Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Wolf Bride as a young girl....

Very remiss of me, I know, not to have shown this before.  I finished it a few weeks ago, when I was still planning on presenting an 'expanded' version of The Wolf Bride for the Denmark Brave New Works #24 festival coming up next weekend.  An exhibition/installation/set that I could tell the story within.  But, a phone call offering several weeks of real PAID work meant I had to rethink that plan and, unfortunately, pull out and put it on hold until next year...perhaps.  I did carry on for about three days thinking, "Of course I can do both," but then after lying awake for several hours in the early hours of the morning, and realising that I was no longer looking forward to doing it, and was feeling stressed and worried, and, worse, found myself thinking about what kind of artwork I could get done quickly to fill up space, I decided that I was not Superwoman, and no, I couldn't do both.  So, The Wolf Bride has been set back onto the back burner, to quietly simmer slowly away for a long, slow coalescing of flavours and aromas.  Which is probably a good thing, because time was short anyway, and I have ideas that I had already decided I would have to abandon if I was going to do the show this November, and now I can play with them again.

So here is the companion piece to "Beauty Remembers", a painting for the beginning of the story, "Wildness in my Bones".  A painting for the first song in The Wolf Bride suite.

Wildness in my Bones

I was a restless, truant child.
I was enchanted and beguiled,
By the wild world we were once part of,
For it sang like a chorus in my blood.

I didn't want to watch the world
Through glass, through a window in the wall
Not for me the life of hearth and home,
I stepped into his footprints and grew, like a wild seed sown.

And my bones are being inscribed with unfurling leaves,
Entwined with vines, becoming willow branches bending in the breeze
And I have wildness in my bones
I don't know from where it comes
But I have wildness in my bones
And grows...

© Christina Cairns 2017

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

And the golden eyes that see the wind...a shaggy dog story.

Just over a week ago, Beloved and I drove all the way up to the small town of York on a Saturday morning.  It's about five hours away, we left at 8am and got there about 1pm.  We went to meet this fellow, and to see if, just maybe, he might be the right 'person' (because, of course, dogs ARE people) to join our family.

It didn't take long to decide (and I suppose the thought of a ten hour round trip for nothing might have influenced us a little), and by 2pm he was in the back of our car, windows down, heading all the way back down to Denmark.

He came from Wheatbelt Rescue, and we were told that he was (apparently) a Staghound Staffy Cross, about 18 months old, and he had belonged to a family with young children and a small backyard, and they didn't expect him to get so big (told he was a 'Staffy Cross', but not what with, it seems!), and in the end they could not keep him.  His name was Rusty.

So, we have re-entered the world of 'dog-people'.  We decided that a new life/home/family deserved a new name, so now he is Fergus...and he has wriggled his big, hairy, gentle self deep into our hearts already, and we still cannot quite believe our luck in finding such a gentle, sweet natured, well-behaved (mostly!), house-trained, gorgeous hound.

He came to us unsterilised, so poor boy is now wearing the 'Cone of Shame' after a visit to the local vet, but he seems completely unfazed by it, the only problem is he forgets his head is now 3 times the size it was last week, and keeps running into furniture...and us.  But that will be gone next week, and I can't wait to take him out and introduce him to the world.  I'm willing to bet he's never seen the sea!

He matches the floor quite well!

With Daddy!

Squeezing in under my feet at the computer desk.

Mum, don't take my picture, it's humiliating wearing this thing!


Is this really my forever home...really...I can stay?!!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

'The Wolf Bride' sings again...

Well, I've got a looooong drive ahead of me tomorrow!  Five hours in the car (in dodgy weather too), heading up to Perth, to attend the Puppetry Workshop at Spare Parts Puppet Theatre for the next two weeks.  Luckily I'll have Lisa Knapp (The Hidden Stream) to accompany me on the cd player, and others I haven't quite decided on yet...hmmmm, some Gjallarhorn perhaps.

But, possibly foolishly, I thought, "I know, while I'm up in the Big Smoke, I'll see if I can squeeze in a house concert."  So with the help of some friends, I've got one organised.  I've never done a house concert before, so this is all a slightly nerve wracking learning experience.  But, I don't want The Wolf Bride to get packed away in a box in a corner of my mind, never to see the light again, so I have to start somewhere.

So it's all happening on 5th August.  Some original songs with the lovely Ginny to start off with, then into The Wolf Bride as the main event.  Fingers crossed my brain won't be a puddle of goop by the end of an intensive week of puppetry, and I'll be able to remember it all!

Here's the Soundcloud taster/promo again too, just in case someone pops along who hasn't been here before and wonders what it's all about!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Living Testament keeps popping up. Just found this...

Busily searching for something else, I came upon this article written for the Country Arts Network WA.  This is just a screenshot, if you'd like to read it all, the link to it is here.

At the bottom of the article there is a Vimeo clip.  I don't know who put it together, but it's rather lovely, and my beautiful girl features rather a lot. The songs used are "Dust Beneath My Feet", written and performed by yours truly (first rough iPhone recording, this one), and "Don't Be Afraid Of My Power", lyrics from 'Thunder: Perfect Mind', from the Nag Hammadi Gospels, music by the lovely Chrystal Rogers, performed by Chrystal with me providing harmony vocals. Also a very rough iPhone recording, Chrystal sang it for us during one of our rehearsals, and I added the harmony vocals later using Garage Band. Both these songs also appear on our CD, now beautifully recorded by the lovely Pete Grandison. 

Here's the Vimeo!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Wolf Bride finds her way into the world...

Well, it all happened on the weekend, and despite being a nervous wreck on Saturday morning, it went beautifully.  So many lovely people with so many lovely comments, the venue was pretty full both times and by about twenty minutes in you could have heard a pin drop.  I don't know where else in the world I would have had the opportunity to do this at such a wonderful festival, but here in my own wonderful little town.  

And what a glorious weekend.  I saw so much amazing music from local groups through to international acts, spent time with my beautiful girls wandering about town and dipping into the smorgasbord of aural delights that was on offer.  And the weather was glorious too, beautiful sunshiney days and crisp evenings, a perfect winter holiday.  There's not much point in me trying to describe all the acts I saw, so I'll just add the link to the Denmark Festival of Voice online program so you can peruse the delights for yourself.  And all in a small country town of about 6000 people.

We received the CDs for the Living Testament just in time to make one of the showcase performances into a CD launch.  I had great fun belting out 'Rahab Rock!' again, up onstage with a mic this time, happily satisfying any long buried ambitions to be a 'rock chick'.

And there's my beautiful girl!

The Wolf Bride also got the 'sand printer' treatment!

And if all that wasn't exciting enough, I applied for a two week Puppetry Intensive Course, at the wonderful Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, and was accepted.  Cariad Astles from the UK is coming out to run the second week, so I'm thrilled and excited to be getting the chance to follow up on another passion.  Maybe I'll be able to incorporate puppetry into future Wolf Bride performances!

So I'm looking into the possibility of holding a house concert up in Perth while I'm there.  And there might be a few more opportunities in the near future down here in Denmark before then too, I had lots of requests from people wanting to know when it might be happening again.

Phew!  I'm still recovering from it all!

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!

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