In December 2010 I was approached by an acquaintance, Nathan Salsburg of Louisvilly, Kentucky who works at the Centre for Cultural Equity, about making a compilation drawn from Alan Lomax's 1950's recordings from Scotland. As a musician whose work has, over the years, drawn in various ways upon the musical traditions and cultural history of the country in which he lives, I jumped at the chance. The process involved listening to some 25 hours of material - songs, tales, charms, rhymes, tunes and more - recorded by Lomax from all over Scotland and selecting 45 minutes of material for a CD/LP release (the resultant compilation, "Whaur the Pig Gaed on the Spree: Scottish Recordings by Alan Lomax 1951-'57" will be released in November 2011 on Twos & Fews/Drag City Records).Two of Lomax's recording sessions in Scotland (in Edinburgh and Aberdeen) focussed on children's songs, rhymes and games. Some of the Edinburgh recordings featured on the original soundtrack of 'The Singing Street'. For my own new soundtrack, I intend to draw again upon these archival recordings, among other sources, including some previously unreleased recordings such as interviews with schoolgirl Margaret (Peggy) Hunter McGillivray and her teacher (whose name does not appear to have been recorded). In addition to these archive recordings of song and speech, the soundtrack will incorporate freshly-created musical elements. At the point of writing, the soundtrack only exists putatively in my imagination; it will be realised over the coming weeks for the premiere at Screen Bandita's Rebel Landscapes event.
Glasgow, 10th August 2011.
Photo: Jo Heaney