I created this song collection for the far-flung choral community – and beyond! These songs explore several facets of revolutionary thought, as interpreted poetically and creatively, through archetypal themes; of equality, of ecology, of justice and respect, of personal reflective space and raw communal power.
Inspiration is an eclectic business and I have taken mine from a wealth of sources – from the more declamatory romanticism of Shelley and Blake to the raw uncompromising presence of the #SayHerName movement, via the unique creativity of contemporary poets Malcolm Guite and Dorothy Oger, Braggian anecdote, popularised demo chants, dystopian Gilead, C19 New England fervour, First Nation prophesy, and seminal Beat poetry!
These pieces, I hope, are versatile ‘songs of requirement’ that suit both workshops and performances. These songs are not ‘demo ready’ – they take time to weave together. As complete pieces, they are designed for communities who sing regularly together; and provide a hearty choral challenge for singers who are perhaps performance based.
The production of the songbook was part-funded by a grant from the Lipman-Milliband Trust.
Barking and Dagenham Council commissioned Lucy Ward to compose a song to celebrate the centenary of some women getting the vote and, remarkable women from the borough. I was commissioned to teach the song to a community choir who performed the song at the Barking Folk Festival.
Click here to watch a video about the project.
My choir Hullabaloo Quire hosted Street Choirs Festival for the second time in 2018.
Together we chose ‘Citizens of the World’ as our festival theme, a response to the mass displacement of people around the world due to conflict and ecological change and also as a celebration of Brighton as a welcoming place of asylum in troubled times.
For our massed sing song I approached Music in Detention, a charity that brings musicians and immigration detainees together to make music. We chose to perform ‘Human’ and were joined on stage by rapper Marshall Mandiangu from the local music project Audio Active.
This largescale event required me to liaise with 50+ choirs to curate a collective repertoire that would make up a gig at Brighton Dome. I also arranged for there to be guest performers including musicians from the refugee charity Best Foot Music.
The Voice Project commissioned me as a rehearsal leader for their project Arms of Sleep a 10-hour immersive overnight experience of choral music, film and animation set in the beautiful grounds of historic stately home Firle Place.
Text by Heathcote Williams, Narration by Roy Hutchins, Arrangement & Musical Direction Kirsty Martin featuring Hullabaloo Quire, Raise the Roof Community Choir and RISE Up Singing.
Poet Heathcote Williams created a beautiful work that explores the various forms in which songs come to us, and the inimitable power that they have. From the bell-like vibrations of the earth to Mothers singing to soothe their children, from protest songs to bird song; The Big Song is a glorious celebration of singing.
I was commissioned to compose a score that would weave through Heathcote’s words, a truly wonderful task to be gifted, and one that I could have done a hundred times over in a hundred different ways. The final composition features Kate Bush’s Sunset intertwined with cosmic rhythms, a pagan chant and a Japanese lullaby, Led Zepplin and much, much more!
The contemporary circus company Circa commissioned me to work as a rehearsal leader for their project Depart. This piece, a modern retelling of the legend of Orpheus and Eurydice, took place at night in Brighton’s Woodvale cemetery and incorporated acrobats, dancers, singers and guides who walked the audience through the performance