It takes a certain kind of skill to carry something stone-heavy with nonchalance, like it is featherweight. Seemingly, I’m travelling as light as can be, mine de rien…
23kg. The waiting. The weighing. The odds of having to unpack, reorganise, reshuffle. The scorning looks all around. Skin cells shedding underneath the bulky clothing that didn’t make the suitcase. The queuing. The scrupulous scanning of the collective’s conscience. Any prohibited concealments? Any undisclosed proscriptions? The slight discombobulation of tootling tourists smuggling their dreams across the border. A theatre of sorts with its merriment, all for the price of a ticket away from the everyday, towards the more outlandish. Meanwhile, Little E is humming ‘Row row row your boat’ all the way to Finland.
GENTLY DOWN THE STREAM AND INTO THE DEEP
Sea Sponges will have its premiere performance by the Magnitude Ensemble at Spitalfields Music’s Summer Festival on 16th June. Conducted by Ilan Volkov, the performers include soloists Stewart Lee in his non-comedic outfit and in charge of an air-pump and an old diving helmet, and pianist Tania Chen who will be looking after keys, strings and sponges. In addition, the ensemble consists of various wind, brass and string players amongst which my husband Henri Växby with his electric guitars and eclectic sound-palette.
Commissioned by Spitalfields Music, Sea Sponges features alongside new works by Britain’s finest experimentalist composers – Michael Parsons, John Lely, James Saunders and Chris Newman – in a program that promises an ‘unpredictable evening of world premieres’ under the title Familiar/Unfamiliar. The event will take place at the Village Underground club in London’s Shoreditch – an exciting and unconventional venue for contemporary classical music in itself.
The musical structure and material for Sea Sponges mimic the sponges’ abilities to regenerate, clone and regrow broken-off parts creating an imaginary soundscape of what sea sponges might perceive, had they been given the gift of hearing. It should make for a refreshing moment musical on a summer evening.
Tickets can be booked here.
MERRILY, MERRILY, MERRILY, MERRILY WHISPERING DOWN THE LANE
I am delighted to open Tête-à-Tête The Opera Festival King’s Cross in its new home at Central Saint Martins and Kings Place with my new opera happening Whisper Down The Lane. As this will be the sixth time that I have a performance at the festival since it started in 2007, a visit to this exciting platform for new work very much feels like a rite of passage for summer.
The ten-minute performances take place on 24th and 25th July at 18.40 in the foyer of Central Saint Martins in King’s Cross. Expect fun tongue twisting imbroglios and misconstrued iterations warbled and spluttered down speaking tubes, can-phones and other sound-conveying paraphernalia, rustling from one end to the other in this beautifully restored building which once stored Lincolnshire wheat for London’s bakers!
I am still looking for a few more performers (opera singers, other singers as well as ‘mere mortals’) for this event. Participants should come in good spirits, be happy to use their ears and voices and attend the one-off (picnic-)rehearsal (weather allowing) on Sunday 20th July daytime. Please let me know asap if you want to take part!
While there is no need to book tickets to come and see Whisper Down The Lane (free event), please do take a look at the full program of the festival which has a lot to offer!
LIFE IS BUT A DREAM AT THE EDGE OF THE SEA
My band French For Cartridge are set to play David Gedge’s festival ‘At the Edge of the Sea’ in Brighton on Sunday 24th August (bank holiday weekend). We are very much looking forward to go back on the road, possibly even with a pocketful of new songs. Weekend and day-tickets to the festival are available from the Scoptiones/Wedding Present website.
For more news and gig updates please check our website. Here you will also find pictures of one of our FFC choir dolls who recently took to the air in a hot air balloon during her stay at the British School of Ballooning. She has been such an exceptional student that the school have asked to keep her on. The French For Cartridge team would like to thank her for her outstanding contribution to the ‘We Humans’ choir and we wish her well in all her future endeavours!
IF YOU SEE A CROCODILE – KAWAKAWA’S ISLAND SPECIES
Henri and I are also proud to announce the debut album of Kawakawa aka songsmith Sam Taylor on our label Dinner With Daisy Records. We are very excited that the wait is finally over and soon the world will be able to discover Island Species, a collection of beautifully crafted songs carried by Sam’s ethereal Buckley-meets-Wainwright voice. Produced, arranged and recorded by Sam and Henri with a bit of input from me, mixed by Marco Scott Gilardi, the single Universe Shifting and the album will be out at the end of summer.
DON’T FORGET TO SCREAM
Travelling light comes with a delicious feeling of carefreeness. Every time I pack a suitcase, I aim to take as little as possible. Don’t we all…Needless to say, I often fail to meet current airline guidelines. At least, I am usually well equipped for all kinds of weather and situations – something which a more happy-go-lucky airline-compatible person might not be. This time, for instance, I was glad to have packed 265g worth of Tove Jansson’s collection of short stories Resa med lätt bagage (“Travelling Light”), which makes a perfect read by the lake while Henri rows the boat circling the island and Little E looks out for crocodiles, occasionally shouting: “That way, Pappa, not that way”.
It’s all about knowing where you want to go – with or without luggage!
’til next time,