Friday, July 01, 2011

Songspin Is Released! Plus Canal and Portugal Fun

Amount of creative activity achieved in last 24 hours: 3
Listening/Reading: Tune-Yards, my favourite band - African-influenced New York punky funk-pop!
Hair Day: newish dirty blonde streak in the front, slightly crimped fringe, shaved side, like 1986 never stopped
What I can see from my window no. 11: The Royal London Hospital helicopter

juice released their debut album, 'Songspin' (Nonclassical) to a whirlwind  - well, at least a gustnado - of national press excitement from The Observer  ('astonishing variety, spark and brilliance'), The Independent ('the range of this new vocal trio is immense') and The Irish Times ('sassy, vibrant and enthralling'). Woo hoo! The three of us are mightily pleased and crossing our fingers for a few more, especially from over the water where our friends at Naxos USA have been putting the word out. It has filled the gap nicely for juice during their summer break, what with one-third of us adding a second baby juicette to the fold, though we are looking forward to an appearance at the Truck Festival (which Anna mistook initially and rather hilariously for TRUCKFEST, an altogether more oil-grimed and builder's-bottomed affair...) in a couple of weeks. 

I've been keeping myself busy in four places:

1) In front of the piano at home, writing my Making Music/Music Publishers Association commission, a 15-minute choral and piano piece. Having chosen loads of traditional sayings about aerial beasties, I have been thoroughly enjoying bringing these old English texts to life in my possibly overly cutesomely-titled 'Rhymes and Charms For Fly-Away Things'. It's now been handed over so I'm hoping the 1500 choirs who belong to Making Music think the same and pounce on it... fingers crossed!

2) Bishop's Square for the Spitalfields Winter Festival - two gigs in June's utterly inclement weather of finger-numbing wind and rain, humph. I shivered through a You Are Wolf set and sang some songs by Tansy Davies. Brrr!

3) At the Laburnam Boat Club in Hackney, a ramshackle little joint on the canal near Kingsland Road, where I've been involved in an Art on the Underground project with artist Ruth Ewan. A weird haven from the dust of building work, the towering academy school next door, and the grimness of boarded-up '60s flats, LBC welcomes kids of all ages to come all kayak, canoe, hang out and do occasional art projects. It's brilliant seeing East London urchins hurling themselves merrily into the canal water,  the total opposite of the sedentary wastrels I hear about on Radio 4. Ruth and I have been working on getting the kids to create songs, sounds and art responding to their surroundings, and now I'm grappling with the recorded results and trying to bash it into an EP format.  

4) In fact, I did some editing work this week in the best sort of office possible: a villa in the Algarve, where Andy and I had a few days with DOLLYman's Lucy and friends. Funny, the most inspiring place to work seems to be NOT my study at home but a 7-bedroom quirky old place overlooking sunbaked hills, in 35-degree heat, eating fresh sardines and drinking champagne, with a 15m pool to throw myself into and play the most camp of water games with various Hello Kitty-themed inflatables. Sheer, freckle-exploding bliss...

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