• WHAT WERE YOU HOPING TO GET OUT OF THE RETREAT?
I had previously seen adverts for other songwriting retreats and the concept appealed to me on several levels – as a fun way for a musician to spend a week in different surroundings; as an exploration of new ways to approach songwriting; as an exercise in working with others (for someone used to writing in isolation). When I saw the Knoydart information, the opportunity added much more – the breath-taking beauty of the location, and more specifically, the chance to work with Jon Boden, whose work I had admired for a long while, and whose approach to his craft seemed to lend itself to valuable tuition.
• WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST TAKE AWAY?
That I want to do it again! That I produced four ‘reasonable’ songs in four days seems still, in retrospect, preposterous in the context of how I usually work; that two of them I consider good enough to record is more than I could have dreamed of achieving; that collaborative working is not a scary as it seems (and spurred on the creativity to higher levels); that I made some musical friends that I genuinely want to stay in contact with; that Jon Boden surpassed his brief in inspiring and educating a disparate bunch of musicians to produce some work of spectacular quality in such a short time-frame; that the whole experience was so joyful from start to finish.
ATTENDED : Jon Boden's retreat
DATE: Sept 2021
• WHAT WAS YOUR HIGHLIGHT?
That’s the hardest question, and I’m tempted to say the experience in its entirety, but since the culmination was the Friday concert at the Community Hall, I have to choose that for the sheer audacity of writing, arranging, rehearsing and performing a set of songs by a bunch of people who had not met each other five days previously. That it exceeded any of our expectations and was so rapturously received by the audience provided a fitting vindication for Jon, Janey, Duncan and all the participants.
• WHAT THREE WORDS SUM UP YOUR TIME AT THE RETREAT?
Exhilarating • Inspirational • Heart-warming
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