When Death Was Behind Me

This song was inspired by the dreadful closure of the Italian charity Mare Nostrum in January 2015. The organisation was charged with rescuing African migrants from abandoned ships and in the one year it ran rescued over 100,000 people. The words are based on quotes of 2 rescued people. The song is written to a blues chord progression and fits with other African American blues like Wade in the Water and Sometimes  I Feel Like a Motherless Child. Special for this summer: £5 no license to buy. All money from the sale of this song will be donated to the Refugee Camp at Calais

The package contains a pdf but if you would like sound files as well just email me and I’ll send them over. Thanks.

 

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Why Does the Caged Bird Sing?

One of my earliest songs – inspired by Maya Angelou’s first book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. It’s easy and quick to learn – written for women’s voices originally but would work for a mixed group too.

The sound files for this song will be sent separately when you buy this song. The pdf is available for immediate download.

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To the Hills I will Lift my Eyes

The text for this piece is based on Psalm 121 but heavily adapted with verses amalgamated to make a more secular but still powerfully spiritual song. Although it sounds rich and full with all 4 parts, it sings very well with just 2 or 3 parts too. The main tune is in the alto although – as with much of my writing – I’ve tried to give all parts a good tune. Try it with just alto and tenor. Or alto and soprano. It was written for my friend and colleague Kate Howard.

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This Land is a Song

I wrote this as a kind of love song to Scotland. I wanted to write about and celebrate my relationship with the land and the country.

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Three Kings

This cyclical partner song was written for a mixed adult and children’s choir and also has a simple instrumental bass line. I  took inspiration partly from the idea of wassails – songs of good health and blessings traditionally sung at the turn of the year – but also from the story of the Kings. I wanted to bring imagery and intent of the three kings story into the present  – to treat the Kings as archetypes that we can choose to embody as we travel with gifts into the year ahead.  The song has 2 main texts that can also be sung together.

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Sailors Prayer

This text of this song was collected by Sabine Baring-Gould in the late 19th century. It was taken  down from J Rich, a farmer of Horndon, Mary Tavy, Devon who’d said he learnt it from J. Friend,  labourer of Horndon.  It’s a song that was written around the 1860s when the overloading  and sinking of ships – for insurance money – was reaching a crisis point with thousands of sailors drowning every year. The MP Samuel Plimsol took up the cause and drove a bill through parliament which resulted in all ships having a plimsol line or watermark painted on the hull to define how much  load they could take.

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Fenland

This is a 4 part ‘partner*’ cyclical song inspired by the Norfolk fenland. 4 different tunes with different words that fit over the same chord structure and are sung at the same time *

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