The Cults Percussion Ensemble must have one of the best group names of all time. To many it will immediately come across as something sinister, a touch spooky and possibly a bit dramatic too. They are certainly two of those but the use of the word “Cults” here is easily misinterpreted. Cults, in this case, is the suburb of Aberdeen. I’m going there next week in fact, with a strange costume.
This is the only album by the group. Assembled by percussion teacher Ron Forbes in 1976, the average age of the students was just 14. They came from a few of the schools in the area, including the Cults Academy, Ellon Academy, Aboyne Academy, Inverurie Academy and Powis.
My copy of the album came from Spitalfields market in London. I loved the music the second it started, because it reminded me of Carl Orff and peculiar library. So I started to investigate it further, and eventually, thanks to the highly tuned world of percussion, was given the address of Ron Forbes. I got in touch with him and now we have this, a formal release of something quite lovely that was only previously available very briefly in 1979 at concerts when the young girls performed.
Over the years the original privately pressed album has achieved a little notoriety, not just because of the very beautiful music, but also because of the notable presence of one future star, but more of that later on.
In that last paragraph I say “little notoriety”, but when I investigated the album, there was scant information about anywhere. Nothing on line, and very few people had even heard of it. It seemed very much below the musical radar of just about everyone. However three people I knew of had come across it: one was a record dealer from France and I realized that the LP had been taken to France by the ensemble when they played there. The other two – 1) Mr Young from the very fine Sound Awareness blog and 2) the well respected music geek Andrew Symington, are both from Scotland. Yes, of course they are. So I got Andrew to write a few words, which freaked him out a bit, but then he got on with it. He even went and found some pictures. I also asked Ron Forbes if he had any recollections and he wrote a short piece for the sleevenotes too.