I didn’t get the opportunity to post my #WordFameWednesday yesterday, so here goes:
When a big project comes to fruition, it’s vital to acknowledge the people who made it happen. Sing for the East is in many ways the biggest SCA project I have had the privilege to participate in, and required the talent, time, and love of more than two dozen artists and dear friends.
First I must honor (once more) the brilliant Arden of Icomb, who first suggested the idea of reviving this recording project to me a little over a year ago. He then carried the bulk of it on his back like the quiet Collossus he is: arranging (and providing) orchestration, singing, recording, mixing, and producing seven of the ten tracks on the album. And providing additional instruments for two more. (Possession, I guess, is nine-tenths of art.)
I gave some needed word fame to Linette de Gallardon last week, but I need to say it again: Without her songbook, and without her guidance along with Arden in selecting the songs to include, none of this would have been possible.
Next, the band of bards who said “yes” so readily to having their songs brought to life on this album: We were delighted to have the talent and cooperation of Aife,
Aneleda, Dorigen, John Lyttleton, Judith, Sabine, and Siobhan, in addition to Arden, Linette, and myself. We were able to include a sampling, a palate tease if you will, of the wealth of creative talent the East Kingdom has nurtured for decades, with songs ranging from 25 years ago, to just a year old as of now.
It was exciting and daunting to slip into the back row on a project with this caliber of talent in it, but it was going to get bigger. Each composer was given as much creative input as possible on how to realize their visions for their pieces. Many of us opted to perform our own songs. Dorigen and Aife provided generous opportunities to broaden our creative reach and get performances from both legendary East Kingdom expats, like Ken and Lisa Theriot, as well as fiery emerging bardic talents like Cedar the Barefoot and Sólveig Bjarnardóttir.
A particular joy for me was the chance to record my piece with Duchess Caoilfhionn, who had been its chief inspiration during her last reign. It was both a blessing to know that the song meant that much to her, and a privilege to share her shining sweet voice with those who had not had the chance to hear it. (This was made possible by Isolde de Lengadoc of Atantia’s unheard contributions recording the harmony part as a demo.)
The year I got to spend coordinating this brilliant and passionate team across the breadth (and beyond the borders) of our great kingdom is an experience I shall treasure always. The great gift of our kingdom, and the Society in general, is its boundless generosity. The sharing of talents, of voices, of time, travel, and skills, exceeded my fondest hopes and left me breathless. Before we were done, we had additional vocals from Martyn, Jayme Hume, Leonora di Ferrara, Chris Robinson, my own wife Jessa, as well as my son and Caoilfhionn’s daughter. Technical assistance and feedback poured in from Ken and Lisa, Heather Dale, my own Laurel Zsof, and Albreda Aylese.
Thank you, all of you. I’m pleased to report we have paid for all the costs of production, and sales have been coming in for us to donate to the Royal Travel Fund.
All hail the Kingdom of the East! (And sing about it!)
P.S. I missed a spot or two:
Instrumentals. In addition to Arden’s work, Sabine provided recorder for her own song, and I provided a bit of intro and outro guitar (eep!) for mine. (The bulk of the guitar work was done by my good friend and collaborator Dave Lambert, and the gorgeous lyrical runs on classical guitar were provided by Neil Fein.)
And finally: producers. I opted to produce “We Are the East”, and Aneleda produced her own “Oriens Victoriosus”. Ken and Lisa Theriot provided not only voices and Ken’s guitar and percussion for Dorigen’s “Welcome Home”, but produced the track in consultation with her.