Jo’s Mtb Tunes is my composition and video-making project, supported by funding from Creative Scotland and The Hope Scott Trust.
The project is a development of something I’ve been having fun with for a while in my off-duty time – fanfaring the start of a mountain bike ride with friends by playing a folk tune associated with the location. So, while everyone is pumping up their tyres in the car park, I grab my clarinet and play the Loch Torridon Reel, the Rothiemurchas Rant, or the Drunken Wives of Fochabers. If I can’t find a tune about the place, I make one up. It functions as a sort of blessing of the ride, and I particularly like to try and select a tune that seems to express the qualities of the landscape ahead – whether fast and scuttery, risky with unexpected turns, or brooding and melancholy, layered with old sadnesses.
I never imagined it as a formalised arts project, but then someone else did – so here is a series of six short videos, showing a progression from the original activity – a straight up clarinetting of a traditional fiddle tune in its title location – through to my own, increasingly multi-layered compositions.