It is a wonder to see
We all must rain now
It is a wonder to see is a DIY record label that aims to approach the study of early plucked instruments outside the walls of academic institutions. While my values are steeped in the historical traditions and techniques of early plucked instruments, my feet are placed firmly in the creative freedom of the 21st century.
Released in 2020, Gypsies Lilt is a selection of 17th Century Scottish lute music that spans the life of the entire repertoire. Recorded one year after the undexpted death of a close friend, fleeting memories brought joy, tears, and contemplation to this recording. Gypsies Lilt, in my loving memory of my dear friend, Nia Swem.
We all must rain now
Recorded in 2017 We All Must Rain Now is an experimental piece featuring music of the Balcarres Lute Book, Scotland c1700. The music in this recording is arranged for the seldom heard 6-course soprano lute. A complete contrast from the 11-course baroque lute in which the manuscript is arranged for. Accompanying the tracks is a sound sample of a gentle rain storm, recorded northern Minnesota by Ryan P. Worthley. The work is made up of 5 pieces played continuously. 1) From the Fair Lavinion Shoar, 2) A New Scots Measure, 3) I Love My Love In Secret, 4) The Lasse of Petties Mill, 5) concluding with Gypsies Lilt, from the Rowallan Lute Book.
Rob Mackillop's albums The Flower of the Forest, and The Healing have been long time favorites of mine. Early on they inspired me to committed study of the Scottish lute repertoire. His book, The Scottish Guitar is filled with wonderful arrangements of music from the Balcarres Lute Book. For the recording of Still raining I selected a few of Rob's arrangements that I held close during the period of this recording session. Still raining serves as a counterpartie of sorts to We all must rain now. This self-titled suite served as a tool to help in personal rebalancing of mind, body, and spirit while working 7 days a week, at 11 dollars an hour to barely scrape by for a year. Good times, but tough times! In contrast to the traditional recording process, the works heard in this recording were intentionally recorded with no previous practice of the piece, giving the recording a rather improvisatory feel. Heard are, 1) The Chancellor's Farewell, 2) Port Atholl, 3) The Lord Aboins Air. The fourth piece, I wish I were where Helen Lyes is an arrangement from Ronn McFarlane's book The Highland King.