If you want to sing out, sing out

Over the last year I have discovered the great joy of singing in harmony with others. My good friend Kirstie Penman sent a message out to all women of song she knew – which was many, as through her Listen In, Lights Out events, first in the Go Slow Cafe, and now in the Bungo, which raise money for the South Seeds project, she has showcased many singers and writers, and made many friends. She was long known on the music scene in Glasgow for her lovely voice and a cappella renditions of the folk and mining songs of her native Sunderland, taught to her by her grandfather, by all accounts a remarkable man. But now she wanted to add other voices to her own, and so began the band called Stone Tape. The name is Kirstie’s, partly in homage to an amazing 70s TV series, and has reference to the theory popular at that time, that ghosts were simply the imprint of  intense human emotions, often stirred by dramatic scenes such as a murder, upon the stone of the surrounding walls, which played back like a recording.

Stone Tape starring Michael Bryant and Jane Asher – with incredible Incidental music and sound effects provided by Desmond Briscoe of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

In our background singing we attempt to be as spooky as Desmond Briscoe’s sound effects and Sidney Sager‘s choral arrangements for another scary 1970s TV series, Children of the Stones. It was Kirstie who pointed out that research shows that singing in harmony can prolong your life. I believe it. Life has definitely improved, and it works on me like a type of meditation. It’s lovely to be back doing it again in the new year! My resolution for 2014? More harmony in my life!

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About Pedalling Poetry

Writer Ellen McAteer is founder of Tell It Slant poetry bookshop in Glasgow, and a visiting lecturer at the Glasgow School of Art. She was a mentee of the Clydebuilt Verse Apprenticeship Scheme, under Alexander Hutchison, and a singer with the band Stone Tape, as well as a solo singer who won a BBC Radio competition with her song Blue Valentine. She was Director of the Poetry Trust, which ran the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, a director of the Scottish Writers’ Centre, a visiting lecturer at Oxford University's MSt in creative writing, and a member of the core group of performers at the Hammer and Tongue spoken word collective in Oxford. She is a qualified Librarian.
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