We go from Falkirk to Malawi for Album of the Week
The Falkirk Music Pot , idea was brought together by Brian McNeill and the Falkirk Community Trust with Gayle Martin by a ‘chance’ meeting. It was when Brian’s words of The Lads o’ The Fair were carved in Caithness stone and placed at the Policy Bing and where Brian met some of the Traditional Music Project part of the Falkirk Community Trust’s projects. Brian had always been keen to ‘do something’ with the talent from his home town of Falkirk, this project started with the writing of his beautiful Kelpies Suite, six linked pieces of music written by Brian specifically for the project, for orchestra, choir, traditional music groups and soloists. It was first performed at the Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay at The Helix last June and taking him to Malawi in September 2014 in search of a ‘Falkirk Pot’ in Bandawe Secondary Girls School.
He came home and the The Falkirk Music Pot project grew with some of the area’s most talented musicians created and directed by Brian. It was premiered at Falkirk Town Hall on the 25 and 30 March 2015, the first of two concerts highlighting the year-long programme of work funded by Falkirk’s Creative Place Award 2014 and produced by Falkirk Community Trust and Falkirk Council and with the support and enthusiasm of Forth Valley College tutors and students on Sound Production Course and of course Ian Green of Greentrax, this double CD as 22 tracs , was released this week, including artwork from Falkirk and Graeme High and Bandawe Girls Secondary School the very informative booklet and photographs by Jacqueline Frances McNeill.
There was also performances by local songwriters and musicians, including Sylvia Barnes, Willy Thomson, and Andy McKean, the Falkirk schools, tutors
About the project :
The project takes its name from the Falkirk Pot, an iron three-legged cooking pot produced by the Carron Ironworks and Falkirk Foundry in the 1800s and exported to Africa and elsewhere around the world. It brings together Falkirk’s international cultural strands and draws parallels between cultural exchanges and the sharing of songs, music and stories that historically marked the end of the Falkirk Trysts, the town’s cattle markets, in the 18th and 19th centuries.
In 2014, as part of this cultural exchange, Brian and his wife Jacqueline visited Bandawe Girls’ Secondary School in Malawi. The school has an on-going partnership with Falkirk High, Brian’s old school, and they recorded the pupils singing, which will form part of the concerts and the CD. A bonus of the trip was that they found three of the highly prized cooking pots, one of which is still in use today.
Brian McNeill said:
“It has been a long held dream of mine to give Falkirk’s music, of many different genres, the prominence it deserves. As a Falkirk bairn who has spent most of his working life away from the town, it has been an absolute pleasure to come back and find the place bursting with talent. I am delighted to have been able to realise my dream and spend a year bringing together so many different musical strands towards the concerts and the lasting legacy of a double CD. It’s been a pleasure to be involved and the people of Falkirk can be justly proud of what is happening here”.