Salt of the Earth, Vol. 1 (Lockdown)
SALT OF THE EARTH is a collection of sublime musical pieces set to original 'lockdown' poems all spoken by the authors. Each poem is embedded in meditative piano and ambient soundscapes composed by Will Lawton. The album captures this extraordinary time where, amongst the fear and anxiety, there is an unparalleled level of peace and stillness, never seen before in our lifetimes.
During the first week of lockdown a friend of mine, Esther Rose Parkes, posted a poem on facebook called ‘Keeping Quiet’ by Pablo Neruda. This poignant poem struck me as being particularly apt for this weird time despite being written in the 1950s. I asked her if she would mind sending me a recording of her speaking the poem so that I could set it to music. I love hearing poetry set to music as I feel it brings another dimension to the words.
This inspired me to put out an appeal asking for new and original poetry, not just the words on paper, but a recording of the authors speaking their own words. I was amazed by the positive response and received some wonderful contributions from poets throughout the UK. As I explored the poems and recordings I began to compose music and gradually whittled the submissions down to seven poems which suited the style and narrative that I had in my head.
What I have created here is a half hour journey through seven poems, each embedded in meditative piano and atmospheric music. What was really special about this project was that I collaborated and connected with people that I have never met. I even had one contribution from a care worker on the front line who wrote a poem called ‘A Ghost Story’ whilst on his way to work. I loved his observation that binmen he saw on his way to work were wearing surgical masks, yet the doctor he passed wore nothing.
This album is a snapshot of life in lockdown, this extraordinary time, where amongst the fear and anxiety, there is a unparalleled level of peace and stillness, never seen before in our lifetimes. If I have captured that feeling in this album, then I have succeeded in this project.
I really hope you take time to enjoy this album. It will be released on Spotify/Apple very soon.
P.S. A huge thank you goes to Patrick Phillips who helped with the final production, mixing and mastering of this album.
INTRODUCING - THE POETS
I would like to thank the poets that featured on this album and all the others that submitted their work for consideration. Every artist gave their work for free and I hope that they feel I have done their work justice. The list of contributors is found below:
Poems: ‘Unmade’ and ‘When My Grief Came’
clare e. potter is an established writer, poet and performer from a South Wales mining town who lived for a decade in New Orleans in the Deep South. Her work has been has been widely published in magazines, anthologies and literary journals in the UK and US. She spends her time in collaboration with other artists and in projects to help people tell their stories through poems, songs and public installations.
Poem: A Ghost Story
Z D Dicks is the Gloucestershire Poet Laureate, founder of The Gloucestershire Poetry Society and director of the Gloucester Poetry Festival. He has been accepted by ‘Fly on the Wall Press’, ‘Obsessed with Pipework’, ‘Salzburg Poetry Review’, ‘Sarasvati’, ‘Stride’, ‘Ink, Sweat and Tears’, to name a few and works tirelessly to promote poetry. Click here to buy his books through Amazon.
Poem: ‘We Call The People That We Love Inside’
Five years ago and all of a sudden, Gail became a poet and photographer. She writes poetry in form, and is particularly partial to sonnets and limericks. Gail’s books are available on Amazon and from Devizes Books.
Poem: ‘There Are Storms’
A Bristol-based word weasel obsessed with pink roses. His writing is largely personal therapy and he gets incredible satisfaction when it resonates with someone else. This shared experience is magic.
Nikky Pye is a historian and writer of ‘A Soldier’s Tale’ which ran in real time with the First World War during the centenary. She also presents a Florence Nightingale workshop for children via her company Historically Speaking and will shortly be found reading extracts from historical diaries on the ‘Reading My Sisters’ Diaries’ podcast.
Poem: Keeping Quiet by Pablo Neruda
Whilst Esther did not write this poem, she unwittingly inspired this whole project by posting 'Keeping Quiet' on her facebook page during the first week of lockdown. Esther is a singer-songwriter and music therapist based in the UK and originally from Germany.