Hello lovely people, I’ve been digging into chord progression and key signatures recently. Exciting stuff hey!? Even though I’m musical, I’ve always found the theory side boring and a challenge, so I just play for pleasure and search for nice sounds without knowing too much about exactly what’s going on in the nitty gritty world of music theory. But I’m delving deeper now and in this piece I explore some chords that work nicely together in C minor. That means all the levers are down on my 25 string harp if anyone’s interested.
It’s been a revelation to remember that each scale has a major and a minor key - one of the first things I would have been taught in music lessons but had totally forgotten the juxtaposition of up until a few days ago. And now things are beginning to click in my musical brain (with the help of some great online teachers) and a new world of sound patterns is opening up. Expect more explorations. Yay!
In my twenties I spent many hours singing the most beautiful Brazilian songs from the Rainforest. Funnily enough I discovered them when I took a rickshaw ride in Holland and the dutch person driving was singing one of the songs. Talk about fate!
I was hooked for ten years. Then I stopped singing them as life changed direction and danced to a different rhythm and they slept in my heart. Now they’re awakening once more and I’m excited to sing them again and play them on the harp.
These songs take some influence from Catholicism and while I’m not religious in the traditional sense of the word, I can appreciate their power and magic. Once I get wrapped up in the melody I spiral high and forget everything else. These tunes mesmerise me.
My religion is Love and these songs are full of love, healing, hummingbirds, nature, spirits of the forest, motherly vibrations and divine beings like angels and The Queen of the Sea (Mamãe Yemanjá).
It’s funny I’ve got a Celtic heritage and I’m singing songs from far away lands, lands where I’ve never been before but they changed my life back then and I love singing them so much. I’m looking forward to sharing them with you in my style (much slower and gentler than the originals). I feel called to. The world needs healing songs right now.
This one’s called Hummingbird…it’s one of my favourites. Yay!
É Beija, é Beija-Flor
Que minha Mãe me entregou
Para afastar as doenças
De quem for merecedor
Meu Mestre está comigo
Pois ele é meu amor
É no céu e na terra
Jesus Cristo Salvador
Oh meu Juramidam
Foi Ele quem me mandou
Para relembrar lembranças
Da salvação do amor
Meu Mestre está comigo
Mesmo aqui aonde estou
É a glória do meu Pai
Jesus Cristo Redentor
Eu digo tá, eu digo tá
Eu digo tá e aqui estou
Eu não me esqueço, eu só me lembro
Do meu Mestre Ensinador
Meu Pai peço que Vós me ouça
Para eu pedir o perdão
Eu peço não só para mim
Para mim e os meus irmãos
Meu Pai quando for perdoar
Perdoa como lhe convém
Eu peço que vós nos perdoe
Como perdoou em Belém
A barca que corre no mar
Corre no meu coração
Aquele que aqui batiza
Batizou no rio de Jordão
A little lullaby from Brazil by Irineu.
Choro muito e lamento
Tudo que já se passou
Deixo tudo saudosamente
E vou viver no meio das flores
Vou viver no meio das flores
Junto com a Virgem Maria
Os terrores que aparecem
É essa grande rebeldia
Vamos todos meus irmãos
Vamos cantar com amor
Para Deus e a Virgem Mãe
Nos defender destes terrores
Sou filho da Virgem Mãe
Reconheço este poder
Chamo a força, eu chamo a força
Para vir nos defender
I’m experimenting with building sound and drama into my pieces consciously. Less is more in my opinion but even still, trying to decide what to keep in and leave out is challenging sometimes. Usually I take it out because when the layers of harp truly come together there’s a brilliant contrast to the simplicity. I enjoy the simple beginning in this one. And I love singing it so much I’m going to do an extended version and play with more voice harmonies. I loved making this one. Hope you enjoy listening.
Hold Me - By Holly
A saturday afternoon jam session exploring strings - making them twang, searching out patterns, going up to the high notes, trying not to lose my trail, my musical adventure. I never quite know what I’m gonna get when I start. Where I’m going to go. Adding another layer to twirl and swirl with the melody is a lovely experience. I love the richness and sparkles.
This is my ode to Cookie the cat. A dear sweetie I looked after on my housesitting adventures. I met her three times and it was always lovely to see her. She got poorly on my last visit and that was hard to see. I’m not very good when animals get sick. It makes me so sad especially when there’s nothing you can do for them. But I’ll always remember her as a green eyed darling, loving strokes and lap time. And that last meal of chicken broth she ate was an absolute joy for her. After so long without nourishment, she finally wanted to eat and she chatted away outside the stable whilst polishing off two bowls.
A Saturday afternoon improv as sunshine streams through the windows onto my harp. It’s taken from a song of mine and this short piece is a riff on it.
Day 30!!! Made it and feeling elated. Woo hoo! It’s been a great experience making a song a day. I would highly recommend it. Sometimes I wanted to scream, sometimes I did scream, sometimes I was so sleepy at 11pm trying to get the levels right and sometimes that led to a little frustration. But along with all those things I feel like I’ve achieved something super special. I’ve got many of my own songs out there now. And that feels fantastic. They’ve been waiting patiently in books for so many years and now they’re full of colour and light. It’s only the tip of the iceberg really. I’ll be back. Singing once more.
For the final song, I’ve gone back to simplicity. Back to nature. This song is from the rain forest. From a collection of songs/hymns devoted to the Holy Mother - Santa Maria. It’s haunting and beautiful. I love it.
Day 30 - A song a day.
Day 29. Getting close now…
This song is inspired by a very beautiful Throes of Dawn track, The Understanding. It’s a prog metal album which is dear to my heart (and one of the few I can listen to because it doesn’t having the screaming vocal style in it). The whole album is such a journey and the guitar riffs out of this world. This is a snippet of a melody (starting at 1m30 on the track) which I made into something new. I love the space in it. As well as the bass. I love a bit of bass!
Woah, this one was bigger than I thought, though I shouldn’t have been surprised. For me this song has the biggest emotional effect on me out of all my songs. I wrote it after seeing a documentary about these sweet geese who take a massive life threatening flight over mountains to reach new pastures. I’m a bit weepy when it comes to nature documentaries and this song was born out of the spirit of struggle and determination. It’s not only the bird who has challenges but all of us! We’re all that little bird. Trying our best to make it.
There’s a nice harp solo at the end too.
Day 28 - A song a day (I need a rest : )
This is another early song I learnt on my harp. I remember making it so complicated for myself when I put the musical notes on paper and then struggled to follow my own composition. I felt blocked by what I’d written down. That was when I realised I didn’t need to sight read and follow a definitive pattern anymore. I discovered I could flow freely and improvise the notes as long as I had the chord progression. It was a revelation.
I grew up only being able to sight read on my violin (with no improvisation skills or desire at all) and I’ve ended up enjoying improvising on the harp so much. I’m super grateful for all its magic and grace. Woo!
Day 27 - A song a day.
Waaa I’ve had a super busy day recording fun, exciting material (for my new children’s podcast) so I only started recording this at 7pm. Very late for me. But it turned out quite nicely. This is the first song I played when I started learning the harp. Before then it was just me and my voice. So this song is extra special to me.
Fav line - ‘My sweet bed of stars’.
Song by Holly.
Day 26 - A song a day.
A medieval tone to this one. Super magical.
I love the lyrics to this song. I was fully immersed in nature, spiritual growth and beauty when it came to me about ten years ago. It’s got a great melody. Very earthy and hypnotic.
A bit of marching fun. This song came to me in 2017. The lyrics (if you find yourself humming along to the melody when you walk) are -
Peace, hope, love
Peace, hope, love every day
Peace, hope, love
Peace, hope, love in every way
Giving smiles, giving hugs, giving love
From my heart and on my path
Day 23 - A song a day
This song is all about love. A celebration of being in love. With a special someone. And maybe they’re not even on this plain anymore. Maybe they’re flying high somewhere else. But love crosses worlds and ether. Love is love. Love will always be there. Isn’t that wonderful?
Day 22 - A song a day.
There was a full pink moon a couple of days ago. Here’s a full moon song in its honour.
Day 21 - A song a day.
I fancied learning this sweet melody today. It’s a lovely song. I listened to Audrey Hepburn singing it. Now I can’t stop humming it.
Day 20 - A song a day.
The sun is shining and I’m lovin it.
Song by Holly Honeychurch.
Day 19 - A song a day.
A few years ago I drove to my first float. I drove past a beautiful tree, in a field. A fine looking tree with a perfectly round shape. An oak perhaps. While having my float, this melody came to me and Beautiful Tree was born.
Day 18 - A song a day.
A lament I conjured up 3 years ago. About our connection with angels. This song is simple and raw. No voice and harp reverb (until the end anyway!). Just me. Singing a song.
Day 17 - A song a day. Wow, that’s so many days already!
Get your floaty ribbons ready and bits of shiny material, crank up the volume and dance round your living room with your kids/cats/doggos/bunnies/guinea pigs/tortoises etc imagining you are bright shiny stars. Let’s all dance together. Yay!!
Song by Holly.
Day 16 - A song a day.
Oh how I love the purity in this song. Oh how it soars. It’s by Bettina Maureen. Check out her beautiful album Lullabies for the Soul. A super special one.
Day 15 - A song a day.
Written by Cristina Tati, this gorgeously haunting song is simple and powerful.
Day 14 - A song a day.
Short and sweet. Gentle and mysterious. Great to hum to. Enjoy.
Day 13 - A song a day.
I sang this song a few days ago. Here’s an extended harp version of the melody. It has some swift jazzy moments in it as well as lots of time to chillax. It gets a bit crazy at the end. A bit out of control. Fun fun fun! Keep moving and shaking people! Bodies love to move.
Day 12 - A song a day.
This song is about courage and determination. I feel strongly about folk feeling free in their lives and working towards being the best versions of themselves. I know we’re all vulnerable and need love and support to fly high. Along with friendship, music does this for me. I feel so energised and empowered after listening to music. This song especially leaves me feeling ready to face the world.
Day 11 - A song a day
This was an energetic song to sing. I love it. It’s funky and vibrant. It builds slowly with layers and trills. I wish it had gone on for longer. I could have stayed in its vibe for ages. I imagine it being played with lots and lots of musicians and I just know the whole room would go off like a rocket. Bet you can guess what my favourite line is : )
It’s an original song by me written in the Peak District countryside.
Day 10 - A song a day.
I wrote this song over 10 years ago. I listened to an old version of it just now, sung around a camp fire, just me and a friend on guitar, trying to figure out the chords. It brought back sweet memories of that night - finally finding a musician to sing my songs with. It was 2am. Summertime. I had so many to share. I just wanted to keep going. We were there for hours, singing and playing. At first to friends and then when they fell asleep, to sheep in the next field. I had an old phone to record on which had to be ‘kept awake’ because if it went off it stopped recording. Ha. How times have changed. That was the beginning of the magic for me. Of the possibilities…
Now I’m a one lass band. Making sweet music with my trusty harp. I love all the experimentation and layering. So much magic to create.
This song is special to me. A lullaby for the soul. Taking you deep into the centre of the earth. Deep into Mother Nature herself. Come and find the hummingbirds and the forest paths. They’re waiting for you.
Day 9 - A song a day.