“Never sing louder than lovely”
Welcome to my website. I was wondering what to write for my first blog post, over-thought it completely, and then realised it would make the most sense to just tell you a bit about the point of this whole thing: the music.
I grew up in a very musical family, from two perspectives. Mum is a folk singer, who has been avidly collecting and researching traditional songs for as long as I can remember, and uses her natural, expressive voice to carry these old stories into today. My dad isn’t a singer but has an obsession with Bob Dylan that could rival most, and has always introduced me to varied, weird and wonderful music. I have listened to the songs of Leonard Cohen since I was tiny and as I grew older, so did the words somehow. Lyrics are, for me, the best bit - the first thing I listen out for and the first thing that sparks a song idea of my own. The story in the song.
The traditional songs I learnt whilst growing up are part of me and inseparable from what I sing or write. Something my mum said to me, that an old boy in the folk club told her when she started out, was “Never sing louder than lovely.” It could seem old fashioned now, but I love the sentiment behind it - that you should sing ‘straight’, without pretense or ego getting in the way. You are the vehicle for the song; the song comes through you, rather than the other way around, whether you are passing on something that has been sung for hundreds of years, or sharing one of your own.
Musically, I am so inspired by the people around me, from those in my life every day to the songs of the people I admire from afar and the people who are no longer with us, but passed down their songs and tunes. For me, the beauty of folk music, both old and new, is that it is for us all, and something to share and cherish. As I share my inspirations and ideas here, I hope this blog will serve as a little spark for the ideas of others.
I thought I would begin with a song I know by heart; sung to me so long ago that the words and tune are just part of the millions of memories in my head. The Banks of the Sweet Primroses was one of the first traditional songs collected in England, by Roud. A popular song and beautiful tune, it tells the story of a young man who comes across a beautiful woman who is distressed. Upon telling her he will make her as happy as any lady, she tells him he is false and deceitful and to leave her alone…Here is the version that was taught by my mum to me. https://soundcloud.com/pippa-day/banks-of-the-primroses
Thanks for reading, would love to hear from you