It’s beginning to feel a bit like Christmas. Our tree has been up since 1st December. The lights have gone up around the house, the Christmas CD has gone on and the Christmas sheet music has been dusted off. This year my wife and I have decided to do all our shopping in local shops. We don’t tend to spend huge amounts at Christmas, but we always like to buy a few presents to open. I have made a start on buying presents. If you are also thinking about presents then I can definitely recommend The Almanac – A seasonal Guide to 2019 by Lia Leendertz.
Here’s what the publisher says about it:
“Lia’s new book is The Almanac: a Seasonal Guide to 2019, the follow up to her bestselling 2018 edition, which revitalized the almanac tradition for a new audience. It partly follows the pattern of the old rural almanac – sunrise and sunset tables for the whole year, tide timetables, moon phases and information on the sky at night – but also features seasonal recipes, folk stories and songs, a peek inside the beehive each month, a seasonal cheese of the month, and the names of each month in all of the languages of the British Isles. It is a celebration of the British year, and of 2019 in particular.”
Last year’s Almanac was hugely successful. I’m sure you saw it, you probably bought a copy. If you didn’t then you missed out on a real treat. But don’t worry you need not miss out on it again, as there’s a new one for next year. Why am I telling you this? Well I actually feature in this year’s book!
Earlier in the year Lia reached out to me to ask If I could help her with music for the 2019 edition. She really wanted to include some traditional folk tunes in the new book but needed someone to arrange and transcribe 12 tunes. I am not one of the world’s greatest musical arrangers, but I do know my way around Musescore so was happy to help out. Because of copyright reasons there were quite a few tunes that we were not able to feature, but in the end I think we got a really nice mix of traditional tunes. Each one themed to link in with the month in question. So there are song’s like; “A Rose in June”, “Soul Cake” for October, and “Tomorrow is St Valentine’s Day” for February.
Some of the tunes were a simple transcription of music that Lia had, whereas for most of them I had to come up with my own arrangement by listening to many different versions of it. This was simple enough for some, but really tricky for others. In fact due to our house move in April I get very close to Lia’s deadline on the last one and needed help from my old piano teacher. I also got her to sanity check my formatting as this is the first time I’ve ever done anything like this before.
We tried to make the music simple enough for a relative beginner to play on either a recorder, violin or even to sing. And Lia has recorded a version of her singing the tunes on Audible.
Despite it taking a lot longer than I thought it would (mostly due to my own slowness in making the arrangements) it was great fun. I’m really glad to have been involved in such a lovely book. It’s not the first time I’ve had something published (my wife’s two books feature some of my photos), but it’s the first time I have done anything like this. At the end of the process Lia was going to assign the copyright of the music to me, but I thought that it could complicate matters for her for reprint’s or extracts etc. So I just told her to keep all the text copyright, which as I say makes thing’s simpler for her, plus she did come up with some of the sheets, and also I did get a bit of help anyway. I got a nice acknowledgement at the end. And I have always thought if you can help someone, then you should. Plus I try to live my life as much as possible saying yes. You never know what may come of it.
Anyway there’s still time to get lots of copies of the book as presents either for yourself or your loved ones. You won’t be disapointed.