Lady Amazon

 
New song (work in progress only – still unmixed) for FREYjA’s new album “The Furnace Recordings”. Thanks to the incomparable Producer + Drummer Paul Robinson – this song has been through many incarnations. I first wrote it in the 90s. After I returned from living in Ecuador for six months. I was already upset about what we were doing to the Amazon back then…now look at us! what on earth? who do we think we are? Kings of the Universe? (Title of another angry FREYjA song)

I used to sing this song live with folk blues guitarist Murray Wall at our weekly residency at Zanzibar in Sydney. The song has evolved since then of course … as has the damage we have done to one of the most beautiful and irreplaceable, natural masterpieces on our planet.

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Ode to Anniversaries


This new song makes eleven in as many months, after a ten year gap of no songwriting at all. I wrote it on the 11th August after two weeks of trying to track down someone close who went awol and also going through the anniversary of something else a little sad.

I wonder what they conjure up for you, these images. I prefer it resonates with your own private stories (which is what songwriting should be able to do) but I know it can be fascinating to know why and how an artist writes a particular story, perhaps then it will touch an even deeper nerve. I will share a little with you.

Yes, it is about death, loss, grief…a ghost is speaking from the other side…but death can be the loss of a friendship or a viewpoint or a lifestyle. It can also be the birth of a new – not necessarily welcome – perspective on a journey with someone you thought was going one way, when it takes a sharp turn or you reach a new understanding about your own or someone else’s limitations.

The child in this song is a victim of war. My mother lived during the bombings of Berlin. Both my parents lost their Dads in the war, in the same year, on different sides of the battle. I still feel the tremors of that within my family all these years later, for the damage which was done within both my Dad’s and my Mutti’s hearts was profound. WWII lives on believe me. All the refugees from our current days crises in the world will bear scarred children too.

The bombing of Dresden too has always haunted me, ever since reading Kurt Vonnegut. That is where ‘and so it goes’ comes from. I look forward to recording this one. It came to me very quickly. It started with a classical Bach-like Fugue and transformed into a living organism for me. Within about two hours it was fait de complit.

Death’s Anniversaries:
1
And so it goes, another year
It doesn’t matter any more
It doesn’t show, it wasn’t here
It wasn’t here at all
2

And so it goes, another child
Beneath a circus carousel
She barely heard the sound
Before she hit the ground
And all the horses fell

Chorus
All these roses, all those thorns
All those fairy-tales
And loves gone wrong
Who wants to carry these flowers for me?
See, the grave lies empty
But the kite flies over
And it’s always something’s
anniversary.

3
And so it blows, you watch time fall
Or try to catch it in your hand
I let it soar and blow some more
You never know where it might land.

4
It’s not so bad, outside the walls
Though no-one stays here long
It ain’t a world for souls like hers
The not so very strong

Chorus
All these roses, all those thorns
All those fairy-tales
And loves gone wrong
Who wants to carry these flowers for me?
See, the grave lies empty
But the kite flies over
And it’s always something’s
anniversary.
© FREYjA R Rennie 2019 August

(Photo by Sasha Damjanovski)

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FREYjA’s Song Showcase


FREYjA played live in London at long last in June. As many of you know, I had not been on stage with my original material since my darling Pa passed. Things sure can knock the wind out of your sails. Well, it had been too long!

I sang just four songs at piano with a cellist, Maria Rodriguez Reina, in a showcase at The Bedford www.thebedford.com in South London. The very same venue where Ed Sheehan started his career. We were very blessed to have Stewart Darrietta hop on stage to play and sing Hallelujah at the end and all the artists who sang that night got up and harmonised. Steward was in London on his way to Edinburgh, where he plays to his annual sellout audiences My Leonard Cohen.

That little performance with Mars wass a teaser to a series of up-coming concerts FREYjA will be performing with full band at a number of venues in town soon. New album, The Furnace Recordings, is bubbling away in the cauldron. So watch this space, my friends. 

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How to Write a Song

ONE WEEK AT A TIME. Day Two: How to Write a Song:

This is the age, for my generation, of parents passing over to the other side. A sad time filled with heavy-hearts, long farewells and sudden traumatising news.

I’m trying to get to Australia to see my mother but it’s just not that simple…nor that affordable…nor perhaps, so imperative…yet…

I have several friends who are  watching a loved one let go, and it makes me realise that these words ‘yet’ and ‘perhaps’ have become code for ‘inevitable’…

…and so i entitle my next song ‘Yet’.

I close my eyes and wrap my heart around the word ‘yet.’ I play one chord on the piano but it doesn’t match how I feel. So I reach for another and am surprised to find that it is a major chord, not a minor chord, which resonates with this word for this song…

The rest of the song writes itself…as if sent straight through a channel from who knows where…our lost loved ones perhaps…
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Out of the Hearts of Babes


ONE WEEK AT A TIME. DAY ONE: A New song:

she is nine years old and she sings me a song she wrote. there are no words to the tune yet but she sings a wonderful melody.

at that same age (me at same age in photo) i recall playing a composition to my piano teacher and he took no interest. did not pat me on the back. nothing. i was deeply affected by his indifference and lack of interest and so i decided that if a child ever played me a song they were proud of, that I would make a fuss. so i did.

because everyone needs to be heard.

on thursday, after choir, at our lesson in hampstead, we dedicated an entire classic piano lesson to learning how to ‘chart’ the chords for her song and then i asked her to close her eyes and tell me stuff which this melody brought up in her as i played the chords with one hand and wrote her thoughts down with the other on some manuscript.
this is what she/we came up with below. it is lovely. we are going to sing the song in the school choir. i am writing harmonies for it.

please note: she wrote this not me! i just captured her own words on the page and helped her put them in the right order with the occasional suggestion and guidance here and there. it’s like she was reading my heart!

yes she is 9 years old:

SONG FOR NOW by PJ Dockery
comes the rain with the tears
and i know you are sad
but i dont want you to cry
i want you to be glad
there’s no need to your sorrow no
there’s no place for that woe
there’s a time for holding on
and a time to let go
CHORUS
don’t leave tonight
it’s going to be alright
don’t know how
but for now it’s alright
comes the snow with a frosted heart
so i know we are through
though i don’t want to say goodbye
it seems that you do
there’s no prize, nor a winner here
only me only you
no place for your cloudy fear
only love that is true

FREYjA

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The Muse is Back: Songwriting Once More

 

DAY SEVEN: A New song:


I remember you
You’re the one who lets the hem fall
Leaves it fraying
Despite what the
Dress-police say about
Kids in odd socks.

 

I remember you
You’re my favourite pair of shoes
Cracked and ragged
With scuffed toes and wobbly heels.

You’re that pair I won’t let go
Climbing that pine
All the way to the top
So you can say, just once,
You sang as high as the
lorikeets.

If you recall
You once said “never” and then
you said it again.
Remember well, all those “nevers”,
Any day you’re dared to.

For you are the boots
which skip across broken bridges,
Span gorges from New York to Peru,
Kick up every pebble in your path
Just to see what lies beneath.

I remember you, old friend
Do you remember me?
If you remember, you still are
and will be again,
Any day you dare

FREYjA

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What It Takes: On Stage with Original Songs

DAY SIX: I’ve had a couple of interesting conversations with three different people recently. Hence, this post. For it dawned on me that few people realise what it takes to get on stage in the first place, let alone, what it takes to get back up there after such a long break (over three years). Yes I did the gig at the Ritz for John Guthrie’s OBE Inauguration dinner but that wasn’t really a FREYjA gig because it was jazz standards, not original songs and it was only a trio. I don’t particularly enjoy doing standards any more. I am a songwriter. There are classics I will always love like Nature Boy but I repeat – I am a songwriter.

What does that mean, “Jazz standards”, some of you non-musicians, non-jazzists may ask? Well it means that no matter how many musicians on stage, we all have a shared repertoire we know. You don’t need to rehearse for that. It is part of our DNA a repertoire of about 200 songs which we pull out of our bag. Not only does it take little effort but it costs less to put on such a show. We don’t have to schedule and gather musicians to rehearse, pay for a rehearsal space and so on. We just get on stage and 1, 2, 3 let’s go.

Getting a project like the FREYjA incarnation back on stage is an entirely different matter. These are original songs. They need atmosphere of a different kind.

As many of you know, my life went on a peculiar trajectory recently. I have found myself moving from home to temporary home. I lived on the boat. I looked after friends’ and strangers’ pets. I put my Bosendorfer into storage (that’s some years ago now) and what this means, the peripatetic, ungrounded, floating life, is that I don’t get time to practise my craft. Read More »

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The Value of Down Time

DAY FIVE: We creatives work hard. Whether we run our Art as a business or no. Writers, painters, musicians…we are constantly practising our craft.

I can truly vouch for this. No matter where I am, I constantly absorb details, my senses are receptive to everything. It is all fodder for a song, a story, a sound, a line, a character. Every emotion, moment, neighbouring conversation. A face can set the artist in me off. The colour of a sweater. A smile from a stranger. A line from a child.

This is something non-artists often misunderstand. We are always creating in our minds. Feeling things deeply. Digging in places beyond the hard surface of reality. To the outsider we appear vague, at times, for this very reason. We drift away. We need a lot of space. Read More »

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Why I Run Choir Clubs

DAY FOUR: These days I get more and more calls and emails asking me for private singing lessons. I used to teach singing one-on-one but I did not enjoy it so I stopped and now only teach groups.

The X Factor culture has changed people’s perceptions of what singing is about. Namely instant stardom. There are many reasons I won’t go into as to why private, one-on-one lessons do not rock my boat but one thing I will say is that, for me, it is an entirely different prospect teaching a group of voices to harmonise. I LOVE DOING THAT!

I have decided that (unless you are an opera singer) group singing is the only way to really learn what your authentic voice is about. In my opinion, it is only in a singing group/choir up setting that one effortlessly learns to get one’s self-consciousness and ego out of the way in order to: Read More »

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Stepping Up

DAY THREE: Stepping up toward the stage. It’s a daunting prospect for this siren who has not been on stage, as FREYjA for 3 years.

Yes, I dipped my toe in the water when I performed at The Ritz with Jonny Gee and Luca Boscagin for the OBE Dinner for John Guthrie but that was jazz not FREYjA Music.

Today I took steps. Real steps. I signed up to SOFAR SOUNDS as an artist. If you don’t know about it then you should! There is one in a city near you, for sure, no matter where you are in the world. They are intimate concerts in secret locations, often private homes. Join up. And watch this space.

Sign up to my fan list (top right button called Reverberation)

Or join the mailing list  if you’d like to get in the know 

FREYjA will perform live soon. Am also planning to book a coupe of stages in London. How’s Sunday lunch gig in West London sound? Or an evening in Soho?

Get ready. 2019 here I come.

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