This is a simple piece of music that I love playing! It carries some of the wistful feelings – longings, yearnings for life. Sometimes these seem inexpressible and difficult to articulate. They are most felt for me as ‘pangs’ of the heart, not only emotional but physical as well.
This song was written in the first year that we came to New Zealand but took longer to finally get recorded! It captured some of my feelings around leaving ‘old familiar places, faces’ and the fact that ‘now we’re worlds apart, learning to trust our hearts’. However, we all have life to live, dreams to follow and new roads to head down. After all, today’s the day to reach for the sky!
It is our usual crowd playing along: Ian and Simon on guitar and Simon playing bass.
My son was working on a song that required this really cool tuning, CGCGCE. I was doodling around and ended up working on a theme around a few hymns. I kept working on it and eventually played through a mixing desk with some creative reverb. What you hear is one of the many versions that I played.
I recorded with my Guild acoustic plugged in and also miked with our lovely matched pair of Rode NT55’s. Clearly I added some heavy reverb (Logic Pro’s Space Designer) and voila. I did try to get it perfect, but twas not to be, but I like the version in any case.
The two hymns are When I survey and Be Thou My Vision, which both have great meaning to me. The former reminds me of the cost paid by another to help me form better relationship, both vertically and horizontally and the latter is a fond boarding school favourite and my one chosen contribution to my funeral plans (I know; it’s a bit morose of me). To me they are both a celebration of life and what I see as important. I added a few “festive” sections in between, for light relief.
A couple of years ago a friend of mine wrote a stunning play called ‘The Manhattan Taproom’, for the school where we both teach. It was a play about young women who make a journey to New York to make it in the artistic world in some form or another, be it as a musician, poet, artist, actor, dancer, writer. Most of the songs used were popular songs the girls at our school know and love and fitted the context of what was happening in the play. There is a moment in the play when one of the characters is involved in a life changing event that crushes all her dreams but there wasn’t really a song that fit that moment. I offered to write one. This is it. I hope this song expresses some of what it is to be caught in between what if and reality.
This song was written in response to a friend who lost both her parents in quick succession. I felt an overwhelming sense of compassion for her which was not so much from me but how I felt God felt for her and about her. This was one of those plop-on-the-page songs. I feel it is a song that is for so many of us on the journey of life. Some of us have parents that have encouraged us and others (for whatever reason) have not. This song expresses my feeling that my Father in heaven knows, understands and sees our ‘child’ hearts – those deepest longings, fears, desires, questions – and loves us!! Just loves us!! If you ever wondered if anyone cared, despite the circumstances of life – a resounding ‘yes’ is what I hope you feel through this song!
This song was written for a friend of ours who worked at the same school as us in Taupo. She had had quite a few complications getting into New Zealand with regards lots of red tape. She is a delightful person with an open heart and beautiful eyes. This was written for her for her farewell with the Science department of which her and Ian were part of, when she had to make a journey back to Ireland for family reasons.
Ian is on guitar, Simon on bass and I am on piano and flute.