I’ve really been swirling around to my latest musical journey. It has lots of beautiful melodies running through it and an exotic, mysterious atmosphere. It’s in the mode of G Phrygian Dominant and has a warm, passionate desert-like feel. The name Sahara Dancing Free comes from a girl I once met and that was her name. I loved it so that now, fifteen years after meeting her, I’ve named a piece after her. Maybe she’ll hear it one day : ) I’d love to stand on top of a giant sand dune.
Edit* G Phrygian Dominant is actually the 5th mode of C harmonic minor. Learn more about this mode here
Today’s improv has a fruity, vibrant feel. I play in C Minor harmonic and added in a little tropical soundscape. The rhythm is quite marzurka-like and that style originated in Poland so it’s a piece of many places. I went into a bit of a lucid state listening to it earlier then came back to reality as the pace and volume picked up again : ) Enjoy.
Oh my goodness, I love this piece sooo much. It’s about The Spring Queen. She’s here to wake everyone up! All the spirits of the forest, the pixies, fae folk and elementals. They’re all fast asleep from winter time and she’s here to fill everyone with joy and wonder and warmth for her season. She’s bold and bright, radiant and beautiful. Her melody is vast, reaching out over the lands, echoing all around. And everything responds to her song. They wake up and shine out their colours and vibrations for everyone to enjoy. There’s laughter and giggles and a few big wake up yawns. Nature stirs as the Spring Queen sings.
All is full of love.
It’s been a weird, spacey kind of day. Toothache woke me up at 3:30am and the day has spiralled in all kinds of weird directions since then, but I’m glad I caught the early morn because I was able to get the most beautiful dawn chorus recording from out my window. I’ve said it before - I love the beautiful resonance that comes from birdsong echoing off the sandstone tenements. It’s really special.
A blackbird was the star of the show this morning with a chorus of dynamic seagulls intertwined. The gulls use the rooftops all spring and summer to nest and raise their young so this is something I’ve gotten used to over time. I love their chatter. Sometimes they sound like cats, other times like babies and they’ve always got something dramatic and interesting to say.
This exploration is in A Dorian. It’s dreamy and soothing.
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I decided to record a practise session today. I feel a bit like a sculptor, chiseling away at marble in order to find the art, the object, the person, the melody. There are chords and experiments as I pass over the strings, things that feel familiar and then things that sound weird. There are completely unknown things and unusual territories (when clashing notes come out). Then all of a sudden I get inspired, I know what’s waiting for me and I go in search of it chasing it down like a butterfly in the breeze. There’s a section starting around 4 minutes that really floated my boat, I stay there a while basically making love to the melody ha! and trying different combinations of notes. So good! So dreamy. With the added golden reverb I can hear a chorus of angels accompanying me. How divine. How lucky am I? This practise is in E minor. I do like the minor keys, they’re so dramatic. Happy Saturday!
Welcome to The Night Circus, a place of enchantment and dreamy realities. I read this book by Erin Morgenstern a few years ago and this new piece feels like it belongs in the book. There’s magic and mystery in the layers, also playfulness and chaos. I feel I’ve pushed the boat out further creatively this time. There are moods and beautiful phrases coming out of nowhere. The pace shifts around. There’s an exotic, mysterious feel which can be uplifting yet mournful. When I make these podcasts, I just start with a few chords and then let the song take me where it wants to go. I don’t know what’s going to happen. With this one, I felt like I was flying across the strings wanting to go faster and faster, chasing the melodies, which would leap out and dance all around. I felt like I was falling but also catching someone as they fell. This piece is full of atmosphere, sometimes dark, often elated, I love its enchanting, music box sound.
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This is an instrumental version of the last song I released called Uma Viagem. It felt good to explore chords and see what sounds came out. It’s definitely got an exotic feel in places and a vast amount of dreamy reverb dancing around of course. I’m on quite a journey myself at the moment (aren’t we all?) with lots of realisations and decisions being made meaning that psychological burdens are being lifted. I feel so light. Hooray! Happy Spring Equinox! Let’s welcome back the light. Long may freedom continue x
A soft, gentle song sung by a fire with nature as a soundscape. This song’s melody lulls me as I sing. It calms me and gives me peace. The sounds of the crackling fire connect me deeply to somewhere safe. Here’s the video I made for it. I’m working on an extended instrumental version right now too.
E lá vou eu
Pra mais uma viagem
Afirmando a imagem
Do meu Cristo Jesus
Meu Deus me ajude
Para cumprir a risco
Eu estou de viagem
Com meu Jesus Cristo
Meu Rei São João
Mestre dos meus estudos
Aprender vou com tudo
A final eu existo
Odemir Raulino da Silva
Quadro Azul #19
Here’s an epic song for you. It was already fast and strenuous to sing and then I went and made it sound like it was in a cathedral too. It’s on the faster side of my song repetoires and I love singing it for its power and clarity. I made a video for it also, which you can watch here.
Veio da floresta
Como um Beija-Flor
Pousou na beira-mar
E explandiu o seu amor
Mostrando para todos
O caminho do Senhor
Ajuntando os seus filhos
Na estrada do amor
Esta força é o Daime
E o Daime é luz
Ele é o mensageiro
Do caminho de Jesus
Que deu por nós a vida
E morreu por nós na cruz
Nossa Santa Estrela Guia
Ele é quem nos conduz
A esta Força eu entrego
O meu coração
Guiai bem os meus passos
Neste mundo de ilusão
Estar no caminho reto
Aprendendo a união
Sou filho desta terra
Meu Padrinho é São João
I love the energy of this song. It’s hypnotic to sing and I’m all into being protected by angels so it makes me sing even more passionately : ) I’ve made a video for it here with lots of colour and vibrancy.
O anjo de Deus nos protege
Com seu santo manto azul
De leste a oeste, de norte a sul
Viva a Estrela do azul
Que faz brilhar as Estrelas do Céu
Do arcanjo Rafael
Este globo gira perfeito
Com diversas amostragens de cor
É Deus em tudo, é o fruto, é a flor
Vida do meu Criador
Que faz brotar com todo vigor
Vida do Rei do amor
This beautiful song is about The Queen of the Sea ~ Mamãe Yemanjá. I’m sure I was a mermaid in a past life as I’m much better at gliding through the sea than walking on land these days so I connect in a knowing way with this sacred song. I remember hearing it in ceremonies years ago and thought it had an oriental feel. I never seemed to have the words to sing along with at the time but now I do hooray! I think it goes very well with the dreamy harp melodies. There are a couple of nice surprises to listen out for too.
Here are the lyrics and translation. Please relax and enjoy.
Luar se fez um raio prateado
Iluminando o céu e as espumas do Mar
Lindo clarão à beira-mar
Vejo Mamãe Iemanjá
Lá vem, lá vem junto com suas sereias
Nos abençoar, Rainha Iemanjá
Dona das águas tu és Mãe
Oh! Janaina Odoiá
Iluminai minhas profundas águas
Para eu decifrar mistérios do meu mar
Nesse meu mar de emoções
Rainha vem me iluminar
Iemanjá princípio gerador
Amor fundamental tão puro e maternal
Iemanjá vem confortar
Oh! Janaina Odoiá
The moonlight became a silver ray
Illuminating the sky and the sea foam
A gorgeous gleam on the sea shore
I see Mother Yemanjá
Here she comes, here she comes along with her mermaids
To bless us, Queen Yemanjá
Lady of the waters, you are Mother
Oh! Janaina Odoiá *a traditional greeting to Yemanjá
Illuminate the depths of my water
So that I may decipher the mysteries of my sea
In this my sea of emotions
The Queen comes to illuminate me
Yemanjá, the creative principle
Fundamental love so pure and maternal
Yemanjá comes to comfort
Oh! Janaina Odoiá
Image by Derek Richards
I really enjoyed making this piece. It’s got a wintry feel. I’ve had the melody in my head for a long while, since 2012 in-fact when I originally wrote the song. I love singing it, especially in the colder months. It feels super magical and mysterious. The melody is hypnotic and the whole mood of it is like a music-box. I’m transported to a far off land where nothing is quite as it seems. The majesty of the snow sounds other worldly in D harmonic minor and there’s an aura of things being unresolved until the warmth of the sun comes through with strength and hope on the note of G.
There are nine layers of sound in this piece. That’s so many for my sweet, ten year old Mac Book Air to handle. Poor thing does its best and I’m grateful for all its work, but with the hope of making an album firmly in my mind, I need to replace it. That’s why the arts grant I’m applying for is so important. It will give me the chance to create superb sound, without restrictions. Wow. Creating a whole album of hypnotic, magical music will be a truly exhilarating feeling. It feels like my destiny : ) Wish me luck.
Snowy White Night
Silver flakes falling down
Down to the earth
From the heavens
In all sisters and brothers
Fire is flying
Flying through us
Warming our hearts
And hands with love
Breeze in the trees
Whisper whispering angels
Caressing our eyes
Our tears, our smiles
Hearts wide open
Look up to the sky
Moon and stars
Singing, singing together
Such radiant vibrations
With songs of love
Night has been broken
By dawn’s warming rays
The rays from the sun
From the golden, golden light
Stream into our days
Stream into our lives
When I hear this song I think of kites and bubbles : ) I like the moods it goes through in the space of five mins. The tempo changes, it’s loud then soft, it ebbs, it flows, it soars in places and swirls up, up, up. I feel like I’m flying in the sky listening to this. It’s in E minor today with a simple chord progression which sounds like bubbles making their way to the surface to pop.
I enjoyed the squally weather from Storm Bella last night on my walk around the streets of Glasgow with the rain drenching me and the wind whipping me up. I felt alive in the elements with all cobwebs blown away. I came back and improvised this piece and while I know it doesn’t sound particularly squally, I think there’s a lot of breeziness going on. As a child I loved watching leaves get caught up in swirling wind patterns. They would dance in the breeze and I was fascinated. This piece definitely has some swirliness going on as the volume and tempo ebbs and flows. I’ve been experimenting with B Dorian mode and that’s where this piece starts but it seems to end up in F# minor. They’re so similar but also they’re not ha! The joys of understanding music theory hey? Enjoy.
Oooo I’ve just had a final listen to this Mermaid song and I totally lost my sense of space sitting in my chair and felt like I was being taken by the sea somewhere magical. It gave me such a gentle peace.
When I was little, one of my favourite films was Supergirl. She was my idol (of course). I remember her home was a sparkling, underwater kingdom. It felt safe, calm and pure. When I created this song I started to see that place again. And mermaids too. Singing, gliding, welcoming, smiling. A chorus of crystal harmony. This is a water song. Even my track colours have an ocean theme : )
Today I play in A Mixolydian. I think it sounds dreamy, bright with a tiny bit of mystery.
When I started exploring chords and feeling my way into this song I saw the image of a girl scrubbing a stone floor. She was tired and sad. It reminded me of Cinderella. Rashin Coatie is the Scots name for her.
This song has a contemplative feel. I started experimenting with A Dorian mode which sounds slightly sorrowful and pensive to me. But there’s hope too with sections of high, bright melodies which radiate light. It’s a battle between resignation and strength, fragility and possibilities. Just like in our minds, where there can be a juxtaposition of emotions flowing through us. This song is for all of us. We’re all Rashin Coatie in some way. I like to think that by the end of the piece, which finishes in E minor, she’s made up her mind. She’s won her battles and she’s ready to taste freedom, with or without a prince.
Go Rashin Coatie!
I’m really excited about this piece. I’m exploring the third mode of the scale of G major. It’s called the Phrygian mode and I’m blown away with how beautiful it sounds. As I’m obsessed with autumnal colours at the moment I can feel the influence it’s had on the music. I see an elusive, strong golden queen taking care of her trees. The winds blow, the leaves dance in the breeze. And she dances too (she even has her own melody). Dancing with the elements, with the sprites, with the spirits of the forest. She’s powerful and kind and as bright as the most golden leaf shining in the sunshine. It’s her final dance before the coming of winter.
It’s a time to appreciate what we have, enjoy each moment of colour and vibrancy, make way for a new season and let go of the old ready to be born anew. And maybe do a bit of a hibernating too. 😉 I love this piece. The melodies are magical and I adore as it ebbs and flows with angelic voices.
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.