Salutation song for Lincolnshire
Although their average age is only 16, Salutation have already had their first taste of success. Kate Chapman finds out how they developed their appealing blend of folk and modern pop.
Salutation, made up of youngsters who all hail from Caistor and the surrounding area, only started playing together seriously a couple of years ago, but were delighted when their song won the BBC Radio Lincolnshire Song for Lincolnshire competition last year.
The group comprises guitarist and singer Isaac McCann (17), an A-level student at Lincoln Minster School; his sister Maya (15), a GCSE student at Caistor Grammar School who plays the mandolin, violin and sings and their friends Alexandra Mottram (16), Joseph Dodd (17), Sophie McCulloch (17) and Alex Bignell (16).
Alexandra is an A-level student at Caistor Grammar School and plays the guitar and violin as well as singing. Joseph is studying for his A-levels at Aston and is the band’s drummer, while Sophie, who is studying for A-levels at boarding school in Rugby, plays the bass, piano and sings too. Alex is also a singer who plays the accordion and piano. He is studying music production at the Guildford Academy.
They are also joined occasionally by Caistor Grammar School pupil Pearl McCann (13), who steps in to play various instruments and sing when other group members are unavailable.
As well as playing traditional folk music, reels and jigs, the group also performs a variety of pop and modern songs.
Isaac, Maya and Pearl’s dad Nick, who has been supporting the band as it finds its feet, says the youngsters are delighted with their success to date and are now keen to perform more concerts and play to bigger audiences.
“When they found out they had made it to the final of the BBC Radio Lincolnshire competition, with their own song, they just couldn’t believe it,” says Nick, a primary school teacher and keen musician himself.
“The others in the final were all adults, and many of them very experienced singers and musicians, and this group of youngsters had to go up there and play first.
“It was very nerve-wracking for them – they were in a big theatre and live on the radio, but when they were announced as the winners at the end I think they were just all so overwhelmed. It’s been such a positive experience for them and really helped to boost their confidence.”
The idea for the youngsters to form a band came about a couple of years ago, when most of them were only about 14 years old.
Nick says they had all enjoyed music lessons at school, as well as privately and were encouraged to start playing together by their families.
“All five of our families are close and know each other really well, all the youngsters have had music lessons so we encouraged them to form a folk group,” he said.
“We go to a lot of folk festivals and hear some amazing musicians; it’s a very welcoming community and there are lots of opportunities to perform and learn about our history and that of the British Isles, as that’s what folk songs are based on.”
The band played its first gig in the Salutation pub, in Nettleton, one New Year’s Eve, and took inspiration for its name from the venue. More recently it has played the introducing stage at the annual folk festival hosted at Butlin’s in Skegness.
After winning the public vote Salutation will return there later this year to play at the event on the main stage.
“Salutation is an old word meaning welcome, and that’s the essence of folk music, it’s very inclusive; if you go to a folk club, anybody can take to the floor, sing and perform – so it seemed the ideal name,” says Nick.
“After that first concert, the group has done lots of other performances in local pubs and small festivals local to Caistor and they’ve had a really good response.
“They have a one-hour set which contains traditional folk music, mostly connected to Lincolnshire, as up in the north of the county a lot of the old songs were collected here, but more recently they’ve started writing their own pieces too.”
The song which won the band its award – ‘Sean Mumby’s Dancing Feet’ – was written by Nick and arranged by the members of the group. It is based on the history of an Irish family which came over to Caistor from County Mayo following World War II.
Eight siblings settled in the town, forging links within the community where many of them still live, with the title dedicated to one in particular, Sean Mumby – who was renowned as an exceptional Irish dancer.
“We’re very proud of everything Salutation has achieved in such a short space of time,” added Nick, “the band has been in the recording studio and worked incredibly hard and now they just want to be able to perform more concerts and play to as many people as possible.
“It is hard, especially since a couple of them are away at school now, and that’s when Pearl steps in to perform sometimes.
“The coming year is going to be an exciting one – they want to record some more songs, write some of their own and to play as many concerts as possible.
“And in the longer term it’s all about enjoying their music and keeping it in their lives.”
To find out more about Salutation or to make a booking inquiry visit the group’s Facebook page @Salutation.Band or email Nick at firstname.lastname@example.org