Last Friday I attended the January event on the theme of ‘Surreal’, and a number of regulars recognized me as part of Two Doors Down. Also, the organisers – including the new host, Lodovico – are keen to have us back sometime soon. So watch this space.
I’m a regular at Creative Mornings Rotterdam. It got me thinking. Could I write a decent song on the theme of the month and would Creative Mornings Rotterdam let Two Doors Down debut the song live at that month’s breakfast lecture?
The Rotterdam Creative Mornings team were willing to indulge me. To date I’ve written 4 songs inspired by Creative Morning themes, and we got to performed 3 of them live. (“I trust my hands” I performed a capella to a gallery owner in Manchester where I was stranded because I’d missed my flight. It happens.)
The 4 songs in our “Creative Mornings Collection” are:
Who will throw me a life line (Theme: anxiety) Curiosity (Theme: curiosity) I trust my hands (Theme: craft) Honest friends (Theme: honesty)
Here is the latest song, “Honest friends”, recorded live at Creative Mornings Rotterdam on 26 October 2018.
Will you tell me the truth
tell me the truth in love? Please share.
I appreciate it when you speak from the heart
It tells me how much you care.
I need honest friends to keep me grounded
Who bring out the best in me
Up close and personal
I need your honest-to-goodness honesty
Will you back me up
back me up when I’m under fire
It’s so good to know I have support
from those who know me and how I’m wired.
Like the pitch and roll of a ship at sea
My life is in constant flux
I need an anchor, a harbour and a lighthouse
People I can trust
Last Tuesday Margriet and I recorded our Art Rocks video, with our friend, Theo Huijgens behind the camera. It all got a bit late, and I forgot my capo, so I had to play a whole other set of chords. Also, my guitar strings need replacing and our voices were a bit shaky. But we did it. And then came the challenge of taking the best bits and tweaking the audio and turning it into a video. Amazing how much I’ve learned in the process.
Here’s the result:
If you like the song, please vote for us on the Art Rocks website.
Note: The artwork on the easel Irene had made years ago.
My Art Rocks 2018 song is finally coming together. I’m calling it “Ramses”.
I was inspired by the life of Ram(e)ses II and his legacy (as Basquiat obviously was), in particular the striking evidence of his love for Nefertari, his first wife. The tomb he built for her in the Valley of the Queens is stunning – a real labour of love. She’s depicted larger than life on some temples too. He called her “the one for whom the sun shines”. Some praise indeed!
Writing the song has taken a bit longer than usual, as I struggled to find a direct link with the painting and the artist. After the Art Rocks workshop day I participated in a few weeks back, I saw a way to pull it all together and I think it works. Here’s hoping the museum judges think so too.
Now onto the final stages of arranging the song, making the video and getting my entry in in time for the closing date, 22 October 2018.
Art Rocks is a bi-annual competition linking fine art and music.
Irene took part in 2012, and has decided to try again. Last Saturday she attended one of the workshops, to gain inspiration and meet some of the other songwriters. She was the oldest of the bunch by far. The youngest was 15, not much older than when she first learned to play the guitar and started writing songs all those years ago.
Irene has selected this painting by Basquiat as her inspiration:
The song is evolving slowly, but she’s making headway. The challenge is to write a song that can stand on its own, but that is clearly inspired by and a response to the artwork. Good luck to all the others taking part.
The organisers hope for 250+ entries this year. Wouldn’t it be great if Irene made the museum round and then got selected for the finals in Paradiso? One can dream, can’t one?
In case you’re interested, here’s the link to Irene’s 2012 entry, “Mirror mirror”.
In a recent blog post, Gary Ewer mentions Bob Dylan’s analogy for describing a good song: ‘It should be able to “walk by itself.” A good song has life. It has an identity, and it exists long after someone sings it.’ (source: www.secretsofsongwriting.com)
I’m hoping to write a few of those.
I’ve been in songwriter-mode for most of 2017, taking part in a year-long course with Lalalab in Amsterdam and attending some songwriting camps. Not that I’ve been prolific, but I do have something to show for it.
Some recent song tiles:
Be a little braver
Do you remember?
On the other side of darkness
It kills me
I went to Lausanne for a meeting this weekend (lucky me) and took along my ukulele as I often do on trips, hoping for an opportunity to play and sing. It wasn’t to be. But towards the end of my journey back home, in the train to Rotterdam, I gave an impromptu mini-concert, singing the chorus of one of our Two Doors Down songs: “This is for you, this gem of a memory … this is for you to keep” (written on the ukulele, and easy enough to play from memory).
In fact, I got to play the chorus twice. My audience: a lapsed guitar player and two train conductors. I was sitting in a vestibule (I think that’s what you call it) near the door (and the toilet), surrounded by my luggage, and the guy next to me was drawn to my instrument in its mandolin case. So I took it out and we shared a “gem of a memory” right there, together with first one and then a second train conductor doing their rounds, with the sounds of the train and rushing wind as a backdrop to my little song.
I hope I have inspired my travel companion to pick up his guitar again, and/or get himself a ukulele. The few chords he played on my instrument sounded really sweet. And I hope the train conductors also have good memories of our brief encounter.