A pleasure to be working with Bethan Peters, Natasha Lohan and Maria Ighoumrassi as art of Trinity Laban and Greenwich Dance at the National Maritime Museum…
This was a multi-layered dance and music piece that uses personal interpretations of both historical and contemporary notions of exploration as stimulus. As artistic facilitators we worked with community participants to create and develop their own movement and musical material interpretations of artifacts, memories and stories into a two hour piece based on the title ‘We may be gone some time’
When discussing the piece proposal with Bethan (choreographer), providing the context of the project and how it sits within Travelers’ Tails I was extremely enthusiastic about engaging musically with the era of the 18th C and using the theme of historical and contemporary exploration to generate original lyrics and music collaboratively with the participants. As previously mentioned due to the logistics of the piece structure it is likely that the musical element of the piece would consist only of vocals, therefore I suggested that using the form of Shanties could be a good musical starting point in terms of structure as well as making further links to maritime heritage. We used ‘All things are quite silent’ to begin the movement, and ended with ‘Leave her Johnny’.
My intention for the arrangement was to create a flowing but gentle up and down motion to simulate perhaps the movement of oars of a ship, or the ebb and flow of the sea; a symbolic nod to the tragic consequence of the story itself. The piano accompaniment creates a visual and harmonic struggle, representing the tie between man, wife and King. There is an instrumental, which I added to create a light relief and perhaps a sense of hope for this couple who reflected the plight of many around this time.
Leave her Johnny was simply performed A Capella as it would have been traditionally with myself taking on the main role of ‘caller’ and the rest of the performers joining in on the chorus. The song is about the end of the journey, when the ship has docked and the rats and crew are all gone.