Yesterday was both a new moon and two days after Candlemas (or Imbolc if you are thinking in terms of Celtic fire festivals – which I often am). So what better time to start writing a song?
This is a special song (I hope). I’m writing it in response to Frightened Rabbits’ “The Loneliness and the Scream” and it will be for people all over the Scottish Borders (an actual county for those who don’t know) to sing on 17th May. It will be inspired by this year’s festival theme “Connected”.
Why this date? Because it is in the middle of the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival. Song Wave is a project that wants to encourage people to sing. Singing is uplifting and community forming and very good for our mental health.
But how do you write a song? In this case I started with asking for contributions of words, musical phrases, thoughts. I actually received several whole songs, a video and some words.
The next step was to listen repeatedly to all the songs, watch the video many times and take down notes. Notes of some of the words and images that caught my attention. I wrote down everything inspired by each work separately then hung the words around my room.
I walked up and down looking at and repeating the words out loud. Then I sat down and started to write.
This is the ideas phase and anything goes at this stage. In fact it is important to reject nothing that comes up because it is all a necessary part of the process. Bits of tunes slip into my head and I go to my trusty zoom R8 to record what comes.
After a while I felt the need to move so decided to go for a walk before the light went. Yes, walking is also part of my process. The sun was streaming over the valley and everything was looking gorgeous. I was walking back up the hill thinking about rhythm and the heart. I started clapping a heartbeat. I was breathing heavily as I got to the top of the slope. That sounds interesting, I thought, and rushed to get home to record it. As I said, this is the phase of anything goes.