Zack, or wound round him, swinging my ass like a pole dancer while his fret board is smoking.  It must have been driving him crazy, because we had barely stepped off the stage before he was dragging me off to the toilets to fuck me against a wall.  Fuck it, I was more than ready for him.  All that grinding against those tight leather trousers of his had made me slick as a river and aching for him.  It gets me like that every fucking time.

When we stepped back into the walk in closet sized dressing room the party was already in full swing.  We’ve been around the world so many times now it makes my head spin, but we’re still living the same party that started after that first gig.  It had been a baptism of fire, which we’d survived and then kicked ass. Damn fucking right we wanted to party.

#Brexit : 1 week on

Posted: 30/06/2016 by Alternate Celt in music, political
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There’s a chap who regularly comes into my Library and over the years we’ve discussed a lot of politics. In the last few months he’s asked me on a few occasions what I thought the Referendum result would be and I’ve answered every time that Leave would win. Why such prescience?  It’s not really rocket science,  sadly, it was just a sense that the English wanted their identity back and they have felt somehow aggrieved at the EU for diluting that.
But that didn’t make me hope any less for a Remain win, and it didn’t make the shock of Friday morning any less. I’ve been in a miserable, twitter addicted,  fog ever since. It’s all too much to take in, all too much to write coherently about in essay form, so here’s my more emotionally complete response in song.

Listen to So Far To Go on #SoundCloud

I can’t quiet the songs in my head….

Posted: 30/05/2016 by Alternate Celt in music

Music. Music. Music. Music!
It seems to have recently taken over my life, but I’m hardly complaining. This weekend was particularly full of it, with Gaelic Song class on Saturday, the Acoustic Session on Sunday and my second recording session in Gatehouse today.
Gaelic Song this month was a bit of a special treat as our class was taken by Gillibrìde MacMillan, who played  Gwyllyn the Bard in Outlander and is a Gaelic Singer from South Uist. Aside from having an incredibly beautiful voice, Gillìbride was full of interesting knowledge about the inner workings of traditional Gaelic music. I made recordings of the class, but I haven’t gone through them yet, so I haven’t got any to share just now. 
Yesterday’s Acoustic Session was at the Clachan Inn. I completely forgot to take any photos as we were all having far too much of a good time for such trivialities.  Playing in a pub is often more challenging, but the numerous patrons really appreciated the music so made it much more of a joy! We played everything from folk to rock to Tango and heard lots of new tunes as well as singing a host of old favourites. There was a Pink Floyd jamboree and a Beatles medley where we all threw in what we knew. Great stuff people!  Really looking forward to next month already.

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That brings me to the most exciting part of a massively exciting weekend.  A few months ago I was playing at the CatStrand Open Stage and must have impressed local producer Marcus Samson Wright because he offered me free recording sessions to develop my music with.  Last Monday I tootled on over to Gatehouse of Fleet, where many exciting musical things take place, and did a first, rough recording of Angel.
It was quite a learning experience for me.  I had to keep still,  which really impacted on ,y timing and tempo, and I had to learn to separate the vocal from the guitar, which was easier when I played the guitar without singing than singing with only a recording of guitar. I have practiced the former but never the latter. I also really heard my own voice clearly for the first time outside of my head and was really surprised by the rasp in it and some of the tones. I think I must still be a choir girl in there somewhere, so it wax a shock to hear the layers of life experience over that self image!
Today we took what we learned last week and turned a pretty lil acoustic ballad into something way closer to an epic, lighters out, power ballad. You’ll get to hear the full thing in time, but I promise you it’s kinda special.  In the meantime, here’s last week’s work for your interrogation. 
Angel #1

Before The Dawn – SoundCloud

Posted: 25/05/2016 by Alternate Celt in music
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There has been a story swirling about in my head for a while, one I’ve no idea what to do with,  but part of the story involves a song about a rather tragic death. From this, I got the following song, but this is just a tribute.

Just a little Patience

Posted: 23/05/2016 by Alternate Celt in music

It’s all you need.   Cheers Sarah for this wee vid from Saturday.

Maidens of Music!

Posted: 22/05/2016 by Alternate Celt in music

What an awesome day it was. The weather Goddesses smiled down and the sun shone all afternoon before we retired to Rabbie’s local for the evening.  In the sun, we had choirs, wyrd women and a rainbow collective of belly dancing.  In the pub we had rock, jazz, folk and classical of all stripes.
Star performers of the day for me were Anne Chaurand and Nicola Black  playing together, Little Wing was just breathtaking.  I also really loved hearing Nicola and Carrie Robinson together – what beautiful harmonies. Liz Lewis and Carol Salsbury were wonderful together out in the sunshine, haunting and comic by turns. The Crocketford Belly Dance Collective were a riot of colour and movement, and I loved seeing them shake things up with a dance to Evanescence.

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I am so glad I did it and didn’t chicken out. I really enjoyed playing, although my cordoba did chicken out so I had to borrow Nicola’s guitar. I played Hurt, Angel, Patience, Escape the Rain (which didn’t quite work out.  Next gig! )and Inferno.  Inferno went down so well I did What’s Up as an encore and made the pub sing! I reckon Rabbie might have enjoyed it.
I feel really grateful to have been given the opportunity to do something like this because I’ve never quite shaken that teenage dream of being a musician  (or mebbe Rock Star, but ye know, realism ;)).  I’ve worked a lot on improving my singing and guitar playing over the last couple of years, and although I still have a long way to go,  I am really happy with where I am. I am enjoying singing and playing, and I am looking forward to doing much more of it!
There’s tons of great pics and videos of the day on the Maidens of Music Facebook page.  Follow them, it must happen again next year!

Sooooo 90’s…..

Posted: 18/05/2016 by Alternate Celt in music
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Now I’ve found the better microphone so I tested it out with some old favourites, once I’d made the perfect stand for it.

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The Black Album was the beginning of the end for some Metallica purists, and partly because of more ballad like songs like Nothing Else Matters, but it’s actually a really nice song by itself. Anne taught me a version of it which I expanded on so I could sing it too. This recording is ok but not perfect as I was a bit pushed for time.

Guns N Roses are possibly my favourite band. Patience is one of my favourite songs.  So freaking excited about them being back together,  *fingers crossed * they come play in the British Isles.

Sorry (Baby Can I Hold You?) – SoundCloud

Posted: 17/05/2016 by Alternate Celt in music
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Playing about with an old microphone,  audacity and my laptop. Better sound quality than the tablet, but I shouldn’t be shocked by that.
Who remembers seeing Tracy Chapman for the first time at the Nelson Mandela gig in London?  She was just so awesome and raw, one small but strong woman against the world.  I bought the album (or persuaded some beleagured parent to buy it for me) and played it to death. Baby Can I hold you and Fast Car were my favourites, although there still isn’t a song that gives me chills like Behind the Wall. I don’t have a copy now, must sort that.  Meantime,  I recorded my own. It might be the first song I ever learned to play. 

Listen to Sorry (Baby Can I Hold You?) by alternatecelt #np on #SoundCloud

Inferno #lyrics

Posted: 15/05/2016 by Alternate Celt in music, Tapestries, writing

These are the words for Inferno that I sing. Written originally  as part of the appendices for Book One of Tapestries of the Veils, but just as relevant to our world and times.

It’s rising
Rising
Inferno

Smoke is rising
From our spinning world
Wars raging all over
Because God doesn’t know
Whose side he’s on

Smoke is rising
From our spinning world
Blood spilling all over
Men always have to have
A side to be on

And it’s rising
Rising
Inferno
War and tears everywhere
It’s rising
Rising
Inferno

Shadows falling
Round our spinning world
Priests whisper in every ear
Because they know
Whose side they want you on

Shadows falling
Round our spinning world
Demons whisper in every heart
Because they know
Whose side you’re really on

And it’s rising
Rising
Inferno
Hate and fear everywhere
It’s rising
Rising
Inferno
Inferno

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