Arran Boat Song

  1. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    This is a well-known Scottish slow air, which I have played with a barcarolle-like feeling in 6/8 time, based on a lovely quartet arrangement by Evelyn Tiffany-Castiglioni from "Evelyn's Big Book for Mandolins for the Year 2015" (available from Amazon, NFI).

    Played on two mandolins and two tenor guitars.

    1921 Gibson Ajr mandolin
    Mid-Missouri M-0W mandolin
    Vintage Viaten tenor guitar
    Ozark tenor guitar

  2. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    Lovely rendition with a waltzy feeling. Good choice of pictures.
  3. James Rankine
    James Rankine
    Beautiful Martin.
    I already know this tune so I've recorded a quick version on my Tom Buchanan Mandola tuned CGDG.
    I had a few audio visual syncing problems with this one.

  4. Gelsenbury
    Very nice videos! I like the sound of that mandola.
  5. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Two fine versions, gents. Great sound from that mandola, James.

    From my home on the Firth of Clyde I can look south to the Isle of Arran, Martin, and I loved you pictures. James. is that a picture of Lochranza Castle in the north of Arran you have included too?
  6. Jill McAuley
    Jill McAuley
    Lovely versions the both of them!

    Martin - which mandolin are you using for the main melody of the air - your Ajr? Whatever one it is it sounds great!

    James - this air really sits well on your mandola, gorgeous sound from your Buchanan and beautifully played!
  7. James Rankine
    James Rankine
    Thanks for the kind comments folks.

    Yes John that is the castle, though it's not my own photograph. I haven't been to Arran for 30+ years since I went there on a school trip. They let us hire bikes and two of us set out to cycle all the way round the Island. We had to be rescued when we didn't show up at the allotted time after my school chum hit a sheep (neither seriously injured). It's the sort of jape that no longer happens on school trips because of health/safety/risk assessments - but you'll know all about that John. You're very fortunate to live in such a beautiful part of the country.
  8. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Thanks a lot, all!

    James -- great sound on the mandola and the crosspicking arrangement is very effective!

    Jill -- I'm playing the tune three times. First and third time it's the Ajr on the main melody, second time it's the Viaten tenor on lead one octave down.

  9. Gelsenbury
    Happy Burns Night everyone! Unfortunately work has kept me too busy today to record something for the occasion (sighs of relief from everyone), but a late-night whisky (Bowmore Islay single malt) and some nice Scots music from the Mandolin Cafe will do nicely for now.
  10. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    That is great picking James, and the bouzoukish tuning makes a warm bouzoukish sound.

    Dennis, I hope you enjoyed your Bowmore. Good choice!
  11. David Hansen
    David Hansen
    James your playing inspired me, I'm playing this on my new mandola but in the key of Am with some backup on my octave tuned AEAE. I went to a folk festival on the Isle of Arran back in 1993. Lots of fun and beautiful scenery.

  12. James Rankine
    James Rankine
    Fine job David. I love the octave backing with the ringing drone strings. Sweet concertina as usual - just perfect for this lovely tune.
  13. woodenfingers
    Very well played everyone. Lovely sounding mandola James. This tune is going on my to do list. Thanks
  14. Jill McAuley
    Jill McAuley
    Lovely stuff David!
  15. dustyamps
    Great recordings by everyone. Beautiful tune.
  16. Gelsenbury
    I've done one too, at last!

    PS: Bertram, I miss your old avatar already.
  17. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    It's really a fine tune and all of the versions on offer here give it something of each player's personality. It's always interesting to hear how much an individual can put into a tune to make it his/her own, as have all the players in this posting.

    My version is on mandolin and octave, with guitar backing. Pictures are of the area around the River Echaig and Loch Eck, out of which the river flows; only about ten minutes drive from my home, and not too far from Isle of Arran as the crow flies!

  18. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    Dennis, that old avatar was missing in action after a Cafe accident with an e-mail address and a coffee underflow. I decided to take it as life's hint to consider a more understated approach...
  19. Gelsenbury
    It's interesting what you say about players' personalities, John. I, too, always enjoy the same tune being played in unique yet respectfully traditional ways by different people. This is how the Song-a-week group is helping me learn about things such as phrasing, ornamentation and the various ways to interpret a melody and arrange a recording.

    Your own version is different and pleasant again. You have to be a Scot to get that snap just right.
  20. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Seeing all the wonderful recordings in this thread, this one is probably overdue for "promotion" to offical song of the week!

    Evelyn's arrangement that I recorded back in 2016 has been very popular at our weekly gatherings ever since. As part of my lockdown recordings, I have shot a new video.

    1921 Gibson Ajr mandolin (x2)
    Suzuki MC-815 mandocello
    Vintage Viaten tenor guitar

  21. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Had not realised it was over four years since this thread was first posted. It remains a fine tune in all its forms, as you say, Martin.
  22. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    I am taking a leaf out of Martin's book and revisiting an old tune. I was out with the camera getting shots of the seashore and thought they would go with the tune, so I re-recorded this version - dull grey skies and more turbulence in the water compared to my original posting of a few years ago. Mandolin, octave and guitar used for this one.

  23. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    Two geat new recordings of this beautiful tune.
    Martin's version sounds a bit like a mandolin orchestra, while John's is a little more subdued, but both sound fine!
  24. Michael Romkey
    Michael Romkey
    Very tasty, Martin and John. I might try to do this with my friends when we get together in March for more videos.
  25. Frithjof
    Tasty version of a beautiful slow air. Well performed, John! But that’s true for the versions above, too.
  26. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Very nice new version, John -- interesting how different your phrasing is from how Evelyn has notated it. Thanks to Christian and Mike for the nice words about my not-quite-as-new recording. That one was from last summer when lockdown was still all new and exciting, eight months ago now.

  27. Ginny Aitchison
    Ginny Aitchison
    A beautiful tune to help us through the days...and nights. So many nice and slightly different versions.
  28. Michael Romkey
    Michael Romkey
    I couldn't get this out of my ear so I just gave it a go. And I spelled the title incorrectly! Ha ha. My trademark.

  29. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Mike, a really beautiful arrangement and performance and I enjoyed your improvised ornamentations too. Oh, Fine pictures too - this video-making has really got you hooked!
  30. Michael Romkey
    Michael Romkey
    Yeah, John, the production end of this really has its hooks in me — both the audio and video. I’ve hooked up with a producer in California who is going to help me get better at mixing. I’m making a study of it.
  31. Bertram Henze
    Bertram Henze
    wow, Mike, just wow. Orchestral and ethereal, with a scent of synth. I can hear how this comes straight from the heart.
  32. Frithjof
    I watched your video yesterday, Mike, and thought: wow, just wow. Now I see I’m not the only one. But Bertram found the right additional words to describe his impressions.
    And I learn what a man with much musical skills and experiences may be able to achieve if he decides to explore new avenues…
  33. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Great playing, Mike, and such a compelling arrangement with lots of variation between the verses and interplay between the instruments. As John said, the improvised ornamentations work beautifully!

  34. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    Great and very elaborated rendition of this simple tune, it never gets boring in three and a half minutes.
  35. Gelsenbury
    The combination of video and still images works very well in this video. It's such a beautiful tune. I must play it again sometime. Isn't it terrible how one forgets these melodies ... or at least I do.
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