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… but it takes so long …

May 26, 2006
I’ve been a very naughty boy and have not been putting much into the blog this month. I have a bucket load of excuses but I’ll spare you the drama.
So. I get this phone call asking if I’m doing any playing these days. You know – piano type playing.
Now I’m in a gospel group and playing my first “gig” next Saturday ! (someone’s wedding). On Monday I had my first rehearsal with the singers and it was a really rewarding experience. Now don’t get me wrong – the whole religion thing doesn’t do anything for me. The joy of vamping on a piano (ooh-er missus) and making music with real people cannot be surpassed. I never thought I’d see the day when I’d be playing Primal Scream’s “Moving On Up” in a church.
I’ve been a busy little person for the last few weeks. One of my sidelines is a project where I go out to schools and help them produce CDs. It’s not going to make me rich but it pays for a few toys, keeps my studio busy and allows me to be my own boss. If nothing else I know I could never really be my own boss and hope to make a living. The first of 4 CDs I’ve made this year was a live concert in a “Gael Scoil”. A Gael Scoil is a school where everything is conducted through the medium of our native language Irish. The concert was quite good and featured John Spillane who very kindly allowed us to use the recording of his performance on the CD.
The second CD was also recorded at a Gael Scoil. This school recorded all the students performing various songs including a really cool track called “Conamara”. I had to do some additional playing on this myself (guitar etc) which is a part of the process which I enjoy and dislike in equal measure. Technically it’s work but it does let me play and figure out how I should be recording my own instruments. Some of the parents came over to the studio and recorded songs for inclusion. This coming Sunday I’ll have a chap coming over to play low whistle on a version of Paul Brady’s Gleanntáin Ghlasa Ghaoth Dobhair.
The third of these CDs was recorded down in Butlerstown County Waterford. It was a complete contrast to the Gael Scoil recordings as they used material primarily in English and from Disney movies such as ‘Mary Poppins’ and ‘Cinderella’. At the end of the day a bunch of lads arrived with bodhrán, guitar, mandolin, tenor-mandolin, flute, accordion and banjo for a lively session.
Last week I recorded the 4th of these CDs at (yet another) Gael Scoil. This one is much harder work for me because they have a number of parents, past-pupils and professional musicians involved. One of these musicians is actually touring with the Riverdance show. It’s harder because they’re more demanding and if their name appears next to a track then it must sound good. All perfectly understandable but it’s hard sometimes to explain to adults that children cannot sound like adults… it just doesn’t work that way.
What a long tiring day it was. But worth it in the end. I recorded some crazy stuff: Bassoon, Recorder and Piano…. a pair of Irish dancers (yes… I recorded the sound of their shoes on the floor) and a mass ensemble of fiddles, concertinas, harp, bodhráns, flutes, whistles and choir.
The fun part now is editing and mixing all of this and getting the artwork completed for the booklets so that the schools can have their CDs before the end of the school year in June. Fortunately I’ve completed 2 of these and should be able to get the back broken on the other 2 CDs over the next week.
Tonight I’m off to New Ross in County Wexford to record a colleague’s band Leper Messiah. I’ve got the mic splitters, 24-track recorder, microphones and several miles of cable in my car.  This should be good…
told you I was busy . . . .
family updates to come this weekend
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