A recording session with Les Ray’s Strummers & Dreamers programme on Cambridge105, 18th June 2019 afternoon


18th June was a very full day indeed for Na-Mara, consisting of recording some live tracks for a radio programme in the afternoon and then giving a lecture and performing concert in the evening.

With a promise of potential thunderstorms later that day, we set off to Cambridge just after lunch, arriving in good time at the Gwydir Street Enterprise Centre where the Cambridge105 radio station is located.  Our host for the recording session was an old friend of ours, Les Ray.  Les has been producing an excellent folk radio programme with Cambridge105 for nearly five years.  His programme, called Strummers & Dreamers, is also broadcast on Canadian-based internet radio station, Blues and Roots Radio and then loaded up on the British online music streaming service for radio shows called Mixcloud.

Les was there to greet us when we arrived and we were soon inside the studio having a cuppa and chatting with other station personnel as we waited for the studio space to come free.  Once it did so, we started manoeuvring chairs and instruments into the small studio space and marvelled when Les told us that he had had up to five musicians in there for one such session.

Les had asked us to record five tracks live in the studio and also each select a track by another artist that we love and another track that has been an influence on us.

We elected to perform three tracks from our Sisters & Brothers album (The Black Widows, Time Wears Awa’ and Sisters & Brothers), one from our 2015 album, Navajos and Pirates (Muiñeiras de Morrazo and Lugo) and one from our 2010 album, The Bite (Only For Three Months).

In terms of our ‘loved’ and ‘influential’ tracks Rob chose Mirk Mirk Is This Midnight Hour by Karine Polwart and Lacrimae Antiquae Pavan performed in 1958/9 by Julian Bream respectively.  My choices were, A Case of You by Joni Mitchell and Marv Pontkalleg by Alan Stivell.

Les interviewed us about what we were currently up to with respect to gigs, how we had recorded the recent album, the event that evening we were in Cambridge to perform and the tracks we had chosen by others. 

Off air it was great to catch up with what Les’ own band, Red Velvet, have been up to.  They have clearly been very busy both gigging and in the studio and we wish them all the very best for the future.

Many thanks to Les and Cambridge105 for the invitation to perform live for them and we very much look forward to listening back to the finished programme in due course on Cambridge105, Blues and Roots Radio or Mixcloud.