Saturday, July 11, 2015

Music for My Birthday

When we first agreed to stay at Rae and Marty's, they told us we needed to go to the Stonehaven Folk Festival.  We checked out the website, but knowing nothing about any one mentioned, we asked Rae and Marty to purchase our tickets for whichever night they would have attended if they were home.  Not only did they select Friday's concert, but gifted us the tickets!  Thank you very much!  And it was my birthday!


The poster of the event.
Friday evening was North East night, featuring some wonderful musicians and music from this area of Scotland, in an amazing concert.  Performers were:  Old Blind Dogs, whose members sat in with almost every other performer as back up.  Paul Anderson, former Glenfiddish Scottish fiddle champion. Shona Donaldson, traditional singer.  Carol Anderson, Fiddler.  Jenny Sturgeon, songwriter and singer, who wrote two songs for the festival.  Fraser Fifiled, multi-instrumentalist. Sharon Hassan, musician, composer and teacher.  Ross Hull and Cameron Ross, local musicians starting on their professional careers.  And the North East Folk Collective, some of the best young musicians from the area.   A surprise performance was given by the Cameron Ross Band from Johnson City, Tennessee, most of whom trained at the music conservatory in Glasgow.
Paul Anderson, whose fiddle could bring tears to your eyes or make your feet start dancing!

The festival isn't just concerts, there are workshops for all the instruments, as well as singing and songwriting.  Hosted sessions and sing arounds are going on all over the town.  They are striving to keep North East Scotland Folk music alive and growing.
My first attempt at a panorama shows off the hall well.
We arrived early, but soon the lobby was filled.  We had time to people watch and talk to the folks setting things up; the bar, the raffle prizes and getting everyone in their places.  All the usual happenings with volunteer organizations.   The Old Town Hall was built in the 1800's, modernized in the 1970's and currently being renovated as monies come available.  I love to see old buildings still being used and enjoyed and cared for.
 
Sharon Hassan, Fraser Fifield and Jonnie Hardy from Old Blind Dogs.  I must admit to being surprised to see a soprano sax being played in Scottish Folk music.

Jenny Sturgeon, singer and songwriter, with a hauntingly beautiful voice.
At each chair were three papers.  One had the two new songs written by Jenny Sturgeon, which included refrains to be sung by the audience.   The Honours, tells the story of two women who smuggled the Honours of Scotland- the crown, sceptre and the sword- out of Dunotter Castle while it was under seige by Cromwell's army.  The second, Hercules Linton, is about the designer and builder of the Cutty Sark and how it got it's name from a scanty piece of clothing from a Robert Burns poem.  The second was information on the local Folk Society meetings and concerts, which should be fun.  And the third was a questionnaire.  It contained the usual questions; how did you hear about us, how much will you spend, where are you staying, will you come again.  But the last question was the best;  what language do you speak:  English, Scot, Gaelic and Doric.  After listening to the talking and singing we felt we should respond with, American English, because it was obvious we didn't speak and often even understand the languages in use!
The North East Folk Collective taught by Sharon Hassan, left.

Cameron Ross Band, who had the only harp and accordian of the evening.

The excellent music, a lively crowd, spontaneous audience singing, and tasty brews left us with a memory that will last forever.  Even if I didn't win the raffle!
Happy  64th birthday to me!

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A Evening Visit to the Eiffel Tower

 Our Airbnb apartment was very close to the Eiffel Tower, so after dinner, we walked over to say Hello!