• Thom Rowlands

A real-life fiddler from Scotland!

Updated: Aug 19, 2021

Musicians: Pete Lee (piano) Ali Caplin (fiddle and vocals)

Today we welcomed singer and fiddler Ali Caplin to Bridgeside Lodge for the first time. He and pianist Pete Lee talked us through their visit in a series of voice notes which are here transcribed:

PL - We saw JG first.

AC - It turns out she’s quite a fan of the old folk songs and Burns [Scottish poet Robert Burns] songs which is great because that’s right up my street. We did four Burns songs for her which she really liked, she was singing along to quite a few of them.

PL - She picks up things really quickly doesn't she? When I first went in [to her room] she seemed sad and a bit frightened, but very quickly warmed up. I’m not sure if she recognised me, but I explained why we were there and offered to play some music for her. When we finished, I asked her to give us one word about how it made her feel and she said “melancholic” but she seemed to think of it in a good way

AC - Yea it was nostalgic melancholy wasn’t it? A pleasant journeying back, I think.

PL - She was so appreciative of the music, she really enjoyed it. We spent a good amount of time with her. My feeling is that when you can see that something is having a positive impact, then you should stick with it, and not move on too quickly.

AC - Then we saw L and S.

PL - We did, we played Your Song first. She knew who Elton John was and checked if he’s still alive.

AC - Then we did Fields Of Gold [by Sting]. That went down well, as did Somewhere Over The Rainbow. It’s really nice to see the recognition in people’s eyes when you play a song that means something to them.

PL - Leyla [carer] requested Yesterday [The Beatles]. S was bubbly and smiley and clapping all the way through. L was more happy than she has been in the past actually. She kept saying thank you, it was beautiful. She said Yesterday was one of her favourite songs. She was in floods of tears so it obviously touched her.

AC - On the first floor we played some upbeat jazz in the dining room. My Funny Valentine and Autumn Leaves, which was accompanied by some amazing drumming from JS and followed up with a really heartfelt thank you.

[ed. - we always really enjoy hearing about ‘new’ musicians’ first experiences of some of the characters of Bridgeside Lodge!]

PL - We were joined by S - she’s a feisty one! Lots of requests, big repertoire knowledge. She asked for some Fred Astaire, some Nat King Cole and some Elvis. She sang along to Ain’t No Sunshine. In the 3rd floor dining room we saw I. She always talks about fiddlers from the Islands of Scotland and finally we have one here in Ali!

AC - I played a tune about Skye and Scotland The Brave because she kept asking for it. Although i’m not sure she recognised it - might have been my playing! Then we played Green Grow the Rushes. Ernest (nurse) danced with her, she was absolutely beaming about it.

Ali Caplin said of his first visit to Bridgeside Lodge - It was a really wonderful experience for me, a lot of variety! Thank you for the opportunity!

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