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TITLE
Phil Cunningham - Recording Techniques
EXTERNAL ID
GB232_MFR_PHILCUNNINGHAM_05
PERIOD
1990s
CREATOR
Phil Cunningham
SOURCE
Moray Firth Radio
ASSET ID
1765
KEYWORDS
accordions
traditional music
audio

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Phil Cunningham MBE is one of Scotland's best known traditional musicians. Trained classically in the accordion and violin, he later joined his brother John in the highly acclaimed Scottish band 'Silly Wizard' and played with the band for ten years (1976-1986). More recently, he has become well known for his partnership with Shetland fiddler, Aly Bain. Phil is also an accomplished music director, presenter and producer. He has composed two orchestral suites for symphony orchestra and Celtic instruments. In this audio extract, originally recorded for 'Moray Firth People' in the early 1990s, Phil talks to Robina Goodfellow about one of his recording techniques.

Sometimes if you get a really tense performer, I find rather than, you know, get irritated or - What I mean, in fact, I'm the only person not allowed to get irritated; my job is to be calm and to draw the best out of everybody. But rather than, you know, get the tension, try and talk them into being good, you know, because a lot of people just don't believe that they're not into bedside manner, what I try to do is cause a degree of hilarity in the place, and people kind of forget, you know, that they're in a studio for a second so I allow myself sometimes - Like Mairi MacInnes, for instance, once was singing this song and she was giving a very tense performance of it and it was 'MacCrimmon's Lament' or something, it was - I can't remember what - it was a Gaelic song. And she said, 'No, I can't, I just can't do this, I can't do it. We'll try altering the lights in the room', you know? So we did. We altered the lights and we got - everything was really dark in the singing area and we were sitting very quietly. And she saw me leaving the control room but what I did was actually went out the door, dropped down onto my knees so that she couldn't see me, and I let the door kind of swing close behind me, so I was back in the room again. And then I crawled round the back of the desk and into the control room beside her and I was actually sitting at her feet while she was singing this song. And she had no idea; she had her eyes closed. And she finished the song and I had this little Maglite shining up into my face, you know? She'd finished singing this spooky song opened her eyes and there was this ghoul sitting below her, you know? And we've got some choice language on tape as a result, you know? She let fly with a stream of curses

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Phil Cunningham - Recording Techniques

1990s

accordions; traditional music; audio

Moray Firth Radio

MFR: Phil Cunningham

Phil Cunningham MBE is one of Scotland's best known traditional musicians. Trained classically in the accordion and violin, he later joined his brother John in the highly acclaimed Scottish band 'Silly Wizard' and played with the band for ten years (1976-1986). More recently, he has become well known for his partnership with Shetland fiddler, Aly Bain. Phil is also an accomplished music director, presenter and producer. He has composed two orchestral suites for symphony orchestra and Celtic instruments. In this audio extract, originally recorded for 'Moray Firth People' in the early 1990s, Phil talks to Robina Goodfellow about one of his recording techniques.<br /> <br /> Sometimes if you get a really tense performer, I find rather than, you know, get irritated or - What I mean, in fact, I'm the only person not allowed to get irritated; my job is to be calm and to draw the best out of everybody. But rather than, you know, get the tension, try and talk them into being good, you know, because a lot of people just don't believe that they're not into bedside manner, what I try to do is cause a degree of hilarity in the place, and people kind of forget, you know, that they're in a studio for a second so I allow myself sometimes - Like Mairi MacInnes, for instance, once was singing this song and she was giving a very tense performance of it and it was 'MacCrimmon's Lament' or something, it was - I can't remember what - it was a Gaelic song. And she said, 'No, I can't, I just can't do this, I can't do it. We'll try altering the lights in the room', you know? So we did. We altered the lights and we got - everything was really dark in the singing area and we were sitting very quietly. And she saw me leaving the control room but what I did was actually went out the door, dropped down onto my knees so that she couldn't see me, and I let the door kind of swing close behind me, so I was back in the room again. And then I crawled round the back of the desk and into the control room beside her and I was actually sitting at her feet while she was singing this song. And she had no idea; she had her eyes closed. And she finished the song and I had this little Maglite shining up into my face, you know? She'd finished singing this spooky song opened her eyes and there was this ghoul sitting below her, you know? And we've got some choice language on tape as a result, you know? She let fly with a stream of curses