LAMENT FOR AMELIA EARHART

This song has been aaages in the writing. The original lyrics were all taken from an Amy Johnson quote about Amelia Earhart’s death, but I lost them when my trusty laptop was stolen, and couldn’t find the quotes anywhere. After exhausting my search, I started again from scratch.

The melody is based on a beautiful traditional tune ‘The Misty Mountains’ (NOT the one on the Hobbit), and even though I say so myself, this one is a bit of a tearjerker. It needs a different title, because the words apply to the end of Amy’s life too.

Amy and Amelia Earhart were, (contrary to the media-constructed rivalry stories), very good friends. When Amy crash-landed on her flight to America, Amelia sent some of her clothes and things to the hospital, and insisted that she stayed with her to recover. They had similar dreams and aspirations, were both passionate about flying and were true visionaries about the future of flying. After Amelia’s plane disappeared on her flight over the Pacific, Amy seemed to reassess her hunger for flying further, faster, longer, and stepped back from the limelight.

The first vid was me, waking up in the middle of the night, finally getting to the core of the song. It’s one of those weird songwriting things – I can roll a song around in my mind for ages, and until I find the core of the song, it’s backbone if you like, the hub around which everything else spins, I can’t bring the song to life. Once the core is there, the words flow.

And the first try out of the song…

LAMENT FOR AMELIA EARHART
In the still of the night I hear your voice calling
With your Icarus dreams and your melted wings falling
Fly further, fly higher, fly longer, grow stronger
Always strive, stay alive, and arrive

CHORUS:
We were sisters together, we conquered the skies,
Thought we were immortal, thought we'd never die,
Our legends will live on, our stories be told,
For we were so fearless and bold

Do you dance with the angels, or swim with the mermaids?
The rolling Pacific is hiding you still 
In a watery grave, under flotsam and waves
I hear your voice whispering still

Remember we said how we'd never grow old?
The pull of the heavens and adventures untold
We couldn't resist, but Life's bitter twist
Was too strong, took too long, did we get it so wrong?

Courage and heart are much more than they seem, 
they're the price that we pay for fulfilling our dreams, 
Life is for living, however you choose it
We were offered adventure and never refused it

We were sisters together, we conquered the skies,
Thought we were immortal, thought we'd never die,
Our legends will live on, our stories be told,
For we were so fearless and bold

 

 

I’ll fly away – a song begins

I’ve had a music motif in my head for a while – I tried to post it on my very first blog post on here, and couldn’t work out how to post…

here’s the original video – I had an idea and I put it down:

 

And here’s the bigger idea piece:

… apparently I’m not as up to speed as I thought I was, it needs down/up? loading onto youtube first, and it’s taking forever. So I shall write down my musings on how this song may take shape. I like the idea of a pentatonic scale improvisation to convey that flying feeling – despite all the glory and adventure, part of the calling of the early pioneer aviators must have been that feeling beyond words they experienced when flying… I want this piece to be an improvisation, but I have an idea to base it loosely around the old folk song ‘I’ll fly away’. So, here’s some widdlings, in their embryonic state, it’s ropey, I’m literally playing it as I’m thinking about it, without rehearsal, floating ideas as i play.

And while the video thingy is down/up loading (note to self: record it on the phone cos when you record it direct onto the computer, it takes forever to down/up load), here’s the progress report on Lament for Amelia Earhart:

In my original research note taking (the ones lost with my stolen laptop), I had found some gorgeous quotes from AJ and AE about flying, and a lovely epitaph from AJ about AE’s disappearance. Couldn’t find the quotes the other day; they must be in the one book I haven’t re-borrowed. But I did read around the relationship between AJ and AH – the media portrayed them as bitter rivals, but they were in fact close friends, and very much kindred spirits, both were dedicated pioneers, neither flew for the glory, but accepted that they needed the glory in order to fund further missions. When Amy and Jim Mollinson crash-landed on their flight to America, the first thing  Amelia Earhart did was to send Amy some clothes, and she invited them to stay at her house. Jim didn’t care for Amelia, thought she was too down to earth, intelligent, and impervious to his charms, but (probably for the very same reasons) Amy and Amelia bonded and became close friends.

So, no, m’lud,  I’ve not put that song to bed yet, but in my defence I’m waiting on the book to surface, because I want to use the quotes as the backbone to the song.

Aaaaand it’s down/uploaded! so here you go – the beginnings of a songwriting process – That Flying Feeling (and I reserve the right to completely change the title, and everything about it).

 

Working methods

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office essentials – pint cups of tea, e-cig, Amy books and a book of Bukowski poems for when i need mental refreshment.

This is my office. I’m like a hamster when I work, I scurry myself away in my bedroom, surround myself with everything I need and decide on the song for the day. I generally have a starting point for a song – it could be a bit of a melody,  a line of a chorus, or even a basic theme, and everything evolves from that point.

Today’s song will be Lament for Amelia Earhart – I’ve let the idea roll around in my head for a while now – I did have it all mapped out on the computer that was stolen, so I kind of know where I’m heading with the song, but it could all change during the process. Often I write directly onto the laptop, with rhymezone at the ready if I get stuck for a word, but I am more cautiously writing onto notepads, then photographing the scribblings, then transcribing it here onto the blog page. and when a melody comes that might work, I record that, and I’ll stick it on here. Usually the words arrive first, but the melody is always sneaking around somewhere, begging to be released. The recordings I’m posting of the songs at the moment are usually first time through, working out how words and melody fit together. I’m not one for manuscript writings, I used to jot ideas on those handy little staves, but I’ve totally embraced the immediacy of clicking ‘film’ on my phone, and using those embarrasing little sketches as my reference points.

All this blogging (and this is a totally new thing for me) is actually deferring the start of my songwriting today, so I shall open my books, and write  Lament for Amelia Earhart. Maybe i should find some tissues… i think this one might be a weepie.