Category Archives: Blog Posts

Side by Side, Hand in Hand, we all sing together

By Nia

As we crawled our way up the motorway through the classic Friday afternoon duet of traffic and roadworks, stuffing our faces with alternate handfuls of chipsticks, mint imperials and grapes (quite possibly the trifecta of car snacks), I felt the tell-tale bubbling of nervous excitement. We were headed north towards the bright lights of Manchester to join hundreds of other LGBT choristers at the Hand in Hand Festival 2017, and I wasn’t sure what to expect… Continue reading Side by Side, Hand in Hand, we all sing together

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Some thoughts from across the pond

I have a privileged job in that it takes me all over the world. I have visited places and experienced things I never would have otherwise. I’ve worked in places such as Nigeria where I was advised to wear a fake wedding ring (when I wasn’t married) to prevent me from being hassled and asked why I wasn’t married; and Mexico where I left my (genuine) wedding ring at home to ensure I wasn’t mugged for it. My job is to help students from other countries come and study at Cardiff University, and as such I have travelled to many countries for over 10 years now. It’s a job I enjoy and believe in, even though it means I often miss one of my main passions – singing in Songbirds choir, Wales’ only LBT choir. We sing an eclectic mix of music, reflecting our equally eclectic members and we’ve performed at weddings, charity gigs, on stage at Pride, auditioned (and been shortlisted) for Gareth Malone, been featured on Made In Cardiff TV, and of course hold our own concerts a couple of times a year. Continue reading Some thoughts from across the pond

Feeling proud (with a small sprinkling of panic) at Pride

Waiting to go on at Chapter on Friday night gave me time for thoughts like, ‘I’ve forgotten all the songs!’ and ‘What if I blast out a high note all on my own in the wrong place?!’. It was reassuring standing between my first Soprano compatriots. Starting with You’ve Got Time was so cool: Clap Clap, Stamp! – like saying, ‘Shut up and listen everyone, the Songbirds are here!’ After that our voices rang out and if I hadn’t been so busy concentrating on Rosie’s conducting (and great facial expressions!) I reckon I’d have shed a tear for the beauty and strength of the sound we made together. Continue reading Feeling proud (with a small sprinkling of panic) at Pride

Cardiff for Orlando

Last Monday, several hundred people – the BBC estimated 350 – gathered in front of the Senedd in Cardiff Bay to hold a vigil for the 49 victims of the Orlando shooting. Sparked by the dreadful news that hit our televisions, newspapers and web pages on Sunday morning, the vigil was organised in a matter of hours and was one of many held across the world. Continue reading Cardiff for Orlando

Treowen Manor: Wedding Serenades and a Wall of Cows

Way back in December last year Songbirds were invited to perform at a wedding – the third matrimonial event we were to perform at as a choir. What it is to be in demand!

Having had plenty of notice, we had been learning new material over the spring and were really looking forward to have the opportunity to perform it. Continue reading Treowen Manor: Wedding Serenades and a Wall of Cows

International Women’s Day 2016: Songbirds on the Glanfa Stage

This year Songbirds were asked to entertain the masses at the Wales Millenium Centre WOW Festival to help mark WEN Wales’ International women’s day celebrations. As a group of LBT women, we all understand how important and pertinent it is to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women across the world. Whilst there are some significant advances in these areas, we are also reminded that progress towards gender parity globally has slowed in many countries, and that there is a greater mountain to climb for women especially those being oppressed, raped, tortured, segragated, excluded from education work and politics, and those used in modern slavery. Continue reading International Women’s Day 2016: Songbirds on the Glanfa Stage

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!

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.