This almost-a-song was written to play at a conference I helped organise on the theme of ‘keeping sight of delight’, with a fantastic accidental band made up of cajon, flute, ukulele and rainstick, as well as a narrated list of each person’s private delight (sadly not included herein)…
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Into the Cloud Forest
This winter I’ve been having the best of times playing music and playing with the people who come to see the new Otherworld show ‘Cloud Forest’.
Here’s a piece I was asked to make that greets visitors as they first enter the forest:
And here’s a demo of a song I get to sing as everyone climbs out of the hot air balloon and heads ‘home’:
Into the musical woods
These pages have been a little quiet of late, mostly because as I’ve moved to mid-Devon and am helping to set up a resource in part for conscious music-making. It’s an old mill with plenty of space inside and outside for singing, plotting, mulling, gardening or lonely-as-a-clouding.
In 2016 we plan to build a space specifically designed for singing workshops, as well as multifarious other uses; until then, there’s a Moroccan marquee and a big central room whose acoustic is, well, tasty. So if you’re on the lookout for a social movement-friendly space at very reasonable rates (or a nice place for a fancy do, at a slightly less reasonable rate, to subsidise the world changing stuff), please get in touch.
Songlines presents ‘Trails…’
The life aquatic (& melodic)
It’s time for another season of Otherworld, this time with us venturing Beneath the Waves, with me getting the chance to do my best impersonations of a manta ray, a jellyfish and a manta ray, as well as the usual messing about on ukelele, melodica and harmonica, with the odd rewritten shanty thrown in, with my musical partner in aquatic melodic merriment, Pete Mona. It’s quite something to be able to have so much fun being part of a project that brings a little light into lives that must be really hard at times.
I made some pieces to work as background before and during the show. Here’s one of them:
Get Behind the Grassroots…and the name game
There’s a new band brewing, and it’s debuting at Get Behind the Grassroots…with the name still being decided, as of Jan 15th!
PS. We came up with a name (2 days before the gig): Dusk Assembly Continue reading
Carols Not Barrels for Rembrandt, (21.12.14)
I’m in two or three minds about having rewritten carols in our conscious choiring toolbox, partly because they’re so hard to reimagine successfully (my attempt didn’t make the cut – too clever by half!), and also because without harmonies they’re not that satisfying to sing (and sing again!) Having said that, there were some nifty couplets at play in our mostly homemade trove, for example:
‘Oh rest ye merry gentlemen, let nothing you dismay
The poor folk face austerity, while you are making hay
With profits high and usury the order of the day
For the rich there is comfort and joy, comfort and joy
But there’s little left for those that you employ’ Continue reading
‘Send down roots or carry them with you’ – The Travelling People 2014
First off, here’s the film about the project from Rikki:
It was back in the spring of 2013 that I was sitting in the Special Collections room in Goldsmiths College library, immersed in what was once the library of Peggy Seeger and Ewan MacColl, and discovered that their brilliant and still-resonant radio ballad The Travelling People was broadcast on April 17th 1964. Since that made it 10 days younger than me, it didn’t take too much calculation to work it would be 50 the following year… Continue reading
Liberation Cabaret, 8th November 2014
‘Rembrandt’s spirit is too strong for Shell!’
It’s such a dispiriting moment, when you see the creeping hand of commodification land on something you love, which has kept you company over the years and been a source of inspiration, and of comfort in dark times. It was like this when Bowie licensed ‘Heroes’ to various corporations with a terrible, careless disregard for the many people for whom it meant so much. And now Rembrandt. Here is a painter whose gentle, compassionate grasp of the human condition has made him the artist I take solace in more than any other. And now the National Gallery and Shell have attempted to corrupt his beautiful soul, but…