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People just bring their sleeping bags and there are tea making facilities and bathrooms available. At 11am it was time for the Hobby Horse Procession and some Morris sides to parade through the middle of town.
There were so many great handmade costumes, mostly horses, of course, but also a unicorn, sheep, boar and a bear. Luckily the weather played along nicely, too, most of the weekend. It reminded me a bit of volunteering at Toronto Film Festival a few years back, where queueing had such a capital Q that it ended up being quite an entertaining experience.
As it turned out, it was well worth making it to both events though. I had never seen Dougie live before, but once he started singing, I realised I knew most of the songs from the cover versions of Irish sisters Mary and Frances Black, who I saw live many times when I was living in Ireland in the past. It was easy to see why he has so many fans around the world. His songwriting is a winning combination of memorable, often fairly melancholy melodies and thoughtful lyrics, which seem to resonate with many people.
After a well-deserved coffee break, I joined a few others for the next queue at the Town Hall, which was a little chaotic and actually quite fun as we met lots of other festivalgoers. After all the wait, we scored first row seats — success.
Defo time for a drink or two! But seriously, who could be envious of the talent of such a humorous and soft-spoken man? Singing along en masse to beautiful folk songs just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy me anyway no matter whether the majority of the audience hit the right notes or not.
- Dougie Maclean - Until We Meet Again lyrics
- Dougie MacLean Songtexte / Lyrics
- Dougie MacLean
Like Pythagoras thought it came from the planets, the stars, the celestial spheres. Do you ever think about where it comes from, or do you just do it, as an artist? If you spent the time, if you just sit in the middle of a wood, just sit and listen, you will know.
It may be unconscious or subconscious when people listen to music in a concert hall somewhere in the middle of New York. Do you think of yourself as a guy who writes melodies, or do you think of yourself as a technician.
Is that your secret? Do you think of yourself as a melody writer or a musical technician? You actually are a very accomplished musician and played violin in a major band in the past, going on to singing songs. I guess those are two questions.
You know, as a kid I would make up things, make up songs. Most successful musicians might touch on this magic half a dozen times in their life, maybe! I mean, why is it like that? So, anyway, to be a technician, you have to be able to play your instrument. You have to learn to do it. And you make your own way. Maybe my way of tuning the guitar is one way that helps me kind of get out into that magic place where the melodies live. And grab a couple here and there, you know.
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Well you have a very unique contribution to make to music and singing, and singer-songwriter stuff that is remarkable. It seems to permeate many other cultures. There are lots of different musicians, and every musician that you work with brings another little magical bit to your song you know. But you need the melody first for them. The musicians find it easy to play with me.
They come to add to the melody. I think you can get situations where musicians sit down and nothing really magical happens. Yeah, yeah, I definitely know that as a musician and as a witnessing participant. How would you define it? A melody is something that, as you go on the journey of the notes, takes you on this lovely little journey, a pleasurable journey.
Where do you go when you sing? Is there a place you go to in your mind? Close my eyes, yeah, and go wherever So the songs go with the images as well, although its hard to show it all to people.
I think that sounds right. From my background, it sounds like a spiritual experience of some sort, or a I think, you know, it could be connected to something much bigger than we understand.
Right, right, I love the idea of it… DM: One of the things that I always like about you. Lots of other people who experience you, experience this too. One feels the magic, one feels more human. I think a lot of people have that experience with your music and your performance.
I know what you mean, yeah. A kind of honesty or something. So much music and so much of the arts becomes connected to fashion and being hip?! I was able to keep it very honest, almost a youthful musicality to my, not youthful but naive sense. People can get so far away and get lost from it. Maybe coming to one of my concerts and sitting and just singing these little simple songs that have nice melodies and words that are not designed to be cool or trendy, they go, ah It is that simple, you know what I mean?
Life can get very complicated for people, knowing that they get further and further away from what the essence of it is. The essence of what we are. I do get lots of emails from people thanking me for the songs. On a very fundamental kind of level, many saying that the songs changed their life or that they were in a very dark depression and upon hearing my songs, it helped them get through hard times.
I think that proves that songs are really more powerful than people can really understand. You know what I mean? I remember, when I was younger, hearing stories that the Celts or the Druids would, before a war, call the the poets or bards, the songwriters to come out and perform. Their magical performance could stop wars. I want to think this possible. They were almost like magic men. You had your bard and your healer, and the music sat in that same kind of place. You don't laugh like you should, you don't smile like you should, this life has torn the ground from underneath your feet, and I can't reach you, you're down too deep" from 'Down Too Deep' RT: How many concerts in a year do you do?
It seems like you do a lot of them. I could do a concert in California, or a concert in New York, or a concert in Glasgow, a concert in London, or a concert in Amsterdam, and the people are similarly responsive. Human beings are the same everywhere you go.
And you also do concerts at home, right? I had the guys in yesterday rehearsing for a show at the festival. It all happens within 10 days. How many people usually come to that? Is it different all the time or? The theatre holds about people for most of the shows.
I have 5 or 6 shows in the theatre, then we have a big show in a huge castle outside Delochlee. Or 8, or something. I actually do a concert in an iron age crannog and only 30 tickets get sold for it. People all just sit around inside this 2, year old home, actually.
I always look forward to it, the ancient feeling you get in this old place. When do you do that one? The tickets sold about ten minutes after they went on sale because so many people want to be part of that show.
Some archeaologist friends of mine discovered this in the loch they excavated and they were able to build it exactly the way it would have been there some 2, years ago. Is there anything on your website about that one? Other things than the normal happen to the imagination of the public in attendance. Are there other places that you have sung in the past years, or coming years, that you want to mention?
Places that are acoustically unusual or strangely wondrous? I get some fantastic venues to play in from old churches to fantastic new modern kind of theatres.
They are very special concerts that I put on during Easter. The village hall used to be the centre of little rural communities and all the people would go to dance there. The guys who worked on the land, the teenagers, the elders; there was no difference, people of all ages would go to this village hall. So I get a big kick out of doing my concerts there. People travel a long way to come to just hear me singing in my own back yard; I mean, literally in my own back yard. But this makes sense of my music.
If anybody wants to get to know me and my songs, hear me playing them right back at home. Besides the land and the environment, do you favor being alone or with a band? What is it like to be with a giant orchestra and chorus singers? Yeah, these things are fantastic. I did that song with a big orchestra and a big choir actually, we had aroundwe had the Scottish Youth Choir.
It was amazing when voices behind you start singing along. It puts the hair up on the back of your neck. They know exactly how to sit in behind the song.
The song is king, kind of, you know?! There is something magical about doing it on your own. I remember I worked with a harmonica player, he used to be in a band and he was a brilliant harmonica player.
There was something that he could get sometimes when he was doing little solos.
Dougie MacLean - Until We Meet Again Lyrics
It was very soulful. The way he would play the harmonica would bring a tear to your eye. Just the sound of the harmonica in the song did this. It was just a tiny little harmonica.
Until We Meet Again Songtext
Are you sitting at home playing? Is that your house? It happens when it happens, and it just becomes an extension of you.