The Genesis of “An Olive in the Guinness”.
Late 2004 saw me toying with ideas for a new CD release after the success of “HOT”.
I had completed a draft of the original ‘An Olive in the Guinness” – a one-off tribute to Irish and Spanish folk idioms - when a friend heard it and suggested I expand it’s themes into longer pieces.
So, I started work in earnest.
A year later, around 16 different treatments of the themes have emerged, and about half these will feature in “An Olive in the Guinness” Suite, which will occupy pride of place on my next CD, “UP”.
Of the four main elements in music, Olive features innovation in the area of rhythm the most. Most folk music is in simple triple meter i.e.: 3/4, 12/8, etc., whereas I employ, where needed, 14/8, 15/8, 7/4 etc.
One Spanish section is 7/4, 7/4, 7/4, 8/4. for instance. (grafted from a Bodhran rhythm).
This, in turn, helps to shape the melodic aspects of the Suite, which become more angular and asymmetrical as a result.
Texturally, I have attempted to maintain some “local colour” i.e.: the use of Spanish guitars, Bodhran, Ullian pipes, etc, as well as a standard rock rhythm section, (including synthesizers and my lead guitar) but mainly it is in an orchestral setting.
The themes or motifs that generate the melodies are very simple as to facilitate many differing treatments throughout the work giving it, I hope, unity.
I sincerely hope you like my “Olive”. It is, I feel, a fitting tribute the magnificent musics practiced by both these extraordinary cultural groups.
John Robinson, Sydney, Australia, October 2005