Apple Day album

Clyde and Avon Valley fruit heritage turned into song

- Billy Stewart, Lanarkshire Songwriters

Apple Day is an album written by the Lanarkshire Songwriters and three local schools, Underbank Primary Schol, Kirkfieldbank Primary School and Overtown Primary School in 2016. The album was created as part of the Fruits of their Labours project which explored the horticultural and fruit growing history of the area with the children before writing songs based on their findings.

Each school worked with established Songwriters to create songs about the Fruit Growing and Horticultural Industry of the Clyde Valley. John Malcolm and Frank Rae worked with Kirkfieldbank Primary School, Ian Walker and John Weatherby worked with Underbank Primary School and Alan Jones and I worked with Overtown Primary School. The children were all very enthusiastic as were the staff in all of the schools. It was a great atmosphere to work in and the results are here on this wonderful CD.

Each school used the social history around them in their communities to create a diverse CD of songs. The result is an album of ten songs telling the story of the Clyde Valley through the eyes of young people who never had the chance to see the splendour of the Fruit Growing and Horticulture of the Clyde Valley.

For most of the Songwriters this was also a voyage of discovery as they had to research the history of the area to be able to help in the writing of these songs. It was a great addition to the Fruits Of Their Labours project and all the schools involved were extremely enthusiastic. This included all the teaching staff involved and the Head Teachers. Listen to the whole playlist by clicking the play button on the YouTube video below, or select songs from within the playlist by clicking the icon in the top left of the video frame.

Each of the songwriters had to find a way to inspire the children to write the songs. They had to be able to create pictures in the minds of the children like an artist paints on canvas. A great example of that was Lest We Forget a song from Underbank Primary. Ian Walker stopped to look at the War Memorial in Crossford and it struck him that the red of the strawberry married with the red of the poppy. He took this idea back to the class and the song was born.

John Malcolm used a different tack in creating 54321 with Kirkfieldbank Primary. John used the idea of having your five a day and used the produce from the Clyde Valley as the basis for the song. Frank Rae drew upon the apple pressing from the Orchard Group to inspire Apple Juice.

I used my local knowledge for Gateway To The Clyde. Many of the Overtown Primary pupils did not know any of the history surrounding the names of local houses. These included children who actually lived in some of the houses. The children then include the names of what used to be nurseries and orchards into the song along with the names of people who lived and worked on them.  To purify the soil a boiler was brought in each year by growers. This involved back breaking work digging pipes into the soil and steaming it. Alan Jones inspired the children to write this fun song The day the biler blew about what would happen if the boiler was not attended to properly…. it would blow up.

The project was funded by Heritage Lottery Fund supported Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership (CAVLP) and Renewable Energy Fund as managed by South Lanarkshire Council.


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