“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
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
Seckou Keita returned to the island, with his koras, smiles and magic. A privilege, I felt, deep in my heart, as his hands began to weave the most ethereal sounds out of those 22 strings, fisher’s, musician’s dream. The man has a story to tell, fingers & voice to unleash. To listen to him and his beautiful vibes from Casamance, Senegal, blended with hints of nomadic spirit from his native Africa to Wales, is a delight. A joy to treasure in your heart. If you have not yet discovered his art, please, go find it!
To listen to the magician live remains a privilege.
With grateful thanks to Shetland Arts for bringing Seckou, as well as Gwyneth to the island. Magic moment tonight.
What a fabulous way to slide from Hairst – the harvest season – to the start of winter. Happy Samhain, everyone 🙂
And in response to his great show at Lerwick’s Art Centre, Mareel, a short poem woven from his music.
Hear his fingers on stretched nylon –
each note travels through
waves & wind,
inside his heart shines Sénégal,
his grand father’s wisdom
dust South of his dreams;
his father’s eyes
travelling chords of he-nomad,
toute la souffrance des
© Nat Hall 2015
Filed under 2015, arts, blogging, celebration, colours, gig, images, keita, mareel, music, seckou, senegal, shetland, shetlandarts, world
And now sample, immerse yourself into the audio form of The Nine Realms through its many voices and music.
Thank You for listening, and maybe, supporting the project.
It has felt a magical saga in the true sense.
Filed under artipeeps, arts, autumn, celebration, collaboration, earth, festival, fire, geopoetics, hansehouse, help your library, images, literature, norfolk, north, poetry, poets, project, scotland, spirit, theninerealms, verse, vikings, world, writing
Fresh from rolling stone:
Song for Tibet II
From the 2015 Art of Peace
Thee Nine Realms‘ campaign is now live via indiegogo – time to grab an oar if you can 🙂
In between now and September, so many rivets to add to the boat, and each one weighs its gold.
Don’t miss it or the live carving of our craft via Vimeo boatmaster live – clinker builder in his workshop.
Thank you for visiting, and many more thanks for your support.
Filed under 2015, Arcania, boats, collaboration, geopoetics, images, north, poetry, poets, project, theninerealms, world, writing
Fantastic time with friends at Harrison Square in Lerwick to enjoy great live music from four talented musicians (previously mentioned on the blog) – but, heck, every performance has its distinct flavour and this latest one did not fail to meet its magic 🙂
The Donald Anderson Band is unafraid of cool N/NE’lies in a June silver sky – their melodies, spirit & vibes fly like gulls – free to delight their tuned listeners.
Now, my friend Kate is a real fan, and showed us all to love it more!
Wrapped up, alive, with open smiles 🙂
Thank you, all for a(nother) delicious slice of life.
Filed under 2014, 60N, celebration, colours, earth, festival, geopoetics, home, images, island, lerwick, life, north, shetland, simmerdim, spirit, world, writing