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Bi Beo Songwriting Documentary

Bi Beò voiceover script


Kevin De Las Casas and James McLetchie, both resident in North Uist, write and perform songs with their group “Bi Beò”. The documentary follows the song creation process from initial ideas round a kitchen table through musical arrangement to studio recording.


This is the home of Kevin De Las Casas, in Houghary on the west side of North Uist.


Originally from London, where he ran a professional recording studio, Kevin is now settled here with his family.


He still has an interest in music, and has started writing songs with James MacLetchie, who lives nearby, in Sollas.


Very often the ideas for new songs happen in the kitchen.


Kevin might develop some musical ideas on his guitar, to which James would add some words.


At other times James might think of some words or phrases that go well together, and perhaps have a rough idea of a tune.


If they like an idea the next stage is to develop it into a song that can be performed or recorded.


This takes serious work, and is better done in another room with fewer distractions.


One song they both like is called “Na Seann Daoine” – “The Old Folk”. They want to develop it for performance or recording with their group “Bi Beò”.


They have to practise the words and the music, and discuss and agree the instrumental arrangement.


At Liniclate in Benbecula, the neighbouring island, there is a recording studio in the local college building.


Arriving early to set things up, Kevin and James tune up as they wait for the drummer, Paul Maclean, to arrive.


The recording progresses in a series of stages.


Firstly, a guide track is recorded with just drums and guitar.


This will form the base to which voices and more instruments are added.


The second stage is to re-record the rhythm guitar.


Then a preliminary vocal track is recorded – again as a guide.


Following that, more instruments are added, layer by layer, including keyboard, and other instruments.


Over the next couple of hours more instrumental and vocal recordings are made and added to the mix.


Kevin decides where to place each instrument in the final recording.


The computer shows where each instrument comes in.


After three hours work in the studio, the basic work is done.


Although a lot more would need to be done to perfect the recording, Bi Beò’s first CD has just been produced.


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