A lovely collection of songs, written by Norfolk Islanders about Norfolk Island, feature on a CD that was launched on Sunday. The CD has been produced by our good friend Don Christian-Reynolds, and his cousin Kath King, who have themselves composed many of the songs they present in the recording.
Donald has been writing and singing for many years, and has taught guitar and ukelele to many young people. He is the President of our local Community Arts Society, and has been responsible for encouraging many young folk to get up and perform confidently before an audience. One of the Society's most recent ventures was a "Kids for Kids" concert, where the young ones ran the whole show to raise funds for NISEDU (Norfolk Island Special Education Unit.)
Kath is a young wife and mother, who has discovered a talent for capturing the special Norfolk idiom in song. One of her compositions, "Ai Guud"(I am just Fine) is an incredibly catchy melody that has you singing along the first time you hear it. Another song "Tiich Mi Hau f' Lew" (Teach me How to Live) was inspired by the time she spent as a young girl watching the turtles in the blue water below their clifftop home at Duncombe Bay, and imagining the great wisdom they must have acquired in their long lives. This song features in three different arrangements on the CD, including a very modern setting arranged by students at the Centre for Contemporary Music Studies at Macquarie University in Sydney.
I am not particularly musical myself, but love the way that music and song can capture the spirit and culture of a community and a people in a very meaningful way. In many ways, music and song are the most accessible of all the arts, because not only can you enjoy listening, but you can go on to enhance that enjoyment by performing, even if it is only singing in the shower!!
Just lately, I have realised that I often describe the creative process I use to produce a piece of textile art in musical terms. I think of the piece as a composition, or an arrangement of different elements. A successful composition must have rhythm, repetition, and balance. If I give prominence to a particular element in one part of my piece, then I must echo it in other areas. I work with tones and overtones. I try to use colours that sing! If it all comes together well, I will have created a piece that has harmony. However, some of the liveliest and most memorable pieces will be ones where I have managed to incorporate a degree of discord successfully. The different elements I use will determine the mood of my piece, be it lively, busy, romantic, restful, or sombre. And of course, if I am to consider my "audience", I must give thought to the presentation of my work, and the background and setting will be important.
I will finish with a picture of a little bag I made that definitely falls into the classic, romantic category!