New musical beginnings

Our ‘Fire and Folk’ session at HowTheLightGetsIn2018 felt so… right.

I’d say it was the best performance I’ve experienced so far… powerful, poetic, natural, engaging, emotional, synched, and most importantly, really good fun!

It’s the first time my new and reformed band has performed together, and after only two rehearsals plus a set which included several new songs and one brand-new song, there was a lot of potential for things to be wobbly. However, with Dawn on rhythm guitar and Sam on percussion, the three of us gelled in a way I’ve never felt before in all my years making music. Everything flowed beautifully.

From my perspective, it’s almost as though someone else stepped into my shoes for the second set around the fire on Saturday night. For the first time I was able to perform to my full potential… confidently, authentically and without apology.

Interestingly, for this festival I set myself some intentions, based on the “inner game of music” principles outlined in an inspirational book I’ve been reading, that helps musicians get past their inner critic and in touch with their inner creative selves (Green and Gallwey, 2015).  

Firstly, my intention for the performance was to enjoy it. Not spend the weekend on the edge of my nerves making it impossible to relax. Not let the nerves make me feel physically sick before performing. Not beat myself up afterwards.  It worked - I’ve never felt so positive and proud of a set before!

Secondly, my intention for the set list was to finish my new song ‘Intellectual Crush’ because I knew it would be perfect for HowTheLightGetsIn2018, with its vast itinerary of inspiring philosophical debates. Over the weekend I attended talks on important, deep, and sometimes contentious issues such as ‘Beyond men and women’ debating a world beyond gender. ‘Something and Nothing’ debating the fundamental problem of philosophy; whether nothing really exists. ‘Beyond human’ debating how the future of humanity could look if we started putting chips in our brains. ‘The Limits of Thought’ debating how language describes the world and its limits. ‘Minds, Madness and Medicine’ debating why outcomes for those with mental illness have not improved for decades and wondering whether it’s because we have the wrong categories and the wrong diagnoses.

The new song ‘Intellectual Crush’ seemed perfect because it’s about the people who - like many of the speakers at the festival - inspire us through being brave enough to stand up in the arena and share their light with the world, even at risk of being torn apart or ridiculed. The people that send ripples of change out into the world, such as Nelson Mandela (Nelson Mandela Foundation, 2018), Brene Brown (Brown, 2018), L.R.Knost (Little Hearts Books, 2018), Dr Laura Markham (Aha Parenting.com, 2018), Karen Young (Hey Sigmund, 2018) and Dr Dan Siegel (Siegel, 2018) to name but a few of the people that have inspired me at a deep level.  I managed to finish writing the song just in the nick of time and it was perfect.

Thirdly, my intention for the band was to find quality musicians to work with. Well didn’t I just luck out!  Both Dawn and Sam have really added power and dynamics, including a drum and bass rhythm for “Can we keep this”, which is an exciting step towards my goal of adding a more electronic element to my sound. 

Dawn grew up in Wales playing blues and folk music with her family while studying guitar and cello. As an adult she has divided her time between live music and DJing at London clubs and festivals. Her musical influences include everything from Queen to Urban Folk Quartet, with a good dose of electronic dance music.

Sam’s earliest influences came from the dance floors of D&B and Garage clubs along with bands like The Progidy and Apollo 440. When he was introduced to Whirl-y-gig his musical horizons broadened and he picked up a djembe for the first time. Since then he has played some of the world’s biggest clubs from Ibiza to New York and all over London, combining world music rhythms with western dance floor beats.  It was the best surprise to walk into the dance tent late Saturday night and through the smoke and lasers spot Sam up on stage drumming so brilliantly it was almost indistinguishable from the DJ’s sound.

What a combination!   I’m counting my blessings.

Our next show is at Chilled in a Field Festival, Saturday 4.30pm, main stage.

In between now and then I’m going to be putting the word out and hoping to find a London-based double bass player and synth player to join us and work together to produce a powerful, poetic, melodic sound using real instruments blended with an electronic touch.

After the summer festival season, I hope to get in the studio to record and release the new songs…

Exciting times!  Manifest and it may come true…

 

References

 

Brown, B. (2018) Brene Brown. Available online: https://brenebrown.com/ (accessed: 31/05/18)

Green, B and Gallwey, T. (2015). The inner game of music. Pan Macmillan. Available online: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Inner-Game-Music-Timothy-Gallwey/dp/1447291727/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1527830505&sr=8-1&keywords=the+inner+game+of+music (accessed: 31/05/18)

Hey Sigmund (2018) About Hey Sigmund. Available online: https://www.heysigmund.com/about/ (accessed: 01/06/18)

HowTheLightGetsIn (2018) The Philosophy and music festival at Hay. Available online: https://hay.htlgi.iai.tv/ (accessed: 31/05/18)

Little Hearts Books (2018) L.R.KNOST-LITTLE HEARTS/GENTLE PARENTING RESOURCES. Available online: http://www.littleheartsbooks.com/ (accessed: 31/05/18)

Aha Parenting.com (2018) Looking for that Aha! moment? Available online: http://www.ahaparenting.com/ (accessed: 01/06/18)

Nelson Mandela Foundation (2018) Living the legacy. Available online at: https://www.nelsonmandela.org/  (accessed: 31/05/18)

Siegel, D. (2018) Dr. Dan Siegel. Available online: http://www.drdansiegel.com/ (accessed: 31/05/18)