The Snape experience

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The Snape experience

We did it!  And we want to do it again!  So wonderful to play in this fabulous space, the Jerwood Studio in Snape Maltings. The acoustics are just exactly right, and for me the best thing was the Steinway.

I was a bit apprehensive about the piano as I have found them a bit heavy and 'clangy'  in the past.  But this beauty was none of those things. . in fact I want one!  We really want the whole room as our permanent studio please Universe.  Just putting it out there . . .

Because there was so much tech involved – things like getting a banana tree in San Pablo Brazil to synchronise with Matthew’s laptop and trigger sounds in Ableton for us to jam to live! – we had a couple of days to set up and it felt like an installation.  Our favourite.

The next day out on the marshes with the Solar powered version was a treat too.  A dull but mostly dry day, with a strong wind blowing the birds across the sky . .   making music while watching the movement of the water and the reeds feeling the air on our faces . .. what better way to spend a Saturday. 

And some beautiful music emerged.  As it miraculously always does.  For which I give daily thanks!

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Practice makes perfect?

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This week I’ve been doing something called p r a c t i c i n g  (for my upcoming gigs at Flipside Festival)

Dictionary definition is ‘repeated performance or systematic exercise for the purpose of acquiring skill or proficiency’

All of which is deeply alien for me. Funny how we so resist some things and welcome others. What I love getting up to in my studio is making up new tunes, just a few notes will do if the magic is there, finding new amazing sounds… give me the new every time.  It’s almost like I enjoy getting swept up in the possibility of what this thing could become, more than actually bringing it into reality. In my mind the beauty of it is already there, done. But I guess it’s kind of living in the dream rather than making living the dream a fact. This is what’s so good about working with others, it forces me to practice, learn and perfect in actual real time!

And I’m sure it’s good for me – and strangely this week I have actually derived some sort of enjoyment, satisfaction let’s say, from the exercise. Undisciplined… that’s always been me

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the back story . .

1973 . . 

1973 . . 

My family were definitely not artists--nobody I knew was an artist, and as a child I tried everything not to be this weird person that I am.  Although we descended from the 18th century romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (as wildly weird and creative as they come) somehow that wildness got lost, and my parents did not encourage signs of individual creativity in their offspring.

  Growing up in rural Gloucestershire, I studied (and loved) classical piano, but was always more interested in composition and songwriting.  At age 12 I found a beautiful grey Grundig reel-to-reel tape recorder in an Oxfam shop - this opened the door to a new world- I could hear what I sounded like! This process has fascinated me ever since.  At 16, I can remember listening to pirate radio late at night, when I started to hear music by Pink Floyd, King Crimson and Bob Dylan-- and discovered there was more to music than Chopin and Mozart. This revelation inflamed a growing rebellion against formal education, classical music and all grown-ups.

  Leaving my unhappy relationship with school at 16, I had no idea what to do. Music school at that point was primarily for classical musicians, and by then I had taken violently against any more studying.  Instead, I made my way to London and discovered Flower Power and all that went with it in the early 1970s. Open-mouthed we heard about Woodstock, went to the first ever Glastonbury festival, Knebworth in 1974, and encountered sounds that were entirely new, thrilling, and most definitely not Mozart.

  Shortly after, I rather randomly got 'discovered' as a fashion model, something that supported me for the next ten years - making music getting sidelined in the mayhem. Later I  got married (and divorced), had babies (the best!) and found myself restoring a 12th-century monastery in a remote part of Suffolk where I now run an event business – and, at last, make music.

  Recently, I created a studio from an old shed in my garden, and have given into music.  Given in to the whole other world of it, becoming weird and internal, becoming someone who doesn’t care so much about being weird, becoming ecstatically divinely happy / tormented / confused / despairing / blissful.  I even went and got myself a music degree 6 years ago--an only partially successful attempt to somehow regularise my position to myself. To make it seem more normal.  I’m not so bothered about that any more... just to have the time and space to create music seems to me the biggest luxury in the world and I thank the Universe nightly for this privilege. To share it with you as well is to me like a miracle. I hope you enjoy listening.

 

“All art is prayer.” Tarkovsky

 

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