#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!

Relationships in story and song Solstice Shorts Festival Video


Sarah Feathers reads Sarah Evans‘ story, Stone Baby, in which Eleanor looks back on as a choice made years earlier. This story is one of 16 read at the festival and featured in the book Solstice Shorts: Sixteen Stories about Time

Our BSL interpreters wish it to be known that this is not what they consider performance standard signing, they needed a chance to rehearse with the performers for that, but you will be able to follow the story.

and three different takes on relationships:

Shadrack Tye The Task


and The Lovers’ Tale


and Pepper & Shepherd with Courage



Dizz Tate Time Man and Pepper & Shepherd Build Your Heart Solstice Shorts Video


Dizz Tate reads her story Time Man, at West Greenwich Library, our early morning venue. Time Man was one of the five stories from the Solstice Shorts Festival writing competition that the judges liked best.

This story is one of 16 read at the festival and featured in the book Solstice Shorts: Sixteen Stories about Time.
Our BSL interpreters wish it to be known that this is not what they consider performance standard signing, they needed a chance to rehearse with the performers for that, but you will be able to follow the story.

The magnificent Pepper & Shepherd play Build Your Heart, inspired by crying over a book, the way you do; later in the day, at The Royal Observatory Greenwich.


Songs of Doing Time: Solstice Shorts Festival Video


Another take on our Time theme for Solstice Shorts Festival, two songs of doing time,

21 years on Dartmoor from Ian Kennedy & Sarah Lloyd. (With partially obscured BSL interpretation, but enough to follow the gist of the song.)


And a rather shorter sentence, of only Ten Long Years for Pepper & Shepherd



A Winter’s Evening in Bekescsaba Solstice Shorts Video

One of the Judges’ five favourite stories, Pippa Gladhill‘s devastating tale of a moment that changes a life and all the lives surrounding it, and the impact of a photograph seen in a restaurant, read by the talented Sarah Feathers.

And a couple of songs from the festival that really chime with the themes and mood of the story:

Have You Ever Thought, from Shadrack Tye



Annie from Pepper & Shepherd


[A Winter’s Evening in Békéscsaba is a real photograph by Zoltán Berekméri. We did ask a museum that seems to have the copyright if we could display it on our website but they never came back to us. You can find it here.]

Usual Sign Interpreters’ modest denial of their skills. I am only putting this because they insist. It would all have been absolutely beautiful if they’d had a chance to rehearse with the performers. Planning a signed event yourself? Read and LEARN!

Solstice Shorts Folk Music Videos (with a nautical influence)


Possibly being in Greenwich and so close to the National Maritime Museum turned our musicians minds to the joys of the sea, but there were quite a few songs about or influenced by the sea and ships. These are just some of them.


Pepper & Shepherd play Another New World (Josh Ritter)



Summer All Year Long sing Padstow Farewell (Traditional Sea Shanty)



Shadrack Tye sing Quiet Joys of Brotherhood (Words Richard Fariña Tune Traditional arranged by Sandy Denny)


Solstice Shorts Video Cindy George and Pepper & Shepherd

Welcome to the latest video from the Solstice Shorts Festival.

Today we have Cindy George reading her Judge’s Favourite Story – With You Through The Night – a tale of growing up with the radio your only friend, and the late night phone-in… You can read the story for yourself in the book – Solstice Shorts: Sixteen Stories About Time.

And to go with, Pepper & Shepherd‘s Hopes & Fears, which seems like the right song for the story.


More music from Pepper & Shepherd previewing Solstice Shorts Festival Folk

Another song from Pepper & Shepherd from my private concert on Friday. I can’t tell you what fun it is to listen to these guys play live. What a treat we have in store for you at the Solstice Shorts Festival.


Pepper & Shepherd COURAGE Solstice Shorts Folk preview!

A novel experience, getting a private concert from Pepper & Shepherd while we talked about the Time themed set lists for Solstice Shorts Festival. Tempting though it is to hug this rather special experience to my chest protectively, I am prepared to share – so here’s a taster of what you might hear at the Festival on the Winter Solstice, 21st December 2014

Talking about music, time and Solstice Shorts with Pepper & Shepherd

I caught up with Pepper & Shepherd (Anthony Shepherd and James Pepper who are playing for us at the Solstice Shorts Festival) back stage at their gig at Mycenae House on Friday, and we talked about music, time and telling stories, and I got my own private concert, which I will share with you but you’ll have to wait…