Composing new work for community choirs is one of the most exciting and rewarding elements of my work. Over the years I have developed my own style, rooted in the music that has shaped me – folk, funk, soul, reggae and blues – and inspired by contemporary composers that I am proud to know as friends and colleagues.
I love a funky bassline and close scrunchy chords, and when I compose I am aware that all the parts of the songs need equal excitement and satisfaction! I often use words in my basslines (to avoid the ubiquitous ‘dm dms!) and I also tend to move the ’tune’ around from part to part.
Much of the text for my original compositions comes from existing poems. I think this is an incredibly potent and exciting way to write – the text already has its own musicality and harnessing the music within it and shaping it into a piece of music is a a particularly joyful and rewarding process for me. MY poem based songs include: Poison Tree by William Blake, The Road less travelled by Robert Frost, Prayer by Carol Ann Duffy and several Rumi poems. CLICK HERE TO HEAR EXTRACTS FROM THESE SONGS – AS LONG AS I AM ALLOWED LEGALLY TO HAVE WRITTEN THEM!
I think it is important, when writing and arranging for community choirs, to have high expectations. We are not ‘professional singers’ but with the right support and technique, we can achieve excellence on a variety of musical and creative levels. I don’t tend to give out scores for my music, and I believe that, generally speaking, aural learning is a more profound experience, with singers using their whole body and their muscle memory to connect with the music. Just beware the 3am earworm!
Click the links below to view and listen.
Hulla with Po Girl (super hot Canadian band!) singing Give me wings by Ali Burns!
Hullabaloo singing Poison Tree (on acid)