The genesis of the latest offering from West, “A Scots Chorus” was in 2011 when he first decided he wanted to explore the possibility of working in concert with other voices and on hearing the amazing a cappella group ‘Muldoon’s Picnic’ perform for the first time knew he had found the perfect combination of voices to realise the project’s musical potential.
It was while working folk clubs and festivals and tutoring both adults and school students at the National Centre for Excellence in Traditional Music in Plockton that West became aware of how important a tool a folksong with a good chorus was to unlocking non-singer/performers self belief in their ability to sing and to engage with, sometimes, quite complicated narratives. Whilst discussing this with representatives of West Highland College and NCETM he was delighted to find that they where looking for quality projects that would help introduce people to different aspects of the Scots musical tradition and so the seed was sown.
In mid 2012 West and Muldoon’s started exploring the different harmonic possibilities of a body of the most interesting and representative Scots chorus songs they could find. Mick then asked musicians Frank McLaughlin and Stewart Hardy to co-produce the project, including a booklet of all the arrangements and lyrics for community singing groups, students and performers. At this point on hearing of “A Scots Chorus” Celtic Connections Director Donald Shaw offered the group an opportunity to air this music for the first time at the 2013 Festival in Kelvingrove Art Gallery with a hundred singers from community choirs in front of an animated and tuneful sell-out crowd of six hundred singers!