(The recording is at the bottom of the page)
Last night, I wrote a tune while practicing mandolin. The first bones of it just arrived in my head and the rest came quickly as I played. I rewrote a few bits this morning to tighten it up, and this tune is the result. I pulled out my phone, opened the MP3 recording app, and played.
I sent it to a few trusted music buddies* to make sure it was original, and they all reported that they hadn’t heard it before. Mills asked how I’d feel about him learning it and playing around with it a little bit, and of course I said “sure!”.
I often struggle with titles for tunes, but this one came easily: as I was playing, I found the melody reminding me of wind and tide, and my friend Jay O’Hara came to mind–one of the most passionate sailors I know. Jay grew up on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, and he still makes his home in the town of Bourne where he often lives on his boat. I love tunes with the old naming convention that includes where people come from, since a sense of place is important to me, so: Jay O’Hara of Bourne.
Modern recording technology staggers me. Mills sent me back a recording of a backing part he’d composed, mixed with my tune and sounding good. It’s not album quality, but it’s decent–and the tune is barely 18 hours old at this point. Did I mention that he lives in western Massachusetts, a five-hour drive from here? We talk about the power of the internet, but I haven’t gotten to play the musical collaboration game like this in a long time. So much fun! I can’t wait to see what else we cook up together.
So, here it is: a tune in its first day of life. I hope you like it!
Jay O’Hara of Bourne
Composed by Hollis Easter, tune and performance copyright 2013
Bob Mills: Nordic mandola by Ola Söderström
Hollis Easter: mandolin
If you enjoyed that, you might also like our performance from the Pipers’ Gathering instructor concert this year: a set of Swedish tunes as a duet and the March of the King of Laois joined by Iain MacHarg, Katie McNally, and Bruce Childress.
(Edited 9/9/14 to add: THEY WON THEIR COURT CASE, more or less!)
Thank you to those waiting patiently for the next installment of my series on Using Metronomes Effectively. It’s been a busy work week and I haven’t made time for writing yet. I’m teaching all weekend and hope to finish it after that! The audio files are all done, so it’s just the writing now. Cheers!
(*: Bob Mills, Susie Petrov, Melissa Running, Bruce Childress, Adina Gordon, Alex Krogh-Grabbe, Alison Nihart, Aaron Marcus, Connie Kent, Chrisiant Bracken, thank you for being my brain trust! Image of Jay created by Hat Factory Productions and used with permission.)