Standing on Air – Robin Hill
This recording has been inspired by my constant travelling and by some of the wonderful countries I have visited. It is also a homage to the music particularly of Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and Mexico.
I frequently return home with indigenous instruments some stringed some percussive and a variety of artefacts.
Chill 22 was written in a New York hotel room. My user identity for internet access was C (first name is Charles) combined with hill (surname) and room number 22. It seemed appropriate to make this the first track as it started off the whole idea for the album.
Sahara is a trek across the eponymous desert. I made the journey from Cairo by car and it was an unforgettable one. The rattle is a huge seed pod from a Caribbean tree. I brought it back from my honeymoon in Antigua 20 years ago at the time of writing in 2011. I knew it would be useful one day………….
Fantastic Mr Felix is dedicated to my youngest son, Felix. It reflects his ebullient and good-natured character. It features the charango – a ten stringed Andean instrument traditionally made from an armadillo shell. No armadillos were harmed in the making of this record as my instrument is made only of wood.
Nightbird is a laid back Brazilian style groove and an evocation of night. Whilst recording this a starling flew in through the control room window…….it was a hot summer’s day. I had to catch it and gently eject it from the premises. A good omen.
Dance of the Jaguar was inspired by many visits to Mexico and Costa Rica and by a beautiful wooden Jaguar head I brought home from Mexico. It also has Indian influences with its use of sitar and tabla.
Cancion was originally written as a song with lyrics but here appears as an instrumental.
Jacaranda is a celebration of Andalusia in particular the beautiful and vibrant city of Cadiz. The idea for the piece came to me whilst enjoying a glass of beer in the square where Manuel de Falla’s birthplace is situated.
Brasilia was inspired by a walk along the Copacabana beach in Rio and by the fantastic music I have heard in that great city.
The King of Cordoba is a homage to Manuel Reyes the legendary luthier who made the wonderful instrument I play on this recording.
Samba Dream was originally composed for my band, Eklectica. Rachel Ashley’s beautiful voice perfectly realises the mood of this song.
Day of the Dead is again inspired by my Mexican travels and represents the forces of good and evil.
Homeward captures the mood I feel when returning home from one of my frequent foreign trips and my joy of returning to the family.
Breeze from Rio is a typical bossa nova rhythm and again inspired by city of Rio.
Walk the Torque is a reference to how I like to relax……...nothing better than a walk in the park with my three canine friends.
Robin Hill was born in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, England, and received his early education at Bolton School. He later studied music at college where his first study was guitar. He also participated in master classes with the eminent Venezuelan guitarist, Alirio Diaz. At music college Robin met fellow guitarist Peter Wiltschinsky, and, together they formed, in 1973, the Hill/Wiltschinsky Guitar Duo, a highly-successful partnership with a vast archive of recordings (they have recorded for Teldec/Warner Bros. Classics, Hyperion (their debut album in 1984),
ASV, RCA, Erato, Telstar, IMP Classics, Carlton Classics and many more). The duo have made numerous broadcasts and toured extensively worldwide.
They collaborated with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the BBC Concert Orchestra (under Barry Wordsworth), the Irish National Symphony Orchestra,
the Caracas Symphony Orchestra and many other fine orchestras.
In 1997 Robin, who also composes, gave the premiere of his own, Concerto Primavera with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under conductor, Ian Tracey. Robin has composed three further concertos, ‘Three Van Gogh Portraits’, (for piano and orchestra), Eternal Dances’ (for guitar and orchestra) and ‘Celtic Concerto’ (for guitar and orchestra) plus many other pieces for guitar.
Robin gave the UK premiere of Claude Bolling’s ‘Concerto for Classic Guitar & Jazz Piano Trio’ a work he has also recorded with his quartet, Eklectica.
In 1997 Robin performed Joaquin Rodrigo’s ‘Concierto de Aranjuez’ with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra with Carl Davis conducting.
Robin has collaborated with artists as diverse as the legendary tenor, Luciano Pavarotti, soprano, Lesley Garrett, tenor Russell Watson, soprano Denise Greaves at the 2003 Proms at the Royal Albert Hall with the BBC Philharmonic to British rock bands, Jethro Tull and Deep Purple to American jazz/soul singer, Madeline Bell.
Since 2005, Robin has performed as a soloist all around the world. From North and South America, Hawaii. Japan, Portugal, Venice and much of Europe, and even as far as the Antarctic!
He has recently returned from a trip to Miami, Panama Canal and many different Caribbean islands. This year he has also given many recitals between New York and Southampton on the famous Cunard liners the Queen Mary 2, the Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Victoria.
Robin has been teaching the classical guitar at Leeds University since 2005 and his substantial
book, ‘The Guitar Gymnasium’ is used in conservatories throughout the world.
‘As always, it was sheer pleasure to observe Robin Hill’s remarkable fluent technique: everything looks easy when he plays it.’ Colin Cooper ‘Classical Guitar’ magazine
‘Robin Hill’s performance and technique were fabulous’ - Rick Wakeman
‘There’s nothing they (Hill & Wiltschinsky ) can’t play. The whole evening constituted a breath of stimulating fresh air in a scene where so many duos simply lack the technical equipment to make it to the big time. From Robin Hill and Peter Wiltschinsky anything is possible.’ Colin Cooper ‘Classical Guitar’ magazine
‘Wonderful for their (Hill & Wiltschinsky) precision, touch and clarity of sound…refined virtuosity, the achievement of a long interpretive process.’ Il Giornale D’Italia (Rome)
Special thanks to:
My wife Anna, for her tireless help and encouragement in the production of this album.
Jonathan Keenan for his excellent photography.
Oliver Hill for his filming of Chill 22.
Pip Keenan for her faith in the project.
Lee Osborne for loaning me his basses.
Nick McCloud for calmly solving my worst computer nightmares.
Maurice Cheetham and Rachel Ashley for their unique contribution to Samba Dream.
Peter Barton for performing emergency surgery on my guitar and thus enabling me to continue and finish this recording.
Savarez and La Bella strings
Pugwash my faithful studio dog who has been curled up at my feet during many takes. She also enjoys listening to playbacks.
Featured instruments: flamenco guitar, charango, bass guitar, mandolin, sitar, keyboards, drums, cajon bongos, rainstick, cuica drum, flexotone, triangle, tabla, tambourine, congas, guiro, cowbells, handclaps, timbales and assorted shakers.
All music composed, performed and arranged by Robin Hill
Recorded/Engineered/Mixed: Hillhouse Records
Produced by: Robin and Anna Hill 2011
Photography by: Jonathan Keenan
Art Direction by: HDC Media Group
Published by: HDC Media Group