After the furore of Christmas and the full moon in Thorpe, and then the high jinks of New Year (spent gigging in Nottingham and taking in the fireworks and party atmosphere), it seemed natural and almost rude not to relax into the dormancy of the shortest month of the year. My creative flow took a little coaxing out and warming by my wood burner to enliven the spark of inspiration needed to write this article, as I looked out upon my sleeping soggy winter garden. I corralled myself to the task ahead by gathering thoughts about music set in this dark season, in anticipation for the wonderful explosion of an imminent springtime, full of colourful new ideas! I felt inspired, made a cup of tea, stoked up the fire and decided to write about Vivaldi…..
However, my love of researching and the sometimes random wonderment of the internet led me to something else that had me bursting with inspiration, offering up an interesting musical challenge. I had stumbled across the “February Album Writing Month” which invites musicians to pledge to write 14 songs in the 28 days of February. (www.rpmchallenge.com and www.fawm.org). I immediately contacted my trusty trobairitz pal in Middle England (aka Nottingham) and we both expressed delight and felt the rush of renewed creative energy flowing between us as we gathered out wits to comprehend the information. We decided to take on the challenge, join the movement and launch a new project – meaning a month full of musical mayhem was about to be unleashed. Suddenly winter had gone, spring had sprung, and my mind and body were alive with an abundance of energy and new ideas. Hoorah!
We contacted another tricksy pal in her wintery hibernation hole in Dorset, and the Thorpe-le-Soken/Wimborne Minster/Nottingham (TWN) musical challenge was on. No longer waiting for a time when we three busy minstrels could come together to rehearse in the future, this was a perfect excuse to kick start our project with a fascinating artistic exercise. So what’s the deal? We are to prepare 10 songs or 35 minutes of material recorded only in the month of February and send to the “RPM Challenge” HQ. We can record using any equipment, however basic, and bat to each other via the internet. All three of us in the ‘Tricksy Trobairitz TWN Collective’ recognize that the limitations of time and musical gear available present a fascinating opportunity – to gather and explore material we may never have thought of or kept record of. This has come as a gift in the form of a creative jump-start in the cold and frosty winter of creative minds, and it all serves as an invaluable tool to the project development process. We have nothing to lose – hoorah again! There are no prizes except the personal and shared knowledge that we got there….and the resources which will undoubtedly have been created. Being artistically free and spontaneous is not always possible, and sometimes it is down-right frustrating and hard work being a creative soul, searching and waiting for the muse to appear …..and perhaps you’re thinking it all sounds a bit tiring. In fact, I’d probably agree with you there…..maybe I should have stayed by the fire drinking tea and writing about Vivaldi (no disrespect to Vivaldi of course – his “4 Seasons” are a constant inspiration to me – do check out or revisit the wonderful “Winter Concerto” this month).
However, the muse cannot be denied, the challenge is set and I’ll let you know how we get on. The results of our inventive collaboration will certainly be poppingup in Thorpe-le-Soken later in 2016. Here’s to this month being transformed to “Fruitful February”, and may it bring on a healthy and creative burst of life for all of us fabulous Thorpe folk (that’s a bit a of a tongue twister isn’t it!)
Catherine Shrubshall – Thorpe Magazine, February 2016 Issue