Tina Bridgman is a guitarist and singer/songwriter from the UK. Her website is www.tinabridgman.com. Her latest album is Halcyon Breeze.
*Note: Tina is not related to Nicholas Bridgman
N.B.: What is the biggest limitation of only having one hand, and how do you overcome that in your playing?
T.B.: The only thing I still have an issue with is doing up laces! So now I do not buy anything that involves laces! Problem solved. In terms of playing the guitar, the biggest limitation is not being able to play standard chords. However, I now play in open tunings and use the capo for change of key.
What do you have to do differently to play the guitar without a left hand? Are there certain techniques that enable you to still produce a full sound?
I play in an open tuning and hold down the first 2/3 strings with the end of my arm on different frets. This essentially gives me access to various chords. Also I try to make the most of dynamics within rhythm patterns, picking styles/ strumming with my right hand.
In a strange way, losing a hand is almost a blessing in disguise, because it gives you a story that people can connect to and be inspired by. You would not choose to lose a hand, but since you have, do you make the best of what you have been dealt?
I would like to think I do. I feel very lucky that I found a way to play again and appreciate music much more than I did before.
You have a calming yet energetic, folk, singer/ songwriter sound. What inspires you to write your lyrics and come up with the harmonies you use?
I am very influenced by the natural environment and in particular the sea. I have lived most of my life by the sea and I like to use metaphors as a way to explore different perspectives. I have been moved by our human condition and where we have got to as a race, with all our intelligence. All the songs have different threads but I guess the underlying theme that I explore is about our connection, with ourselves, with each other, with our communities and our deep nature connection. I hear the harmonies once I have put down/recorded the main line and rarely before. It is hard to explain what actually inspires the harmonies I use except once I hear back the main line then the rest starts to evolve.
Your songs are often very meditative, taking listeners to a quiet, peaceful, reflective place. Do you aim to write with these goals in mind, to produce in listeners a state of meditation?
No not really, it is not really an aim but just what I’m inspired to write. Again, I’m inspired by nature and find such a great peace here that I guess that is what comes through.
Do you have formal music training, such as lessons or college?
Not really, although I played Clarinet when I was young and was in an orchestra.
Do you play any other instruments besides guitar and voice?
I play the Irish drum, the Bodran and like to tinkle on a piano although I would not call me a pianist!
Do you write music at your guitar or a keyboard, or are you able to just hear the harmonies while writing away from an instrument?
Every song is different. Sometimes I hear the melody/ words first then create the guitar part. Other times I have a guitar part and find a melody. I love choirs and so play around with recording just vocals and layering it up.
Have you published any sheet music for people to be able to play your songs?
No I haven’t. This is something I would love to have done. I’ll put in the ’to do’ basket!
Do you make it a point to perform for people with various kinds of disabilities in the community?
I like to play for people from all areas of community and not just for those with different physical abilities. I have done a lot of street performance. Here I get direct connection with people. I have learnt from this that we all have stories we learn to live with, some are visibly obvious and some are not. In this sense we are all the same and we all need connection. Music is a language that everyone can relate to.
Do you find teaching to be an rewarding way of using your talent and experience?
Absolutely. I feel honoured to share what I can but also I feel I am the student. Every person that I have worked with offers me the opportunity to find different ways to help them develop their own musicality whether it is on guitar or voice or performance.
Do you have any upcoming albums or projects you would like to promote?
Not yet! My latest album ‘Halcyon Breeze’ was released last November and is still finding its way in the world.
Some samples of Tina's music: