Letter 4

Well, I’ve just got back from another short stint with the Chieftains which was short but intense. We were doing some concerts in Italy and a couple of benefit concerts in Dublin and Belfast with some great guest musicians including Carlos Nunez, Van Morrison and the gorgeous Ronnie Drew. There was a lovely concert I particularly remember in the south of Italy where we played outside on a beautiful evening inside a castle’s walls which were lit making it a magical setting – apart from the mosquitos which bit me on the legs but it was worse for Matt and Kevin as they both swallowed them in the course of playing/singing… yuk, especially if you were the mosquito!

Now, back home, I’ve got two new additions to my little household in the shape of Nell and Kitty, two ex-racing greyhounds. My darling Freya died exactly one week before Christmas Eve and it was, as you can imagine. awful. We had been together for 12 years and she was dearly dearly loved. She appears on the back of Brilliant Midnight 2.0 as areflection in the iridescent water. She is buried in my garden in a wicker coffin with slate marking the grave which looks like a celtic burial – queenly in rest as in life.

Actually, I have five new additions counting three ducks – Sir Francis (of course), Elizabeth I and Isabella of Spain who has unfortunately been renamed Wonky after a rather close encounter with an enthusiastic greyhound, namely Naughty Nellie. Wonky is ok though and is now laying eggs again which are being nicked by the magpies unless I get up at 5am. Which I do quite often, oddly enough.

I’ve found some great sessions near me in Cornwall and I’ve been having great fun and learning loads playing for hours with local musicians. I think the traditional music scene here must be one of the healthiest in the world – you could play in several pubs within reach every night of the week – it’s a revelation. I am also working on the next album which will be very pared down and much more traditional in flavour, among the musicians playing on it will be the guys of the Chieftains; a real honour and pleasure.

– Caroline Lavelle

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