Saturday, December 1, 2007

I'm not doing a good job of keeping you up to date

Sorry about that. I will tell you that yesterday was a lovely day and filled with rainy goodness.

We worked on processes for writing songs with Paul and Sig on Friday. The Globetown project involves four primary schools and one secondary school and culminates in a giant 300+ person performance in February. We have been divided into teams for each primary school and will work with two classes of 6th years (6th grade? I think) to write a 6 minute long song. All of this starts up in earnest next term- but we're getting started with ideas now.

So anyhow- we talked a bunch about what types of songs there were- not so much about the forms of songs- but what they lyrics could be doing. This involved a lot of breaking in to song randomly- so that was pretty great. Then we found out who we were working with for the project and worked with them to write a song that involved a list (like "Once in a lifetime" by the Talking Heads or "50 ways to leave your lover" by Paul Simon or any song involving listing all 50 states.)

Nick and I are the pair being sent to Bonner primary school, so we worked on the song together. Paul and Sig played some chords on the guitar and piano while we were working on lyrics so that we could have an idea of a tempo and something to base the melody over.

What was amazing was how totally different all of the songs were even though we had the same chords and tempo and general guidelines. And each of the songs were *good* like, we should really follow up on them good. Tara recorded them all, so I'll get a file of them soon hopefully.

The chords were sad-and they never really resolved, they just kept circling and circling. Our song was about when armadillos learn to talk- and I will post the lyrics when I get them from Nick because they are in his notebook and I am really a little more proud of them then perhaps I should be.

After lunch we were instructed to compose a basis for a song as well as how we would get the kids involved in writing the song and how we would teach the basis. We again did this in our Globetown groups and were given a song idea by Paul and Sig. My favorite was "the devil's regret" but ours was "a narrative with some sort of message for future generations."

I don't know if I've written about this already- but Nick has a tendency towards cheese. (Last week when we first started working with lyrics the line that he wrote was "life is full of feelings, fun and happiness" which unfortunately for me was put together with a very catchy tune that has been stuck in my head for over a week now. It's been awful.) So the fact that our song had to have a message for future generations was a dangerous thing. However- we decided to just embrace the cheese and in so doing ended up with quite a good idea I think. (This idea isn't actually going to be used for the globetown project, it was more an exercise so that we know what going through the process is like.)

So here is what we've got:
The basic message is going to be 'follow your dreams' because everyone needs that message.

The narrative is going to be based on your basic fairy tale structure: A parent has three children. The eldest two follow in the parent's professional footsteps but the youngest wants to do something completely different. The youngest is cast out or runs off or whatever in order to do what it is that they want to be doing. Something threatens the kingdom! And the youngest saves the day by doing exactly what they followed their heart to do, so all is forgiven happily ever after blah blah blah.

So, in order to keep a similar rhythmic structure and in order to not get bogged down in complete sentences: everything will be written in haiku. So a group of kids will write a haiku to describe the parent, each child, the setting, the various professions, the kingdom, the threat to the kingdom, the climax wherein the hero saves the day, etc. Anything that needs to be written.

When we were talking about various types of songs Nick told us about (and I don't remember the name, sorry) but a type of Mexican song that gives the news that newspapers were/are unwilling to print. One of the typical things that this type of song has is a repeating introduction so that you know who the song is about. Sort of like the lead to a news story as the chorus of a song.

So our chorus is: once upon a time, in a far distant country, our story begins. Did you notice that it's a haiku? 'Cause it totally is. This is all set to a melody and chords and (this is the part that I think is really neat) a backing harmony of the word "dream" in all of the native languages of the kids. (For our example we went around the lobby of the practice room annex and asked for any languages that people knew. We got English, Spanish, French, Icelandic, and Welsh.)

Pretty neat, huh?

Caroline said that between our armadillo song and our fairy tale idea that she could totally see Nick and I as children's' TV presenters...I think that was a compliment?


Anonymous said...

Hi -

Glad you are feeling better!

So --- don'y leave us hanging - HOW do you say "dream' in Spanish, French Icelandic and Welsh.

I am very confident that you would raise the standart of 'children's TV' quite a lot.

Dan G

Andy said...

I think your Mexican song genre might have been "fandango jarocho". I took a course in it at Old Town School.

-- Andy the family's Mexican music expert (but that doesn't mean I'm right)

Matt said...

Well: if you ever want to join the children's TV buisness, let us know- we'll shamelessly promote!!


Casitareina said...

Matt: I'll *totally* take you up on that...

Andy: I bow to your greater knowledge. That sounds right in anycase.

Spanish- Sueno (the N has the little thingy on it)
French- Reve (the first e has a triangle thingy on it)
German- Traum
The icelandic one sounds a bit like "droi-im", and the Welsh one was I *think* something along the lines of bref-wit.