When I started learning bass guitar, my tutor, Tim, used to jam with a flute player and I was invited along to play. This was my first experience of working with other musicians and it all suddenly took on a whole new perspective. There was nothing better than playing a full piece, live in the room (rather than playing along to a backing track at home) the enjoyment increased multiple times. This was all instrumental tracks with quite complex basslines and was great fun and pushed my development as a bass player but we never left the rehearsal room. The flute player (David) was playing in a folk ceilidh band and they had an event that the rest of the band could not make so Tim and I were asked to step in. So we worked up the set list and formed ‘Kittyhawk’. A regular drop of ceilidhs followed and after a while Pip joined so we became a 5 piece. We play standard music for the ceilidhs, English, Irish and Scottish as required, it is pretty easy stuff (it is the caller that has the tough job). We are adding in instrumental pieces and some songs in between dances to expand the repertoire.
Before Kittyhawk, Tim and I had separately written various instrumental pieces that we would play with David and there was some really challenging stuff but again, it never really went anywhere that we could gig with. It was great experience though and has shaped my compositional approach and method. Maybe one day tunes such as ‘Two’ and ‘Tusslee’ will see the light of day?
So, Kittyhawk does not challenge me as a musician but it is a wonderful vehicle for enjoying music and sharing time with friends. The events we play are always tremendous fun, easy to play, well paid (often fed!) and a laugh from start to finish. It has been great experience for Pip to play a style of music that he would not normally have encountered, plus the discipline that comes from playing in a dance band is invaluable. If I had more time I do think that we would relook at the original stuff and get that going. I have written some folk songs and it would be possible to perform them. The folk scene is varied and alive and kicking so if only I had the time I think we could do more in this area. We shall see.
Next time: Experimental Music and education