Saturday, 25 August 2012

Chasing the Unicorn




 
 

 
 
 
As you know, I have been going through all my material, stories, song sketches, music and films, over the last week.
 
This track Chasing the Unicorn is one of the songs that hasn't made the cut, it just doesn't fit into the production. I was in the studio working on the other songs and this one popped out. I do quite like it so rather than shelve it, I thought I would share it with you here ...
 
Please feel free to share Chasing the Unicorn on facebook etc with your friends :)
 
 

Thursday, 23 August 2012

First full song draft!


 
 
 
 
 


Am in the studio today putting together the first full song draft! It's very exciting indeed! Listening back to my work as all the pieces become whole.  A whole collection of song, film, story, poetry and music about my beautiful West Wales Coastline, past, present and future.
 
It's not really a jigsaw puzzle because  there is no 'picture on the box lid' to follow: I am creating the picture as things come together and it feels like complete freedom! This is where I belong ... re-finding my own  creative world. It's quite emotional to be honest.
 
I am lost in holding the space for Celtic Womenfest 2012 at the moment where I am Creative Director of Wales' Biggest Ever all women festival line up this Bank Holiday http://celticwomenfest.blogspot.co.uk/ ... but this time out focussing on my own work is like a havern ... it reminds me why I create the space for others ... so that they can feel this freedom too.
 
 
 
 

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Editing Editing & More Editing!





I love being in the studio with an engineer writing and recording, adding quirky sounds and environmental landscape to the music. I love putting all the films together ... but this week I have started the process of serious editing!

I work from the premise that having too much and then cutting down is better than feeling that you don't have enough material but it is a long drawn out task mixing and editing.

It's not as straight forward as it may seem. When you paint a canvass you don't just plonk the paint on and hope for the best. You mark out perspective, look for subtle reference, as well as fore front images and creating music is very similar to this. If all the instruments were in exactly the same place they would occupy the same frequency and you may not hear them in their full right.

Having the time to edit my own work in this way is an absolute gift! I never usually have enough time to spend on my own songs, composition and film because I am too busy holding the space for others to create, which is a very beautiful thing in itself, but I have to tell you, having this Individual Mainline Grant gives me the time to experiment and listen back to my work, which is an absolute blessing.

Instead of 'making do' I can re-do because I have the time to do that!

Thank you to The Arts Council of Wales for my Individual Mainline Grant and giving me the space to be as refelctive and caring about my own work as I am that of others.


                




Only down side is that I get so engrossed in the studio that I lose literally hours at a time, forgetting to eat, sleep and all other bodily functions! lol!

Many thanks to Sound Engineer Jeff Beer for his fabulous technical skills and unfaltering patience.


Thursday, 16 August 2012

African drums & Street Dance at Arthur's Stone




The universe threw up a new opportunity for my Dance and Drumming Film Shoot
at Arthur's Stone, Gowerton.

Martin Kurina from DCC Street Dance stepped in due to a cancellation. Bless him! He looked so dapper in his 1940's Fisherman outfit.






Martin represents the main character Dafydd in the shoot for my Fusion Inspire filmscape.

In the production at this point, Dafydd has caught the Steam Train and found himself at Arthur's Stone in Gowerton. He has just left the children of the ribbons at The Wind Farm as part of his quest to find the key to his memories and has been told  to find himself ...
stuck between a rock and a hard place



 

Arthur's Stone has so many myths and legends
attached to it and I have written a song to encapsulate all them. One of these tales is that women over the centuries have brought cake to the stone and circled it, on their knees, 3 times. By so doing their lovers will marry them. 

ENTER: TARAN!!

Taran are led by Patricia Mc Kenna from Swansea and are an awesome percussion band. The band represent the women coming back to the rocks and demanding their cake back as they are unhappy with the marriages that the rock landed them in!

I am taking an old folk story and adding to it, the politic of today.






It really was quite magical to film Martin street dancing through improvisation to the beats of Taran. On a rainy day the Sun Goddess blessed us with 2 hours of sunshine.



 Just enough time to get the filming wrapped up!



 Before Taran climbed back into their
Rhythm Machine until next time!
Many thanks to everyone for an absolutely stunning experience ...


You can catch Taran performing at Celtic Womenfest 2012 at The National Botanic Garden of Wales on Sunday 26th August at @ 6.00pm

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Another 12 hour stint in the studio!


Another glorious day in the studio!
I was so engrossed in it that I didn't realise Maisy the puppy was trying to play the Djembe!




A 12 hour stint and we're still at it!



Jeff has laid down some bass for me today on the first 3 tunes which combine as a concept piece to open the production; includes the rhythm interpretation by Rachel Hargrave based on the sign language of my lyrics that I filmed with Maggie Hampton earlier this year.

I have also recorded the sea around the coast and have included it here .. so in the first section which is a pirate speak fisherman's song taken from the inspiration of Pembroke's Black Beard, I have mixed in the sea from that coastline ... then when the 2nd part moves to Cardigan Bay I have the Llangrannog sea recordings ...




That's Dai Collage in the back ground getting ready for Welsh translation duties! He's not far off ready to receive the welsh language recordings which I'll be starting once I have the translations back from Ceri Wyn Jones.


Saturday, 11 August 2012

12 hour stint in the studio

How utterly and deliciously gorgeous to have the time to be in the studio working out the songs for Fusion Inspire!



I started the day with a walk at the beach to clear my head and sat looking to the waves, writing my very long list of things that needed to be done.

Than headed back to the studio for a 12 hour stint! And that was just going through everything that I have sketched, recorded and edited. I recorded a few other links and backing vocals, instruments.

I now have to decide which musicians I need for the production itself, and for the film scores ...



It's funny how you can have a very clear vision in the start and then it becomes shaded and coloured by the events of the journey and having my grant from The Arts Council of Wales has meant that I can respond to this. Thank you :)






                                               











Friday, 10 August 2012

Afternoon Tea on The Gwili Train






What a fabulous day filming for Fusion Inspire with Ollie and his Dad, Rob.



I first met the pair at The Tin Shed Experience in Laugharne when they came to an earlier Fusion Inspire film shoot with me as part of
Swansea Ukulele Group.





They looked so beautiful on camera that I invited them to come to the Gwili Train so that I could film them taking afternoon tea ...




I will edit and use this footage with cuts from the film I made on my last Fusion Inspire visit to Gwili Steam Train, when I was kindly invited to film up front in the engine itself.




It is very moving to watch Rob & Ollie together, Father and son; touching. My heart almost melted watching them through the lense ...
and I wasn't the only one!




When I asked Ollie to put his arms around his Dad's neck and kiss him, all the women on the train taking afternoon tea Awww'd in chorus!





Neither Ollie nor his Dad are actors. In fact, it's the first time they have really done anything like this. But the pair responded to direction brilliantly.

When I asked Ollie to look sad, he looked sad, when I asked them to laugh their heads off, they did! I think maybe the very fact that they are not professional actors works totally in their favour. It is truly magical to be in their company and quite frankly, when it was time for them to leave, and Ollie said they were going to the Park to play, I kind of wished I was going with them!




I have so much inter-film editing to do now ... it's making me a bit edgey! I have stayed on top of editing the films individually, but it's linking them all together and finding a way to project them onto a back drop and deciding how to perform with them ... and and and .... keeps me awake at night!

Oh yes, and these last 3 photo's were taken by Ollie ...






Thank you Rob and Ollie for your kindness in coming for a gloriously sunny afternoon to be filmed eating scones!

Thank you to The Gwili Steam train who were so accomodating. What lovely people they are, and all volunteers.

Certainly, I can say hand on heart, that it is a fabulous experience having afternoon tea on a steam train. Actually, I think I may well call in again very soon ... thanks guys x


Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Thinking time ...




I will be spending some time this week thinking about the live performance of ...

Fusion Inspire: the dragon tree.

I have all the pieces pretty much sewn up. Just 2 more film shoots and I have been editing & recording like a good 'un ... but I need to think very carefully about how to fit it all together.
I am already beginning to fill with dread when I think about the live performance. This is something people know very little about with me. I suffer terribly with my nerves. When I'm in the middle of writing, I am happy as Larry but as soon as I think about performance, all the old demons come creeping in!
It's really hard to explain. No doubt my loved ones will say, what they usually say, 'Oh, it will be fine,' and yes, it usually is, but I get crippled by a feeling of inadequacy. I suppose I'm quite hard on myself, much harder than I would be with anyone else, and I know, as the time approaches, I will even question why I have repeatedly put myself in this position throughout my life!
Then afterwards, it's a buzz, a high, euphoria and all the stress and nerves seem a hundred miles away. Then I start the process all over again and repeatedly find myself in this position of 'Strewth-can-it-pull-this-off!'
So when I think it all through in these coming weeks, I want to structure the performance in such a way that I won't be wracked with nerves and biting a hole in my lip! The chewing has already started!
I suppose one way of dealing with it will be to focus on that euphoric feeling afterwards. I'm also asking myself where these feelings come from. And I think I know exactly where they started! I will re-visit this place and see if I can undo the pattern, or re-shape it. Will keep you posted on how it feels!

Any advice from people with similar experiences and how you have dealt with it, would be gratefully received!

Thanks friends :)

EXCITING NEWS ABOUT WELSH LANGUAGE LYRICS! HOT OFF THE PRESS!




                                                                                Ceri Wyn Jones

I am thrilled to write and tell you that my lyrics for the songs from Fusion Inspire are, at this moment, being translatted into Welsh by none other than Eisteddfod Crowned & Chaired Poet, Ceri Wyn Jones!

It was my Arts Council Superviser who had the idea. In our last meeting, Suzanne Griffiths Rees and myself had a look at the lyrics and how they might best translate. She advised me that to keep the lyrical context of the songs and poems, it would be best to work with a Welsh Language Poet, as they would be more likely to incorporate the creative flow of language, rather than tranlsate in a literal sense.

She suggested Eistedford Crowned and Chaired poet, Ceri Wyn Jones and I said I would try to find him and see if he would be kind enough to work with me.


This is his biog taken from the write up at a recent Literature Festival in Dinefwr House http://www.dinefwrliteraturefestival.co.uk/ceri-wyn-jones


The Chaired and Crowned Bard Ceri Wyn Jones is a native of Cardigan. He grew up in Pen y Bryn (north Pembrokeshire) and received his primary education at Cilgerran and Cardigan. From Cardigan Secondary School, he went to Aberystwyth University and graduated in English.

Having spent over a decade as Head of English at Ysgol Dyffryn Teifi, he has been employed since 2002 as Editor of English Language Books at Gomer Press in Llandysul.

He won the Chair at Eisteddfod Meirion and District 2009 for a sequence of poems on the subject of Yn y Gwaed.

He won the Chair at the National Eisteddfod in 1997 for his poem Gwaddol, and is a familiar voice and face at poetry events and competitions and elsewhere.

He travels regularly throughout Wales, holding workshops for children and teachers, lecturing and broadcasting his work. His poems are now studied on Welsh Literature courses to GCSE, A Level and degree standard.

He was the Children’s Poet for Wales 2003-04 and as a consequence he published a volume of poetry for children, Dwli o Ddifri, that was shortlisted for the Tir Na-n Og Prize.

In 2007, he wrote the words for the winning Song for Wales, Blwyddyn Mâs, that was sung and composed by Einir Dafydd. His first volume of poetry, Dauwynebog (Gomer, 2007), was shortlisted for the Book of the Year 2008.

In the same year, he received an Academi Gymreig Scholarship to start working on his second volume of poetry.

Ceri Wyn Jones is the meuryn for Talwrn y Beirdd, and succeeded Gerallt Lloyd Owen in this prestigous role in Welsh language poetry in 2012.


Reviews
(discussing Dauwynebog):

“Ceri Wyn’s gift, like all true poets, is his ability to convey a vision or truth using language in a particular way that astounds us … A decade’s wait was worthwhile.”
Rhys Iorwerth (Taliesin)

“The tradition of social strict metre poetry at its strongest.”
Grahame Davies (Llais Llên)
(discussing the poem ‘Gwaddol’):

“It could almost be said that the cynghanedd, and not Welsh, is his first language, such is his intuitive mastery of it… It is, I am certain, possible to dig deep beneath the words and discover a ‘storehouse of meanings’. However, I prefer to stand back, sense the picture in all its dark dolefulness and be amazed by the talent that created it.”
Idris Reynolds (Compositions and Adjudications, Meirion and District)



So you can see why I am utterly delighted that he is working on my translations. This is only possible thanks to my Individual Mainline Grant and the wonderful support from my Grant Superviser.


The translations will be used to make recordings with local people and edited in a such a way as to come alive within Dai Collage, my recepticle for transaltion.

Watch this space peeps, it's all going on!

Don't you just love it
when a plan comes together!


Sunday, 5 August 2012

Hi Honey, I'm Home!


Hi honey I'm home!

Well, my body is, not so sure about my heart!
I've been a Musician in Residence at an orphanage in Belarus with an AMAZING Youth Work team who have been facilitating a Summer Playscheme via Leaves of Hope, a wonderful charity founded by Val Cousins:




It was a very emotional time where tears of joy merged with those of despair ... but it gave me time to relect; reflect on me as a person, on humans, on childhood, on the universal language of song and in those quiet hours before sleep, to reflect on Fusion Inspire: The dragon tree. Thoughts about how I am going to structure it now that I enter into the second half of the mainline grant and how to infuse it with love and meaning.




I have been listening today to my draft tracks and thinking about the way forward and will be buckling down to the final phase of tying the loose ends together for the story line, before rehearsing the musicians and getting ready for the performances/tour after Christmas.

Time is quite literally whizzing by!