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Lindsay Ritch Interview

We asked fiddle player Lindsay Ritch to answer a few questions about herself, her past and plans for the future and also her favourite food.

The interview was conducted in a cosy little inn at the ancient market town of Hexham, Northumberland, here in the UK.

 
 
 

Q I hear you've released a new album, could you tell us more about it?

Yes, 'The Calm before the Storm'. It's an album of music that I've written myself over the last few years. I was asked to provide a soundtrack for an animated movie and before that I had never even tried to write music but that got me started and I have kept writing and am really pleased with the tunes I have come up with.

The Last Skye Ferry

Q What happened about the soundtrack?

Well that one is still in the early stages. It is based on the book 'The Mousehole Cat' and set in the Cornish fishing village of Mousehole. Several of the tunes on my new album are based on that screenplay. I am also working with the producers on another project but I can't say any more about that yet.

 

Mousehole, from The Calm before the Storm

Q The album does seem to have a maritime theme about it, would you say that it is taking you in a different direction than your previous work?

Much of the new album was inspired by the film screenplay which was about a fisherman, a cat and a storm, but mostly I think that it is a reflection of my travels around the UK and the beautiful places I have visited. I think the style of the album is in keeping with the previous albums but the arrangements are a little different.

 


Painting of Lindsay

Q What inspired you to start playing the violin?

There was an old violin in our house when I was very young which belonged to my brother. I was never allowed to touch it. Then I was offered violin lessons at school and I jumped at the opportunity. Eventually (after much painful practice) I got the violin!

Lindsay in Stafford

Q After you left school what did you do?

I had a place at Edinburgh University but I took a year out. I took a job as a waitress in a hotel in Argyll but I was probably the world's worst waitress and didn't stay long. At that time I didn't know what I wanted to do for a living other than be my own boss. I started experimenting, playing music, mostly on keyboard with Irish singer Finnian McGurk. That Hogmanay (New Year's Eve) I was thrown in at the deep end for my first gig. This was the beginning of the band 'Pigswill'. It was a big change for me after learning Classical Violin at school. We played gigs all over the Highlands of Scotland then that summer drove our band van to Greece where we spent three months playing the local circuit before returning in time for uni. Whilst there I carried on with the gigs at weekends to fund my student lifestyle.

 

Q Was that an enjoyable experience?

It was an amazing experience and I wouldn't have missed it for the world. At times it was worrying being so far from home but we met such hospitable people there that it was never a problem.

Dark Horse Album, ...allegedly

Q Can you tell me the history of Pigswill?

Pigswill was started by myself and Irish singer Finnian McGurk the former lead singer of Celtic Rock band 'Albannach'. Other musicians involved in the band were Dave Fleming, Nigel Sandeman, Chris Henderson, Chris Rasdale and Stuart MacGregor. The band predominantly toured the Highlands of Scotland but we did venture out to North Wales for the Eisteddfodd every year. We released our first album '...allegedly' in 1996 under the temporary name - Dark Horse - then reverted to our chosen name of Pigswill for the final album in 1999 'A Twist in the Tail'.

 

Pigswill Album,  A Twist in the Tail

Q What did you do after Pigswill disbanded?

I moved away from Scotland, initially to the Lake District in the North West of England, with singer / songwriter Stuart MacGregor. We did a lot of gigs together and I released my first solo album in 2000 which featured some of the instrumental music that I had already recorded with Pigswill and some new material. This was released on my own independent record label 'Poor Little Ritch Girl Productions'. We continued to pursue gigs and promote my albums in England and Wales until 2007. During that time we were lucky enough to get supports slots for Texas and also Davey Arthur and the Fureys. Our final gig was in the Stafford Gatehouse Theatre. Since then I have been travelling with my wonderful little dog Nelly, promoting my solo albums all over the UK.

Lindsay and Stuart, click to see YouTube Video

Q 2009 is the year of the Homecoming Celebrations in Scotland, are you involved in any way?

I've just been at the Spirit of the West Whisky festival in Inveraray which was part of the year of Homecoming, just 30 miles from my home. It was a really great event. I have also named a track from my new album 'The Homecoming'. The tune reminded me of a boat landing on a beach in a remote place.

Q What are your plans for the future?

Well I'd like to earn a life changing amount of money (£50 a week would do) from my music. But seriously I have really enjoyed writing my own music and want to do much more of that and who knows where it will lead?

Q Final Question, what's your favourite food???

I don't know yet, I'm still trying to find it!!!

Interview by AntP - June 2009

 

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