Saturday, May 6, 2017

A Wolf Bride 'taster...and more.

Well, in between trying to finish the writing, and trying (still working on this) to learn it all, I took a bit of time off to play about on Garage Band and put together a little promo/taster for The Wolf Bride.  Also, I've been busily working on a cover/package design for the Living Testament CD, which will be launched at the Festival of voice, during our concert versions of the show.  I also got myself organised enough to load up to Soundcloud some of my very rough recordings of my Living Testament songs, so I thought I'd post them here.  Please remember that these are NOT the professional recordings that are currently in the engineering process, just my little rough versions.  Hope you like!

Above:  My little song for Naomi, who returned to her homeland as an old woman, her sons and husband gone, and yet not alone, for faithful Ruth stayed with her.

Below:  There was much discussion about Rahab's story, and the terrible choice she was given, and we simply couldn't see her as what we would call a 'prostitute' today.  This was a strong woman, and we imagined that her house was the place to be if you wanted inside knowledge of what was going on in Jericho. A brothel, yes, perhaps, but also a meeting place, a business establishment, an entire household supported by this woman.  A household saved by this woman.  The director decided we needed a 'pop' song, so I did my best!

Below:  Rahab again, looking back, and haunted by the terrible decision she had to make.  Someone mentioned in the writing workshop, that they wondered if Rahab had briefly considered the idea of telling everyone in Jericho to hang a scarlet cord out of their window, in the faint hope that the Israelite army might spare everyone...and knowing that the risk was too great, the chance the army might honour their promise in spite of being tricked, too slim to even consider.  Rahab's people were not followers of Jehovah/Yahweh, most likely still worshipping a pantheon of Gods...and Goddesses. And so we considered what she would have done, marrying into the Israelite tribes, like all women who have become wives to conquerors...she would have taught her children the stories she learnt as a child, passing her people's knowledge on in an undercurrent of women's stories and hidden history.

Phew...time for bed!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Wolf Bride

I am in the final stages of tweaking, and getting evermore terrified.  Now my little project is up on the Denmark Festival of Voice website, and my name right there, so there is nowhere to hide, no possibility of scuttling back into my hidey hole and pretending it's all a just a daydream.  Here is a screenshot of the page, and the link to check out whole program is Denmark Festival of Voice.  It's going to be a mighty fine weekend!

As well as The Wolf Bride, I'm involved in a 'concert' version of last year's Living Testament project.  A last minute and totally unexpected aligning of the stars found a big chunk of the cast back together this last Monday, in a room at the Denmark Artshub, recording songs and spoken word with a wonderful professional Producer/Sound Engineer, Pete Grandison.  We might even have a cd to sell at the concert!  Maybe one day, there might even be a Wolf Bride cd.  Hmmmmmm!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Cailleach Dancing

She is finished, and off in a local art Award, but for the life of me, I could not get a decent photo.  This will have to do for now, I will trawl through all the (dozens!) of pics I took later to see if I can find a better one.  But it always seems to be a problem taking a photo of a large painting.  My photography skills are not the most wonderful, and it seems to be impossible to get every part of a large canvas in focus.  The colours aren't true either, sigh.  There is a much greater range from deep pink and purple, through to bright green, and the photo just doesn't capture it.

The 'Wolf Bride' is still in progress, I've got about 10 songs (some are quite short little things though), but two older ones have been ditched and more may go.  I'm still struggling with the narrative 'between' bits though, there are bits that I love, and bits I really don't but kind of need.  And sometimes I find I have to do contortionist tricks (or make some of the characters do them) to get characters and story where I want them/it to be at particular times, which sometimes leads to characters doing things which are OUT of character, or just not quite logical.  The poor father is particularly stretched in this regard, he seems to be about 3 different fathers at the moment, none of them quite compatible with the others.  I know humans can be contrary, complex creatures, but there does need to be some kind of narrative logic!  And it has to bear some resemblance to the original fairy tale, so there are certain non-negotiable story points that have to be visited.

But I will get there, even if I do eventually end up with 382 different drafts (I swear I'm up to about 15 now)!  For now, here's a little snippet that I quite like (though who knows if it will make the final cut!!), and a scrap of a song.  I hope to get around to putting the songs on Soundcloud or something soon, though, so you can actually hear them.

In her wanderings, when still quite young, she chanced upon an abandoned watchtower on a forgotten, weed-choked path, its lichened green and winter grey stones being slowly pulled apart by creeping fingers of bramble vine and tendrils of wild rose. A man-made place slowly reclaimed by the green and growing world, a refuge for an odd, wild girl who found no peace at home. 

Oh Papa, you say you'll find a man who'll treat me like a queen 
But will he love me for who I am, or who he wants me to be?
Will he look at the empty chair across from where he's eating tea 
And wonder why I'm not there, and where I am 
When the moon is full, and silver light is spinning round me 
And I can't go home because the stars are singing too loudly 
To let me sleep.

Text and Lyrics © Christina Cairns


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Cailleach progresses.

Just a quick update on the Great Southern Cailleach.  Experimenting with technique at the moment, using colour pencil over acrylic base coat.  Goes on nicely, though I'm not sure how it will look after a coat of spray varnish, but if you don't try it, you'll never know!  Also very busy with Wolf Bride, trying to finalise my narrative 'between-songs' bits.  I've got two months to pull it into shape and learn it REALLY, REALLY well.  I'ver never performed anything like this before, so I'm mostly terrified...but if you don't try.........must be my new mantra!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Whatever happened to...

Well, I'm still here...

Just busy, busy.  With some fun things and some not-so-fun things.  I don't know there's much point in writing an enormously long post about what I've been doing for the last 7 months, so I'll pop a few images in, with some info tit-bits.  I WILL, I promise, write some more soon.  I've got projects on the go, but some more aural than visual, so not so easy to 'show-and-tell'.

So a quick round-up!

I painted my kitchen wall red.

I tried to capture a rainbow but it was too big for my camera.  This was the most amazing, complete, perfect rainbow I have EVER seen.

The view from down the road.  Point Hiller off in the distance.  (I do hate that name.  Named a scant 200 years ago by an Englishman who sailed past and didn't stop, after an Englishman who never even set foot in Australia.  I want to know its real name, the one it had for tens of thousands of years before.)

I went on camp with littlest munchkin (who is very NOT little anymore!) and climbed Mt Trio in the Stirling Ranges (another magic place named after some dead, white dude!)

Biggest Munchkin and I got involved in an amazing theatre project called 'Living Testament'.  A community devised piece melding the stories of five women from the Old Testament, and trying to see beyond the patriarchal gloss, with the experiences of women in this town now.  All these photos are by the amazing Hazel Blake.

My munchkin was the only teenager among a bunch of worldly older women.  She more than held her own, and despite a rigorous rehearsal schedule, sailed through less stressed than the rest of us (with school too) and became everyone's favourite!


Not only did I get myself involved in the performing side of things, I was also up to my ears in designing/creating the set (an amazing piece of community stitched and embroidered artwork in itself), writing, and writing songs and music. A little over committed perhaps?!  Both munchkins came along and helped contribute to the stitching.

Many hands created this marvel.

My beautiful girl, as Bathsheba.

A little sketch, an idea.  A southern sister for the Cailleach Bheara.  Cailleach Deas perhaps?

Thumbnails for a big painting.

Full size sketch.  If you look closely at the bit under her knee, you might see that it's the same headland that appears off in the distance in the photo of the view down the road.

A notebook filled with ideas for 'The Wolf Bride'.  I have 5 or 6 songs, I have narrative bits written for the in-betweens (more work to do there) and I have a deadline!  I've committed to performing at the Festival of Voice in the first weekend of June.  Just me, guitar, and hopefully by that time of the year, a crackling fire to sit by and listen.  If it all goes well, the plan is to expand...more paintings, more writing, more...well, just more!

The End...for now.

Thursday, June 9, 2016


Well, THIS happened over the last weekend.  My, this little town can put on a party!  Possibly the thing I love most about this (and after two and a half years living here, the novelty hasn't worn off yet), is that so much is local, homegrown talent.  On the last night, I danced for longer than I can remember dancing, ever, all to local musos, then tottered (and I mean tottered, my knees were NOT happy by then) on to the Festival club to catch the final fling, with local (as in, here in this town), sort of local (as in, here in this state) and national artists of widely differing styles.  Heaven on a stick!  And this year, I was in it, in a trio (called 'Widdershin') with two lovely friends!  A small, nervous start, but we've got plans!  Three years ago, I would never have dreamed it possible.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

First day of winter....

So long, so very long since I last wrote here.  Lots has been going on, but much of it has been of the practical, everyday sort; moving house, getting children settled in to the new school year, trips up to Perth and back again bringing belongings that have been sitting in boxes at my parents' house.  And turning over a new year, my half century.  Gosh, where did the time go?

And it is interesting too, that I find that much of what I'm doing down here in this beautiful little corner of the world, is about being out and involved in the world, not so much being a hermit hiding in my little studio and making pretty things to show and tell.  Being part of a community full of such wonderful people and art and music making, has given me delusions of grandeur I think.  Floating dreams and vague ideas that once had no chance of ever seeing the light of day seem now to be...possible.  For example, this weekend I am performing in a trio at our local annual Denmark Festival of Voice.  An event that I used to come all the way down from Perth to SEE, and day dream about being up there singing on stage like all those REAL singers and REAL musicians.  And this year, I'm IN it, with two lovely, lovely friends.  And it's not because I've suddenly become an amazing, professional musician, because I haven't...but rather because this sort of thing is happening all around me in this little town, and it's easy here to just put up your hand and say, hey, I could give that a go.  Something I would never have done up in the big smoke.  So how we'll do, I don't know, all three of us are a bit nervous, but we're having a go.  Which is the most important bit, isn't it?

But on to the moving house.  We are in our 'shed', though truly, it is a house really, with a shed attached!  Cosy and comfy and, once I have a kitchen anyway, will be a lovely home.  We have lots to do, but we love it already.

View OF front

View FROM front.

Panorama of inside downstairs (this makes it look huge, it isn't really!)

Panorama of inside upstairs before painting the floor and end wall

Front door

Munchkin helping paint the floor upstairs

Upstairs BEFORE munchkins put all their stuff in

Upstairs AFTER.  

View from front door.  Note missing kitchen sink/cupboards (but at least I have a stove).

There's the back wall.  The 'shed' half is through the door.

Bit messy...still moving in.

Back round to front door again.

The 'office'.

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