Chantelle Smith

First Stirrings Of Spring (February News)

Monday, 13th February, 2017

Despite the fact it was desperately trying to snow over the weekend, the first signs of Spring are starting to appear in the form of primroses and snowdrops (and the odd, enthusiastic daffodil), and buds on the trees.  Winter has, for the most part, felt like a time of preparation (as it should do) but now, with the visible lengthening of the days, it feels like the right time to put those preparations into action.

 

The end of January saw me leading the Secret Garden wassail in Swindon followed a little over a week later by the launch of Wonderwords, a wordy event which I hope will bring together the various wordsmithing communities in the town to share with and be inspired by each other.  Check out my blog post on ‘Creativity in the Community‘ to read a little more about both those events.

 

Having done a lot of outwardly creative events, I’ve needed to spend some time this month working on my own creativity.  To that end, I used up some of my annual leave from my day job and spent a week having a bardic staycation.  In addition to working on my harp and guitar playing, I managed to work on the arrangements for the last two tracks that will be going on my EP and I also managed to write the lyrics for five songs which will be appearing in the show that Kevan and I are putting together – the eponymous ‘Bríghid’s Flame‘.

 

I still have some rehearsal to do before I start the rough recordings for the EP tracks I haven’t done that for yet (so I can check the arrangements sound ok) but it feels good to have made some progress.  Hopefully I’ll have some news on that, and the progress on turning my new lyrics into fully fledged songs, next month.



New Year Energy (January News)

Monday, 9th January, 2017

Well, I had meant to write a round up of what I’d been up to in December before 2016 ended but, as it happens, I came down with the awful cough/cold that’s been making the rounds so I was more concerned with drinking lots of soothing hot drinks and resting than writing about my musical adventures over the past month.

 

Still, better late than never here’s what I’ve been up to and what’s coming up over the next month and a bit.

 

Most of my music time has been spent preparing for an event I’m absolutely honoured to be performing at – I’ll be playing my harp the the wedding of my dear friends Andy and Rhiannon this coming Saturday. I’m really looking forward to it and I hope the music I make will add to the specialness of the day.

 

I’ve also been taking part in some lovely singing in my local community over the past month; there was carol singing on two evenings in December which will hopefully blossom into a bigger event with each year. The villagers we sang to and residents of care homes we entertained certainly seemed to enjoy having carollers turn up. Yesterday was another time for singing in the community as as couple of friends (Talis and Kathy) and I went around the village singing wassail songs (not only to trees, but also our local pharmacy and library which are hanging in the balance as cuts are made all over the place).

 

Oh, yes, and on my birthday weekend earlier in December I had a joyous evening singing at the Sunday Song singing sessions in the Lounge of the Star Inn in Bath. If you’re ever in Bath on a Sunday evening, I thoroughly recommend dropping by A Sunday Song either with a song of your own or just to listen. Either way, you’re in for a treat.

 

There’s also lots of lovely creativity in the planning at the moment, too.

 

On New Years’ Day, Kevan and I relaunched our storytelling and song act as Bríghid’s Flame – which is also the name of our next show. You can find out more about what we’re up to on our new website: http://brighidsflame.co.uk/. We already have two gigs for 2017 listed on our website and we hope to be adding more soon!

 

As if that wasn’t enough, over the weekend I announced the new evening of wordsmithery that I’ll be running in Swindon on the first Tuesdays of the month from February. There are spoken word and song events in Swindon but there doesn’t seem to be an event that brings all the wordy disciplines together so, in the grand tradition of if you want something to happen then make it happen, I’ve launched Wonderwords. It follows the format of Stroud Out Loud for those of you who are familiar with that wonderful wordy event. You can find out more about Wonderwords here: https://swindonwonderwords.wordpress.com/.

 

I’ve once more been asked to lead the wassail at The Secret Garden in Swindon’s Queens Park at the end of the month. This is the third time I’ve lead the event and it is always a wonderful thing to be a part of. Check out The Secret Garden’s Facebook event for more information and, if you’re coming along, don’t forget to bring your singing voices and your pots and pans to bang: https://www.facebook.com/events/1818286248439325/.

 

I’m very much hoping to focus on my EP over the coming months as it has been languishing somewhat in the light of consecutive cold viruses and too much other stuff going on. I have a feeling I may need to take a creative retreat to allow myself to focus on getting it together rather than fitting it in around everything else. It would be great to have the tracks down by Midsummer so we’ll see how I get on.

 

There is always, of course, taking time to learn new songs and hopefully write some of my own. Again, we’ll see how we go with that – I have several lovely ballads lined up to learn but I just need to find the time to sit down and learn them. I’m trying very hard not to burn the candle and both ends (and in the middle) this year so I’m going to have to be patient about how much creative things I can work on at any one time. I’m sure I’ll get there in the end, though.

 

So, that’s it for now. Have a fabulous and creative January and I look forward to updating you on my music endeavours next month. Take care!



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