The Celtic Music Radio Album of the Week commencing Saturday 13 December 2014 is from Renfrew singer Christine Sparks and her CD titled Robin: The Robert Burns Collection, Vol. 1.
“Christine Sparks has the quality of voice that Robert Burns’ words deserve – both are masters of exposing raw, natural emotion, creating timeless masterpieces.” says Watt Nicoll.
Ross Macfadyen talks to Christine about her album of Robert Burns songs and poems.
Christine Sparks ‘Robin: The Robert Burns Collection, Vol. 1’ features Christine on vocals, guitar, piano, whistle, Bhodhran and Melodica plus Stuart Farquharson on harmonicas, accordion; Signy Jakobsdottir (percussion); Chris Greive (trombones, Didgeridoo); John Sparks (guitars, Bouzouki) and Colin Cunningham (upright Bass).
The original arrangements are by Christine Sparks with production by John Sparks and Danny Mitchell and the album was recorded at The Garage Glasgow and mixed at Carlton Studios, Glasgow and then re-mastered by Nick Lewis at Brighton Mastering.
Christine Sparks says: “I’m reading ‘The lost Glen’ by Neil Gunn at the moment and from within the pages of his book, the words call to me. As I start recording my new Burns album, so I search for the right words to describe the journey. Words that tell of the longing and connection I feel with these songs, and the need to be part of their being. Words that are the source of the feelings that become the sounds, that become the songs, that become the album.
If I force them they do not come – yet I open the pages of this book …. and here they are…‘When a woman has a golden voice and sings with great art, the song can yet be borne. But when the same woman croons to herself a tune out of the heart of her race, then she is moving forces beyond her art’s knowing or caring.’
‘Motherhood and childhood, of the one and the many, with all the passions that have gone to their making and the memories drawn off. With no more why of wherefore than exist love and life and death.’
Christine continues: “So, here is the reason I come back time and time again to the simplicity of the song. I have been singing for many years now and yes, I love to develop my ‘art’ with all it’s twists and glamour and trickery. I practice turns and grace notes until they appear effortless. I feel the need to get it ‘just right’ and sometimes, when I do, it is indeed a thing of beauty. I can sing like almost anyone if I put my mind to it.
From the beginning of this journey back to the old songs, John, my fiancée and co-producer has always known the importance of this simplicity. Just sing the songs, he says. And I do, and I will, and here they come…
Buy the album ‘Robin: The Robert Burns Collection, Vol. 1’ here.
Celtic Music Radio Album of the Week, Saturday 13 December 12 noon and 12 midnight and Monday December 15 December 7.00pm and Catch Up anytime.