Me and my tour producer Shona Thomson arrived in Aberdeen yesterday. I am performing tonight at the Lemon Tree. It feels like only yesterday I was here with Aidan O Rourke finishing off our year-long associate artist residency with Aberdeen Performing Arts. Funny how life moves in cycles. So, whilst I have a few moments, I thought I would share some of the happenings of the last few weeks.
I met descendants of the some of the fisherman in the "Drifters" film, in Unst, Lerwick and Orkney. It was a pretty surreal experience and at the same time really lovely to be connecting with people in such unusual ways. I had a wonderful conversations with retired fisherman, Willie Johnson, who worked in the fishing industry and hearing his stories brought so many things in the "Drifters" film to life.
The performances have also been brilliant. We have had sell out audiences in Lerwick and Orkney. We also had 10% of the population of Unst, turn up to the show! Someone said that "if this was London, it would be like having a million people turn up!". Also, film critic, Mark Kermode (who co-produces the Screen Play Festival on Shetland) gave us a full, open and honest review of the show. That totally blew me away.
The show we did at West Side Cinema in Stromness, Orkney went amazingly well too. Mark Jenkins put it together and I have to say, this mans taste in music is jaw droppingly brilliant! We were reminiscing about the days of MO WAX, 90's Hip Hop, Soul, Funk and Jazz records that have inspired us through life. It was so lovely to link up with someone so far away and yet have conversations like we've always known each other. Check MJEdits on Mixcloud if you fancy a top selection of tunes!
Last week we visited Karl Magee at the John Grierson Archive at Stirling University, who very kindly gave us open access to some incredible material relating to John Grierson.
On the 10th we were at Time Span in Helmsdale. It such beautiful place with such a strong herring fishing history. After the show, we had a Q&A session and we had great conversations about the creation process and what inspires someone to create music for films using the voice and technology. Also met a lovely man who was born in Manchester and lived and worked in Tower Hamlets in the 70/80's. We literally lived two streets apart! Again, life has a strange way of bringing the past to the present.
We leave for Anstruther on Friday, for the last date of this Following The Fleet: Drifters tour at the wonderful Dreel Halls. So far its been a brilliant, surprising, emotional, stressful, enlightening and exciting experience. Nice one for being with me along the way.