|History Is Influencing Me Artistically!
||[Oct. 18th, 2010|06:17 pm]
|[||Ooh I'm Feelin'
|[||I'm Jammin' To
|||||JOHN LENNON- Luck of the Irish||]|
I have found that since leaving on Tour with my band this Summer that I have finally started incorporating stories and struggles in history into my writing. I have wanted to write songs and compose poems with more historical context for some time. I have always identified with the spirit of the bards, whose poetry and sagas were how information and stories were shared and passed down. I have always LOVED a lot of the folk greats who told the tales of their times, or who sang of past struggles and victories. I have recently been getting into the music of the Wobblies (IWW) most notably, Joe Hill. I have always felt that telling these stories was almost like some unwritten duty and responsibility of all musicians, poets and writers. Our art should not just entertain and please, but should also have a purpose. Even if that purpose is just relating to people on a human level that shows that we are all connected through shared experiences of love, loss, trials, tribulations and victories.
Last Halloween, I dressed as a Confederate soldier from the American Civil War. As the weeks built up leading to Halloween I began composing a song on the ukulele for my "character" to sing about his time serving in the war and leaving his home. I have since re-wrote it from the point of view of the soldier's wife and have started teaching the song to another musician friend of mine. I knew after I had done this that I wanted to really find the time to start composing more work that takes my love of history and combines it with my love of music, poetry and performance.
Before I went on tour this Summer, I was approached by the one of the organizers of Victoria, BC's "Tongues of Fire" (their night for all things slam and spoken word) to be apart of a "Cthuluian Cabaret" he was going to be hosting on what would have been H.P. Lovecraft's birthday. Needless to say, I told him I was in! He wanted a diverse group of performers- primarily slam poets and musical acts- to create a Lovecraftian inspire piece. I decided I wanted to do something that took the popular Lovecraft theme of insanity and bridging that with the strain a soldier undergoes in warfare. I just had no idea where to begin! LOL!
During the tour, some of the downtime I got while on the road was spent watching this excellent 26 part series the BBC did back in the 1960's about WW1 called 'The Great War.' While in Fredericton, New Brunswick one afternoon I had watched an episode that dealt about the French mutinies that took place along the Western Front. It really hit a nerve in me hearing the narrator quote the words of the soldiers who had been living in such horrid conditions, without relief or reward for years that lead to their morale finally giving way as many simply walked off the field and refused orders. From there I found the inspiration I needed to start writing my Lovecraft tribute piece. I ended up writing an entire short story! I knew I couldn't perform that so I took inspiration from my own short story and wrote a persona poem. It was received very highly at the event and it was a new step for me as a poet as the subject matter and written style were totally different from anything I had done previously!
I am now working on a few new pieces and immersing myself in wikkipedia articles and books! The first piece is a poem that will be more like a rhyming story about the struggle of the Acadian and Mi'kmaq people's against the British in what we now know in Canada as Nova Scotia. I wanted to write a piece about the Acadians for some time and when I returned from the maritime provinces where their history is held, I was all the more inspired. I have also just started working on some material about the history of the Irish rebellions against the British in numerous forms over the past 800 years. I am so excited with all the inspiration I have been getting as I feed my brian with delicious, delicious history! I am also excited (and nervous) to see how these pieces will be received when I add them into my sets as they have such a completely different feel from what people have seen from me in the past. Regardless of such, I am really enjoying the process creating these and am happy to be working on this sort of material!