Poetry Army Tour – Choral Director

I was invited to join the Poetry Army as its Choral Director, bringing in choirs from across the UK, including Sheffield Socialist Choir and Red Leicester Choir.
Written by Heathcote Williams Poetry Can F**k Off was a celebration of the power of poetry, the voice it can lend to people facing injustice and oppression. It highlighted the works of poets and orators from Emily Dickinson to Gil Scott-Heron, Gandi to Pussie Riot. My part in the celebrations was to direct the choirs who performed Leon Rosselson’s arrangement of James Oppenheim’s poem Bread and Roses.

Click here for a review of the Brighton performance.

See below for the Poetry Army Trailer.

 

Cycle of Songs – Cambridge

Cycle of Songs was an Arts Council England funded project commissioned by Cambridge City Council, devised by the award winning Pilot Theatre and Historyworks to mark the Tour de France visit to Cambridge on 7th July 2014.

I was commissioned by Helen Weinstein to write a choral piece with Rowena Whitehead to celebrate the place names of Cambridge on the theme of riding bicycles round Cambridge, called Why We Ride, and based on the poems of Hollie McNish & Inja. Read more about Why We Ride here. Also, I also composed a piece for the Cambridge Choir called ‘Women of Note’ to record for the Cycle of Songs, which told the History of Women to celebrate the ‘Unsung’ Women of Cambridge! Read more about Unsung Women, and listen to audio parts here. 

I also lead a massed choir in a flashmob style busk in several locations around central Cambridge, and conducted the choir on the steps of the Fitzwilliam Musem as the Tour de France cyclist went past. The photos below were taken during the project.

 

All the photos in the slide who are taken from the Historyworks Flikr Photostream. 

Visit the project website.

 

The Chalk Circle Collective

The Chalk Circle Collective is about to start the first leg of our REVOLUTIONARY BALLADS tour!

This project first started a few years ago, when I arranged the libretto from The Caucasian Chalk Circle by Bertholt Brecht as part of a school project.

The songs sat, unsung for a while, until Frankie Armstrong and I were talking Brecht in a bar one evening (as you do) and she told me about her Pirate Jenny album and repertoire of Kurt Weill and Hans Eisler with her accompanist Mikey Price. And a plan was hatched to combine the two sets into a Brechtian Bacchanalia of Revolutionary Ballads!

So I gathered the (rebel) troops and was extremely lucky that many of my good friends – all phenomenal musicians and Natural Voice Teachers – agreed to be part of our coup!

Revolutionary Ballads is launching this weekend: 19th – 21st September 2014, and we are playing in Cardiff, Lower Lydbrook and Bristol. We then hit London, Brighton and Lewes 3rd – 5th October. The attached poster has all the details and the ticket prices are £10 full price and £8 concessions.

Our poster has all the details and it would be great to see you there!

Harmony Workshops at Wickham Festival with Naomi Bedford & Paul Simmons

Summer 2014, I ran a fantastic project called Daily Choir at the very wonderful Wickham Festival. With the support of Festival Boss Peter Chegwyn, we put together an exciting collaboration with Brighton Radi-Belle Naomi Bedford and her folk rock legend comrade Paul Simmonds. Working in cahoots with Naomi, we decided on a few of her songs for me to arrange into glorious harmony for the Wickham warblers, and I got to work. The Daily Choir was a roaring success – we had three sessions with about 40 festival going singers, learning the songs ‘Raise these sails’ and ‘Gypsy Davy’ – both songs on Naomi’s new album ‘A History of Insolence’.

The Daily Choir then joined forces with Naomi and Paul for a small but perfectly formed gig to kick start the last day’s music at Wickham. Great fun!

I have been invited back to run Daily Choir next year, so if you are heading to Wickham – see you there!

This is what the Daily Choirs singers said:

“Magical teacher in Kirsty – don’t know how you managed to get such a ‘wow’ sound!”

“Really nice sound – you did so well!”

“Fantastic time, what a wonderful experience.”

“A must at every festival, surely. Fantastic teacher – thank you”

Naomi, Paul and I are making plans to work together next year – more details coming soon!

Naomi’s current album ‘A History of Insolence’ is storming the folk and Americana charts at the moment and you can check her out here: http://www.naomibedford.co.uk and you can of course catch up with the incredible body of work from The Men They Couldn’t Hang here: http://www.tmtch.net