Abercarn Baha’i Choir Rehearsal

The rain came, and the singers came and the children came! We had a great day, singing together, laughing, drinking tea and coffee and plenty of water (of course) and eating cake and watermelon. Altogether eleven adults and four children and one baby attended the first (this time around) Baha’i Choir rehearsal, travelling from as near as Pontllanfraith and as far away as Swansea. Dad and I swept the basement flat free from cobwebs, swept the floor and pre-painted the walls (!) a few days before, the living room big enough for seventeen people to seat comfortably and the high ceilinged kitchen a great place for learning harmonies with a smaller group.

At 12.30pm most people arrived, with their packed lunches and we served hot drinks and chatted amicably together as we ate lunch. A knock at the door and Carol, a lady from Cardiff who had connected with me through the Facebook ‘Creative Voice’ page was at the front door! I was so impressed with her bravery, travelling up the valleys and turning up to sing with a bunch of complete strangers to join in with everything. I could see she was having a great day as the choir members (most of whom had sung with me in Summer School this August) were welcoming and friendly – and she’s coming to the next rehearsal, so she must have had a good time!

I was pleased that we had a range of ages in the choir too. It is so important that children sing with adults and music is a natural part of their lives and four children joined  us! My nine year old niece, Zia, stayed for the whole practice and the others joined in with a few songs, went off to play in the rest of the house and then came back again to sing at the end. I think the age range of the choir now ranges from aged 5 to 72! Brilliant!

At this rehearsal I taught the following songs, ‘Tue Tue’ (briefly – as part of the warm-up) ‘Building Bridges’ (melody and higher harmony) and ‘God sufficeth’ (with Dad on guitar), ‘Allunde’, ‘As I went down to the river to pray’ (melody and lower harmony) and ‘Give love one more chance’.  The lyrics for these and videos (more coming soon!) can be found on my website, creativevoicewales.com Everyone concentrated so beautifully, singing their hearts out with great gusto and I felt they learned the songs very quickly. The sound of melodies and harmonies together was fantastic – and I had goose bumps when we sang ‘As I went down to the river to pray’.

I have to say, running choir sessions is one of my all-time favourite things to do. I particularly enjoyed running the singing course in the Baha’i Arts Academy for a few years as it gave me a chance to sing all week, to encourage and inspire people from all over the UK and abroad who loved singing but often felt disempowered and shy to sing in front of others and to rearrange and work with all different kinds of songs – witnessing new harmonies and arrangements come to life. In the French Baha’i Summer School in Evian, France 2011 I worked with the Le Deun family to bring choir sections to their compositions and felt such joy as I stood in the middle of the stage, feeling the vibrations of the music through my bare feet and letting the beautiful sound created by the singers, violins, penny-whistle, piano, drums and piano wash over and around me.

So I’ve now brought it all home, to sing in Wales with my family and friends and it’s so exciting to record songs, work on arrangements and harmonies, find new music and bring them to life in a room full of lovely people all wanting to cheer the hearts of our future audience.

There are a few things I’ve learned from yesterday’s rehearsal. I would like to delegate a few tasks so that I can concentrate more on the music and my role as conductor. I think we need a coordinator who can arrange car-pooling and the rehearsal schedule. Also someone needs to take over the role of providing refreshments and washing up – making sure everyone feels a homely sense of having a nice cuppa and piece of cake. Perhaps we also need someone who can provide some other artistic activities for the children, so that they can enjoy singing with us, but then have fun in another creative way – as four hours of singing is perhaps too much for young children?! Any takers for these roles?

I’m looking forward to the next rehearsal on October 27th, and I’m beginning to wonder if we can’t have twice monthly meetings? Hmmmmmm…..

(Photo is from a weekend school in Wiltshire last year. I promise to post up-to-date photos of the Wales choir soon!)

New Direction

As you may or may not know, Kalim ‘Tangent’ Bartlett is now living in China, in the vibrant city of Chengdu in Sichuan province. Creative Voice has taken a new direction therefore, and is mainly focused on singing and writing projects. There may be a time when Kalim and I work together again, we are brother and sister after all – and both passionate about music and empowering others. But for now, we live on different continents and so are in different creative worlds.

kalim in china mid-beat

My creative voice has recently been immersed in developing my voice as a writer. I took part in Sherman Cymru’s ‘Spread the Word’ writing course, meeting other local writers and feeling inspired and uplifted by the down-to-earth approach of our tutor, Alan Harris and his wealth of experience. Both him and Sian Summers gave me some excellent feedback on the skeleton structure of the play I am working for, ‘The Child in Me’, which I need to submit by mid July. Three of our pieces will be presented as Rehearsed Readings in Sherman Cymru this summer, and of course I am hoping that mine is one of the chosen ones. However, I am not too attached to that thought, the support I have received so far from this course has been invaluable and I finally feel creatively unblocked!

On a musical and Baha’i note, my father, Viv Bartlett and I are preparing a bunch of songs to take around the Baha’i community as ‘Musical Firesides’. Dad plays the guitar (and sings harmonies) and I sing (as I think you all know!). The aim is to sing some of the Baha’i community songs from waaaay back (golden oldies) as well as pieces we have composed and more modern songs written by other Baha’i musicians. Mum is enjoying singing along with us too, and I think this cheers her up enormously as she is currently battling cancer and has less energy than she would like. Hopefully our musical gift will be well rehearsed by the end of the summer, we can have a trial run at the summer school in Wales and then  start to tour around South Wales, Bristol and maybe even further in the Autumn.

Dad, Bill and Leo

I am also developing music for the All-Wales Baha’i Choir, which began in January of this year (we sand for the first time at the Regional Festival in Llandrindod Wells) and I am excited that a few more people have agreed to join us! Regular choir (read ‘singing group’ here) sessions will start in July. Watch this space for details!

Here is a taster of one of the songs we’ll be singing. It’s called ‘Remember my Days’, the words are extracts from the Tablet of Ahmed and from the Gleanings of the writings of Baha’u’llah. The picture is from May 2011, with myself sitting just outside the shrine of Baha’u’llah. Enjoy listening on this lovely sunny evening in June.

https://soundcloud.com/creativevoice/remember-my-days

Shrine of Baha'u'llah 8 Fleur

Learn How to BeatBox

Learn how to Beatbox

Young or youthful in heart, active or sedentary, male or female  – it is never too late to start beatboxing. All you need is a pair of lungs, a voice, patience and a good teacher. Kalim Bartlett, AKA ‘Beatbox Tangent’, has been teaching Beatboxing in schools for over two years alongside competing in National Beatboxing competitions, collaborating with artists in the UK and abroad and regularly meeting up with his fellow Beatboxing crew in London to jam together and enjoy the natural buzz of making music with the voice alone (see photo above).

Based in South Wales, Kalim is setting up the Creative Voice Beatboxing Academy – and is looking for young people to join the 12-15 group, the 16-19 group and the 19+ group. He will also have some (limited) slots available for private tuition for those who are really keen to get those beats flowing!

Contact Kalim at creativevoicewales@gmail.com to let him know your interest, with ‘BBox lessons’ as the subject title.

Creative Voice is alive!

Hi guys and gals,

This is the first Creative Voice Wales blog ever!

We’re in the process of getting this blog up and running – so have a look around the site and let us know your thoughts!

If you are interested in booking Creative Voice for a project, after-school club or individual singing or Beat-boxing lessons contact Fleur on fleur@mysinging.co.uk and we’ll get back to you really soon!

Creative Voice are:

Kalim Bartlett – AKA Beatbox Tangent (Beatboxer, Body Percussionist with a degree in Fine Art, Caerleon University). Go to BeatBox Tangent’s facebook page to see Kalim in action!

and

Fleur Missaghian (Singer, writer, drama teacher and known as Fleurbasherba to some!). Go to Fleur’s my space site to hear her sing or to  www.justonedaybooks.com to read about the amazing book, ‘Make a Difference in Just One Day’ which Fleur compiled alongside Victoria Leith.

Every week we’ll be letting you know how our projects are going, news on the Creative Voice scene and thoughts, updates and workshop events.

Take a look at our Gallery to see some of the projects we’ve been involved with in the past year. Have a great day!

SAFE!