Chantelle Smith

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!



Late Autumn Catch Up (November News)

Sunday, 13th November, 2016

So, I haven’t quite managed to keep up with regular news updates; that’s been more down to how busy life has been over the past several months rather than having nothing to report.

I’ve been busy with various gigs over the spring, summer and autumn. Kevan and I took ‘The Bonnie Road’ to Malvern in March where it went down really well. Related to that was ‘Across The Lost Border,’ a show based on Kevan’s collection of poems ‘The Lost Border’ interspersed with folk songs from Scotland, Ireland and Appalachia. The height of summer saw us landing at the New Forest Fairy Festival to bring fairy-ish tales to the more adult members of the public enjoying the magical weekend. More recently, we put together a show for Wessex Week to celebrate Athelstan and the achievements of Anglo-Saxon Wessex. The show, ‘Flight of a Sparrow,’ was performed in the library of the Abbey House which was wonderfully atmospheric and went down very well.

I’ve also been busy performing in Talis Kimberley’s band over the spring and summer at a series of eclectic and lovely gigs: Lambs Day at Vowley Farm, TWIGS Summer Open Day, Folk Music in the Park at Hillworth Park, Havant Music Club and Cotswold Living Landscape Festival.

On top of all that, I also performed in my first solo gig last weekend which was great fun. The wonderful Repair Cafe in Swindon (a make do and mend initiative I wholeheartedly support) invited me to sing folk songs with them and I had an absolute blast. I look forward to doing more solo gigs in the future.

My creative endeavours haven’t solely been limited to performing music. I’ve handed in my contribution to Ballad Tales, a series of prose re-workings of traditional British folk ballads edited by my partner, Kevan, and published by The History Press. Ballad Tales should be coming out in the middle of next year so keep your eyes peeled for news on that if you’re interested. I’ve also written an article of Cotswold Life which will be appearing in the January edition of the magazine.

Long term projects are still steaming ahead. I’m continuing to learn the harp and the guitar with a view to bringing them into my solo music in the future. My EP is slowly moving ahead, although with everything else that’s been going on, it’s taken a bit of a back seat for most of this year. Hopefully the cold days of winter will give me the space to focus on the arrangements for the final few songs before I begin the recording process in earnest.



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