Collaboration 12 – William Crighton

30.9.22

Here’s our finished song – In The Long Run!

“It’s not enough to ask the question

When will these horrors cease?

Boxes pile up all around us

’Til we commit to peace”

Another first for this final month of the CONSEQUENCES project – William and I collaborated over Facebook Messenger! And it’s incredible that we managed to pull it off, considering that William was touring Europe at the time…

I have deeply admired the passion and the political content in William’s work, which you can get to know yourself here: https://williamcrightonmusic.com.au/ William and I had talked about ideas of refuge and compassion in advance by email, which led to us exchanging some lyrical ideas around the impact of war on the most vulnerable in our society. Having accidentally missed William’s best window of opportunity for collaborating earlier in the year, I’m extremely grateful that he was still up for the collaboration, even though it meant him recording ideas (like the lyrics and melody of the refrain!) into his phone, straight after coming off stage at a festival!

A huge thank you to the talented creative team who helped bring the song to life in this recording, and with whom it’s been a delight to work with over the course of the project  – to Mattie Foulds (drums, production), Kevin McGuire (bass) and Mikey Owers (vocals, brass).

It’s maybe not the upbeat way some might want to finish an album, but it feels right to me that we’re acknowledging  the reality and the horror of what’s happening across the world right now. Nevertheless, I’m pleased to end the album on an offer of warmth and comfort – something that those of us lucky enough to be in a position of privilege can choose to give others.

#committopeace #refugeeswelcome #consequences #quietlyfantasticmusic #kimedgar #williamcrighton

27.9.22

My twelfth and final songwriting collaborator in the Creative Scotland supported CONSEQUENCES project is William Crighton whose powerful work I had the luck to discover through Global Music Match. By the end of the month, all being well, we’ll be sharing a recording of our song! I’ll also write a wee blog about the experience.

Meanwhile, if you’d like to support the project by pre-ordering the CD of the album for delivery in October 2022, you can do so here:

https://www.kimedgar.com/product/consequences-cd-pre-order/

Thanks for all your support!

Collaboration 11 – Louis Abbott

31.8.22

Here’s our finished song – Whisper Pink

“Whisper pink, feel the ground

Far away from blissful ignorance

Far away from blissful…”

Louis Abbott is a very busy man! In amongst his fantastic work with Admiral Fallow (who incidentally released a new EP, Electric Eyes, in May), Louis is the Creative Lead at Vox Liminis, an inspirational arts and community organisation working within criminal justice – sparking fresh conversations and insights so that our responses to crime, harm and conflict might (re)build connections, trust and belonging rather than further divisions.

Established in 2013, Vox Liminis run creative projects in prison and in the wider community with people who have committed crimes, people who have been victims of crime, those who have family experience of crime and justice processes and others who work in this area. I was lucky to work with Louis recently on the AMPLIFY songwriting project with young people in Edinburgh, in collaboration with Edinburgh International Festival and Goodtrees Neighbourhood Centre. And Vox have just announced Paper Planes – a new monthly release showcasing songs written across their projects – you can check out the first Paper Planes here, including a beautiful song performed by Louis: https://www.voxliminis.co.uk/paper-planes/  I’m delighted that in addition to all this, he managed to squeeze in a collaboration with me for this project…

It’s the first time I’ve ever collaborated over WhatsApp! But it really worked 🙂 Louis was a great communicator, and a positive and thoughtful collaborator. We considered missing something, or someone, or home, and what that feels like, whether that’s because of the nature of someone’s work, or circumstances like the pandemic…and the song grew from there.

A huge thank you to the talented creative team who helped bring the song to life in this recording – to Louis himself, who, despite his extremely busy schedule, contributed acoustic guitar playing to the recording, and to Mattie Foulds (drums, production), Kevin McGuire (bass) and Mikey Owers (vocals, electric guitar, brass). I hope you enjoy the song!

#achingtobehome #consequences #quietlyfantasticmusic #kimedgar #louisabbott

24.8.22

My eleventh songwriting collaborator in the Creative Scotland supported CONSEQUENCES project is Louis Abbott (Admiral Fallow). I’ve had the great privilege of working alongside Louis for songwriting workshops for young people recently for Vox Liminis and previously for Music Plus, too. I’m a big fan of his songwriting, and have really enjoyed the festival sets I’ve heard from Admiral Fallow, so it’s lovely to finally have the chance to collaborate with him!

A week today, all being well, we’ll be sharing a recording of our song! I’ll also write a wee blog about the experience.

Meanwhile, if you’d like to support the project by pre-ordering the CD of the album for delivery in October 2022, you can do so here:

https://www.kimedgar.com/product/consequences-cd-pre-order/

Thanks for all your support!

Collaboration 10 – Rachel Sermanni

31.7.22

Here’s our finished song – Ripples

“An open door, a cup of tea

I sit down and you sit with me”

It was a truly lovely experience to collaborate with Rachel 🙂

We were, luckily, able to meet and collaborate in person. We began with a long catch up! Pre-pandemic, we were working together on a weekly basis at The BIG Project, supporting young songwriters and musicians there – we had a lot of catching up to do…

That catching up informed our writing, in the end. We spoke about the value in being listened to, and the ripple effect that can happen when you feel heard, feel seen. And how sometimes, listening is enough – indeed, is all that is required. Not trying to fix things, not trying to find a positive. Just listening.

“A space to hold

To let unfold”

It’s a small song, in many ways, but that’s what we wanted. We wanted the song to do what it said, and provide a moment for listening. What I especially love about it is the ease and simplicity of (most of) the harmonies, Rachel’s lovely turns of phrase (both in conversation and in songwriting) and how the song now reminds me of that relaxing, peaceful day we spent together in the making of it.

A huge thank you to the talented creative team who helped bring the song to life in this recording – to Rachel herself, for contributing her beautiful vocals and guitar playing, as well as some inspired arrangement ideas in the studio, and to Mattie Foulds (drums, production), Kevin McGuire (bass) and Mikey Owers (brass). I hope you enjoy the song!

#JustListening #KindnessMatters #consequences #quietlyfantasticmusic #kimedgar #rachelsermanni

20.7.22

My tenth songwriting collaborator in the Creative Scotland supported CONSEQUENCES project is Rachel Sermanni. Some of you may have noticed Rachel’s beautiful voice on my last album, HELD – during lockdown, Rachel (and Karine Polwart) kindly recorded vocals remotely for me, which gave me a lovely buzz of group harmonising at a time when that wasn’t possible in person…it felt like a hug.

I’ve also been really lucky to work (pre-pandemic) alongside Rachel delivering music making opportunities for children and young people at The BIG Project in Broomhouse, a deprived area of Edinburgh.

When I approached Rachel for this project, she mentioned that she hadn’t done that much collaborating in the past, but I’ve seen her collaborating with children and young people to make powerful, meaningful songs from their experiences, and so I was thoroughly delighted that she was up for collaborating with me for this project 🙂

By the end of the month, all being well, we’ll be sharing a recording of our song! I’ll also write a wee blog about the experience.

Meanwhile, if you’d like to support the project by pre-ordering the CD of the album for delivery in October 2022, you can do so here:

https://www.kimedgar.com/product/consequences-cd-pre-order/

Thanks for all your support!

Collaboration 9 – Stone

30.6.22

Here’s our finished song – I Dream! A blog will follow soon…

這是我們完成的歌—我夢見!部落格隨後就到…

1.7.22

“I dream we’re everything – no more them and us”

「我夢見我們是一體—沒有他們,沒有我們。」

This month’s collaboration is with an amazing human being and musician from Taiwan, called Stone, who is a member of the band Mayday. I was honoured to study alongside Stone at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts in 2001/2. He impressed my greatly with his gentleness and humility, his generosity, and his ability to really listen, and bring what was needed to a piece of music, rather than adding more than is required (which is something I always struggle with). Stone later invited me out to visit him in Taiwan, where I was lucky enough to sing in Mandarin, and Scots, at his wedding, and to record in Mayday’s studio!

這個月呢,是跟石頭合作,一位來自臺灣,很了不起的音樂家,也同時是五月天的團員之一。我很榮幸能跟石頭在2001到2002年,一起在英國利物浦表演藝術學校唸書。讓我印象深刻的是他的溫和、謙遜、慷慨,還有他善於真心傾聽的能力,以及確切知道要為音樂加些什麼,而不是一味的無限疊加(這是我滿常感到掙扎的地方)。很幸運的,石頭之後邀請我到臺灣,並且在五月天的錄音室錄音,為他的婚禮獻唱中文歌及蘇格蘭語歌!

Dubbed as the “Beatles of the Chinese-speaking World”, Mayday are influenced by The Beatles, and try to spread the ideals of love and peace through their songs. Here’s one of their impressive live music videos from earlier this year: https://youtu.be/h6WhDdeF40Q

五月天被譽為「華語披頭四」,因為被披頭四深深的影響,他們試著透過歌曲,傳播愛的理想以及和平。這是他們年初一段令人印象深刻的現場MV:https://youtu.be/h6WhDdeF40Q

Stone and I began our collaboration by discussing what was on our minds. I shared that the invasion of Ukraine and the horrors of war, including the trauma experienced by refugees, was something I was thinking a lot about, and Stone saw a bigger picture: conflict, which has happened and continues to happen across time and across our planet, and the causes of conflict.

石頭和我在合作起初,討論了那時我們在意的事情。我分享了一件我最近想很多的事情,也就是入侵烏克蘭,還有戰爭的可怕,難民所經歷的創傷等等。然後石頭看到了更大的格局:衝突以及衝突的起因。衝突不僅發生在過去,到現在依舊持續發生,橫跨時間以及空間,

In recent years, Stone has been finding out more about Taoism, and he asked me if I knew much about it (which I did not) and kindly shared links with me to help me to educate myself about some Taoist principles and texts. He mentioned that in Taoism, there is less focus on nations or boundaries, and more focus on how an individual can relate to this world (which perhaps explains why few wars come from Taoism). Values of simplicity, humility and compassion immediately appealed to me. There are also some pretty radical ideas (to me, at least), like this one: instead of defining ourselves as distinct from others, and even other species on this earth, like plants, or animals, we could consider ourselves to be as one with everything in nature. Rather than defining things, perhaps it’s ideas and ideals that we should be defining or challenging. Do we have to follow other people’s ideas? Do we have to aspire to the same life as others? Or should we enjoy the sun, follow nature’s lead, grow vegetables and enjoy life?

近幾年,石頭越來越深入了解道家思想,他問我是否瞭解(我真的不熟悉),他也很和藹地分享一些連結給我,讓我可以自己摸索道家的道理以及文本。他提到,在道家思想裡,國家以及界線並不是重點,反而專注在個體如何跟這個世界做連結(這或許也解釋了為何以道治國會比較少有戰爭)對於簡樸、謙遜、還有同情的重視,馬上吸引了我。當然也有一些(至少對我來說)比較偏激的概念,像是這個:不把自己跟別人,甚至其他物種,像是植物或動物,劃清定義的界線;而是把自己和自然中的一切看作一體;比起定義物品,或許我們該定義或挑戰的,是想法或理想。我們需要追隨其他人的想法嗎?我們該嚮往別人的人生嗎?或是我們應該享受陽光、追隨自然的腳步、種些菜然後享受人生?

I loved this idea. It also reminded me of a saying I’ve heard: “there is no them and us, only us”. We’re all humans; what does it benefit us when we divide ourselves into groups and make judgements on one group over another?

我好愛這個想法。這也讓我想到一段我聽過的話:「沒有他們和我們,只有我們。」我們都是人類;把我們分成不同族群,然後互相評判,對我們有什麼好處嗎?

We discussed how lucky we both are that we have music as a way to communicate with others, and the fact that our music exists, and will exist, beyond our own existence. We also considered the fact you have to create, perform and listen to music “in time” – in the present; it happens over time. Music that can hold you in the present moment feels really good for the soul.

我們聊到我們都很幸運,能夠把音樂當成一種和他人溝通的方式,而且就算我們不在了,我們的音樂也會一直存在。我們也想到,人們必須「及時」—也就是「在當下」—創造、表演、以及聆聽音樂。這會隨著時間推移而發生。能在當下讓你駐足的音樂,真的能讓人感到心靈舒暢。

Finally, we talked about the concept of flow, fluidity and change; in ourselves, and our sense of ourselves, in the world, in others… and we made a plan to create music which embodied the concepts of one-ness, simplicity and flow that we had been discussing, even to the extent of me sitting at the piano and playing, without any intention (something I’ve never done!), in the moment, to see what came…

最後,我們聊到不管是在自身,還有在我們意識中的自己,或是在這個世界、在他人的流變、流動、跟改變的概念;我們希望創作出來的音樂,能體現「合一」、「簡樸」以及「流動」等之前討論過的概念,甚至到了我無意地坐在鋼琴前彈奏的程度(這我可從來沒做過!),在這時刻,等待著…

With huge thanks for the translation, provided by Alice, Instagram: @mayday_stereo

Collaboration 8 – James Grant

31.5.22

Here’s our finished song – Cornerstone!

It’s been a really positive learning curve for me to collaborate with singer songwriter James Grant this past month. I’ve written in a way I’ve never done before! It began with James sending me some gorgeous guitar music, which he recorded remotely. I always tend to have the “big idea” in place, and often, the majority of my lyrics, too, before any music comes along…so this was a totally new and exciting approach for our collaboration.

After clarifying that James didn’t have a particular theme in mind for the song, I began to seek out a melody – just a melody, with no connection to any thoughts or ideas…I’ve never done that before.

I think a lot of my songwriting process comes back to a music theory exercise that I used to enjoy at my classical piano lessons, with my lovely, inspirational teacher, Mary Newlands. She frequently gave me short texts to set to a melody – and I relished this task, and this way of working. What rhythm and melody did the words imply? What could rhythm and melody do to enhance these words? I was excited by the possibilities…and later, I think I consciously chose this “words first” approach in my own songwriting, in an attempt to ensure that the words were fully supported and matched by the music (see my enthusiasm for “prosody” in previous blog posts!), and that the rhythm and melody of my songs sounded as natural as possible. Over time, I had noticed my own aversion to songs where the melodies of words were extended beyond their syllables, or presented in what seemed to me to be an un-natural rhythm, or not how you would say the words in conversation…But I had never really considered that the same work could be done in reverse, thinking, “what words would really match this melody and rhythm pattern, this vibe?”

So, after recording a provisional melody remotely, which James liked, I began searching for an idea to match the vibe of the music, and the brief for this project – something related to human behaviour and its consequences. The music to me sounded really positive, and full of warmth and support (despite a darker section in the middle) – and so finally, I settled on the idea of storytelling, and perhaps, in particular, the great gift, if we’re lucky enough to receive it, of being told stories by our parents and loved ones as children. Being told stories can help us to find our place in the world, face life’s challenges, and feel secure in who we are and what we value. As well as being one of many people who regularly consume stories (in various formats) for self comfort, much of my work revolves around telling stories through songs, and I feel it’s good to acknowledge that I’m also (re)writing my own story as I do this, changing my ending, re-defining myself with each tale told. I am grateful for all the stories people have told me, and the stories that I am able to tell and re-tell.

I’m also hugely grateful for James’s generosity in lending not only his guitar playing, but also his glorious voice to our recording, and his meticulous approach to perfecting the song lyrics. With a keen eye and ear, James suggested subtle but powerful changes in the phrasing of the lyrics in the song’s chorus, achieving exactly what I valued when setting words to music during my piano lessons – placing the emphasis where it would/should fall naturally, rather than wedging it into the melody line which I had created before the words. He also help us to de-clutter the bridge, getting all of the same sense across, but with much cleaner, simpler lines. I greatly value that clarity of vision, the economic/efficient use of language (which was one of many qualities that I had particularly admired in James’s songs already) and James’s commitment to helping the song reach its potential.

A huge thank you to the talented creative team who have helped me to bring the song to life in a recording – to James himself, for contributing his beautiful vocals and guitar playing, and to Mattie Foulds (drums, production) and Kevin McGuire (bass). I hope you enjoy the song!

#storytelling #storieswetellourselves #writeyourownending #belonging #redefine

24.5.22

My eighth songwriting collaborator in the Creative Scotland supported CONSEQUENCES project is James Grant. During lockdown, I enjoyed the entire programme of Celtic Connections 2021, and was particularly impressed with James’s succinct, powerful songwriting, so I got in touch with him, and was absolutely delighted that he was up for collaborating with me for this project 🙂

By next week, all being well, we’ll be sharing a recording of our song! I’ll also write a wee blog about the experience.

Meanwhile, if you’d like to support the project by pre-ordering the CD of the album for delivery in October 2022, you can do so here:

https://www.kimedgar.com/product/consequences-cd-pre-order/ 

Thanks for all your support!

Collaboration 7 – Sandra Le Couteur

30.4.22

Here’s our finished song – Vent Fou!

It’s been a great joy to work, remotely, with the superbly passionate French Canadian singer, Sandra Le Couteur this past month. We’ve had a couple of obstacles to overcome: language (Google Translate has been a true blessing, as I’ve forgotten much of my “high school” French…) and COVID-19, which I have miraculously avoided so far (it feels like only a matter of time, though), but which had Sandra laid up in bed for a week at the point at which she was aiming to record her vocals for the song.

Sandra is a true professional though, and despite illness, has put in an impassioned performance for our collaboration, VENT FOU (crazy wind), for which Sandra first wrote the lyrics, to which I added the music. I include a translation of the lyrics below for those of us who are non-French speakers which I hope will be of interest, and perhaps help to make sense of my musical approach a little, too.

I am particularly fond of “prosody” – working to make the musical elements of a song fit with and support the meaning of the lyrics. I’ve tried, in this song, to capture the imbalance and urgency of the climate crisis in the imbalanced feeling 7/8 time signature of the verses, and the hope that we will indeed manage to slow everything down, and simply breathe, in the more restful 4/4 time signature choruses.

A huge thank you to the talented creative team who have helped me to bring the song to life – to Sandra herself, for contributing her stunning vocals, and to Nicolas Basque her engineer for recording for us in Canada; to Mattie Foulds (drums, production), Kevin McGuire (bass) and Mikey Owers (brass). It’s such a pleasure to make music in this way – and incredible that through technology, and hard work, such international collaborations are possible! I do hope my pronunciation is okay…forgive me, if not 😉

#nomusiconadeadplanet #greenmusic

Ce fut une grande joie de travailler, à distance, avec la chanteuse canadienne-française superbement passionnée, Sandra Le Couteur le mois dernier. Nous avons eu quelques obstacles à surmonter : la langue (Google Translate a été une vraie bénédiction, car j’ai oublié une grande partie de mon français “lycée”…) et le COVID-19, que j’ai miraculeusement évité jusqu’à présent (il cela ne semble être qu’une question de temps), mais qui a obligé Sandra à rester au lit pendant une semaine au moment où elle visait à enregistrer sa voix pour la chanson.

Sandra est pourtant une vraie professionnelle, et malgré la maladie, elle a réalisé une performance passionnée pour notre collaboration, VENT FOU, dont Sandra a d’abord écrit les paroles, auxquelles j’ai ajouté la musique. J’inclus une traduction des paroles ci-dessous pour ceux d’entre nous qui ne sont pas francophones, ce qui, je l’espère, sera intéressant et aidera peut-être à donner un peu de sens à mon approche musicale aussi.

J’aime particulièrement la « prosodie » – travailler pour faire correspondre les éléments musicaux d’une chanson avec et soutenir le sens des paroles. J’ai essayé, dans cette chanson, de capturer le déséquilibre et l’urgence de la crise climatique dans le sentiment déséquilibré de la signature rythmique 7/8 des couplets, et l’espoir que nous parviendrons effectivement à tout ralentir, et simplement à respirer. les chœurs 4/4 plus reposants.

Un grand merci à la talentueuse équipe créative qui m’a aidé à donner vie à la chanson – à Sandra elle-même, pour sa voix époustouflante, et à Nicolas Basque, son ingénieur, pour avoir enregistré pour nous au Canada ; à Mattie Foulds (batterie, production), Kevin McGuire (basse) et Mikey Owers (cuivres). C’est un tel plaisir de faire de la musique de cette manière – et incroyable que grâce à la technologie et au travail acharné, de telles collaborations internationales soient possibles ! J’espère que ma prononciation est correcte… pardonnez-moi, sinon 😉

Quand le brasier se lève / When the inferno rises

Qu’il boit le nectar, la sève / Let him drink the nectar, the sap

Quand l’arbre se dessèche / When the tree withers

Il hurle au ciel sa détresse / He howls to the sky his distress

Quand la mer vidée s’écroule / When the empty sea collapses

Que les déchets noircis la soûle / That the blackened waste makes her drunk

Le vent murmure sa peine / The wind whispers its pain

La colore d’un noir ébène / The color of black ebony

 

Souffle souffle, vent de folie / Blow blow wind of madness

Souffle souffle sur ma terre / Breath breath on my land

Souffle souffle sur ma mer / Breath blow on my sea

Souffle souffle sur nos vies / Breath breath on our lives

 

Je veux revoir mon ciel / I want to see my sky again

Le prendre dans mes bras / Take him in my arms

M’enivrer de son miel / Get drunk on his honey

Son nom comme un mantra / His name like a mantra

Tu es belle ma terre / You are beautiful my land

Tu es tendre ma mer / You are tender my sea

Je te veux comme amant / I want you as a lover

Comme tu étais  avant / Like you were before

Souffle souffle, vent de folie / Blow blow wind of madness

Souffle souffle sur ma terre / Breath breath on my land

Souffle souffle sur ma mer / Breath blow on my sea

Souffle souffle sur nos vies / Breath breath on our lives

Souffle souffle, vent de folie / Blow blow wind of madness

Souffle souffle sur ma terre / Breath breath on my land

Souffle souffle sur ma merBreath blow on my sea

Souffle souffle sur nos viesBreath breath on our lives

Sur nos viesOn our lives

Sur nos viesOn our lives

25.4.22

One of the unexpected silver linings of the pandemic in 2020 was getting to take part in Global Music Match through Showcase Scotland Expo. Along with many other musicians from Scotland, I  was supported to connect with musicians around the world, and a few of my collaborators for the CONSEQUENCES project were part of the team I was lucky enough to join, coached by Stevie Smith, the CEO of Americana Music Association UK. The project enabled us to connect online with musicians at a time when touring was impossible, and provided us all with a support network, as well as a chance for reflection, skills development and creativity.

I was delighted to get to know Sandra and her passionate, dramatic music, through the project –  and all being well, by the end of this month, I’ll share with you some reflections on our collaboration, as well as the song we have written together. I look forward to seeing you then!

Collaboration 6 – J-P Piirainen

31.3.22

Here’s our finished song, It Only Takes A Silence, which was written in celebration of all those people who speak out and take action against injustice. Thanks to the creative team who helped bring it to life – J-P Piirainen (guitele, vocals, programming, production), Mikey Owers (brass and backing vocals), Mattie Foulds (production) and Gillian Gamble (artwork).

For those of you who, perhaps, like me, aren’t hugely familiar with traditional Finnish music, it’s worth mentioning that we wrote this piece in the time signature 5/4 which is typical of Finnish runo singing. Also, the chorus melody line and rhythmic patterns have taken inspiration from traditional style, with the beats grouped into 3 and 2, and lots of close intervals between notes.

The lyrics spoken by J-P in the song were gathered from old traditional Finnish texts about silence and being quiet, and are as follows:

Jo mie kaik’ virret unohi

Kaik mie laulut lakkaelin

Hiljaa, hiljaa nuohinainen

Hiljaa, hiljaa hiitelästi

 

They could be translated as follows:

I’ve forgotten all the hymns

I’ve stopped singing all the songs

Quiet, quiet young woman

Quiet, quiet quietly

 

Let’s not be bystanders…

#standwithukraine #solidaritywithukraine #refugeeswelcome #peace #notowar #divisioncannotwin

 

8.3.22

“If we can break the silence

We’ll know that they have seen us

We’ll rise up and do something

When tragedies begin

If we can break the silence

No walls will come between us

United voices gaining traction

Division cannot win”

J-P Piirainen is a talented fingerstyle guitarist and composer from Finland, who I met through Global Music Match. In 2020 he created a hybrid instrument that combines guitar and kantele (a traditional Finnish stringed instrument) into one body – he calls this the GUITELE. In his creative work, as in his instrument, he combines contemporary and traditional material.

I met J-P online to collaborate remotely on Thursday 24th February 2022, the day that Russia began a full scale invasion of Ukraine. The horrors of war and the individual responsibility on all of us to respond to this human tragedy were at the forefront of our minds as we worked together. For each of us, the concept of taking whatever action we can – whether that’s to speak up, personally and politically, when we see injustice, or to help, practically or financially, when we see others in need – became connected to the concept of moving from silence to sound, and we’re working on a song that embodies this concept right now – we will share “It Only Takes A Silence” with you by the end of this month. It’s not much, but it’s what we have to offer – and it’s heartening to see that we are far from alone in articulating our solidarity with Ukraine through sound, art and creativity.

Gillian Gamble, the artist who devised the CONSEQUENCES image, kindly permitted us to use this hopeful image of support for peace in Ukraine for this month’s track. 

If you’d like to make a sound or act in solidarity with Ukraine, here are a few links that may be of interest:

@zestinferna teaches MNOHAYA LITA – a well beloved Ukrainian blessing song being taught on Instagram. 

If you’re based in the UK, HERE‘s a comprehensive list of ways you can help Ukrainians compiled by the Ukrainian Institute in London: practically, financially and also by emailing your local MP to ask for further sanctions and safe passage for refugees.

If you’re based in Finland, HERE’s the link to Red Cross Finland where you can find ways to help Ukrainians.

Collaboration 5 – Goodnight Louisa

28.2.22

Here’s our finished song – Fifty To One

A huge thanks to the creative team who helped me bring it to life: Goodnight Louisa (vocals), Mattie Foulds (production, synths, drums), Kevin McGuire (bass) & Mikey Owers (brass).

“the fantasy that keeps on fading”

My fifth collaboration with Goodnight Louisa, “Fifty To One”, came about after I was lucky enough to work alongside Louise (her real name!) in 2021 as part of a fantastic songwriting project for young people attending Goodtrees Neighbourhood Centre in Edinburgh. The project was delivered in partnership with Edinburgh International Festival and Vox Liminis (with whom I’ve done quite a bit of rewarding work in the past around singing and songwriting in a social justice context, including “In Tune” family singing sessions with prisoners and their families).

The young people at Goodtrees had really risen to the challenges of the pandemic, and had been using their time and energy during lockdown to get food and other supplies to everyone who needed them in their community – and this led the Edinburgh International Festival to devise a way of giving back to the young people themselves, through a project called AMPLIFY, which gave them a platform to speak out and be heard, through songs and raps.

Discovering Louise’s unique aesthetic and voice through this project, as well as her confidence and skills in production, I was keen to collaborate with her as part of CONSEQUENCES, and to learn more about her personal songwriting process, which leads to unique and engaging work, as you may have discovered already, if you’ve checked out her debut album, Human Danger (if you haven’t, you can listen HERE).

Having settled on a theme of greed, and more specifically, gambling, in advance, we spent an evening together in real life, collaborating in a room, and it was most interesting for me to see Louise’s process which is quite different from my own – building up a melody by playing lines and chords on her synthesiser (which I also had a bash at!), and also building up a vibe using a drum machine that she had recently bought, and working at a speed which really impressed me to try out and then settle on the final pattern of electronic beats that feature in the track. Another thing that was really interesting to me was how films influenced Louise’s creativity, and how that made our developing lyrics very visual, in a way that greatly appealed to me.

What was also quite different for me (from my usual songwriting approach, at least) was that the song came into existence that night, despite not having many words – it had a real shape and an energy, and we knew what it was going to be about, but apart from the chorus phrases, it didn’t have many lyrics at this stage. That was something that we then worked on remotely afterwards… 

The first real COVID-19 challenge happened during this collaboration; although much of the track was recorded mid month, sadly after that, Louise was unable to join a planned “in person” recording session with Mattie to record her vocals, because she tested positive for COVID. Despite being under the weather, and not having a functioning microphone or pop shield at home, Louise was a trouper and managed to borrow and record remotely in order to add what I’m sure you will agree are very distinctive and beautiful vocals to the song last night! As you can imagine, Mattie’s had quite a bit of work to do quickly in order to make the final mix and master and still meet today’s deadline – hats off to him, and his calm approach! It’s been a pleasure to collaborate with Louise on this, and I really hope you enjoy the song 🙂

17.2.22

My fifth songwriting collaborator in the CONSEQUENCES project is Goodnight Louisa, a dark pop artist from Edinburgh, Scotland, whose debut album, Human Danger, is out now – you can listen to it here

By the end of the month, I’ll share a blog with reflections on our collaboration, and a recording of our song! Exciting…

Meanwhile, if you’d like to support the project by pre-ordering the CD of the album for delivery in October 2022, you can do so here:

https://www.kimedgar.com/product/consequences-cd-pre-order/ 

Thanks for all your support!

Collaboration 4 – Dan Bettridge

31.1.22

Here’s our finished song – The Rolling Sea!

I really hope you enjoy the song! A huge thanks to the creative team who helped me bring it to life: Dan Bettridge (vocals, electric guitar), Mattie Foulds (production, drums), Kevin McGuire (bass) & Mikey Owers (electric guitar).

#danbettridge #kimedgar #songwritingcollaboration #consequences #treadlightly #saveourseas

26.1.22

Dan’s voice, and the warmth of his songs, really appealed to me as soon as I heard them – if you’d like, you can check both out in this beautiful Mahogany Session music video. 

When I got to know Dan a bit better, I also discovered his commitment to the environment (check out his website here), and so it seemed like a perfect opportunity to consider the environmental consequences of human behaviour in our collaboration – I suggested a couple of themes including this one to Dan, and he was keen to focus on the environment, so before we’d met to collaborate online, we already knew what we’d be writing about (which I find really helpful!).

We put aside a day to work together online, and we were literally starting from scratch; Dan has a home studio, and had set up his electric guitar as well as a vocal mic into his own recording software (he’s much further ahead than I am on the journey of becoming confident with recording technology) and so as we worked, he put down ideas and saved them for us. Occasionally, we took a longer break, so that I could do the same, slowly, and then email them to him 🙂

For some reason, The Beautiful South “A Little Time” had come into my head that day, and gave me the idea of an “almost-break-up” song, from the environment to humanity, really drawing the boundaries and saying what would need to happen to avoid humanity being kicked out of the house forever…I’m pleased Dan was up for the concept.

We really worked quite fluidly across words and music over the course of the day, and our work together reminded me of one of the main challenges of this type of collaboration; words. I feel words are so personal, and we know them so intimately, that it’s really hard to compromise on phrases that jar for anyone involved in the song collaboration. It has to feel right (some might say authentic, or true) to get into the song lyric. So we really had a lot of thinking time over the course of the day, and a lot of tweaking of individual words, and I think that by the end we’d found a way to express something that each of us felt fully behind. It’s also fairly economic with words – perhaps as a result of that challenge – and I think that’s a really good thing.

There’s one piece of learning from my collaboration with Dan that I’ll try to keep at the forefront of my mind. I often think of “the big picture” first; I’m concerned that my message comes across clearly, is fully formed, and covers all the points I want to make. When I chatted about this with Dan, he shared that he preferred the opposite approach – he prefers to start with something small, and see what he finds in that story, and what it might mean. It was a refreshing change for me, and it leads to songs where listeners can also find their own meanings, which is actually something as a listener myself I value. I’m going to try to do that more.

By the end of the month, I’ll update this page with a recording of our song! Hopefully see you then…

19.1.22

One of the unexpected silver linings of the pandemic in 2020 was getting to take part in Global Music Match through Showcase Scotland Expo. Along with many other musicians from Scotland, I was supported to connect with musicians around the world, and a few of my collaborators for the CONSEQUENCES project were part of the team I was lucky enough to join, coached by Stevie Smith, the CEO of Americana Music Association UK.

The project enabled us to connect online with musicians at a time when touring was impossible, and provided us all with a support network, as well as a chance for reflection, skills development and creativity.

I was delighted to discover Dan’s music, which I would probably never have come across otherwise, and you can discover it, too, at his website:

https://www.danbettridge.com/

By the end of this month, I’ll expand on my notes here, and share with you some reflections on my collaboration with Dan, as well as the song we write together. I look forward to seeing you then!

Collaboration 3 – Boo Hewerdine

 

30.12.21

Here’s our finished song – The Edge Of Shame!

It was such an honour to work with Boo on this song; what was most fascinating for me was the speed at which Boo’s ideas came…I confess, for myself, most of the finding of music, and indeed, words, is a slow process. I’m sure it’s something that will improve with more practice 🙂

We discussed some general topics that interested us; Boo was interested in how the law affects the ways in which people are treated – so for example, we talked about the fact that it’s not so long ago that homosexual relationships were illegal in the UK, and how more recent legal changes have led the way, or been a part of the journey, in challenging and changing thinking.

This topic tied in with my thoughts around shame, which I was keen to write about. I had seen something on television which profoundly moved me, and also made me think about how attitudes can change vastly over time: it was a short news article about women who had had their children taken away from them at birth because they were unmarried mothers. This was deemed shameful at the time, yet today in the UK, I think it’s fairly common for unmarried women or indeed any unmarried individual, or couple, to have children. It was heartbreaking to watch women in their 70s and 80s breaking down as they explained what happened to them, acknowledged their own sense of guilt that they hadn’t done something more at the time to prevent this from happening (though it’s very hard to see what they could have done), and their lived experience of loss of their children, every day since.

Boo, by chance, had had a gig in a venue which was a former convent, and had been invited to visit an unused part of the venue, where unmarried mothers had been housed while pregnant – so his direct experience of the feelings he had in that space also fed into the ideas for this song…thanks to Mattie Foulds (production, drums, percussion & synths) for helping me bring the song to life. It doesn’t feel right to suggest that I hope you might enjoy this song – but thank you for listening.

#boohewerdine #kimedgar #songwritingcollaboration #consequences #letconsciencedecide

22.12.21

I’m so pleased to announce my third collaboration is with Boo Hewerdine!

“From the top of the bus
She thought she saw him wave
She’s all Tuesdays and forgetfulness
And a little money saved…”

In my first ever songwriting class at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, we studied “Patience Of Angels” written by Boo Hewerdine. I was blown away by how the understated, emotive opening lines (like a good drama) landed you right in the middle of a situation, and left you keen to know and understand more.

Our first songwriting task was to write our own song which placed someone, positionally, somewhere, at the opening. I wrote Quietly Fantastic, inspired by my wonderful, unique friend Suzie, and the song title ended up being the name of my record label. It begins:

“High above the dirty and fury of the underground
There’s a little gem in a first floor flat in Kentish Town”

But back to Boo. Later, in Patience Of Angels, is one of my favourite parts of the song – a section which I’d call the bridge, and some people call the middle eight:

“There’s a door in a wall in a house in a street
In a town where no one knows her name”

What I also began to observe here was the real craft that was possible in songwriting; the conscious shaping of music and words for particular effect. I discovered this was a really fundamental aspect of Boo’s songwriting when I was lucky enough to hear him perform a full set, live, at Burnsong Live 2005 in Dumfries (the songwriting festival which I mentioned in a previous part of this blog led to me leaving my job as a primary school teacher to pursue songwriting as a career), and I happily left that gig with an armful of his albums.

I can remember clearly, after this experience, thinking “How would Boo Hewerdine approach this?” and in particular, I remember his approach was at the forefront of my mind when I wrote “Scissors, Paper, Stone”, which is one of my songs that I’m particularly proud of.

I was lucky enough to later perform a couple of times on stage with Boo in subsequent Burnsong events, but I confess my shyness got the better of me, and our interactions probably stalled after I said something like “I think you’re amazing” and then blushed and left the room…

Lockdown brought me an unexpected and most welcome opportunity to get to know Boo better; I applied for and was successful in securing a place on Bird On A Wire – a week long online songwriting workshop in February 2020, led by Boo and Findlay Napier, provided through funding support from Creative Scotland free of charge for songwriters who were currently unable to tour because of the pandemic. I absolutely love learning about other songwriters’ techniques and approaches, and it was fascinating for me to hear directly from Boo and Findlay about their own songwriting approaches. Both were generous in their advice and feedback as our cohort wrote individually and also collaborated in various constellations on a variety of songwriting tasks over the course of the week. Once again, a songwriter that I greatly admired from a distance didn’t seem so far away any more, and so when I had a final online one-to-one chat with Boo, and he asked what would be helpful for me going forward with my songwriting, I took the plunge and said “I’d really love to collaborate with you, if you’d consider it.” I was so thankful that he said yes! Watch this space to find out more about how we worked and the song we’ve now made together…it’ll be here by the end of the month – I look forward to seeing you then!