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


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.


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

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.

Sooooo 90’s…..

Posted: 18/05/2016 by Alternate Celt in music
Tags: , ,

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.


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

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, updated – SoundCloud

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

Been practicing this song on and of for a year now. The technique has evolved since I first recorded it, so I decided it was time to do it again!
Listen to Inferno, updated by alternatecelt #np on #SoundCloud

Open Stage

Posted: 12/05/2016 by Alternate Celt in music

Last night was another awesome night at the CatStrand Open Stage evening,  with loads of great music and poetry. Lots of ladies from the upcoming Maidens of Music festival  on the 21st of May  (it’s happening every Saturday this month. I think that’s why the sun is shining ).
Highlights of the night included Nicola Black, Blackie and Anne Chaurand playing Little Wing; the Wierdy Women singing the Last Leviathan  (don’t tell Carol I was crying ;)) ; Sue Palmer-Jones reading insightful poems inspired by The Rider Waite tarot and a great jam with the song Fever.
I didn’t panic this time! Yay! I played my version of Hurt, which went down very well. I’ve played it so many times over the last few years, but my Cordoba and I are building an understanding now. We can both be too loud and raucus, but we’re learning together how to dial it back when we need to.
I also did my first ever live performance of Inferno, which went way, way better than I feared it might. In fact,  everyone seemed to rather enjoy it! I was asked where the idea came from, and since that allows me to  make a little plug for some of my writing,  I shall repeat the story here. In the same work that Angel comes from, which I call Tapestries of the Veils, one of the main characters is a former bard and Rock Star. Going by the name of Aidan Rourke,  he’s the main writer of songs from that set of books. Inferno is the first of his songs to be mentioned, in the chapter called The Locket. It’s about the world he lives in, where the two Super Powers are the British Empire  (the American Revolution did not happen) and the Roman Catholic Church. They are locked in a Cold War with the constant threat of outright war, and Inferno explores that. That said, I decided to put music to it because it is open enough to be applied to our world too.
Anyway,  overthought explanation over. Here’s the songs I sang for those who missed it. I will re-record Inferno soon as I’ve polished the guitar work quite a bit!
Listen to Hurt, cover of Johnny Cash cover of NiN song by alternatecelt #np on #SoundCloud

Listen to Inferno.mp3 by alternatecelt #np on #SoundCloud

Whit’s up? #IVoted

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

So I voted, and while I’m waiting for the polls to close,  I carefully crooned my way through an Escotiated(tm) version of 90’s classic What’s Up? By 4 Non Blondes. My throat is in need of tender care today.

Listen to Whit’s up? by alternatecelt #np on #SoundCloud


Posted: 02/05/2016 by Alternate Celt in music

This is a piece I’ve been working on for a while.  It’s in two parts, a minor part then a key shift into a major part, which is a lot trickier.  It’s not perfect,  but classical guitar is hard, as my teacher keeps reminding me.  Originally from the soundtrack of French Film, Jeux Interdit (Forbidden Games), it is apparently an arrangement of an older, unknown song.

Listen to Romance by me on Soundcloud

Just chilling in the conservatory,  getting in some practice and decided to record this. No particular reason.

Listen to Hurt, cover of Johnny Cash cover of NiN song by alternatecelt #np on #SoundCloud