All mic'd up and ready to go.
Martha Lindberg, my good friend and the supremely talented and absolutely wonderful recorder / whistle player in my Celtic Band, called me last week. Her son, Kevin, is studying to be a recording engineer at Hennepin Technical College and he needed someone to record. Would I be willing?
I thought immediately of the fresh batch of new pieces I'd written during and after my Ireland experience — and said yes. At about 11:30 p.m. the night before heading to Eden Prairie, I even wrote a recorder part for Martha to play along with me on one of the pieces to give Kevin and the students experience with working with two instruments.
I was in the main studio.
Martha was in the isolation booth.
The thing I love about recording is that I get to hear my music as I perform it, as an audience would hear it, which I rarely get to do. The thing I hate about recording is the unnatural process. I couldn't hear Martha breathe. I couldn't see her. I couldn't raise my eyebrows at her while I was playing or look up and see her intently listening like she does, which breaks my heart with its intensity. I couldn't raise my right elbow as a cue for her (I would have knocked over a several-thousand-dollar microphone by doing so, and she wouldn't have seen it anyway).
But getting the giggles, like Martha and I always do, was just as easy as if she'd been sitting right next to me.
That's the music to "The Rose of An Grianan."
I wrote it sitting in the courtyard at Harp Camp in Ireland.
If you look closely, you can see an Irish bug
squashed on the corner of the music...
This recording experience was the most pleasant I've ever had, outside recording The Month of January with Sahni Moore. Even though the guys were students, they had an excellent teacher in Rik Stirling, who has had a lot of experience recording harps (if I ever record another album, I'll call him). They were respectful, patient and encouraging. The studio was clean and professional. The sound that came across in the final product was EXACTLY like I imagine the harp sounds for people when I play for them.
And what a relief. The Light and the Lady was recorded in 6 holy stressful hours, because that's all the time I was allowed to be in the Good Counsel Chapel. The Harp Her Soul Required was recorded in my engineer's home, and navigating his home life and my album project was maddening. I can still hardly even talk about recording All Hayle to the Days — more often than not, there was beer spilled on the floor of the studio, someone's underwear swimming in the pool of it and a stench from a variety of smoke. And, as Martha said, art on the walls that looked like "dead pickles."
But somehow, the spirit of the music came through. And I fell in love with each of my recordings despite the experiences involved in their creation.
This experience was not only fun, it gave me hope. Hope for a future recording of my original music. I think I'd call the album Nine Waves. What do you think? I can't wait to hear the results of my time in the studio. And if I can get techy help, I'll share them with you.