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Sunday, 4 March 2012

Speech Project

Speech Project  / Fulham Broadway
Last night I went to an amazing concert hosted at the North Wall by an Irish Mancunian called Gerry Diver.  He's gathered together recordings of famous Irish folk musicians (including the indomitable Shane MacGowan & legendary Christy Moore) talking about their experiences and philosophies of life, transposed the rhythm and cadence of their speech into musical notation and, by mixing & overdubbing these elements with fiddle & other traditional instruments (and his partner Lisa Knapp's haunting vocals), created stirring, atmospheric, evocative pieces of contemporary music .

Hot Press calls it "Irish traditional music put through a Steve Reich blender;" I myself had immediately thought of Reich's Different Trains when I first heard "Old Time Musicians" on the Speech Project website.

The music was accompanied by imaginative  & mysterious visuals created by Matt Jamie amongst others.

For a while I've been sketching artists & the feelings music creates in me whilst at gigs, and I was particularly  pleased with last nights' results.  I was using a new toy, a watercolour brush which has water in the handle, so you can paint without having to dip your brush in to water all the time.

I try to draw or sketch really quickly, or at least to finish each piece within the duration of the song / piece. I took images from the video, and the live performers/instruments, and interpretted them fluidly (literally) on the page, wherever they seem to fit best.

When in New York
My Margaret

I ran out of water after 4 paintings, and continued with pencil sketches only...
Sincerely Felt
Music for Tape Loop / Million Times
During the gig I thought I recognised the keyboard player and when Gerry introduced the musicians and mentioned 'Gaz' I thought, "yup, I was right"!

Gaz the pianist whom I know from Hulme days
After the concert I walked up and said hi to the performers in the gallery space / foyer. I showed Gerry my paintings and he called vocalist Lisa Knapp (his partner) over - they were both very complimentary and asked if they could put the pictures on their website. Of course I agreed and, as has become a recent habit inspired by my partner Martine Votvik, gave them the originals whilst keeping only photographic evidence for myself. I thought it neatly symmetrical that there were 7 pictures, 1 for each of the band, and one for me!

Gerry  also asked if I'd write a blog entry for him - thus the extreme length of this post :) - and when I mentioned my original intention to actually interview him for OX105 FM, he readily offered to give me a few minutes of his time after he'd done his scheduled interview.

After a little hanging around, I got set up with Gerry, who kindly agreed to record our chat on his Mac, and we talked about Steve Reich, the Irish experience, growing up in Manchester & future projects; hopefully this will be available  online soon! 

I had a great chat with Lisa (about music and shampoo!), &   chatted to Gaz (all to briefly about Manchester days and current activist activities).

I haven't enjoyed a night out so much in ages, and felt thoroughly welcomed by the performers; they really made me feel that I had a talent worth exploring, and the music they created was really inspiring. I urge you to get a copy of the CD!

ps Lisa Knapp's CD "Wild & Undaunted" is really good too "An album of traditional  folk song's peppered with some original pieces.  Produced by Gerry Diver."

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