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Julie Fowlis on collaborating with Fisherman's Friends

Jon Lewis | 14:09 UK time, Thursday, 4 November 2010

Guest blogger Julie Fowlis writes:

One of the best things about being a professional and touring traditional musician is the fact that any given two days are never the same.

One minute you can be onstage with your regular bandmates, in the middle of a huge tour around the country, the next (if you're me) you are back home juggling admin work, answering emails, planning new tours and shows and trying to learn new music, whilst all the time chasing after an increasingly fast-moving wee bundle of joy (and almost always denying any housework).

And, now and again, you get the chance to try something new and venture out of your usual musical zone. For example, last month I got the chance to collaborate with the amazingly talented Jacqui Dankworth, Horse MacDonald, Justin Currie, Carol Kidd, Eddi Reader, Todd Gordon, and the Ryan Quigley Big Band to perform a Beatles tribute concert. I never thought I would see the day when I teetered onto the main stage of the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow and sang Nowhere Man with a full jazz big band and string section. And it was great fun!

This week I am on tour with the energetic and infectious Salsa Celtica - we play Glasgow tonight - and I am enjoying their salsa spin on Gaelic and traditional rhythms.

Recently, I was invited to travel to Cornwall to spend two days with the band Fisherman's Friends, with a view to adding a wee bit of Gaelic to a track they had recorded. I thought to myself - spending a few days in a gorgeous part of Cornwall, at the end of the summer, with a crowd of lovely fellas who love to sing - well, it didn't sound too much like hard work at all.

We had a great craic together and I added some vocals to their reworking of the Mumford and Sons song Winter Winds, all of which was recorded in the beautiful and well conserved local church, St. Kew.

The actual recording of my vocals took all of one hour - the rest of the evening we watched the summer sun disappear, and the torrential rain begin, all from the cosy front room of the local pub. It truly felt like winter arrived with the recording of that song! We ignored the weather and blethered about boats, fishing, small rural communities, good local beer, music, songs and the Vatersay Boys. It's funny how two communities so far removed from one another - Cornwall and the Hebrides - could have so much in common.


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