Touch The Sky

by MichelleStewart on June 4, 2014

I recently had the privilege to witness some great Celtic music getting recorded from behind the scenes at the top ‘go-to’ studio in Scotland, Castlesound Studios.

As if that wasn’t enough I also got to meet one of my percussion heros, Jim Sutherland.  I tried to act all cool, but inside I was thinking of all amazing rhythms I learned from him while listening to Gordon Duncan and Dougie MacLean albums over the years. I mean this guy is a legend. He even taught Evelyn Glennie how to play bodhran.

Jim and his crew were really friendly and made me feel very welcome. He was going to even have me participate on one of the tracks, but unfortunately the studio was a three-hour round trip for me and I had to get home to collect my son from after-school club. Honestly though, I was just so chuffed to meet Jim because he has been a big influence on my drumming.

You might also recognise Jim’s name as the producer of the track ‘Touch The Sky’ by Julie Fowlis from the movie, ‘Brave’. A few months back someone asked me if I could do a video on what rhythms to play along to the track, but I don’t cover copywritten material. (That’s why it’s handy to have my husband, Mark, as my own ‘in-house’ piper, to record lots of traditional and original tunes for me to teach my Platinum students.)

What I could do though was scribble down some very simple patterns to get you started. Clicking on the arrow notation image below will enlarge it.

You can play along to the YouTube video here, but the link for buying ‘Touch The Sky’ on iTunes is right below it.

I hope you like this track. Playing along to it is like taking a happy pill.

Drum On!

~ Michelle

ps. Struileag – Shore To Shore was the recording project Jim was working on at Castlesound.















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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike Anderson June 5, 2014 at 12:25 pm

Wow, that is so cool! Jim Sutherland is a hero of mine too, not just because he’s such a great bodhran player (and introduced the brush tipper to the world!), but because of his cittern playing. I am a bodhran and bouzouki guy, so you really can’t ask for a better role model than “Big Jim”. Great that you got to meet him!

Now I’m going to find out which Dougie MacLean albums he played on and start buying. 🙂

Robyn July 2, 2014 at 4:51 am

Fantastic track to play along with – my daughter loves this song, now we can have a loungeroom dance/jam session together – thanks Michelle!

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