Carmina’s Cantata #18

The final poet interview is out in the world, and it ends on a bang with Brigitte Aphrodite! As a lover of a good chinwag, this is also the longest episode in the series. Still to come in a special episode where we hear from my maternal nan and grandad, as well as one of me discussing the research I’m doing over the next month or so!

I’m picking up the uke when I can, and have been having a go at Taylor Swift’s ‘Love Story’. I quite like it, though I’m still struggling with getting my fingers to and from the G-chord! I’m going to have a busy summer, and hope for more days where I can spend any rest time between the busyness in parks researching with my little pile of books.

Carmina’s Cantata #17

Another three episodes have been released of Carmina’s Cantata, featuring Caz Smiling, Jemima Foxtrot and Antosh Wojcik. I got to visit Brighton to record with Caz, and we even had a drink afterwards at The Poets Ale and Smokehouse… it had to be done really. I caught up with Jemima in SE London, during her trip back to the UK as she is currently living abroad, and returned to the area of Camden, where Antosh and I first met as part of the Roundhouse Poetry Collective.

Just one more interview to go, I’m currently reading some books about music, making a few notes and collecting my thoughts. I’m really interested in music and emotions, so this is the focus. I’ve just finished a book by Malcolm Budd, and I’m now onto Oliver Sacks. Watch this space for upcoming podcasts – there’s still one more interview to go before a special episode, and then this bonus one where I will share my thoughts on the research I’m currently doing.

Carmina’s Cantata #16

It’s been a few weeks since I posted, so three more episodes of Carmina’s Cantata have been released – featuring Belinda Zhawi aka MA.MOYO, Tongue Fu’s Chris Redmond and the multi-faceted Joshua Idehen. It was great to catch up with Belinda, who I know from BARPo days, in Chris’ episode we are treated to a live ukulele track, and Joshua’s episode is the perfect blend of humour and vulnerability.

I’ll be having my last in-person ukulele lesson today. Perhaps I will continue in future, but for now I’ll make do with what I’ve learnt so far and dedicate the time to practice. I’m finding it hard to get to the G7 chord, and my little finger keeps sticking out, but I’ve found it really helps to play songs I know and love like Hallelujah. Ooh, I’ve also started reading my music books, so I can do a bonus episode at the end about my findings!

Carmina’s Cantata #12

Just one more podcast episode to record next month and then I can focus on actually putting it out there! I have another project I’ll update about soon that requires a lot of my time at the moment, and I’m still waiting on some elements of the first episode to come together, so it may be out a little later that I hoped. If I manage by February to put them out every fortnight, that’ll still be enough time until the project ends in August.

Meanwhile, I’m still making time for my little red uke. I’ve been tired, I’ve been happy, I’ve been cold. I spent a lot of time doing ‘Ring of Fire’, which was good for some chord changes, and I’ve even learnt a bit about sharps and flats… I don’t know if my bed is the best place to do it, but that’s clearly where I tend to be!

Carmina’s Cantata #11

I’ve recorded my penultimate podcast episode! Soon all that will need doing is the editing, and then working out Spotify and putting it out there! This has been my favourite part of this project as I’ve got to have some really interesting conversations and also caught up with poet friends that I haven’t seen in a while!

I’ve been dedicating more focussed time to playing the uke, and doing some tricky stuff in terms of both chord transitions and trying to play along to a metronome. On days where I have been able to have balance and do this, I have been feeling much more fulfilled and happier in what has felt like and up-and-down time. And apparently, only now mercury’s in retrograde.

Carmina’s Cantata #9

So, the ukulele has become more of a New Year’s Resolution, but I did my first online lesson in my local area and it went so quickly! It turns out when you focus, time flies! We looked at Jingle Bells, so I’m going to get my boyfriend to have a go with me, taking turns to do the chords and the “melody” (just learnt this term). I hope to do hourly lessons in-person and then keep up 30-minutes a day as part of my more balanced schedule come January!

Meanwhile, I have completed my City Lit Logic Pro course, and have a pretty decent first podcast episode. I also really wanted to steal these pink, orange and green headphones. One of the group knew that I’d like them as another said they looked like they were for kids… I do often find myself being attracted to the bright colours of the kid’s section! So, next year will bring more editing and more strumming!

Carmina’s Cantata #8

I have another podcast interview this Friday, so I’m going to try to actually use the Scarlett interface to amplify the sound being recorded. I had a nightmare last night, which, amongst other things, involved me forgetting the microphone. The last City Lit Logic Pro class was online, and sadly the next will be as well. I have one more key thing I need to learn and enough time to try to edit an episode independently before the end of the course.

The ukulele has been on the back-burner a bit, and I want more balance in my life to make time for these important activities that feed my creative practice. Meanwhile, I went to see Grant Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit at Rough Trade, leaving with a copy of ‘The Work: The lyrics of Scott Hutchison’. I went with the friend who introduced me to the band, but I think I will save my copy for after the holidays. I’m going to be away from my partner, and really struggled after the first week last time, so I might take it out during January, when life inevitably becomes a little blue.

Excited to have a little ukulele play.

Carmina’s Cantata #6

I can’t believe it’s now November! So, I’m about half way through recording the whole of the podcast series interviews! I’ve been to Leeds, Sheffield, and Bristol so far, with the last couple being in London (Dalston, and today in Greenwich). Pirate Studios is great as it has a lot of locations and it’s really affordable due to the way it’s staffed, but today I had to switch rooms in attempt to get away from a really noisy band, with sound bleeding through to the whole building!

We ended up in a rehearsal room, so at the end of the interview, I ended up playing on the drums. Sometimes I wish I went to the BRIT school or something as I would have loved to have been able to play more music. The arts are definitely my thing as I just love every art form and wish I could do more. When I retire – if artists every really retire – I hope I’d be able to just learn a bunch or random instruments I never got to!

Alas, I am sticking to the one instrument, which I picked up as it goes well with spoken word and I was told it was easy! As I enjoy learning the ukulele, it can be something I do in the evening when I don’t have time in the day. But then I have found, I’ve been so busy lately that I get tired, so carving out time in the day is the way forward. As is the repetition of the same things, which is a lot more fun when it’s songs that just doing different kinds of notes. I have trouble with focussing at times, so I can definitely dedicate more time if I don’t get distracted whilst doing it!

Carmina’s Cantata #5

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve written update as I’ve been busy with the other aspects of the projects. I’m currently writing this in break between podcast recordings in Bristol. I’ve got one more to go, and despite some nerves at meeting certain poets, it’s a pretty cool way to spend the day. I’m looking forward to meeting a couple of other Bristol-based poets for dinner later too. Another poet friend has also recommended a gig, but I may be ready for bed by then!

The other week, I recorded the first two podcast episodes in Leeds and Sheffield, which means I’m almost half way through getting the interviews recorded, which is wild. The final interview is scheduled for February, so the rest are more spread out, but I’m hoping I can do one or two extra episodes as so many more poets spring to mind now, and so I think I will redistribute the funding that was meant to be for another music production course. Meanwhile, I have been doing a little ukulele practising, but would like to dedicate more time to it, valuing repetition more, rather than quickly going through the Fender programme, being on Level 2 already.

My next podcast interview recording is next week, and the first one in London, though this and another are with Berlin-based artists. It’s interesting that a lot aren’t taking place in London, though I wish I had more time to stay and explore… and part of me wished I did have an excuse to go back to Berlin for a weekend of recording! Though I am taking a much-needed holiday soon in sunny Spain.

Carmina’s Cantata #4

So, this week I have got my lovely ukulele a new sturdy case for when I have to go to my in-person lessons in Brockley at the end of next month. I’ve also taken it with me away in Hastings, where I am currently writing this, so I can make sure to practise whilst I’m away, even if it’s just for half an hour today. Like Yayoi Kusama, I love polka dots, and this case even matches the dress I’m currently wearing!

My gran lives in Hastings, and it was over five years ago that she got me the ukulele… and over those years stopped asking me if I would join in a group here. I may be nowhere near able to do that, but at least I’ve finally started learning. At the ripe age of 32, it’s never too late to pick something up, and learn something new!