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Thursday 7 September 2000

A time for planning ahead.  Our plans for a huge 4-part concert/ pub session/ rabble-rousing drawing-room cabaret (!)/ ceilidh at next year’s Bath Festival have now fallen through as the dates won’t work, so we’ll have to try again for 2002.  We also have to come up with some concrete plans for next year’s Celtic Connections festival in the next week – there’s a few possibilities there, but all it takes is for one person to be a bit elusive, and all your planning has to go on hold until they get back to you.  Very frustrating.

Spoke to Chris Norman on the phone from Baltimore on Tuesday about our coming gig in Crieff – he’s fixed up some flute workshops to do while he’s over here and hopefully a radio interview along with the great flute-maker Rod Cameron.  I faxed him McGibbon’s variations on the tune Maggie Lauder and some vague ideas about what we might do with them.  They’re a bit fiddly really, so perhaps he’ll jam something while Adrian Chandler plays what McGibbon wrote – who knows until we’re all there playing it?  The thing about running a group is that the music is the easy bit; the difficulties and the problems all arise from just trying to get everyone into the same room for a few hours.

I’ve been playing fortepiano all the way through the Edinburgh Festival, in Mozart’s Clemenza di Tito with the SCO, but also in a great series of concerts of Scots songs put together by Sheena Wellington and Kirsteen McCue.  It was a very useful chance to stick some classical and some traditional musicians together and see what happened, and the best bits were very good indeed.  Highlights for me were busking tunes on fortepiano and clarsach with Wendy Stewart (the Scotsman called the results ‘surprisingly neat and nimble’), and Jim Malcolm accompanying Mhairi Lawson on moothie and guitar in The Lea-Rig, which was pure delight.  Oh, and I made my concert debut as a Gaelic singer with Kenna Campbell, which I still think may have been a dream.