(Raven Fiddle Productions)
Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) "American writer, poet"
Celt In A Twist: In the majesty of the Pacific Northwest rainforest, Celtic takes on a spirituality that springs forth from the organic. Here, among the mountains surrounding one of my favorite stretches of country side, Chuckanut Drive, Anna Schaad has been making fiddle music that floats between the Celtic world, the spirit world and the 21st century electronic world. Her latest is Dream Within A Dream and Anna rejoins us on Celt In A Twist. Anna, it's good to talk with you again.
Anna Schaad: It's great to talk to you, Cal.
CIAT: It’s been a while. The last time we spoke was during the debut of Songspell with David MacVittie. Can you bring us up to speed?
AS: Well, I've been really interested in electronic music and the fantastic world of sounds available now through these incredible libraries of sounds (on the internet), and so I've incorporated a lot of ambient, techno, down-tempo grooves in my current music and I've had a lot of fun with it.
CIAT: The album is dedicated to your flyboy. He’s a Navy pilot on Whidbey Island? I’ve seen those A-10 Warthogs or whatever they are flying over the road on my way to Coupeville sometimes. Is that him?
AS: Those are EA-6B Prowlers.
CIAT: Cool. And that's what he flies?
CIAT: And, it was love at first sight?
AS: Actually it was! (laughs) I thought, "Well this is an interesting new violin student, yah." He was a really good looking fiddler. He actually was born in Scotland and had just been in Scotland with Alasdair Fraser at a fiddle camp on the Isle of Skye. And, he was looking for a new fiddle teacher. He came home inspired and got my name and I do refer to that as the luckiest event in my life.
CIAT: That's beautiful. Tell us about your retreat, where you make your music?
AS: Well, for about twelve years I lived in Chuckanut, as you referred to on a beautiful 35 acre farm where I rented a little house, had horses down the trail, lot's of good friends living close by ... it's a spectacularly beautiful place. Now I've moved down to Anacortes in Skyline which is a marina on the west end of Fidalgo Island. Right across the channel is another beautiful island that I kayak around all the time and it's just an extraordinary natural environment in which to live.
CIAT: It really is. I never knew your history included associations with The Clumsy Lovers and The Paperboys, two of our favorites.
AS: Yes. That's interesting. The Clumsy Lovers was the very first band I ever played electric violin in and Celtic fiddle in. We did a lot of gigs around Bellingham and up in Vancouver. Shortly after that I got in touch with The Paperboys and did a little touring with them. And, I think they're just coming out with a new album.
CIAT: That's right. We're really anticipating that.
AS: They're a great band. Super fun.
CIAT: You’ve got your Celt In A Twist and we have Anna Schaad online to tell us about her latest, Dream Within A Dream. Tap into her world at Raven Fiddle Productions. That s www.annaschaad.com. I know that with instrumental albums especially, titles can sometimes be difficult. So why Dream within a Dream?
AS: I was looking for a recording of poem for one of my songs when I was working on it, and I came across a fellow from the UK reading Edgar Allan Poe's A Dream Within A Dream and it just struck me as the perfect poem, first of all for the song and when I put it in the song, it was just obvious, you know? Usually that's the way things happen. You're looking for something and you just know it's not right until the right thing comes along. Then it's like, "Oh, this is it. This is what it's called." Life for me has been very much a dream within a dream. This last year my husband was deployed for seven months and it was a really intense and interesting experience. Your life just goes through so many changes ... it's so powerful, yet so fleeting. It reflected the album for me.
CIAT: Your affinity for the beauty of your environment is obvious in every tune and there’s modernity to the tracks as well. How do you resolve the two?
AS: Well, that's actually been a very interesting point for me in my music and how it's developed and come this far. I've really embraced the technology we have. I spent the last year and a half learning Pro Tools and putting together my own system. It's incredible where technology has taken us. And, I am always a searcher for how nature and technology can live together, so to speak in harmony. I really believe that is where we are headed or where we need to head in the future. Music always reflects the sounds of the time. When you listen to Beethoven or Bach, you don't here computers, you don't hear cars, you hear cobblestone streets and carriages and horses. And, when you hear modern music you hear the blips, beeps and the blinks of our digital world, and amazingly enough it's an elegant part of our modern music soundscape. So, I love combining the flow of nature with the flow of technology in my new music.
CIAT: Well said!
AS: Thank you!
CIAT: You know, based upon what you have told us about what has happened over the course of the past year, I think one can assume the meaning of the opening track, Miss U. But, maybe you can set this up for us and we'll go out on it.
AS: Actually I wrote that song on a rainy spring night when the lilacs were just starting to bloom and I was up in Chuckanut in my studio. I remember I had just cleaned the windows with my mom that day, so the rain coming down the windows and the smell of the lilacs outside and the clearness of that night space was when I wrote that song. You know, Jeff at that time was thousands of miles away over an aircraft carrier in the Middle East and I felt like ... certain times like that you can mysteriously but truthfully reach out through some sort of subterraneal wavelength and communicate with them. So that song was about missing him and connecting with him and it has a really great hip hop groove that I caught on to in one of my Reason programs. So, it’s got a very sultry sort of a feel to it.
Anna Schaad was interviewed by Cal Koat on July 7th, 09 for broadcast on Celt In A Twist