The Rascailíns story, or how we recorded a CD
When the first group of children graduated from the Colourstrings kindergarten in 2014, we all felt we had to continue somehow. Learning is all unconscious during the early years of the kindergarten and so it should be, but by the age of 6 or 7 the children are fully aware they are actively studying musicianship. The child-centred approach of Colourstrings also means that during the kindergarten years – through many activities in composing and improvisation in an encouraging environment – the children develop confidence in vocalising their ideas. They felt it was sad that we had to finish.. so we didn’t.
To differentiate this senior group from the kindergarten we named them The Rascailíns, after the Singing Rascals series of European folk songs which was part of the early years’ repertoire. Along with pursuing weekly tuition in their chosen instrument, the Rascailíns met once a month for an intensive 90 minute theory class using solfège. They went on musical outings, held concerts, and established their own musicianship week at the end of the summer.
And so it began. This group continued for 4 wonderful years. During this time they set up their own webpage on the website called shared tunes, where they uploaded their work: pieces they had learned, own compositions, artwork.
They also studied music history during these years, still through singing and listening. They visited Glenstall Abbey and experienced the monks singing unison Gregorian chant. They moved through music history learning songs from the different periods. As the harmony became more complex, so their two and three-part hearing developed.
The CD project
Because all of this repertoire-based learning sounded so beautiful it was decided to record a CD. This was project managed by the Rascailíns and their parents. The CD includes 6 songs from different periods in musical history and consists of songs in unison, three-part canon and ostinato, in several modes and in various languages. Extra rehearsals were organised to perfect the choir. It was recorded in studio in three hours on a Friday evening in May and it was launched as part of the Carrabane Café Arts Festival on the June bank holiday weekend 2018.