PELT blog #2

IMG_2662Hi everyone. I’m really getting more & more excited about the PELT 2018 UK, ACE tour as it draws nearer! Not too long until the first gig on Jan 25th. I thought I’d kick off my new blog by telling you a little about the background of PELT. As anyone who follows my work will know, I’m a huge fan of fine words & poetry. They provide me with lots of inspiration to write music & my own songs. Previous to recording PELT, my two albums before that were ‘Sailing To Byzantium’ (my musical settings of W.B. Yeats poems for which I was awarded a BASCA British Composers Award in 2012) followed by ‘A Thousand Kisses Deep’ which was a collection of new arrangements of Leonard Cohen songs (awarded a Herald Angel Award in 2013 for a live performance of it at the Edinburgh Fest). The British Composer award included a PRSF commission to write new music so I started thinking what this should be. As I’d enjoyed doing both these projects so much, I started to consider finding more great words to write music for. I was looking for something contemporary which would inspire a new sonic palette so Pulitzer prize winning Irish poet Paul Muldoon came straight to mind.

Actually, the seed of the idea for setting Paul Muldoon’s poems goes further back to when we were both invited to collaborate and perform a piece at the Kilkenny Arts Festival back in 2011. I had long admired Paul’s work and he was impressed by my settings of W. B Yeats. I had also set one of his poems, ‘Horses’ to music for my album ‘Romance & Revolution’ in 2004 so there was already a strong connection! When we discussed setting his poems, Paul gave me a copy of his collection ‘Paul Muldoon Poems 1968 – 1998’ and gave me carte blanche to choose the poems to work with. He also sent me new lyrics and as the project unfolded, the texts chosen ended up a being mix of poems and lyrics. This is reflected in the musical styles throughout. For example, the opening track ‘Zoological Positivism Blues’ uses a grungy, repetitive riff entwined with violin and cello pizzicato to capture the zany wit and rhyme of the lyrics. With the poem Wind and Tree, the melody line flows and winds over zen-like harmonies to convey the unseen. The short story style of the poem ‘The Big House’ reminded me of some the storytelling I’d heard in Beatles’ songs years ago and I feel this influence filtered through in my string arranging. The title track PELT is cinematic, dark and ethereal while the lyrics of San Simeon demanded punchy, indie-style guitar riffs with a tinge of Headhunters! All in all, I certainly got to a new musical vibe for me and I recorded the PELT album which was released in 2016. The project really took a while to fully materialise & this tour will see it fully realised as we have only performed the music live once before this, at the album launch at the Pizza Express, Dean St, Soho. I’m looking forward to expanding the music even further sonically & emotionally when we play the gigs & I have such wonderful musicians to do this with! I also have a fantastic team behind me with Anne from Right Tempo agency as project manager & Riot Squad publicity doing the PR and of course the financial support of the Arts Council of England.

I hope you’ll keep watching this space for future blogs. I’ll have more updates about the musicians, concerts & PELT related stuff, plus I’ll share more craic & my general thoughts about the world as we go along! You can also find the gig details here: so I hope you’ll join us at a venue near you!


One Response to “PELT blog #2”

  1. Paddy Says:

    Grand! 🙂 A blog of great quality. 🙂 ♥♥

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: