The latest updates:
The new album
Work on the album has been delayed significantly by two major factors. First of all, for the past four years I’ve been engaged in research on the 13th century medieval Occitan story of Jaufre, which has entailed formal studies in various libraries and less formal endeavours to tell the story (in English) to a wide range of audiences, from academic conferences to storytelling clubs and gatherings. I have now submitted my PhD thesis and I’m raring to get out to the world to tell the story to more people. Follow this link to find more about Jaufre.
However, there is another side to the delayed work on the album. Liv Elliot, the recording engineer who worked with me on all my solo albums except A Twist in the Story (she was living in Greece at that time), was diagnosed last May with a brain tumour, and she died on 2nd November 2018. There are no words to express the grief of losing a good friend and ally – Liv had been there for me through many difficult times, as well as the good times, and our friendship was much more important than the recording studio. In January 2018 we had had the fun of working with another good friend of mine, Mary McLaughlin, who added some harmonies to some of the songs, and we had been looking forward to completing the other parts of the recording. Liv did me the inestimable favour of compiling the various recorded tracks as they existed in May and sending me the files, both of us hoping the tumour would not prove fatal, but sadly that was where work stopped last year. It has taken me until now (February 2019) to be able to look at the recordings again and consider what happens next, and I am now making plans to record some more harmony vocals and then proceed to the mixing and mastering stages.
The album’s title is Astrolabe, which is the title of one of the songs. An astrolabe is an old mathematical device used to calculate time, distances, sunrise and sunset, and the word derives from the Greek as “the thief of the stars”. This fits very well with the content of the album, which includes some recordings made when I was a student in 1973, as well as more recent songs, and musicians who have added colour, flavour and melody to the songs are my favourite team of Mike O’Connor (fiddle, concertina), Steafan Hannigan (whistles, bouzouki, bodhran), Matt Crum (keyboards), Barbara Griggs (harp) and Mary McLaughlin (harmony vocals). The whole project has been made possible by the extraordinarly generous assistance of John Bedford, who has been a supporter of my music for many years.
I’m excited to learn that Rocco Rosignoli, a fine writer, singer and musician from Italy, has recorded his translation of Icarus on his forthcoming album. He’s made a beautiful job of both the translation and his performance of my song, keeping close to the meaning and emotions. Take a look at his website: www.roccorosignoli.com
I am now looking for opportunities to sing, and to tell my stories (particularly Jaufre, of course, but other stories as well, and of course I have some tried and tested storytelling workshops to offer). Because I’ve had my head in my books for so long there’s not a lot in the diary at the moment, but I will add dates here as and when they are arranged. Folk clubs, storytelling clubs, house concerts, festivals, book shop events ... please let me know if you have any suggestions.
We have redesigned the shop on this website, where you can find most of my albums as CDs. There are also download cards, carrying a code enabling the download of the entire album, and these are available for Spreading Rings (which is otherwise unavailable now in physical format), A Flame in Avalon and A Twist in the Story. They slip easily inside a birthday or Christmas card and would make great stocking fillers! Just £5.00 each including p&p or £12.00 for three.
Something else to watch out for: Anne's song "Stone Circles" has been arranged for four part harmony and is available from Santa Barbara Music Publishing, Inc. in California. There are some YouTube videos available to show choirs performing it, so if you know of a choir which may be interested please point them in the direction of the publisher at www.sbmp.com!
My first novel, Slipping Through the Cracks, is available on Amazon. Now that the thesis is out of the way I am intending to complete work on its sequel, as well as a mostly-finished separate novel. More details on these as I get further into the projects!