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Rick writes…

The last few weeks have seen me spending a lot of time in recording studios, first finishing my album with Jo Jukes and, latterly, recording all the music for the forthcoming Scottish tour of When Mountains Meet.

In mid- February Jo and I spent a couple of days at RMS Studios in south London doing post production work on our new album ‘The Ancestor in Me’. This involved inspecting closely all the 14 songs and ironing out any technical shortcomings that might exist –  there are usually a few.  After that, we worked with Andy, the resident engineer, on making the artwork for the album. The material for this was largely Jo’s work and, together, we fashioned a very attractive and informative booklet and lyric sheet. Since then, everything has gone to the manufacturers and we are now awaiting the final product. There will be 200 physical CDs, with online access through bandcamp.com.

The official launch date for the album is 20th March, but because of prior commitments the  launch performance at Hermon Arts, Oswestry will not be until Friday June 28th.  Special guests are planned – book now!

At the end of the month, I journeyed to Scotland to record all the music for the upcoming Scottish tour of the exciting large- scale theatre/ music production of When Mountains Meet. All the music has been written by Anne Wood and the piece tells the true story of her going to find her estranged father in Pakistan.  Six musicians contributed to the recording sessions which were held at the wonderful Castlesound studios, south of Edinburgh. The recordings, now completed, await final mixdown and then manufacture into CD form, ready for the tour which begins on April 30.

It’s going to be a busy few months ahead! In addition to the performances mentioned above, on Sunday March 17th Rick will be running an initial Drum Circle at Hafren yr Afon in Newtown, Powys. This venue is a very ambitious Arts Centre under the adventurous stewardship of Barry Edwards, who previously ran the Hermon Chapel in Oswestry.

For more details including booking information about Where Mountains Meet click here. The tour dates confirmed so far are:

Thursday 25/Friday 26 April  Edinburgh, The Studio at Capital Theatres

Tuesday 30 April                        Lerwick, Mareel

Saturday 4/Sunday 5 May (as part of the Rise Up Festival)    Aberdeen, Lemon Tree Arts

Friday 10/Saturday 11 May      Ullapool, MacPhail Centre

Wednesday 15 May                   Stirling, Albert Halls

Friday 17 May                            Crieff, Strathearn Arts

Tuesday 21 /Wednesday 22 May             Glasgow, Cottiers Theatre

Saturday 25 May                     Castle Douglas, Town Hall

Tuesday 28 May                      Melrose, Corn Exchange

Friday 31 May /Saturday 1  June                     TBC

 

two hand drums with a hand on each drum

2024 Collaborations

 

Rick and Jo Jukes’ new album ‘The Ancestor in Me’ is 90% completed and is scheduled for post-production in February before a proposed release on March 20th. The 14 songs show a significant development from their last very well received offering ‘Weaving the World’.  Audience members at their Hermon Chapel gig in December enjoyed a sneak preview of some of the songs.

 

 

 

 

At the end of February, Rick will be journeying north of the border to record the music for ‘When Mountains Meet’ before later rehearsing  and touring  major venues in Scotland with this theatre / storytelling / music epic.  Watch this space for tour dates and more details!

Power of the storm

We are so sorry that last night’s performance by Rick with Jo Jukes at the Hermon Arts Centre had to be cancelled.  With so many local roads closed and flood conditions in the area it became the only sensible response.  We have now fixed a replacement date of Friday 1 December.  All ticket holders will be contacted by the Hermon Arts Centre box office.

Scottish International Storytelling Festival

When Mountains Meet – Jub Milain Pahaar

Rick is this week and next intensely absorbed in rehearsal and preparations for the first full work-in-progress performances of When Mountains Meet/ Jub Milain Pahaar. Featured as part of “Keeping it Lit”, the 2022 Scottish International Storytelling Festival, the performances will take place in Edinburgh at Assembly Roxy on 27 and 28 October. Booking details are on our Events pages.

Gig theatre, storytelling, Scottish/South Asian influenced music and striking visual images combine to recount the adventures of Anne Wood as she leaves Edinburgh for an unforgettable voyage through Pakistan.

“My mother is Scottish. My father was Pakistani. In my early twenties I found the father I had never met … but I was taboo in a culture to which I longed to belong.”

Inspired by Anne’s true story and 75 years after the creation of Pakistan, a live band plus storytellers and singers celebrate cultural diversity and difference in this tender, surprising and heart-opening show, summoning majestic mountains, mesmerising sounds and mouth-watering tastes.

The atmosphere will be relaxed and accessible, with performances either audio described or with BSL interpretation. The team will be hosting a short, facilitated feedback session after both performances to which all are welcome.

 

The production is funded by Creative Scotland. For more information about the project, click here.

A Slave to the Rhythm – Part 6

The sixth in an occasional series from Rick about his life as a musician – where it all started and what it has come to now

Part 6        Suitable Language

Suitable Language was my first solo album release on my newly created Third Force Records label. It contained a wide remit of compositional styles – possibly too wide, but reflecting my musical appetite. I played most of the instruments and, once again, invited certain musicians to play certain parts and / or improvise. I invested money in working in a good studio with an attentive engineer and a very capable individual, Tim Hodgkinson, a band mate from The Work, ultimately responsible for production duties. I was happy with the outcome. It even got a few reviews – The Independent called it ‘entirely winning’. My big idea was to get some effective distribution and to interest a larger specialist label but I had to settle for much less. But it was out there….

 

I had worked with Viv Corringham as part of Common Lore Storytellers and Musicians and wanted to make an album with her very distinctive vocal talents. Viv remains unique, to my thinking, in that she is the only singer around who can sing English traditional songs, and particularly those of her native Lincolnshire, Greek Rembetika, Turkish, Arabic and Japanese songs, is at home in any form of improvised music and works regularly live using her own battery of electronics. These days she is also well known as a ‘tradition bearer’ of the Deep Listening movement and has pioneered ‘Shadow Walks’, her own processing of sounds and conversations gathered during walks with individuals in their favourite landscapes.

With Viv, my emphasis was less on drumming but more on mood and atmosphere. The pieces tended to be elongated and uncompromised. We improvised a lot and I edited sections to create the compositions. We both brought words that created ‘songs’ in a wide interpretation of the word. Recording was shared between a limited domestic set-up and the wider open spaces of a good studio and an engineer with keen ears. I did take my first production responsibilities and credits here. We liked the outcome -‘Glimpses of Recognition’- and got a play on Radio 3 but didn’t set the world on fire!

 

 

 

My creative remit was significantly expanded when I was appointed Sound Designer for a production by the very inventive Theatre Rites. This company specialise in site specific, very interactive theatre for under 5s. I devised a number of very different pieces that occurred in the different spaces that the audience moved through. I was now using a proper multi-track digital recorder and was required to tailor the compositions to the exact length of each particular tableau. These were modified throughout rehearsals so I had to be able to respond quickly to shifting requirements. I was learning new tricks and demands on the job. Also, I had an actor’s duty in the production and played live music as well. When this production finished, I adapted my pre-recorded soundtracks to fit with the installation left in the venue for a month after.                                                                               Scene from ‘Finders Keepers’ – click here for link

The success of this venture, the magical ‘Finders Keepers’, led to my appointment as Musical Director for the Unicorn Theatre London’s production of ‘Rama and Sita – Path of Flames’. The adaptation, from traditional Indian sources, was by storyteller Sally Pomme Clayton. I had worked with her 5 years previously creating the radio play ‘White Horse Hill’ for BBC Radio 4 so she had a good idea about my musical processes.  My duties involved composing and recording the fixed soundtrack of the show as well as playing live and overseeing the other 3 musicians. This was a privileged position to be in but I knew my limits as 2 of the musicians were very skilled Indian experts well versed in their classical traditions. I bowed to their superior classical experience and encouraged them to make significant key decisions. We happily co-existed and made some wonderful music during the several week long run.  This Youtube link gives a flavour of the production.

 

Events

The Ancestor in Me – album launch

Jo Jukes and Rick belatedly launch their new album ‘The Ancestor in Me’ with a gig at Hermon Arts, Oswestry. Jo and Rick will be joined by special guests for this premiere performance.

Details of tickets and timings will be available from Hermon Arts.