Like the autumn, the winter arrived more or less overnight. We felt it blow in off the North Sea and felt the chill settle on us. The autumn light has been very beautiful and our winter sky here on the east coast never fails to lift the spirit, even as darkness intensifies.
A highlight of the winter so far was the jazz and poetry gig with Dave Green and Pat McCarthy, just a couple of short weeks ago – time really has flown. Pat and I are doing a lot of work on our set and it’s coming together with great fluency and playing well with audiences.
The Concert for Commemoration was a night to remember as well, with the choir really giving their all and with beautiful accompaniment from all of the musicians. It was a special night, long to be remembered.
It has once again been a time of change, with much of the past now settled and in its place and the future looking exciting and full of challenges. With Pat and the La Luna team we are preparing for a busy spring in NE Lincs schools. Most exciting though is the forthcoming jazz and poetry Requiem, a collaboration between me, Pat and Alan Barnes with the support of Arts Council England and overseen by Gill Wilde. There will be more to report on that shortly.
It’s been a tense time but the ships have all come safely into port and I am immensely grateful for all the kindness and support I have received and for the affirmation of my work, which continues to be a source of joy to me.
Earlier this summer, La Luna secured a substantial Arts Council grant for the provision of a number of poetry and music projects for North East Lincolnshire. The Poetry Cafe is up and running under the leadership of poet and teacher Carolyn Doyley and the Emerging Voices project is now well underway with young writers engaged in a year-long project. Look out for their first event in December.
One of the most exciting and challenging aspects of the project was the commissioning of brand new music for the Great Grimsby Community Choir. The choir is constantly evolving and developing. It has great creative energy and enthusiasm and it was the choir’s willingness to try new things and be challenged that resulted in this project being possible.
The new music, which has been co-written with Pat McCarthy, Joanne Townell and myself is in rehearsal and will be performed at Grimsby Minster on November 17th. The music commemorates the centenary of the end of the First World War and we hope it is a moving tribute to everyone who lost their lives in that terrible conflict.
Tickets for the concert are £8 full price, £6 students and unwaged. Accompanied children under 16 are welcome to attend free. Refreshments are available at the interval. Tickets can be purchased directly from me via email to email@example.com or from Cleethorpes Tourist Information office or the Grimsby Minster Coffee Shop. Doors open at 7.00 pm for a 7.30 start.
We are pleased to announce our Autumn Tour for 2018 with a series of dates in North East Lincolnshire.
Friday 14th September
7.30 pm at The Globe in Cleethorpes. This lovely new coffee and book shop is an intimate venue with very welcoming hosts. Entry is free. Signed copies of Poems from the Swamp will be available to purchase At £7.50
Poems from the Swamp
Saturday 29th September
7.30 pm, The Steel Rooms, Brigg
Myths of Birds and Water: An evening of Poetry and Jazz featuring a spoken word performance from Steve Meek.
The theme of the evening is birds and water and the myths that surround both.
Saturday 27th October
7.30 pm, The Steel Rooms, Brigg
An evening of Poetry and Jazz featuring a spoken word performance from Steve Meek. With special guests David Power and Ken Marley.
Thursday 1st November
7.30 pm, The Albert Room Cleethorpes Library
£5.00 – Tickets available from Cleethorpes Library.
An evening of Poetry and Music featuring very special guest, internationally renowned bass player, Dave Green.
Internationally renowned bass player, Dave Green
Here is the link to our Autumn Brochure listing all our events for Autumn 2018. The programme is packed full of poetry, workshops, fine art. talks and music and is the result of a collaboration between La Luna, Lincs Inspire, Riverhead Coffee and others. There are paper copies available of the brochure and these can be found in libraries and other public spaces locally.
The Best Words project is now well underway and the Words and Pictures autumn season brochure is almost ready to be released. It’s packed full of poets and events programmed for several venues across the region. The web version will be posted here on the website shortly. Here’s a quick overview of what is happening:
One strand of best words is the Emerging Voices writing project for young writers aged 18-25. We have established our group and their autumn schedule is already looking busy with a series of workshops and events including visits from poets working on the national scene. Their first meeting was inspiring for all of us and we’re looking forward to a fine body of new work from them.
Emerging Voices at Riverhead Coffee
Emerging Voices at Riverhead Coffee
Poet and teacher Carolyn Doyley takes the helm of the Poetry Cafe in September when it reconvenes on the 3rd Thursday of the month at Riverhead Coffee. There will be a mixture of workshops, read-arounds and poetry suppers through the autumn with some very special guests.
Carolyn takes the helm of the Poetry Cafe
Great Grimsby Community Choir
Pat McCarthy and I have been writing music over the hottest summer I can remember – thankfully it’s cool and rainy today – music for centenary of the end of the First World War, and music for Christmas. It’s not easy to envisage the frozen landscape of midwinter, the short days and darkness when you feel like a basking lizard but we’ve done our best and Great Grimsby Community Choir will be rehearsing their new music from September.
McCarthy and Moon
We have three gigs booked for the autumn so far and we are looking to add dates. We are setting some of the poems from Poems from the Swamp and working on other material. We are particularly delighted that the incredible Dave Green is joining us in November at the Albert Room for some great improvisation and the warmest bass sound you can imagine.
Poems from the Swamp
I am delighted to announce that thanks to a substantial grant from Arts Council England, La Luna will be offering an extensive programme of events from the autumn of 2018 and into 2019. The Best Words programme will be announced in full shortly but here is a taster of what’s on offer.
The Poetry Cafe
Our poetry cafe will continue to take place at Riverhead Coffee, Victoria Street. Dates and times are subject to confirmation but we will continue to run the events on Thursday afternoons. We will be offering workshops and performances from special guests, all of which will be announced over the coming weeks.
Helen Mort at the Poetry Cafe
Guests at the Poetry Cafe
Poetry at Riverhead Coffee
Following the success of our Young Voices project in 2017 we are delighted that we will be offering up to ten young writers aged 18-25 a chance to work with editors, writers and personal productivity specialists to develop their writing for a publication in 2019. They will also be given performance opportunities. We will be inviting potential candidates to apply in July and a small bursary will be available for successful applicants.
Front cover of the Young Voices 2017 publication In Case of An Emergency. Available from Amazon.
Great Grimsby Community Choir
We are particularly thrilled that funding is available to write and perform new music with the Great Grimsby Community Choir. Professional musicians, writers and arrangers will work with the choir to produce two new suites of music, one to commemorate the centenary of the end of World War One and another for Christmas. Concerts with special guests are currently being planned for the autumn and winter. There will also be a CD available in time for Christmas!
Poetry Thursdays at The Albert Room
In addition to this exciting programme of events La Luna is delighted to be working in partnership with Lincs Inspire to bring a year-long programme of poetry to The Albert Room in Cleethorpes Library. We are currently planning workshops and performances with writers from the local and national scenes and will announce the full programme soon. This programme will launch on National Poetry Day, October 4th.
Full details of all our events will be published shortly and updates will appear on the website as events are confirmed.
Thanks to everyone who continues to support La Luna activities.
May is my favourite month of the year. Lengthening days, blossom and the trees exploding into full life make me feel peaceful. The Ash Tree in the garden has burst into life. I was keeping an eye on it, wanting to see the exact moment it got its leaves. But of course I missed that.
May began with a fabulous gig over in Hull with the Women of Words Collective at Kardomah 94. I was delighted to be their May out of town guest and enjoyed performing enormously. I also enjoyed the rich variety of performances from the other women writers there too. The event provides a welcoming and supportive space for women writers to meet, read and listen and to really appreciate each other. I loved Michelle Dee’s Blue Dress especially. A brave and touching piece that has stayed with me since the event.
Poetry continued to be at the fore as May flowered with a lovely Poetry Cafe meeting at Riverhead Coffee on Thursday afternoon where writers gathered to read, talk and listen to each others’ wonderful words. The cafe is a small, perfectly formed thing of beauty and I could not be more delighted with how it has developed over the past year.
The celebration of words continued into the weekend with Poetry and Poppadoms at St Mark’s church, the first of what I hope will be a series of events in partnership with Ruchita Green of Masala Masters. Divine food and best words from our guest poets who all excelled. Special mention for Eve Darwood, an exceptional poet who had never read her work aloud before and Alex Murphy who similarly was a novice to reading her work for an audience. Two very different takes on the world but both wonderful. However, it was Ruchita who made me cry when she read a piece celebrating her beloved grandmother who lives in India and at seventy-five sounds as if she is the very heart of her family.
This week the workaday world has taken over somewhat with a mixture of schools work, bid writing, event and publication planning but May still has many treats in store. On Thursday 17th La Luna celebrates the launch of Calling to the Moon, Maria Garner and Vivienne May’s beautiful collection of moon poetry accompanied by stunning art work and photographs. The book will be released on Amazon a few days after the launch so look out for notice of that. The event is at St James’ Hotel, Grimsby at 6.00 pm. There will be music and readings from both authors.
I am also very pleased that on May 19th I’ll be working with Jo Townell and Nic Reed at The Great Big Sing, a sparkling fizz-ball of a singing workshop we’ve put together to encourage singers to come along and have a go – particularly if you haven’t sung before or think you can’t. This event is at Signhills School in Cleethorpes, registration at 9.30, workshop starts at 10.00. £10 including refreshments and resources. You can book by leaving a message on the site or on the GGCC Facebook page or on any of my pages.
I hope your May is blooming and full of light.
Saturday 19th May
Signhills School, Hardy’s Road, Cleethorpes
10.00 – 1.00 workshop
£10 per person inc resources and refreshments. open to anyone aged over 16.
May is shaping up to be a busy month for La Luna and I’m very pleased to be co-running this workshop with Nic Reed and Jo Townell. If you’ve sung with us in GGCC then you know that I believe everyone has a voice and everyone can sing; perhaps not like Mariah Carey but probably like yourself, and that’s enough. With practice and good technique every voice can develop. This workshop is designed to inspire confidence in your own voice by singing material that is fun, accessible and with enough of a challenge to it that you will feel progress.
Singing together is proven to improve mood and a sense of well-being and in this inclusive, friendly workshop we aim to ensure everyone leaves smiling and uplifted.
If you would like a place, then please do book in advance. You can book here by leaving a comment and I’ll get back to you to confirm. We’ll look forward to singing with you.
2017 was a phenomenal year in terms of the many things that La Luna achieved and now that January is almost past and several projects are up and running I am thinking about plans for the rest of the year and beyond.
This Friday, La Luna hosts Helen Mort at Riverhead Coffee in Grimsby and hot on the heels of that is our first Poetry Cafe gathering on Thursday 1st. This monthly meeting of writers is gathering momentum and has given me food for thought in terms of how to develop and add to it.
A Woodland Story is proving popular with children and teachers and although we’re only at the beginning of the schools tour, we are already seeing what a joyous and engaging piece of work it is. It’s great to go into schools with an excellent ensemble to deliver work that is so appreciated.
Great Grimsby Community Choir goes from strength to strength and deserves the support and positivity it receives. We have interesting concerts in the pipeline and lots of plans for workshops, collaborations and events across the year.
I am looking forward to two further Fish Tales gigs in June and more work with Pat McCarthy and Alan Barnes – work that is already in the process of being created.
La Luna projects and the work I undertake as a writer and performer are lifeblood to me. I love what I do and am lucky to be in a position of having access to creative opportunities with some outstanding artists. I am optimistic about 2018 and to looking ahead to some wonderful work. Thank you to everyone who has supported me and for that continuing support. The days are getting longer and there is always light.
Happy New Year to everyone. Here’s the link to the broadcast of Fish Tales from the Herts Jazz Festival. It’s available until about 22nd January on the BBC iPlayer.
Here’s a review from Jazz Rag of the performance at the festival:
One programmed concert of new music at many a festival these days is the latest suite by Alan Barnes, usually for an all-star octet. This year it’s Fish Tales, music and poems based on the Grimsby fishing industry. I often wonder how precisely thematically based jazz suites relate to their subject matter, but in this case the correspondence between the music and Josie Moon’s words is pretty close, from the rowdy fun of Three Day Millionaires to the street parade sounds of Homecoming, even Dave Green’s bubbling bass solo for The Drowning Man. Moon’s poetry covers the domestic, the documentary and the supernatural, her explanations are clear and her readings dramatic. Alan Barnes’ writing makes particular use of the versatility of his threeman reed section (some lovely writing for two clarinets and bass clarinet) and, with top-class soloists throughout the band, Mark Nightingale and Robert Fowler made a particularly strong impression.