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Sometimes I wonder what drives us, as artists and creators.  A lot of the time actually.  Sometimes I feel driven, and at other improved times I catch myself and remember that all I have to do is allow the music to happen, no judgement, no fear.  I heard this today on the Abraham Hicks u tube channel (anyone else into this great stuff?) 'We are here to experience Outrageous Joy'.  

What?  thats outrageous . . ! Yet when I'm on the thread of a new piece of music, and Im in love with it and can't wait to get into the studio to do more of it and just thinking about brings me outrageous joy - then I start to agree . . So this week I'm happy to be sharing with you the latest version of my dark and moody,  work in progress . .(getting brighter actually!) .  .now entitled 'For there is Much to Dare' - (thanks for all the helpful suggestions!)  Making this makes me joyful.  Also there's nothing like having to finish something!. I had the honour to play this at a new night curated by Turan Webb and Elspeth Merry called Work in Progress  https://www.facebook.com/discoverturan/videos/1969005873113618/

Other joy this week was watching my beautiful daughters AYA perform to a packed 2000 seater auditorium at Shepherd's Bush last Friday, supporting Lamb.   Doing what they love, and doing it so so well - despite both of them either recovering from or getting flu!   Amazing- my heart was/is full. Check them out!  https://open.spotify.com/album/0Q0tkxoRGXmYHuTktUJ32i?si=4SIuZfZBS12Hm-IA-enCVw i

Wishing all a joyful week.

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Ive been luxuriating in the release of any pressing need to rehearse this week - and getting back into making up the tunes which is I have to admit where my heart lies.  You could either call it luxuriating, or obsessing . . I will choose the former.  Whichever, I am pleased as I have an actual result, that I am happy to be sharing with you this week.  

For those interested in my process, the initial spark for this piece was some chords that my dear friend and often collaborator Lewis Barham came up with during a jam we had in September.  What we played together was nice, but for once I wanted to see if I could take things further so Ive been arranging and re arranging and adding and subtracting and have of course ended up with an entirely new piece.  I've been living with all the demons, and am proud that this time I have heard them but not listened, and forged on with it despite their clamour.  I've been assisted by incredibly helpful encouragement from composer Lubomyr Melnyk, who seems to have kindly become my unofficial mentor.  How lucky I am.  

So dear listener this tune represents something of a personal triumph!  I seem to be stuck for a title though.  I've been through a gamut of them.  Any suggestions please message me! 

And may you also have a triumphant week.  (I'm thinking of learning the trumpet as I feel that is the instrument best suited to honour these occasions!)

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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!

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

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