Tuesday 1 January 2019

Dighty Times Songbook

Songs rooted in the local, this time Dundee's Dighty burn. Over a period of 2 months I worked with a group of 12 adults at Fintry community centre to create a suite of songs based on memories and reflections of growing up and living near the Dighty. Once a working tributary running through the heart of the city it was the lifeblood to industry, agriculture and community life.

Using a variety of songwriting and creative writing techniques the group gradually produced a series of songs acknowledging personal reflections on life near the Dighty water. Amazingly, most of the group had no songwriting experience and very little instrumental expertise.

During this process, I was able to use my own musical and songwriting abilities to suggest and provide musical ideas upon which to hang and structure the incredible lyrical ideas that the group produced. Perhaps the most rewarding part of the process was to witness the individuals actually perform their own songs in front of a microphone and be recorded. This was not something that I had initially imagined would happen and it was a wonderful surprise.

Here's what some of the participants said:

  • "This song writing group is a great community, it makes developing ideas and playing a lot eaisier for me."

  • "I have been inspired by the whole group; I shall continue to write songs, laugh and strum my guitar - most enjoyable, thanks everyone!"
  • "I feel like part of a worthwhile project and have learned more in the past few weeks than I have in almost 30 years experience of playing folk music."

Towards the end of the project we recorded the songs very quickly and spontaneously into a small portable recorder and there was a time restraint which hastened this rough and ready approach. The resulting recordings embody a refreshing and unselfconscious honesty - a DIY spirit of musicality.

Following on from the concept of the Backstories newspaper songbook which was hand screenprinted, this songbook was commercially produced by the Newspaper Club as a tabloid publication.

Please have a listen to the songs of the Dighty water on Bandcamp or just use the embedded player below. The free collection download also includes a PDF of the finished songbook, enjoy!

(You can also snag a PDF of the songbook on its own by clicking here)

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