On International Women’s Day, I will be taking to the small stage at the beautiful Bloomsbury Theatre in central London (very close to the British Library) with my sister-in-song Edwina Hayes (www.edwinahayes.co.uk) to sing old songs and new, laugh a lot, and possibly cry a bit too — probably with laughter, knowing Edwina. I do hope you can join us….
Tickets and more information are available here.
On Monday this week, I found myself in Bristol to sing two traditional folksongs – ‘Reynardine’ and ‘The Flower of Sweet Strabane’, and to spend time with Chris Molan and a beautiful group of folksong-loving people as part of a BBC2 documentary on Angela Carter.
The production team had caught wind of my research on Carter’s influence from singing folksongs, and so I was interviewed about my ongoing work but also sang a couple of songs for them. It was a wonderful if terrifying experience, but it’s encouraged me to get on and make that trad folk EP I’ve been cogitating on for three years, since my EFDSS bursary in 2015.
The film will be broadcast on BBC2 sometime later in the year; I’ll keep you posted on a TX date when I have it.
I’m just back from five AMAZING days in north Wales, holed up in a beautiful cottage in the Snowdonian hills courtesy of the Chester Literary Festival and Storyhouse, with five other creatives — to write, sing, eat, drink, and most importantly, laugh.
We were six: me, Kathryn Williams, David Ford, Salena Godden, Mark Davies Markham and Laura Barnett.
I did burst into tears a couple of times — once when, under the influence, I was sure Salena had moved my chi — and then, to an incredibly sad song about young love and death penned in about 15 minutes by an inspired David Ford. But the rest of it was laughter. And shouting. And rudeness. Foul mouths. Hugs. Food. Wine. Teapot cocktail concoctions. And outpourings of the most intense emotional kind as only we creative nutters can muster.
Here is how I described it to my travelling-home friend Mark Davies Markham as we lost each other at Euston Station.
“So I kept one eye out for you amongst all those rushing hoards
but I didn’t see your black cap nor your toothy grin
so I pulled my collar up and tilted my chin down
and gritted my teeth and braved it out into the
rapids of blacks and greys and leapt into a
black cab, and I now sit on another train
waiting to speed back to the fens,
where I will turn back into a frog-mummy
who secretly goes to her shed every now and again
and turns into a songwriting prince.”
I think it might make a song one day. It was that kind of time, when everything that comes out of your brain is a bit syrupy-golden because of the company you’ve been keeping.