Happy New Year!

Well. I know I said my new year would start on 22nd December. In truth, it was a tricky few days as the culture shock of being “mum” to 2 new rescue greyhounds hit me. We had a few puddles (my fault really) and a few fights (them, not me) and at times I wondered if I had really done the right thing.

They are settling in a treat now though, and after a very relaxing few days, I am feeling well and truly in the New Year spirit. I didn’t do the gig on NYE in the end – very glad about that. So I watched Jools with my hounds, drank some quality gin and enjoyed wearing my new pyjamas. Yes, I know how to live!

I am a lover of lists – the making of, rather than the ticking of. I love dreaming and planning, but am rubbish at finishing things off. This has changed a little over the closing months of 2011, but fundamentally I probably won’t change.

Today I went to the church where I did my recital in September. I felt my harp calling me – the first time in a while. He has been packed up pretty much since the start of December, to avoid any damage during all the work on my house. He was unwrapped for a rehearsal on the 27th, and will come out again in the morning for an individual practice (need to figure out some pedal changes for Dream A Little Dream!) and then we have our rehearsal tomorrow evening. I am getting really excited about the gig on 21st January.

I have enjoyed my musical journey in 2011. I discovered some wonderful music in many different ways.

I had heard of Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto before of course, but wouldn’t have recognised it if I heard it. This year that changed, as I played the slow movement on the harp for my Granny’s funeral. Trills are fiendish on the harp, and I’m afraid I had to duck out of adding them in this section as the pedals were horrendous so I was concentrating on other things.

I had many requests from brides for their wedding ceremonies. Some were wonderful – I Just Can’t Stop Loving You is one of my favourite Michael Jackson songs, and I was thrilled to be asked to arrange this for a wedding in March. Fireflies was another favourite, although this caused some worry the night before as a crucial string had broken, so I had replaced it. New strings take some time to settle, and I was so worried that it would sound horrific. Fortunately all was fine.

Some were bizarre- Party Rock by LMFAO and Paparazzi by Lady Gaga seemed unlikely on the face of things, but worked well and were very enjoyable to play. The Star Wars theme was again a strange request, but sounds fantastic on the harp, especially on my harp with its resonant bass!

One particular song was just plain unsuitable. I won’t share the details, but I did resist and ask if the bride was really sure. I would never refuse if someone was adamant, but this choice just didn’t sit right with me at all. I felt uncomfortable playing it – the words were just not right for a wedding ceremony, although it is a beautiful song.

On my car stereo I have listened (on repeat!) to the new Florence and the Machine album, plus a lot of Nina Simone (an awful lot!), Alice Gold, Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, Grandmaster Flash, All Saints, Kylie,  and many others. I found the wonderful Aloe Blacc too.

I look forward to discovering even more wonderful music in 2012, and most of all I look forward to creating music with my friends.

I hate how music is seen as a ‘hobby’ career – as though it can’t be a ‘proper’ job – and I am grateful to all those who take great risks with their financial security and emotional health/sanity (!) and keep going and bring us brilliant, uplifting, life changing, thought provoking experiences.

Happy New Year x

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