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Moray musician helps bring magical kids' storybook album to life


By Alan Beresford

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A LOCAL musician has lent his talents to help bring an educational children’s storybook to life.

Findochty musician Ron Jappy has lent his talents to a new children's audiobook.
Findochty musician Ron Jappy has lent his talents to a new children's audiobook.

The book, Mr Goose – Risk and Reward, originally created and written by an Ayrshire business consultant in lockdown for his own children, tells the story of a loveable character called Mr Goose and teaches little ones the importance of taking risks and developing personal resilience.

Lending his talents to the musical score accompanying the story is Ron Jappy, who originally hails from Findochty but is now based in Glasgow.

The book was beautifully illustrated by local artist Louise McBride capturing the local environment and bringing the characters to life. It is also accompanied by a host of educational resources and its teaching was piloted at Doonfoot Primary in South Ayrshire earlier this year before being rolled out to schools across Ayrshire.

Mr Goose creators (from left) Louise McBride, Grant Kennedy and Craig Epsie.
Mr Goose creators (from left) Louise McBride, Grant Kennedy and Craig Epsie.

Its creator, Grant Kennedy, decided to team up with composer and musician Craig Espie of Skerryvore to bring the story to life in musical form.

He set about creating an instrumental song for each individual character in the book and this quickly formed the basis of the album and audiobook. followed, which is where Mr Jappy and his colleagues came into the picture.

Mr Jappy said: "This is actually the first time I've worked on an audiobook and it as a really enjoyable experience.

"The musicians I was working with are some of the best in Scotland.

"My involvement came off the back of my new album, really. I've played with Craig [Espie] and Skerryvore many times before and he got in touch and asked if I'd be interested in working on the accompaniment side of the audiobook.

"It was a really great experience."

As the soundtrack was recorded in February, Covid restrictions in force at the time ment the Mr Jappy and his fellow contributors had to record their pieces individually before they were all blended together to form the finished article. Mr Jappy's input took a couple of days to complete.

He currently has debut album, Vincular, out as well as a live single, and is being kept very busy by both his teaching and gigging commitments.

Mr Jappy added: "There's been a lot of positive feedback about the album and live single, there's a lot of buzz about them both."

The album features some of the best traditional artists in Scotland – Craig Espie on fiddle is Mr Goose, Scott Wood on bagpipes takes on the guise of Captain Drake, while his whistle playing represents Fudge the Dog.

Acclaimed guitarist Anna Massie is Foxy, while Trail West’s Ian Smith on accordion is Madame Heron, Ciaran Ryan on banjo encapsulates the sound of Ned the Horse and celebrated instrumentalist Innes White on mandolin represents the Little Mouse.

Elsewhere Talisk’s Mohsen Amini on concertina is Hector Hawk, Sarah MacNeil on clarsach is the swans, RURA’s David Foley on flute captures the sound of Ms Kingfisher.

Celebrated instrumentalists can also be heard on the album providing accompaniment including Mr Jappy on acoustic guitar and keys, Martin O’Neil on bodhran and percussion, double bassist James Lindsay on double bass and David Dunsmuir on electric guitar.

Fife singer songwriter Cameron Barnes takes centre stage with his powerful vocals in Risk and Reward – the rousing closing track which brings all the musicians together to celebrate the book’s overall message.

BBC Radio Scotland broadcaster and fellow musician Gary Innes stepped up to narrate the audiobook.

The book centres around Mr Goose’s adventures at the River Doon in Ayrshire, the different characters he meets along the way, and their approach to taking risks in order to succeed.

Mr Goose features a whole host of top Scottish musicians.
Mr Goose features a whole host of top Scottish musicians.

Mr Kennedy said: “Mr Goose was inspired by the different animals my children and I would see whilst out on walks in our local area.

"I started to think about my everyday work in corporate risk and how this could be relevant to youngsters. I quickly realised that these valuable lessons could be applied and taught in a school environment and Mr Goose was a fun way of telling that tale.

“After a few conversations with Craig, it became clear how much potential Mr Goose had to grow beyond an educational storybook and into an audio-visual experience that children and adults alike can enjoy. All of the materials provide kids with a fun and interactive way to learn important skills and I hope it will allow Mr Goose to reach a bigger audience than ever before.”

The Mr Goose – Risk and Reward album and audio book were supported by funding from Creative Scotland.

The book is available now to buy on Amazon. The album is available to stream and download on all major digital platforms including iTunes and Spotify and is available as an audiobook on Audible.

For more information visit http://www.mrgooseonline.com


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