“Nat, I challenge you to a short poem…” I still remember Chris’ words one fine evening at the Mareel Café in Lerwick during one memorable Open Mic’ Night in 2016.
At the time, little did I know those words would generate such a fabulous collaboration with Visitors – a trio of very talented singer/songwriters based in Shetland (till band member Chris Grant left last autumn for his Glasgow homeground with a mix bag of excitement and sadness…).
To the poet, writing for a band feels playful and self-indulgent.
Whilst band member Chris Grant has known my writing from 2012 through the National Theatre of Scotland’s Ignition project, fellow members Cha Johnson and Andy Kinnear have been exposed to my poetical world from the Shetland Open Mic Night sessions. When it came to their project as a band, they had some of my spoken words in mind for the purpose of one song when the opportunity arose. Whilst they were assembling an EP later named after the final lines of my short poem, I quickly scribbled a very short piece recollecting my “first time” as a then visitor to 60N. This recollection never left my heart and mind, so magical and powerful this very first experience felt, and became imprinted in my heart forever.
This I translated into words,
submitted to Chris, who immediately related to the piece. Perfect was his response. And left it like this, until he recorded me in a tiny office on his last day at work.
Although I had no idea of what was really happening, I later received words from Chris explaining me about Visitors’ plans and project. A bigger picture began to shape in my head. With Chris in Glasgow, I left the spoken word in good hands. Meanwhile, Shetland Times journalist and singer/songwriter Adam Guest penned an article in the islands’ weekly. More light on Visitors‘ work!
An EP to be launched in Shetland
So little did I know Visitors would launch their work at this year’s Shetland Folk Festival in South Nesting. News filtered gradually via all three members earlier this spring. I still remember Cha’s lovely words- both at Gutters’ Gaet and Andy’s… We all turned more excited about such launch! From Cha’s messages to the rehearsals at Islesburgh and Clairmont Place, I discovered the entire EP, tasted fabulous slices of life (as well as Andy’s newly improved home made chilli con carne!) in fabulous company; a wild ride in Andy’s car to listen to the CD newly arrived in his lair, and reconvened with Chris and Roo.
On the night, 29 April 2017
Whilst Visitors had already invested the South Nesting Public Hall for the indispensable sound check, I joined in with the audience. Familiar and other faces lined up against the wall, ticket in hand. The air was crisp in a dry though overcast world… I left the comfort of my peerie buggy as soon as I saw my trio of artistes emerging from the building. Reunited on the night for the gig! Hugs, smiles and kind words filled our hearts.
Little did I realise the concert would be performed in a jam packed hall with other great bands following in our footsteps…
Visitors live on stage, 29 April 2017 at the South Nesting Hall for the launch of the EP at the Shetland Folk Festival 2017.
And Chris invited me on stage to close the act, whilst reading those words I once scribbled about “little did I know this would mean home”. The act well, very well received by the audience on this fun night of performance. Maggie already released in iTunes. The rest of the EP to follow in the great digital constellation of the apple.
Happy poet, humble and thanking you, dear Visitors for such an epic adventure 🙂
Tattooed in my heart forever.
Filed under 2017, 60N, Arcania, arts, blogging, celebration, collaboration, community, earth, geopoetics, gig, home, humanity, images, island, launch, lerwick, mareel, north, poet, poetry, scotland, shetland, shetland folk festival, shetlandarts, shore, spring, verse, woman, world, writing
When writers meet, share and offer work, words and more, Poetics shine.
On the ninth day of July, such thing was done. Inside the stones of the long house, by the harbour, we gathered on shiny floorboards on the first floor, where a mix of faces beamed with delight.
Familiar ones – Kevin, Doug, Marsali, James and Debra… And then new ones who smiled and unleashed most kind words. Among them, the co-editor of Shetland Create, Angie, the grand orchestrator of it all, welcomed us all, eager to meet us in the flesh.
What a splendid night we all had.
One by one we shared words created on the very island where we walk and draw inspiration from.
With such theme as home, selected verse from Compass Head felt so very apt on the night.
Fabulous slice of life shared in the warmth of Lerwick’s Peerie Shop Café – a place where I still come to write – in fabulous company.
Angie’s feeling so very much shared. Here, the night in her own words: https://shetlandcreate.com/
Now we are connected.
…to Jacqui Clark’s clunk 😇
Havra, celebrated once more, shining in the limelight, this time thanks to Scottish poet Sally Evans via her blog & brainchild, keeppoemsalive, and featured along other poets Sally enjoys.
Connected to the great Scottish family one more time.
Happy poet 🙂
Filed under 2016, 60N, Arcania, arts, blogging, celebration, collaboration, Compass_Head, earth, geopoetics, island, launch, lerwick, literature, magazine, norman, north, poet, poetry, poets, scotland, shetland, spirit, update, verse, verse poetry, white, writing
I love amuse-bouche. Either at appéritif or any other time.
Here, here, as appetite is awaken, let me offer you, dear reader, two of them, as conceived and produced by Nordland.
And I do hope you too will find both enticing.
When asked to select snippets from Compass Head, some of my favourite lines literally jumped to mind. Here, above, two from some favourite poems you find in this first solo collection.
Filed under 60N, Arcania, blogging, book, celebration, colours, Compass_Head, earth, geopoetics, help your library, home, images, island, launch, library, literature, north, poet, poetry, project, scotland, shetland, spirit, verse, verse poetry
YOU are INVITED 🙂
Come along and enjoy. We will be delighted to have you on the night. Bring a friend or a loved one 🙂
There will be a kaleidoscope of voices, with live music, at our Home of books – and a few nibbles too 🙂
And bring your own copy for me to sign on the night!
We are looking forward to see you.
See you there!
Filed under 60N, arts, blogging, book, celebration, Compass_Head, earth, geopoetics, island, launch, library, life, literature, north, poet, poetry, poets, scotland, shetland, shore, spirit, verse, verse poetry
Four weeks away from the book launch at the Shetland Library in Lerwick, and heaving a memorable night of celebration, reading and signing on Friday 20 May 2016. Our librarians are fantastic!
There will be special guests, some poets, others, artists (or poets with an instrument).
nordicblackbird | the roost now duly updated, both home and writer’s corner pages.
Excitement begins to mount…
enjoy Compass Head, and please please please do not forget to bring your copy on 20 May, as I will be more than happy and honoured to sign it at the end of the event.
And if you don’t have it yet, do not delay!
get it HERE!
More to come 🙂
Filed under 60N, Arcania, arts, blogging, celebration, geopoetics, gig, home, island, lerwick, library, literature, music, north, poet, poetry, poets, scotland, shetland, shore, spirit, spring, update, verse, verse poetry, world, writing
It really felt as if we had been still through time.
I would not dare saying “jinxed”, but we just spent a wonderful night out at the Shetland Library celebrating Marsali’s book launch.
“The Trowie Mound Murders”
Yes, it was all about magical creatures we can encounter through our isles,
And we had it all,
warm welcome from our librarians, bubbly apple juice (if not fermented grapes sealed inside green glass…) words, smiles, more words – either poetry or prose, from The Westside Writers… Spoken, but also sung, with Donald 🙂
What a fantastic night!
Thank you to all present tonight. It was great to see you in Lerwick tonight.
With renewed thanks to our hosts 🙂
Filed under 2014, 60N, atlantic, boats, celebration, help your library, home, images, island, lerwick, library, life, north, poet, poetry, poets, shetland, spirit, spring, verse, world, writing