Welcome to the premiere of the Amy Johnson Song Cycle, specially commissioned by the Amy Johnson Festival. The songs, written by Amanda Lowe, are performed by a brand new collaboration of women musicians – Aviatrix.
Come on a journey through Amy’s adventures, her dreams and hopes, her love-life and her passion for flying.
Aviatrix are: Amanda Lowe (guitar, mandolin, vocals), Ellie Gaynard (violin, vocals), Jessica Lawson (autoharp, guitar, mandolin, vocals) and Lou Duffy-Howard (bass, vocals)
The Amy Johnson Song Cycle
1: Prologue – One Bright Morning. This interpretation of the traditional folk song tops and tails the Song Cycle, this first introduction is as a song of hope and aspiration.
2: Head in the Clouds. Young Amy, dreaming of life beyond Hessle Road
3: No Man’s Land. Based on quotes from 1920’s and 30’s pioneering aviators,this song is about being in the sky – where one is not bound by borders, by place, by gender – all that’s needed to be in No Man’s Land is the ability and wherewithal to fly. Once one is in No Man’s Land, the mind creates a different perspective on life.
4: Fly to Australia. Amy was the first woman to become qualified as an aeroplane mechanic, but still she wasn’t fully accepted as one of the crew. She took the decision to fly to Australia to prove the point that she was in fact equal to any of the men she worked alongside.
5: Hold My Hand, St Christopher. Amy Johnson’s famous flight from UK to Australia. Even though she didn’t manage to break the record for a solo flight, she broke a record for the quickest time to India, and by this time the media was hooked on her story. A journey, not without incident, trials or tribulations, Amy was completely overwhelmed by the media frenzy awaiting her in Australia, and the million strong crowd who were there to greet her on her return to England
6: Jimmy & Johnnie. Amy’s short-lived marriage to fellow aviator Jim Mollinson. Together they were the darlings of the air, and their combined celebrity status afforded them a life filled with all the fabulous people of the day.
7: Promises, Promises. The end of Amy’s marriage to Jim Mollinson. Amy was never happier than when up to her elbows in grease tinkering with the engine of a plane, or soaring above the clouds off on an adventure. Jim was a bon viveur, a playboy, a freeloader and very much the party animal, frequenting seedy nightclubs and all-night drinking bars. It didn’t take long for the magic of his lifestyle to wear thin for Amy.
8: Fifty Times a Day. Once in the air, petrol had to be pumped from the fuselage tanks by hand by use of a device similar to a bike pump. The seals on the pipes were never solid, and petrol would spurt out during the pumping. It took 30- 40 pumps on the hand pump to get a gallon of petrol transferred, and the aircraft used 50 gallons a day. Amy hated the smell of petrol, but she got used to it, as it seemed to be the one constant in her life.
9: Overhaul. An imagined conversation between Amy and her father. Amy became tired and suffocated by all the adulation, it was a vicious circle: she had to create new records and become ever more daring to make money, but the attention became too much for her – all she wanted when she began the whirlwind was to be accepted as a pilot, as a mechanic, as a woman equal in a man’s world.
10: Icarus Dreams (Lament for Amelia Earhart) Amy and Amelia Earhart were, (contrary to the media-constructed rivalry stories), very good friends, 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.
11: Epilogue – One Bright Morning. If we’re crying as we sing this song, you’ll understand why.