Monthly Archives: January 2016

Happy 4th Birthday Songbirds!

I’m not going to lie to you, between supporting my wife through some pretty intense work stuff and starting a new job myself, January has been a pretty busy month for me. So when I arrived promptly at my usual 19:34 and joined in with Rosie’s warm up at the back of the church, it did take me a minute to clock the ginormous cake at the front of the church and realise what it must represent. Four years of Songbirds choir! Continue reading Happy 4th Birthday Songbirds!

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Girls Up Front: 5 Names to Watch Out For

Touching greatness in 2015…

Rozi Plain

Hailing from Winchester, Rozi Plain seems to be popping up all over the place at the moment. (If you correctly interpret ‘all over the place’ as ‘all over the Radio 6 playlists’…)

The latest of her records ‘Friend’ was written while she was living on a boat – a fact which is reflected in its unhurried flow and in one or two disctinctly watery lines.

She also plays with This Is the Kit.

2015 album: ‘Friend’

Listen to this: when you’re feeling philosophical and just a little bit wise.

Stand-out tracks:

Neatest lyrics:

‘It will be reported to be

a difficult year,

a tumultous year…’  (‘Actually’)

‘It is known that it changed

it had just been rearranged

so the bad and sort of okay

is weighted differently

today…’  (‘Rearrange’)

Julia Nunes

Julia Nunes gained something of a cult following for her YouTube renditions of pop songs, layering sound and video in order to play ALL THE PARTS. However, she is also a mighty fine songwriter.

She is dating Dannielle Owens-Reid of Everyoneisgay.com fame. #FanGirlFacts

2015 album: ‘Some Feelings’

Listen to this: when you’ve started to knit the pieces of your broken heart back together and you’re feeling pretty good about it.

Stand-out tracks:

Neatest lyrics:

‘I want to make so many mistakes

that you’re lowest on the list

I want to make mistakes

and I want you to hear about it…’ (‘Something Bad’)

‘Had I known when I was deciding

that I would feel it

in every empty shelf

I may have stopped myself…’ (‘I Don’t Want to’)

Samantha Crain

…is my favourite find of the last six months. She is just this fantastically exciting combination of classic storytelling and subtle twists of phrase. She makes me want to pick up my guitar and write ten songs in a row.

Samantha Crain is from Shawnee, Oklahoma, and she’ll appeal to country music fans, words people and anyone who enjoys full rich vocals.

2015 album: ‘Under Branch & Thorn & Tree

Listen to this: when you’re looking for something rich but tender.

Stand-out tracks:

Neatest lyrics:

‘My neighbour died on Sunday

35 years old.

Never asked for sugar.

Never said hello…’ (‘You or Mystery’)

‘I know I you broke it,

but I’ve got spare parts.

When you come back

would you bring my heart.’ (‘When You Come Back’)

Keep your ears peeled for these in 2016…

Lucius

Lucius are a super-hip five piece from Brooklyn, New York.

Clever, clever writing with full arrangements that drape themselves around the closely harmonised dual vocals of Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig.

‘Wildewoman’ (2013) was amazing and I am very excited about this year’s offering…

2016 album: ‘Good Grief’ – due out on the 11th March.

Sneak previews:

Chris Pureka

Has been a great lyrical love of mine for many years! In my first year of university I listened to ‘These Pages’ on repeat for a week, then wrote my first proper song. (For ‘proper’ read ‘not terrible/excruciating/teenage’).

Sexy americana cool with heartfeels and a handsome wry smile.

2016 album: ‘Back in the Ring’ – due out on the 1st of April.

Classic Pureka:

 

Feeling musical now?

Excellent – why not come along to a Songbirds rehearsal?

Every Wednesday at 7.30pm, City URC on Windsor Place, Cardiff. 

Songbirds Choir is a non-auditioning community choir for self-defining Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans* women. 

Respice, Prospice: Here come the japes of January!

As we nestle in these last few peaceful moments before we thrust ourselves back into our usual routines and take on the bluster of January, I find myself reflecting on the many activities of the last month.

This Christmas it was our pleasure to make a return visit to the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement’s (LGCM) Christmas Carol Service. It provided a lovely opportunity for us to share the stage with the boys at SWGMC and to support the good people of City United Reformed Church and The Gathering. City URC have been fantastic in supporting us on our journey thus far and we continue to be deeply grateful for the use of their beautiful church as the base for our weekly rehearsals. The service was lively yet thought provoking with a number of deft changes of pace between the celebratory boom of carols like the ’12 Days of Christmas’ and quieter reflections from guest speakers on what it means to truly stop and observe Christmas. Particularly poignant were the speeches made by representatives of Displaced People in Action (DPIA), a charity which works with refugees and asylum seekers and who are looking to set up a coffee morning for LGBT* refugees and asylum seekers who may be struggling to find community for many reasons.

On the 14th of December we played host to our own Christmas Concert ‘Sing Noel! With Songbirds Choir’. In spite of the enthusiastic attempts of this year’s triumphant cold virus to flatten our forces, we pulled through as a choir and managed to deliver a buoyant and joyful performance at Jolyons. It was fantastic to sing to a full room and I get the distinct impression that the audience enjoyed it as much as we did! There’s something about a pinch of adversity that brings this flock together and I think the light and strength of our bonds as a community (which doesn’t take itself too seriously…) shone through.

On the 19th we popped up to the second floor of John Lewis on the Hayes to entertain the milling masses with our own brand of festive fun. It was something of a departure from the focused beam of audience attention that we have experienced at our previous gigs as our listeners made their way around the shop to our dulcet chorus, but it was evident from the smiles (and from our own sofa-based family of impromptu supporters) that we were able to add something special to the atmosphere.

At the end of the month we paid a visit to De Courcey’s Manor to sing at our second wedding gig of the year. This was great fun despite the many and varied logistical challenges of getting ourselves back to Cardiff for the 27th. (Thank you to our pianist Rich for rescuing our Musical Director from Newport…). And yes, the bride looked beautiful.

In a way the season saw us come full circle – returning to Jolyons and ending the year by fulfilling the gig we booked in June (or maybe May?) after we were spotted singing at the wedding reception for two of our own ‘Birds. By my watch that makes it the perfect moment to heed the words of my beloved late mentor MG – ‘Respice Prospice’ (Look back, but also look forwards).

And so we launch into 2016 buoyed by the successes of the last year and lifted by the hope of all that is still to come for our community.

Our first stop – finding some more of us!

To this end – on Wednesday the 6th of January we will be holding a New Members session, and you are very welcome to join us.

7.30pm at City United Reformed Church on Windsor Place, Cardiff.

No auditions. Just community and choir fun.

                                                                                                                     – Jan 2016

Songbirds Choir is a Cardiff-based non-auditioning community choir for self-defining Lesbian, Bisexual, and Trans* women.