Angels From The Ashes

  1. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    I am surprised that nobody has picked up on this lovely melody so far. It was written not long after the event by Scottish accordionist Blair Douglas, a founder member of the Gaelic group Runrig, in memory of all who perished in New York in the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.

    I have arranged it in my version here using octave, mandolin, guitar, bass and piano. I used my Yamaha piano to play the bass line and chordal accompaniment (using one of the synth pads). Acoustic guitar provided the rest of the backing.

    Pictures all from the National Library of Congress and are all the work of Carol M Highsmith, to whom much thanks. They show memorials in various parts of the USA.

  2. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    I love this tune, John. Your pictures are sobering and the last one just hits you hard with all the people who died that day. Twenty years seems so long ago but the events of that day are so clear in everyone's minds.
  3. David Hansen
    David Hansen
    Wonderful tune, playing and video, another example of perfection from our own Mr. Kelly!!!
  4. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Pure music John, the perished will be remembered. The avenues will once again sprout trees.
  5. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Many thanks, Ginny, David and Simon. It is such a simple yet beautiful composition, and when the 20th anniversary of 9/11 came round I thought I would have a try at putting some suitable pictures together with the music.

    This is the second time I have browsed the amazing catalogue of picures which exists in the National Library of Congress, and once again I am indebted to Michael Pastucha for making me aware of this great resource through many of his own great videos.
  6. Frithjof
    Perfect! So many instruments but all in service to tactfully support the melody and its message.
  7. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    I thought of playing a tune with images of our different historical monuments -some beautiful, some ugly, some just plain funny; monuments that have later, in hindsight, been torn down. ?
  8. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    Sounds wonderful, John. I guess, most people exactly remember what they did on 9/11.
    On another note, do you have any advice using the pictures of the National Library of Congress?
    I tried it once, but on the Movie Maker, they seemed very flurry.
  9. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    I was on holiday in an apartment with my girlfriend on the French/Swiss border. We had airlines tickets from France to USA on the 12, the day after.
    We watched it the first time through on one of those tiny box television sets
    and then the second time through she says,
    ‘A you go watch eeet again? Ah, haf ‘ad my breakfast e now I go back to bed’.
  10. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Thanks again, Frithjof and Christian. I always have a concern about having too many layers or instruments in a tune, Frithjof, so I appreciate your comment here. I wanted to have a fairly prominent bass in this one to give it weight and the synthed piano chords were to have a sort of sustain. Runrig's version (Blair's band) has bagpipes in it. Listening to it on my laptop speakers the bass is almost non-existent and it sounds too treble-heavy, but on phones or good speakers I am happy with the mix.

    Christian, when you go to select pictures from the Library of Congress collection it offers you different qualities of download. I selected the larger jpeg format for the ones I used here; there is also tiff format which gives very large files and if I used them I would be hours downloading them on my rather slow broadband connection! I think too it probably depends on the size and quality of the original pictures. I have just used this source for a couple of videos and have been happy with them. What size of screen are you watching your videos on? My PC is linked to a 19" monitor, and the images look fine on this, but maybe on a bigger screen they can look blurred?
  11. Frankdolin
    A beautifully crafted and played piece John.
  12. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Many thanks, Frank. Your comments are always appreciated.
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