I am thrilled to be included in an amazing line up of Poets, Storytellers, Folk Musicians and Visual Artists brought together by Fay Hield and Carolyne Larrington. We’ve assembled to spend some time discussing, evolving and presenting new interpretations of British folk-tales and songs about fairies and the supernatural. We had our first meet-up over a hot couple of days at the start of July, and I have to admit I was a bit nervous upon arrival. The nerves were quickly eased however, as some interesting discussion began on experiences, encounters, stories, and the storyworld of fairies found in British folklore.
There was a buzz of excitement as we drifted into smaller groups to brainstorm - ideas were flowing! I found myself in deep chats about personal experiences, unexplained happenings, and the geography of fairies. This quickly turned into exploring how poems, spells, and songs about fairies have traditionally been presented, and how we could go about things differently.
As there is no defined 'outcome' to this project, I’ve had to adjust the way I think about the creative process. It felt important to stay in the moment, and not be thinking ahead to a final ‘performance’. I’ve also had to redefine what an audience means to me, as I’ve become used to an audience that sits, listens, and occasionally applauds. Although performance isn’t the entire focus of a singer/songwriter, I’m used to receiving direct feedback from the audience. This project is challenging me to think differently about how I present songs in my own work.
I am excited by the ideas that came from our discussion. We talked about working with the juxtaposition and proximity of different art forms, and how to create a less controlled and more unexpected performance - The idea of creating an experience rather than a performance. There were talks of incorporating today’s technology, using cell phones and gps to link fairies to a specific geographical location, and create an interactive experience for an audience with artwork and music.
For me the idea of working to create multi-sensory presentation to re-mediate the material Carolyn has researched would be a fantastic thing. The artists selected for this project all come from different backgrounds, and have opened my eyes to how art and information can be shared in so many different ways. 'Modern Fairies and Loathly Ladies' will continue to explore how the storyworld of fairies and the supernatural, found in British folk-tales and songs, can be made relevant to modern audiences. I’m looking forward to seeing where this project goes.