#Arachne5 thank-you’s: Musicians

With the 5th Anniversary celebrations heading into view I was thinking about the thank you speech, and like the Oscars it is in danger of going on, and on. And on. So I thought I’d blog it instead, a section at a time.

What does a publisher need with musicians? Well, our regular events Solstice Shorts Festival (always), and The Story Sessions (usually), some of our launches and some of our writing workshops have included music – always acoustic, often folk, sometimes original, mostly but not exclusively songs, because we love the narrative power of a song.

Our most frequent collaborators are Ian Kennedy and Sarah Lloyd who have performed in just about every capacity we offer them.

 

Next most regular must be Annalie Wilson, who also reads for us and was our artist in residence for the last four Story Sessions..

Annalie Wilson

 

After that it’s our choir friends, in various guises, (there’s a lot of cross-over in choirs!) most frequently as Summer All Year Long, but also Vocal Chords and Raise the Roof

Will Evererett singing with Summer all Year Long

Summer All Year Long

© Ben Mueller-Brown benhasphotos.wordpress.com

Vocal Chords at WGL

more vocal chords (by Katy Darby)

Vocal Chords (by Katy Darby)

Vocal Chords Wassailing

For Solstice Shorts we really push the boat out, with (sometimes) music written for the occasion AND multiple musicians: Shadrack Tye, Pepper & Shepherd, Rosemary Lippard, Melanie Harrold, Juliet Desailly, Peter Thomas & Piotr Jordan (playing original music by Zac Gvirtzman), plus everyone already mentioned!

And finally… Lester Simpson, who runs singing workshops for us once or twice a year and teaches us amazing songs that find their way into our events, and the repetoire of choirs all over London; and has become a friend along the way.

Will there be music at the Anniversary celebrations on the 8th September? Of course there will! Book your free ticket now!

CroftMass on Saturday

If you are coming to our Singing workshop with Lester Simpson, (there are 8 places left by the way!) it would be worth dropping round the corner to CroftFest’s CroftMass on your way. It starts at 12 and there are food stalls and markets and Santa’s Grotto (If you don’t feel too old for that!). So just nice time to grab your lunch from the ‘famous vegetarian food stall’ at Jays, or get your face painted at the Estate Agents!

Lots more info on facebook

Lester Simpson folk song workshop THIS SATURDAY

Just had a phone conversation with Lester, about which songs he is planning to teach us on Saturday: It Rains it Hails, a New Year carol, a Wassail (Bodmin), a newly written song to a traditional Flemish tune, a round, and (yet another) version of While Shepherds… I don’t think we’ll get through all those!

There are some spaces left for this, the kick-off event for this year’s Solstice Shorts Festival if anyone is dithering, but PLEASE book in advance, so we know how much cake to get!

12:45-5:15 Saturday 26th Nov  St Hilda’s church hall, Courtrai Road SE23 1NL.

here’s a recording from last year’s workshop to get you in the mood.

 

Lester Simpson Winter Folk Song Workshop for Solstice Shorts

You can now book for Lester Simpson’s Folk Song Workshop on 26th November – our Solstice ‘Advent’ event! 12.45-5.15 pm, £25lester1sml.
Come and learn around 5 acapella songs in 3 or 4 part harmony, from Lester Simpson an international recording artist, and member of the renowned Coope Boyes & Simpson, who also runs community choirs. Informal but intense, lots of tea and biscuits. Access to sound files after the event. St Hilda’s Church Hall, Courtrai Road, Crofton Park SE23 1NL

Advance booking essential!

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Book for Lester Simpson Folk Song workshop

Support Solstice Shorts – come to a folk song workshop!

Technically this is part of Solstice Shorts. We are running a workshop on Saturday 28th November, and profits will go to help pay for the main event on 21st December, so the more the merrier – we have room for another 10 people.

Come and learn secular songs for winter from Lester Simpson, one of the loveliest people we know, and a damn fine singer, song writer and arranger of traditional songs. Oh and he teaches incredibly well: fun, relaxed, intensive. 25 pounds (my keyboard has gone American for the day, I can’t find the pound sign). Book here or through our crowd fund campaign. We provide lots of refreshments!

Likely repertoire: about 5 songs from the following

The White Shepherd
The Solstice Carol
George Dunn’s Wassail
Bring Him On
The Coppers Christmas Song
Green growth The Holly
Winter is i cummen inn (round)

Yes I know, I thought secular would mean no Christmas, but actually in this context just no religion. Great songs, 3 or 4 part harmony, learnt by ear. no previous experience necessary, suits all abilities.

Get in the mood for Solstice Shorts – join in – winter folksong workshop

LESTER SIMPSON FOLK SONG WORKSHOP

SECULAR WINTER SONGS

LEARN AROUND 5 SONGS

long LONGEST NIGHT BASIC LOGO2 copy

SATURDAY 28TH NOVEMBER 2015

12:45- 17:15

ST HILDA’S CHURCH HALL

COURTRAI ROAD SE23 1NL

bus routes 122, P4, 171, 172 stop on the corner.

train to Crofton Park or Honor Oak Park 10 minute walk.

advanced booking required

Book Here

£25

INCLUDES REFRESHMENTS

all abilities welcome.

 

Submission Call Out Longest Night, and Liberty Reprised

What do we do for the next Solstice Shorts?  has been a question echoing about Arachne Towers for a while.

This year the solstice (and therefore Short Story Day) doesn’t coincide with the weekend (in fact we’ll have to wait until 2019), so the thinking currently is that we stick with the 21st (a Monday) and do an evening event, which will inevitably be much shorter than last year’s sunrise to sunset juggernaut. So we are taking as our theme The Longest Night.

We don’t know where we will hold the event yet, but we are thinking of starting at twilight (one minute to six) and going on until the venue throws us out. If you can think of a great venue (preferably free or cheap) please make suggestions.

Everything that follows is dependent on funding. If we don’t get any we can’t do it; if we get some, it will be a very small event, if we get sensible amounts it will be as gorgeous as we can manage and there will be a subsequent anthology.

MUSIC

We want to include music again and are looking for proposals from bands/ singers. (GET IN TOUCH IF THIS IS YOU!)

If you’d like to learn some potentially suitable songs, we are running a workshop of Secular Winter Songs with Lester Simpson of Coope Boyes & Simpson on 28th November in Crofton Park SE4, More details later but get on the mailing list here.

STORIES

Of course there will be stories, which is where the call out comes in. This theme rather lends itself to gloom, but it doesn’t have to be that way. We’d like some joyful long nights please! If you are going to serve us up something dark please feel free to wallow in it, but we don’t want to be too depressed, and remember that while we quite like creepy and ghostly Arachne WILL NOT PUBLISH (or PERFORM) HORROR, EROTICA OR ANYTHING REMOTELY APPROACHING TORTURE SCENES or GORE, and we HATE ZOMBIES.

Don’t look on that as a challenge, we mean it. Your emails will never be opened again if you send us anything of this kind.

This year we will accept poems as well, provided they are narrative, to keep in with the short story day focus.

So we are looking for:

ON THEME short story or poem, no more than 2000 words. Anyone can send us their work, provided it is their own, unpublished and in English.

(By unpublished we mean that it has not appeared in print, and if it is online anywhere it WILL be taken down at the point you submit, and that you own the copyright. If you have licensed your copyright to another publisher, in print or online we can’t consider your work.)

Submit via our Submittable account please, so that we don’t lose your work.

DEADLINE 21st October 2015 23:59

 

We have also re-opened our Liberty Tales call out, as we like the idea too much not to do a book – funding permitting.

 

Bright Morning Stars Solstice Shorts Video

Video

Two takes on celestial bodies for our time themed festival – Nicky Diss reads Emma Timpany‘s story Stars in which a failed relationship is likened to a comet passing (among other brilliantly imagined connections).

This story is one of sixteen read at the festival and featured in the book Solstice Shorts: Sixteen Stories about Time

http://youtu.be/dIWU89rJTm8

and Summer All Year Long singing Bright Morning Star, a traditional spiritual arranged by Lester Simpson

http://youtu.be/jPVqKifqezo

These were actually programmed together at the festival – we had such great plans for curating the songs and stories to match, but in reality we had to programme based on who could get where and when, so it was particularly satisfying when song and story matched up, and at least we get to have another go at the curation lark with the videos.

Disclaimer from the BSL Interpreter, who would have liked to rehearse with the performers, so treat interpretation as indicative rather than inspired.

Summer All Year Long at Solstice Shorts Festival – videos

Some more music from Summer All Year Long. And All Year Long is right – SAYL started thinking about songs for Solstice Shorts back in January last year, looked at hundreds and discarded almost as many,

http://youtu.be/mj7LVw79Xv0

The Year Turns by John Tams was already in the repertoire, and we each found and championed at least one other song and curated (meaning anything from finding existing recordings, to arranging parts or arranging for an arrangement, to stamping a foot and insisting a song stayed in the set list). Some fell by the wayside as too complex, or not quite ‘us’, the rest were rehearsed twice a week for what seemed like years while we took turns to get a particularly nasty throat infection, which meant we have only ever sung these with everyone there ONCE before!

http://youtu.be/d_13Uf8u94s

The Ladies Go Dancing at Whitsun, written in the sixties by Austin John Marshall and known to us through Shirley Collins’ recording, was under Alix’s care and we felt that something about WWI was appropriate for 2014. We are very grateful to the lovely Lester Simpson for arranging it for us.

http://youtu.be/ZlmHK988kpE

Cherry remembered Roll Turn Spin from Play Away which featured Toni Arthur and Julie Covington doing an amazing version of it. A LOT of research was needed to track down a recording, particularly as in fact it is two songs sandwiched together (RTS and The Green Man by Alan Bell), and only the chorus of Roll Turn Spin is used, the rest of the song (by Len Chandler) is about something else ENTIRELY. (If you are looking for the Play Away version its on the LP Hey You!) Peter worked out the arrangement from listening to the recording over and over and over. It was a labour of love, and as far as we were concerned it was the theme tune for the festival.