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 #14

After hours and hours, days upon days of editing transcripts and wondering why I decided to do transcripts for the podcast, I have finally released the first episode using the platform Anchor, so it is now available on Spotify! For some reason, the link to the transcript isn’t a link, and I’ve tried to fix that, but maybe it takes time to update. It’s also in the process of being added to other listening platforms.

The first episode features Kayo Chingonyi, who I interviewed first back in October 2021 in Leeds, when I was also able to catch-up with the wonderful Sarah Perry. I felt like Kayo really articulated a relationship between poetry and music in a way that really resonated with me. I’ve been a bit delayed with putting it out, with the She Grrrowls festival and Covid (which I’m currently having a kind of relapse from), so I’m planning to release an episode a week every Friday.

19.03.22

Saturday 19th March 2022 – R.A.P. Party at The Albany, Douglas Way, London SE8 4AG, 7:30-10:30pm

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!

Freelance Reflections #62

Although there are some days where the schedule goes awry, I have been really pleased with how my day are going when I am able to do things the way I want to. I’m awaiting details of a new daytime student, and it looks like there will be some flexibility. So, generally, my days will start with a morning of Duo Lingo with breakfast, exercise, content writing, and lesson planning. I’ll do some language learning before lunch, then practise the ukulele. Then I’ll have time to work on funded creative projects (currently music and event production) and unfunded creative projects, before then tutoring most of my students. After dinner, and on Sundays, my aim is to only do relaxing, fun things! Although, I have also started learning Turkish on Thursdays! Last night, I ended up getting this takeaway that was basically just a ready meal you had to heat up yourself! It was good, but… strange!

I did also take part in an Arvon online workshop about Performance in Communities, which involved taking these close-up images in my kitchen. On Instagram, I recently shared some books from Burning Eye Books, who unbelievably didn’t get funding and so really need people to buy books and donate! At the last check, they had about 10 copies of each of the books below, so if lots of people bought those books that’s £100 a pop between the poet and publisher.

Last week, I was very thankful to find out that my ACE application for the She Grrrowls Festival on Saturday 5th March this year has been successful! So, each day I’m working on this project a little, as well as my music project. I’ve not announced it officially yet, so this is a bit of an exclusive! Now, I just need my application to do an MA in Art Psychotherapy to go through! I don’t know whether it’s a build up of anxiety, but my skin is super itchy again, like in October. So, it’s good to be busy in the day, but by night it can be more of a struggle to stay asleep with the constant urge to scratch, even with medication! Hopefully it’ll kick in soon.

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.

Freelance Reflections #58

Things are super busy still, and the only way I’m vaguely on top of things is because I’ve had some work cancelled. Yet, I’ve still responded to an email about new tuition work for four hours a week up until the holidays, with one of the points about the student being that they like poetry! All the goals I have wanted to make about balance and focus will have to stay seeds for now, hopefully to bloom next year!

As well as the usual tuition work and content writing, I’ve been continuing with my music project, though haven’t practiced the ukulele enough this week, and I finished my ACE project application for producing a ‘She Grrrowls’ festival next year. I still have emails to work through, so just a brief update this week! The photo above is from an organisation I work for, which was featured on the news recently, which was lovely to receive.

Carmina’s Cantata #7

Things are really full on at the moment, so I’ve been struggling to put the time into my ukulele practice. I’d rather do it in the day time, as I can feel really tired by the evening, so it doesn’t feel as productive. However, something that has changed is that I’ve now been focussed on one song, and whilst previously I kept on moving on quickly after a few times, I’m now having the opposite problem: I want to perfect it and as I keep making mistakes, I’ve not been able to move on. How long should I spend on one lesson or song?

I’ve been learning a lot and playing around on my Logic Pro course at City Lit. It’s my third lesson so far, and it’s great as it’s specialised to the students on it and the different things we want to do. Today we’ll be doing more about editing, and how I can make the volume more consistent, and put different files together on one episode. In some ways, it would have been good to do the course prior recording interviews, but on the other hand, the whole point of this year is to learn as I go along. It would be good to know how to attach the Scarlett amplifier whilst recording. Things are intense right now, but hopefully he hard work I’m putting into various thing right now will pay off next year.

I last recorded in Brighton, and it was nice to take a trip down memory lane, as my gran used to live there. It was so nice that I have managed to convince my mum for us to go there for our annual Christmas shopping trip (which is really just an excuse to spend time together and eat nice food). I’m glad I managed to go away as I feel like I would be a lot more stressed and overwhelmed if I hadn’t. Like language learning, learning music is actually really good for managing stress as you are forced to be present… of course, it’s possible to get distracted, but when you get into the zone, you brain has to concentrate so much that there isn’t room for other things.