Coffee Breaks!

Honestly, is there anyone who wouldn't adore this?

I’m starting this post knowing what I want to say, but having absolutely no idea what order the words are going to come out in. This is probably not good. Anything could happen in the next few paragraphs…

So, last Saturday was my first concert of the year, with David Wright in Best in The Netherlands. I’m never entirely sure if I should capitalise the “the” in “the Netherlands” or not. Anyway, the first half was just us performing, the second half was the “aHonestly, is there anyone who wouldn't adore this? nd guests” part, including Stephan Whitlan, Ron Boots and Frank Dorittke. We’d planned the set lists, we’d rehearsed, and we were all ready to go! I was particularly thrilled because the leads on stage ended up looking like this:

(I had to untape my mic lead because I like to wander all over the stage, but not until I’d taken this photo!)

Except David and I were both struck by variations on the winter virus that’s been doing the rounds. Our symptoms were different, but one thing was the same…neither of us could stop coughing! Which is annoying enough when you’re playing keyboards, but when you’re singing it becomes noticeable fairly quickly!

Or should that be cough-y breaks?

So we did the only thing we could do. We admitted to the audience right at the start that we were coughing. We proudly displayed bottles of water, throat lozenges and cough medicine next to us onstage. At the end of the first track (“Dreaming Desire”, from Beyond the Airwaves volume 2) we both coughed. And coughed. Someone from the audience shouted “its a cough-y break!” And so, what could potentially have been an embarrassing problem became the joke of the evening!

The concert went well, despite us both coughing like we’d had a 50 a day habit since we were twelve. Miraculously, my singing voice was entirely unaffected. For the first time, we performed the full (edited) version of “Prophecy”, including the part I swore I’d never risk singing live – the top D at the end of “Beyond the Veil”, a note I’d never before sung in public. Result!

In the second half, the high point for me (and, I suspect, quite a few other people) was “Chameleon”. It started out quite sensibly and quickly turned into a 5-way jam, with both me (with mic) and Stephan (with keytar) playing extra notes on Ron’s synth at one point!

So despite the coughing, my first concert of the year was a success. I’m just about recovered now, David’s not quite there yet, but we’ll be back in the studio tomorrow, now to concentrate on my solo album for the next few months…

…and in other news, my crowdfunding campaign is now on 102%! There are still 4 more days to go though, so if you haven’t backed me yet and have been wanting to, please do!

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Happy New Year..already?!

Dear 2018,

You’re going to have to work pretty hard to beat 2017 in terms of music. I’ve performed in 4 different countries (England, Germany, Norway and the Netherlands). “Prophecy”, released in March 2017,  is nominated in the Schallewelle awards. Then the preparatory work for “A Different Kind of Normal” and the launch of my crowdfunder in November. All of which made for a pretty eventful year.

Then, the downside. I’m not going to go into details, but my ex partner has recently got a huge bee in his bonnet about some aspects of my life. Mainly, he is insisting to me and others that I don’t have Asperger Syndrome. Apparently I’m pretending to have Aspergers and doing it for attention. If I “really” had Aspergers I wouldn’t be able to get up on stage!

I’m thoroughly confused by this; I have no idea how his insistence that it’s not true would benefit him, and literally nobody else has ever doubted me. On the contrary, when I’ve told friends that I have Aspergers the response has generally been along the lines of “Yes, now tell us something we don’t know!”

Yes, I have Aspergers, but it doesn't define me. It's a part of who I am. The thing is though, Aspergers doesn’t define me, it’s just a part of who I am. Yes, it means that I’m terrified of new places and I need to know exactly what’s going to happen before an event. Yes, it means that sometimes I have meltdowns and yes, I have been known to end up screaming on the floor when I get overloaded (unhelpful BT call centre operatives, I’m looking at you here!). And yes, I will sometimes stare into space for no apparent reason. Oh, and I am still listening even though I’m playing a game on my phone. I can probably repeat everything you just said back to me, word for word. If I had to look at you I’d be so busy concentrating on doing that properly I wouldn’t have enough energy left to listen.

After E-Live 2017. Photo by Jez Creek.

But it doesn’t stop me from going places. It doesn’t stop me from going onstage, because it’s only a part of me, not who I am. It means I get to explore backstage at theatres in a way nobody else does. I see things most people wouldn’t even notice, and just because I’m terrified doesn’t mean I’m going to hide. Because the being onstage part is where I really get to be ME, and that energises me enough that if you’ve ever talked to me after a concert, in that 45 minute window after I come offstage, you might have assumed I’m completely normal. Hey, I might even have looked you in the eye while I was talking to you!

Mind you, catch me after that window of euphoria has faded and I’ll look as bloody terrified as if I’ve just been dropped off from my home planet with no hope of rescue..!

The Jolly Bit

There was a point to this post. I just got a little bit distracted along the way. Right now I’m distracted by the annoying readability scores claiming that I’m using too much “passive voice” than the “recommended maximum”. Honestly, which twit sat down and said “we shouldn’t allow more than 10% of sentences in the passive voice; it’s too hard to read”? What sort of a human being reads a story and thinks “I’d enjoy this much more if paragraph three started with “This confuses me”?

Aaand…now I’m distracted again! I almost want to end here and thus I’ll have rambled gleefully for almost 600 words without ever making my original point. But no! Because…my crowdfunding campaign now has less than two weeks to run, and I’m less than £100 from reaching my target.

I’m so excited about this. Logically, when I started the campaign back in the middle of November I was sure people would back me. But I still get excited every time a new email notifies me that someone else is supporting me. Every single time, I’ve said “THANK YOU!” out loud as soon as I’ve opened the email. No matter the amount, it’s your support that means the world to me. If you’ve been meaning to back me, please make sure you do so before 16th January. That’s when my crowdfunder comes to an end, and I really hope it goes out with a bang!

Thank you (especially if you’ve read this far!). Here’s the link to “A Different Kind Of Normal”  where you can back me and get your hands on a CD or download…or a handmade card or lyric sheet…or even a concert! Wait…how can you get your hands on a download? And on that happy note of confusion I shall say…


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Carys is hopeless at titles

Seriously. I’ve been known to spend an entire year performing a song before I finally manage to give it a title that suits. And that’s something important! So poor little blog posts really have no chance… and already I’ve digressed from what I intended to write. So, here goes…

(Wait. Why have Radio Four listeners got such an issue with starting a sentence with “so”? Sometimes it just fits there really nicely, and if I can start sentences with “and” I can start them with “so as well. Herewith endeth the second digression.)

The interesting bit in the middle

Three weeks today I launched my crowdfunding campaign for my forthcoming album, “A Different Kind Of Normal”. Since then I’ve spent several days in the studio, recorded acoustic guitar for 2 tracks and vocals for three. I’ve also started working with 2 of my guest musicians and I shall be publicly embarrassing them  telling everyone how wonderful they are very shortly.

I’ve also been having sudden flashes of inspiration. These include “Hey, I’m going to make a video for this track!” which is a good idea, and “Lets write a random festive song for no apparent reason”, which is slightly nuts considering how much else I have to be getting on with. Speaking of which…my to-do list tells me I need to be recording the guitar track for “Fountains of Hope” this evening. Ooh, did I just give away another song title there?

Anyway, if you’ve already backed my campaign, thank you and my current goal is to get all my guitar tracks recorded by the end of December. If you haven’t backed me yet but you’ve been meaning to, please click on the photo and bag yourself a perk. Maybe you’ve found this page by accident, in which case please click on the photo because I’m really proud of myself for embedding a link into a picture and I still can’t quite believe I figured it out. Yay!



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A Different Kind Of Normal

Just over a week ago I launched my album crowdfunding campaign. I knew the theory – create what you hope are exciting perks, explain what you need to money for, then publicise the heck out of it on social media. The first two parts were relatively easy. I want my album to be the best it possibly can be, and I would struggle to find the cash upfront to pay my guest musicians even before thinking about mastering and pressing the CDs.

The third part was where I anticipated problems. My ludicrous lack of self esteem meant there was a very real fear that I’d talk myself out of publicising the thing! Which is a bit like opening a shop and putting a closed sign on the door, it rather defeats the object. And in the first few days, I found myself dealing with almost constant anxiety attacks! But thankfully, at the same time I’ve surprised myself by eagerly looking forward to sharing my progress.

“What can I tell people today?”

Quite a lot, as it turns out. So far my updates have mainly been delight at my lovely supporters and the crowdfunding progress (70% as of writing). But as the campaign progresses I’ll be sharing news of studio sessions, announcing guest musicians and revealing the track listing. That one might be a while though, because I haven’t decided it myself yet!

If you haven’t come across my crowdfunder yet, the link is at the top of the page. Please take a look, watch my video and maybe even get yourself a copy of my forthcoming album!

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*this blog post is not in use*

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Happy New Year!

One day, oh, one day I swear I’m going to remember to write regular updates! The trouble is, I get so excited about actually doing things, I forget that I actually need to tell folks that I’m doing them! But anyway. Over the past few months Celandine have been out promoting our CD, She’s Like the Swallow , around the area and on local radio. We appeared live on Felixstowe and West Norfolk radio (not at the same time, we’re not that clever…) and finished up the year joining the session at our favourite Folk night, the Half Moon in Walton, Felixstowe.

Right now we’re taking a break from performing for a couple of months while we rehearse some new material. Some of it really is new, because we’ve written it ourselves; some of it used to be quite familiar until we got hold of it! Rumour has it that Rosemary’s autoharp may be putting in an appearance in the near future as well.

Elsewhere, I’m thrilled to be able to report that another band I’m involved with, Lightwish, have a new keyboard player and will be out and about later in the year. I’ve done tribute work before, but never quite like this and the songs of Nightwish are a challenge I’m really enjoying. From folk to symphonic metal in the space of a paragraph!

Anyway my first appearance of the new year will be at Slackfolk in Colchester (more details on the events page) which will also be my first solo performance for several months! Better get some new songs finished, then…

Happy New Year!


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Celandine “She’s Like The Swallow” CD released!

Celandine - She's Like The Swallow 1500Well it isn’t quite six months since my last update! But I’m very excited to tell everyone that Celandine’s debut album “She’s Like The Swallow” was released on Friday 21st August at our performance on the Soapbox stage at FolkEast. Here’s the official press release:

‘She’s Like The Swallow’ is the debut album from Celandine, the Suffolk based folk music duo consisting of Carys and Rosemary (and an unnamed guitar) who perform their own music and arrangements of traditional folk songs and covers.

The choice of songs on the album is both varied and clever. From the re-working of classic originals like ‘The Sounds of Silence’ to mash-ups of traditional songs like ‘Horseback/Fair’ and beautiful self penned tracks like ‘One Single Raindrop’, Celandine have an impressively deft touch that is both involving and rewarding.

‘She’s Like The Swallow’ is an uncluttered, ‘up close and personal’ folk music album that beautifully showcases the emotion and magical harmonies of this classically trained duo and is sure to find favour with a wider folk audience.

Fans who have seen Celandine live on the Suffolk folk music scene will be delighted with the music on offer here. New listeners will be easily and quickly captivated by their unique sound and style.

You can buy the album on CD, flac or mp3, as well as hear samples of all the tracks, by following this link.

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New dates on events page!

After failing to update anything on here for about six months (I’m going to claim I was too busy which is actually quite close to the truth and certainly sounds more interesting than a description of all the various viruses I’ve had over the winter!) I have at long last updated my events page with links to some of the festivals and other places I’m singing at over the next few months. One of which I even need a passport for – and we’re not talking about Norfolk, either!

First up we have the return of the Henley Folk Nights, always good fun and often there’s anything up to ten performers in an evening. Then on Bank holiday Monday Freyja’s Fire will be playing at Spring Wood in Ipswich. We were there last year and it was a great day, so lets hope the weather is fine for us again. At the end of May is E-Scape electronic music festival at The Cut, Halesworth where I will be adding vocals to David Wright’s set.

Into June, and Celandine will be playing at the Knitted Folk Festival at Temple Grafton in Warwickshire on Saturday 6th June and at the Steamboat Tavern’s ‘Folk at the Boat’ festival, now in its 10th year, on June 13th. On August 29th I’ll be singing with Code Indigo at Bochum Planetarium in Germany (I wasn’t joking about the passport) and then, slightly closer to home Celandine will be appearing at the Half Moon Folk Day in Walton, Felixstowe on Sunday 15th September.

That’s all the confirmed dates for now but there’s more to come – watch this space (and hopefully it won’t take six months for another update!) and hopefully the next big update will be the forthcoming release date of Celandine’s debut album!

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Children from the Sky annual

Back in 2012 I read that Duncan Lunan had written a book about the Green Children of Woolpit but hadn’t been able to find any folk songs about them. As one of my songs, Child of Green, is about exactly that subject* I got in touch and, to shorten what is a long (though fairly interesting!) tale, the upshot is the sheet music and lyrics to Child of Green have now been published in the first Children from the Sky annual. CFTS annual You can read more about the annual and Duncan’s research into the Green Children, as well as order a copy of the annual, on the Children from the Sky website.

*you can hear it by clicking the “songs” link which will take you to my bandcamp page.

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Page updates!

This morning I’ve finally got around to a long-overdue addition to this site and added a band page with links to Celandine and Freyja’s Fire, both of which I perform with on a regular basis.

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