New Trio of Harp Books
Fraya has compiled three new books of her tunes for the harp. Simply titled “New Tunes for Harp” the three books are divided into beginner, intermediate and advanced tunes.
This brilliant resource is bilingual (Gaelic and English), includes advice on technique and arranging as well as some great material. There are even tunes within which you may recognize from The Duplets CDs.
In 2010 The Duplets wrote, recorded and performed the music for short film “The Worm Inside” directed by Sam Firth. The film is an intimate account of a filmmaker grappling with the mysteries of the human body, the failings of a homogenised medical system and the seductive nature of alternative medicine, a challenge to the currently prevailing idea that illness may be within our control if we try hard enough.
The Worm Inside was selected by Sight & Sound in their eight picks of the London Short Film Festival 2011 and wrote:
“Never brooding or morose, The Worm Inside is a compelling insight into the trauma that many of us go through when faced with unwelcome news.”
- Sight & Sound Magazine 2011
The State Broadcasters
Gillian has been part of Glasgow based band The State Broadcasters since 2006. Highlights in this time have included radio and TV appearances, including BBC Alba’s Rapal and BBC 6 Music’s Marc Riley Show. The band’s debut album The Ship and the Iceberg received such reviews as:
“This beautiful record, from the same label that broke Belle and Sebastian with ‘Tigermilk’, is an artful thing of deft ensemble playing. There are spoors of American kindred spirits Lambchop and Dakota Suite in their delicate richness, setting nimble guitars, piano, strings and horns, right up to the pale his ‘n’ hers harmonies of Graeme Black and Gillian Fleetwood. And it all unfolds so regally that you never want it to stop. (4 / 5)”
- Uncut Magazine - July 2009
In 2010 The State Broadcasters performed the music for BAFTA winning short film “Fixing Luka”. Band member Pete MacDonald was awarded a New Talent BAFTA for composing, producing and engineering the film score.
Creative Scotland funds Fraya’s composing!
Fraya’s composing career has been awarded a massive boost this year in the form of Creative Scotland funding. Her proposal to be mentored by the world-class composer and pianist David Milligan has been chosen and supported by the Traditional Mentoring Scheme. Fraya is working on a piece called Highland Reminiscence for string quintet and percussion which will be debuted in the Tollbooth, Stirling on the 4th of May. This concert is a showcase of the fantastic work done by Distil Scotland. She is also working on another very short film score with Tiny Spark productions. She would like to hear from anyone who is interested in commissioning any music for any variety of events including film, theatre, dance, art and personal. Her time with her mentor will allow her to explore further the opportunities offered by instrumentation, voicing, harmony, rhythm and all the delights of music. She will aim to update her Soundcloud with music throughout the project.
In July 2011 Gillian was invited to play and sing with Danish singer, songwriter and pianist Agnes Obel. Agnes is gaining a large and loyal following so Gillian was delighted to take up the opportunity. A series of initial gigs turned into a tour, which took in Germany, Denmark, France, Italy, Spain, UK, Ireland, Luxembourg, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Belgium. The trio also included Berlin born electro-accoustic cello pioneer Anne Müller so this challenge to include the Scottish harp and contribute to 3 part vocal harmonies has been extremely inspiring for Gillian, particularly while gaining the experience of playing to audiences of between 200 and 20,000 people and on live TV.
Fèis Rois Musician in Residence
Fraya is presently working with Fèis Rois as their first ever Musician in Residence. This exciting post is part of a wider Lifelong Learning project, Fonn nam Fèis, which is funded by the Jubilee People’s Millions.
Fraya works with a number of partner organisations across Ross-Shire and Inverness to deliver participatory Scottish traditional music workshops in community settings. The youngest participant is under 2 and the oldest is 104!
Fraya uses well-known songs to help stimulate memory with dementia sufferers. She uses rhythmic and tuned percussion instruments to embellish the songs when working with adults with additional support needs, and ocean drums and singing bowls for moments of calm and reflection.
In addition to Fraya’s work, the Fonn nam Fèis project also evening classes in music and song open to any adults living in Ross-Shire. There is a very popular “slow jam” session every Wednesday in Tulloch Castle. For more information, visit FeisRois.org.