An Chuthag (The Cuckoo)

  1. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Our latest Transatlantic collaboration, and old Gaelic air. Ginny plays mandolin and I am on guitar, and on this one we also have a very fine young Scottish traditional fiddler, Jemma Johnson, with whom I play in a duo here in Scotland.

    Sorry about total lack of any cuckoos in the pictures! Just a few shots of plants in my garden.

  2. crisscross
    Nice tune, beautifuly arranged and played, Ginny, Jemma and John !
    (The video is fine, even without a cuckoo.)
  3. Michael Pastucha
    Michael Pastucha
    This is very beautiful. Ginny and Jemma compliment each other's playing very well. And John's understated guitar backup is the glue holding everything together. Lovely photography as well. A Scottish country garden!
  4. Jill McAuley
    Jill McAuley
    Lovely stuff, enjoyed that!
  5. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    Ahhh, that came out lovely John. I love your garden flowers, they complement the tune. Welcome Jemma, so nice to hear your violin.
  6. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    Beckoning to me to come to Scotland again, oh yes, just another 2 weeks and I'm on my way. I can already hear it.

    I guess the cuckoos are all busy growing up in other birds nests, so they're excused
  7. dustyamps
    Congratulations on a fine recording.
  8. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Thanks, all, for kind comments. Where are you heading for in Scotland, Bertram?
  9. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    three weeks of Perthshire, Great Glen, Orkney, Skye and Loch Lomond/Trossachs, John.
  10. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    I think Bertram and John should meet up and send Mandolin Cafe a picture.
  11. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    Ginny, that might be possible (Regina and I are staying in Balloch, southern end of Loch Lomond, from Jul-29th to Aug-2nd, and we could reach any meeting point with John I can think of within 2 hours), but John has the main say in this regarding where, when and if at all. Plus, I cannot take my OM on the airline trip, so John would have to grant me the honour of playing one of his
  12. Gelsenbury
    Travelling via Canterbury at all, Bertram?
  13. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    Kind of, Dennis, but at cruising altitude. Direct flight Düsseldorf - Edinburgh.
  14. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Hi Bertram, will send you PM in next day or two when I am back home. Sounds like we could indeed meet up.
  15. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    It would be a good photo of John and Bertram if both had Mandolin Cafe T shirts - I know John does !
  16. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    Here goes: we decided to follow Ginny's suggestion and met at John Kelly's place on July 30th for a test-drive of all his instruments and a session, joined by an old bandmate of his, John Thomson who plays concertina and bouzouki.

    You can see all of us here, right to left: Regina, John Thomson, John Kelly (in his Cafe T shirt) and myself.

    To stay in context of it all, we played An Chuthag together into John Kelly's recording machine. Here is our grainy real-life one-take shellac rendition of it:

    Regina Henze, harmonica
    John Thomson, bouzouki
    John Kelly, mandolin
    Bertram Henze, tenor guitar
    ...all stringed instruments built by John Kelly.
  17. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Thanks for posting this, Bertram. We had a great afternoon just playing and chatting, and proving that music has no borders or barriers. Thanks too to Ginny for suggesting that we might meet up - first and only time I have been involved in computer dating!
    The recording was done on my wee Tascam DR-05 and then loaded into REAPER to convert it to mp3 from the wav format the Tascam was set to. No other processing was used on the recording.
  18. Robert Balch
    Robert Balch
    Well, that was enjoyable. Sounds like you had a good time.
  19. Gelsenbury
    There's something special about that session sound! I spontaneously picked up the mandolin and started strumming along with you. Good to see that you managed to meet up and had a good time connecting with, and through, music.
  20. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    Thanks Robert, yes, Scotland is glens, castles and whisky, all that stays in your mind, but it's the people who stay in your heart.

    Dennis, we know the phenomenon: you talk to Cafe users for years, but suddenly they walk into the room. And multitrack recordings dissolve into real playing together.
  21. crisscross
    WOW! Great real-life one take shellac rendition.
    Four real people comin' together to play some real music!
    Technical sidenote question: Why do you convert your
    Wave-files to mp3? I do all my recordings with a Tascam D 008
    and I load up my videos as Wave files.
  22. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    The mp3 is a much smaller,compressed file than wav format for posting and for sending between us when I am collaborating with other folk, CC. It loses some quality, but by the time it gets to YouTube it is fairly degraded. Where I live (rural area and only partial fibre optic) we still have fairly slow upload speeds on the internet and wav files take a long time to load.

    At home I record on a laptop via a Behringer or an Edirol interface into REAPER software, using wav. 44.1 kHz and 24 bit format. When I collaborated with Michael Pastucha a few years ago we exchanged files via a site such as Dropbox or Mediafire, and I found it took a very long time to upload anything then. Speeds are better now, but still slow. mp3 format helps a lot in this respect and bearing in mind the very great variety of systems folk listen to the finished product on, from laptop speakers and mobile phones through to high quality sound systems, it seems to be a good compromise.
  23. Frithjof
    I somehow missed the original post. A nice collaboration once again and a good idea to involve fellow musicians with other instruments.

    Great meeting at John’s place with a nice live recording.
    I hope Scott Tichenor will save July 30th in the “This Day In History” corner for The Cuckoo Summit 2019 to mark the birth of a long row of SAW Camps.
  24. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    I think this day in history was served with a fine single malt. I agree with Frithjof. Cheers.
  25. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    Thanks Christian and Frithjof.
    The Cuckoo Summit ... - I guess that's what Bill Kilpatrick meant with his epic post in the very thread which eventually led to the creation of SAW.

    How did you know about the single malt, Ginny? Seriously - none of us were drunk, I still had to drive the way back, and the Clyde ferry is unforgiving if you fail to hit the ramp, I'm afraid...
  26. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Ginny, you must be psychic! The fine, single malt was a 15-year-old Dalwhinnie, courtesy of Betram and Regina. As B says above, they could not imbibe as they had the car journey back with ferry crossing to negotiate. Later that evening, I sampled and enjoyed that Dalwhinnie!
  27. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    It was a fun sounding rendition, glad Bertram posted it.
  28. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    You should have heard some of the stuff we did not record! There was a coming together of minds and ideas, and hearing Regina singing in Gaelic was amazing too. She also plays flute and whistles, and John T added concertina to some of our efforts as well.
  29. Njugglebreck
    Sounds like a great way to spend some time.... That's what music is all about? It's fun on your own, but exponentially more fun with like-minded company
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