30 September 2013


Inside Abbey of Saint-Avit-Sénieur 

The Woman in Goggles music project continues apace and has been elbowing out blog time.  Eight, could it be nine? original songs are in gestation, tottering on the edge of birth. Except for My Shrink is Pregnant, none are at large in the community.  But the corollary of penning tunes is the quest to have them aired, live - if only to three sympathetic people - necessitating a rappety-tap on venue doors and asking busy landlords and hard-pressed landladies for a gig.  

Sometimes I think this would all be easier if I were still in my twenties.  But when I was in my twenties I was even more scared, though of different things.  Or maybe they were the same things – that one isn’t good enough, that one’s efforts, or barefaced cheek, will be met with guffaws of incredulity.  At which my instant response has always been: I was just kidding.

Meanwhile, limbering up, I’ve done a little of what we could term song-bombing.  Its crucial difference from photo-bombing, which is defined by Wikipedia as 'the act of inserting oneself into the field of view of a photograph often in order to play a practical joke on the photographer or the subjects', is to give pleasure rather than affront.  It consists of getting a song into a public place, spontaneously, non-threateningly, and without a busker’s cap in sight.  I've notched up only a handful of scores, largely in safe spaces, like an empty church.  I did rounds with close friends and family in Nolay and Saint-Germain-de- Belvès in France.  When no one was looking, or listening, I slipped a quick solo Hodie Cristus Natus Est by Benjamin Britten into the Abbey of Saint-Avit-Sénieur whose splendid interior demanded something reverential and soaring, even though it was a baking July day and this was a Christmas carol.

Two years ago, when I was in the Svaneti region of the Republic of Georgia learning Georgian songs, the song-bombing technique was perfected by members in my group.  Of the many gorgeous melodies sung many times, I wish I could have recorded the spine-tingling harmonies of Madge, Nana, Nicoletta, Fran, Derek and Irene on one particular day when they broke out into an echoing Shen Xar Venaxi in a local church. 

Instead, I’ll need to leave you with this version

Oh, and the beginning of Hodie Cristus Natus Est by boy soprano David Cizner.