Monday 20 May 2013

Farewell to the Monty

At the Edinburgh Folk Club in the early 70s I met some of those who would form the band Silly Wizard. One of the tracks on their album Caledonia's Hardy Sons is "Jack Cunningham's Farewell to Benbecula". I never remembered to ask, but I imagine Jack was the father of Phil and John, or perhaps some other relative. The idea of a tune that is a farewell is well established in Scottish folklore and, for me, resonates also with the Portuguese music known as Fado, which echoes the sense of loss and nostalgia never far from the Portuguese seafaring heart.

So tonight, sitting in Ellesmere launderette, waiting for the sheets to tumble dry, I began to pen a Farewell to the Montgomery. A tune was there, in the head, waiting to be committed to paper, and fortunately we had a pencil and a little pad of sticky notes. It's a challenge – trying to evoke a sense of this canal on the English / Welsh border, and make it a farewell without making it too Scottish. Make it happy-sad to reflect both the joy of the canal snd the sadness of leaving. Perhaps tomorrow evening, in some remote part of Whixall, the accordion will come out and help me to finalise it.


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