Snapshots of Moments in Songs: Abby Green(Interview)

Abby Green takes us into the the recording adventure she undertook for the second album “Fig for a Kiss”. She explains to us the joys and hardships that came into fruition as the album was finally completed. But this was without the “frustration and gnashing of teeth”– things that happen when you want something best to be put out.

Abby Green - Trillium 5-course Irish Cittern / Bouzouki & voice*  EJ Jones - Scottish Smallpipes, Flute, Borders Pipes * Michelle Levy - Fiddle * Cayla Cardiff - harmony vocals * Ceridwyn Mizera - harmony vocals * Randy Miller - Mixing, mastering *  Cecily Johnson - Photography
Abby Green - Trillium 5-course Irish Cittern / Bouzouki & voice* EJ Jones - Scottish Smallpipes, Flute, Borders Pipes * Michelle Levy - Fiddle * Cayla Cardiff - harmony vocals * Ceridwyn Mizera - harmony vocals * Randy Miller - Mixing, mastering * Cecily Johnson - Photography

Such a joy when a postman delivered this wonderful CD  to me.Though, I had to wait a while  since I live on the other side of the globe. But music transcends borders. The album cover is grass green. Just like the over all atmosphere of the album. There is  that dominant organic feel to it. Her first album Éiníní already received praises.

What inspired you to put up the Fig For A Kiss Album?

A recording project is a way a musician can take a snapshot of your musical growth, love, experiences. As long as I am collecting songs, performing, learning from other musicians, I will be inspired to do another recording project. These are the 10 of the many songs I have loved, learned and developed over the last few years.

What’s it like working on the tracks?

The hard part about recording is that it’s forever. The snapshot part I said before is both good and bad… well exciting and scary. I love this music, it’s exciting to record it and be able to share it. The scary part is that it’s forever. Did I sing my best? Did I arrange the song in a way that tells the story with the rise of conflict and resolution? There are so many things to think about and consider. I want each track to be enjoyable, unique, and representative of my abilities and love. There is much frustration and gnashing of teeth in the process, but in the end, I admit that I actually really like my CD! So the reward is a project I can be proud to present.

I agree with what you said about recording as ‘forever’ because it is there for life. Do you consider yourself as a perfectionist?

I want it to be the best I can do right now… Sometimes it’s hard to capture the best performance when you have the mic on and a studio full of sound technicians. When it comes to editing, though, I find that I want the overall FEEL of the track to be a certain way, but the specific solos and scientific precision doesn’t interest me so much. In fact, the slight imperfections make music real. For me, music is all about feeling.

What are the valuable lessons you learned working with this kind of project?

I learned that I have some amazingly talented and creative friends. I already knew that, but they made it quite obvious with the way they played and sang and added to the songs on this CD.

Who are the musicians you dreamed of working on future projects?

I don’t dream of anyone specific, just the people who share my musical loves and desire to learn and share music. I always look forward to meeting more people who fit that description.

Tell us about the instruments( mandolin and cittern) you always use and what made you choose them.

I play a Davy Stuart octave mandolin named Molly, and I play a Trillium Irish cittern named Trixie. I started learning to play(cittern) this type of instrument because I love tunes AND songs. This instrument has a low enough range that it is nice to accompany singing, and because it is tuned like a mandolin or violin, I can work toward playing tunes – the tuning works well under the fingers theoretically.

Your great voice simply belongs to Gaelic tracks of your album. I will cite Trua Gan Peata. You sound like someone whose Gaelic is her first language. I do know that it is not. How did you cultivate this?

First, I believe non-native speakers or learners of any language should respect the language and tradition they are tackling. Take the time to learn even a little. I went to classes to learn Irish for a couple of years….. that’s not a long time, but it was enough time to at least give me some knowledge to start with AND to make contacts with teachers across the globe. Now, I approach each song with the lyrics written in front of me, a recording or a native Irish speaker, and access to teachers who will help me put a few pieces together. Second, you have to be willing to let go of the fear of butchering the language. If you fear it, you will mess it up. I teach mini workshops where non-speakers can learn a song or two. The hardest part is letting go of the idea that you will offend an Irish person if your Irish is a bit off. I think most Irish think it’s flattering that their language is so special that there are people willing to take the time and just try it. The songs will die if everyone is afraid to try them. Try it, you don’t have to go into a recording studio next week, just try it, enjoy it, appreciate the language for its uniqueness, and sing!

Molly Ban is such a tragic song. How did it find its way into the list?

A friend recommended that I listen to the Chieftains and Alison Krauss version of Molly Ban. There are recordings on YouTube. It’s been on my list of songs to work on for years and now I play it regularly even at my most lively shows.

What are the songs in this album that you can consider close to your heart?

They all really really are. Between the work that my fellow musician friends added and the time and energy it took to make each one something worth hearing, they are all very special… most of them so much so that I still cry to hear them. Even down to the album photography. It honors me so much to be surrounded by such talented people.

I love pipe music and Ae fond Kiss has a lovely one. Was this decision to include that an accidental one or was this intended?

Definitely(intended). That song was always going to have pipes. Some tracks, the ideas would change along the way, but that one was always planned to have pipes.

Amazing answers Abby. Last words?

Last words? Hahaha. I love what I do – I love the travel and the meeting people, sharing music with all sorts of musicians and listeners. I love learning and growing through my work with others. Traditional music is all about learning from others and being willing to pass it on. We miss out on that idea with all of our computers and TVs and iPods. I highly recommend going out and singing, playing, learning something new… or at least participate by being in the audience.

learn more here:

Buy her albums here:


3 Replies to “Snapshots of Moments in Songs: Abby Green(Interview)”

  1. The ladies of the Celtic music scene always amaze me. They’re so dedicated and really love what they do! From Moya Brennan to Cara Dillion there’s a lot of good music out there. I’m so glad Abby is adding her wonderful new voice to the mix too. Great article, Bax!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s