Charlotte Church Artsnight


Charlotte Church

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SHE INHALES

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# Ah

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# Ah

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# Ah... #

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A singing voice can bring joy, hope, anger...

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It can connect people beyond language or geography.

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It's an instrument of immense creative power.

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# Ah

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# Oh-oh-oh

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# Oh... #

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Wales is famous for producing singers.

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We are the land of song, but some of the traditional stereotypes,

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of daffodils and male-voice choirs and Myfanwy,

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are just too simplistic.

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I've lived in Cardiff all my life and some of these traditional views

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of what Welsh culture is just don't reflect the innovative

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and forward-thinking music that I hear all around me.

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This June sees the launch of the Festival Of Voice,

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over ten days in venues across Cardiff.

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The promise is to show a different side to singing in Wales.

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Experimental and outward-looking, a programme combining acclaimed

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Welsh singers, community-driven projects and international acts.

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In my Artsnight, I'm looking at singers that are using

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the voice not just to entertain, but also to question and challenge

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and really push the boundaries of what a human voice can do.

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This is my Artsnight.

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What I like most about the new festival is that,

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although it's distinctly Welsh and has all the established names

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you might expect, it is also hugely ambitious in its scale,

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and it's bringing new international singers into the city.

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And we're on our way to meet one of my personal favourites,

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Laura Mvula, in London before she comes to Wales for the festival.

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I first met Laura a couple of years ago

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and we did a songwriting session together, which was wonderful.

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We wrote a cracking verse and chorus

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and then we had a bit of a red wine-y lunch

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and that was the end of that song.

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But we've been firm friends ever since

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and I think she's an amazing artist.

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# Dance in my garden

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# Like we used to... #

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Laura's first album Sing To The Moon saw her become

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-one of the breakout British singers of 2013.

-# Like we used to... #

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Now she's about to return with a second album, The Dreaming Room,

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and she's told me that she's been exploring a new musical direction,

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moving away from the soul-influenced debut that made her name.

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I'm so intrigued to find out about her process and her writing

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and her vocal stylings, and how she's developed all of that.

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'So I've brought her to the Wellcome Collection,

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'to the exhibition This Is A Voice.'

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FAINT VOICES GROAN

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-When you had your babies, did you make this kind of noise?

-Mental.

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-Really?

-It was low and guttural.

-Low?

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SHE GROANS Yeah, I can't do it.

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'The exhibition combines pieces presenting

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'experimental vocal techniques...'

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-Are we allowed to do it together?

-I reckon.

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It's not going to break it, is it?

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-# Ah

-Ah. #

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CHARLOTTE LAUGHS Good breath control, babes.

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'..as well as art exploring the science and psychology

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'of why we sing.'

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WOMAN SINGS TWO PITCHES AT ONCE

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-Oh, my gosh. That's nuts. Is that real?

-Yeah.

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She's not doing that!

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She's literally singing two different pitches at one time.

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It's insane.

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That's really moved me. I don't know...

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That's really crazy. What?

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'I've brought Laura here because I want to talk to her about her own

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'vocal experiments and finding a new sound for her second album.'

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-I've been on a really funny journey with my voice.

-Mmm.

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When I was a kid, a lot of family members were singers,

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performers, so I was always at gospel concerts or whatever.

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But I do think that the way that I understood singing was,

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sort of, narrow, because I thought it was about vocal gymnastics...

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-Yeah.

-..and wooing your audience.

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And so I was racked with insecurity, cos I was like,

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-"Well, I don't have that in my voice. I can't do that..."

-Yeah.

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-"..so I'm not a singer."

-That's crazy.

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-Yeah, for real.

-That's crazy.

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And I think it's so hard, in our day and age,

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you know, we're born in the X Factor generation,

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where singing has become...

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Well, what we teach our children what singing has become

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is very narrow. It's sort of...

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-It's homogenised, like, autotuned.

-Yeah, yeah.

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-I struggled... I struggle with that a lot.

-Yeah, me too.

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Because, like, for me, the whole thing about the voice and hearing

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a new voice for the first time,

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-which is characterful and rich...

-Yeah, yeah, yeah.

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All their range and the tonal information they can give you,

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-it's just like, "Mmm, that's so juicy, I could eat it."

-Yeah.

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Yes, that's what's delicious.

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That's what we need

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and also it's about the uniqueness of the individual human.

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Like, nobody sounds like Charlotte Church.

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Nobody sounds like Laura Mvula.

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# I will never be what you want and that's all right

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# I'll play my own damn tune

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# I'll shine like the moon

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# And very soon

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# I'll soon fly over you... #

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Tell me a little bit about The Dreaming Room.

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I've heard the two singles, which are different and new

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-and it's a progression...

-Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah.

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It's a different sound.

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Yeah, with this album,

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I feel like I used it as a way of reaching somewhere else.

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-Expansion!

-Yeah.

-Yeah.

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Because I was using a lot of distorted guitar,

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there was a lot of funk now.

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There was a different rhythmic element to it.

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-I had to find another colour.

-Mmm.

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But it wasn't like, "Oh, let me..."

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-I wasn't sitting at the piano, like, "Ah, ah, ah!"

-"Ah, ah, ah!"

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-It wasn't like that.

-Yeah.

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A lot of it came from the meat of the songs.

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-Yeah.

-For the first time, I'm singing about heartbreak.

-Mmm.

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-For the first time, I'm singing in a way that makes me feel sexy.

-Mmm.

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And, for the first time, I'm singing in a way where I'm pissed off.

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Mmm, yeah!

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Yeah, so it makes you...

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All of a sudden, I'm like,

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"Oh, yeah, I'm singing up in the rafters," you know?

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Yeah, totally.

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But I'm finding my way of doing that.

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# With the world up on your shoulders

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# Nowhere left to hide

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# Keep your head up Carry on

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# Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah... #

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The beauty of it, for me, is that I've grown up insecure about

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my vocal range, so I'd say, "No, no, no, no, I can't sing up there."

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-Mmm.

-"No, no, no, I won't sing..."

-So many people do that.

-Oh, gosh.

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-Because I had, like, a classical training...

-Mmm.

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..I feel like I've, to a certain extent, had to undo all of that.

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-Yeah.

-Like you were saying about, like, belting high and stuff,

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I was always, you know, a similar thing.

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Like, "I can't really belt very high."

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Yeah, that's interesting.

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Yeah, but then it's just like, now I embrace it.

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-Yeah.

-Embrace it.

-That's right.

-It's an uncontrollable beast.

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-Find ways in which to tame that beast.

-Yes, Ma'am. Mmm-hmm.

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And I remember hearing you on Jonathan Ross

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and you had that incredible, like, a headdress on,

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-and I was just like...

-Yeah, that.

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Someone was like, "That's Charlotte Church."

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I was like, "No, it's not Charlie Church."

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-That chat show to me.

-Yeah.

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# I've got glitter

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# In my wounds... #

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-And I was like, "What the hell?"

-Yeah.

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-That sound, it was the whole world that you created.

-Yeah.

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And I have to say, actually, now I'm thinking about it, subconsciously,

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-that really inspired me to the point where...

-Aw.

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I think of The Dreaming Room -

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-if I think about a lot of the visuals...

-Thanks, babes.

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# Round the mountain

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# All God's children run

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# All God's children run round the mountain

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# Run round the mountain

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# All God's children

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# All God's children run... #

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So your new single, Phenomenal Woman, sounds to me

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to be like a massive feminist, kickass, empowering song for women.

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I remember wanting to create a vocal sound in the chorus

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-that would feel uncomfortable at first to do.

-Yeah.

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So I wouldn't naturally...

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# Oh, my, my

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# Oh, my, she flies. #

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That, for me, is quite exposing.

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It's like, "All right."

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-Yeah, yeah, yeah.

-It's a big sound. Calm down, love.

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Yum, yum, yum. Lovely.

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# Oh, my, my

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# Oh, my, she flies

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# Oh, my, my

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# Oh, my, she flies

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# Oh, my, my

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# Oh, my, she flies... #

6:30:286:30:31

-I had a conversation with my nan when I was doing the album.

-OK.

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To be honest, to this day, I don't even know she listens to my music.

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-Like, sneaky.

-I feel like she's watched me on Songs Of Praise.

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Yeah, fair enough.

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-That's about it.

-Fair enough.

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My nan is always like, "Why can't you go back

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"and do all those old lovely classical ones you used to do?

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-"I don't know about this new stuff. It's just weird."

-That's lovely.

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-Yeah, I totally relate to that.

-Yeah.

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And she said, "How's the music, Laura?"

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And I said, "Yeah, it's good. I'm just trying to work hard. It's...

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"It's tough, though."

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And then she said, "Write a song.

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"Write a song where I can jig my foot."

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-And I was like, "She's right."

-Yeah.

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This needs to be, like, a real something that you can, like...

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Yeah.

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# Oh, my, my

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# Fly Oh, my, she flies

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# She flies

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# Phenomenal woman. #

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So, just to finish up,

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how has singing aided you in your life thus far?

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Singing, to me, is a way of surviving.

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Mmm-hmm.

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I remember my ex-husband, we used to run lots of choirs together.

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Now, every time it came to a Tuesday night, I used to feel,

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-"Oh, I can't. You know, I'm just not in the mood."

-Yeah.

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But every time this happened, we'd arrive at the rehearsal

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and, within about five to seven minutes into the session,

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witnessing these ordinary folk just opening their mouths to sing

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together, it would transform my whole perspective

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and my whole feeling. My whole mood.

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-That's pretty magical.

-Yeah.

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It's pretty miraculous to, like...

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And I think that is the power of the human voice.

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It can't be underestimated.

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# Ah-ah-ah-ah

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# Ah-ah-ah

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# Ah-ah. #

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The sound of choral singing has always fascinated me.

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The Festival Of Voice includes choirs both classical

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and contemporary, gospel and traditional.

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Caritas Choir will perform in Choir Clock, a project that will

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see 17 choirs perform across 18 hours in locations around Cardiff.

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THEY SING

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I started my vocal journey as a classical singer

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but, since then, I have experimented with a multitude of styles

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as I've explored the possibilities of my own voice.

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MACHINE HISSES

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I've been in the business for about 18 years now, which is insane,

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and I've just turned 30 this year.

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# Pie Jesu... #

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Throughout my career, I have done all different sorts of music.

6:33:306:33:33

# Yeah, you're making me a crazy chick

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# You're driving me to insanity... #

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For me, my main love has always been singing,

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and it's just something that's in my blood. It's in my bones.

6:33:396:33:42

# Darling, you leave me amazed... #

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Nowadays, I'm only interested in taking on projects that

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really stretch me as a singer.

6:33:486:33:51

# Oh-oh... #

6:33:516:33:52

Today, I'm almost exclusively, almost psychopathically,

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looking for projects which are challenging,

6:33:566:34:00

and as original and as innovative as I could possibly make them.

6:34:006:34:05

My contribution to the Festival Of Voice is a new musical piece

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called The Last Mermaid.

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It's an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid,

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which updates the story to incorporate modern themes

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of ocean pollution, as well as how we connect in the modern world,

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with music mixing contemporary classical and electronica,

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performed by a 12-strong choir.

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Taking on such a massive project,

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that's something that I've never been a part of before, is...

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Yeah, it's really scary.

6:34:336:34:34

# Da... #

6:34:346:34:35

But I hate the idea of stagnating or of not wanting to play,

6:34:356:34:40

cos that's what we should be doing.

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And I want to talk to Welsh singers who are also trying to

6:34:446:34:48

use their voices to pioneer new kinds of music.

6:34:486:34:51

So I've brought you here to Womanby Street,

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which is the heart of the alternative music scene in Cardiff,

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and today I'm going to take you to a place called Clwb Ifor Bach.

6:35:006:35:03

The two singers I've come to see

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have found critical acclaim internationally,

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but ruffled feathers of Welsh culture purists

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by blurring the boundaries between historical tradition

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and contemporary experimentation,

6:35:136:35:15

redefining what it means to make Welsh music.

6:35:156:35:18

'One of them is Welsh-language sci-fi synth musician Gwenno.

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'The other is Lisa Jen Brown, lead singer of folk group 9Bach.'

6:35:246:35:28

So you're both Welsh-language musicians.

6:35:296:35:32

Has it always been a point to always sing in the Welsh language?

6:35:326:35:35

We both get asked quite a lot,

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"When did you decide to sing in the Welsh language?"

6:35:376:35:40

There is no answer because it's an instinctive thing.

6:35:406:35:43

-It's from the heart. It's just what comes vomiting out of you.

-Yeah.

6:35:436:35:47

-Yeah, yeah, yeah.

-And that's...

6:35:476:35:48

Yeah, cos that's quite interesting,

6:35:486:35:51

cos I think I did make more of a conscious choice.

6:35:516:35:55

What singing in Welsh gave me was

6:35:556:35:57

a power to express myself in a way

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that had no commercial potential,

6:36:016:36:07

and it empowered me to know that I was expressing myself honestly.

6:36:076:36:11

MUSIC: Chwyldro by Gwenno

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SHE SINGS IN WELSH

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My album was based on a sci-fi novel.

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There's loads of dystopian fiction in Welsh,

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and I came across this novel by Owain Owain,

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who was a nuclear scientist.

6:36:476:36:49

I think he started writing it mid-'60s,

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and it was published mid-'70s, but it's written from

6:36:516:36:54

the perspective of a normal person living in Wales, and all of a sudden

6:36:546:36:58

everyone is gradually getting turned into clones by robot overlords.

6:36:586:37:02

I enjoy the contrast of the fact that,

6:37:026:37:04

sonically, you wouldn't think it was about a dystopian future where we're

6:37:046:37:07

-all getting turned into clones...

-Yeah.

6:37:076:37:09

Cos it's like, "Oh, this is a nice, breezy pop album. This is lovely."

6:37:096:37:12

SHE SINGS IN WELSH

6:37:126:37:15

And, Lisa, I mean, how long have you been,

6:37:306:37:34

like, making albums with 9Bach?

6:37:346:37:36

-For ten years, yeah.

-Yes?

-Yeah, we're ten years old now so...

6:37:366:37:39

And I'm.. You know, I'm not from, like, a musical background.

6:37:396:37:43

That's debatable because, in the schools,

6:37:436:37:45

at three years old, you're put on the stage

6:37:456:37:47

to compete in the eisteddfod,

6:37:476:37:49

and, you know, that culture of Sunday school and stuff -

6:37:496:37:52

you were always performing in front of someone.

6:37:526:37:54

TRUMPET FANFARE

6:37:546:37:58

I am a bit anarchic about it because that's how 9Bach formed.

6:37:586:38:02

Me, looking back at my childhood and going,

6:38:026:38:05

"Hang on, I was disqualified in every eisteddfod."

6:38:056:38:08

I would get adjudication saying I was breathing in the wrong place.

6:38:086:38:12

-Yeah, yeah, yeah.

-"OK voice, but she's breaking all the rules."

6:38:126:38:16

-I was like, "What rules? These are folk songs."

-Yeah.

6:38:166:38:19

These are our songs. These are, like, our soul music.

6:38:196:38:22

MUSIC: Heno by 9Bach

6:38:226:38:25

THEY SING IN WELSH

6:38:256:38:27

Yeah, so that was Heno that we performed,

6:38:416:38:43

and it was a version of a Cerdd Dant song, which is a very...

6:38:436:38:46

I was thinking it was. I was like,

6:38:466:38:48

"Oh, that's really clever how they're doing that."

6:38:486:38:50

Yeah, it's a modern Cerdd Dant,

6:38:506:38:52

-cos Cerdd Dant is so unique to Wales.

-Mmm.

6:38:526:38:54

Will you explain a little bit about Cerdd Dant?

6:38:546:38:57

Cerdd Dant is singing poetry,

6:38:576:38:59

so rather than reciting it, you sing it.

6:38:596:39:03

HE SINGS IN WELSH

6:39:036:39:06

Every verse has to be different, so you can't do the same melody line.

6:39:086:39:12

Melodic, OK.

6:39:126:39:13

The backing is completely different to the melody,

6:39:136:39:16

-so it's sort of like...

-A countermelody.

-Yeah.

-OK.

6:39:166:39:18

So the harpist in 9Bach would not touch it.

6:39:186:39:20

Es was like, "I am... Are you kidding me?

6:39:206:39:22

"A Cerdd Dant song in 9Bach?"

6:39:226:39:24

Is that just cos it's so structured?

6:39:246:39:26

And it's a tradition that you love or hate.

6:39:266:39:28

-It's so sacred, you know?

-Yeah, and you love or hate it.

6:39:286:39:30

THEY SING IN WELSH

6:39:306:39:35

Purists in Wales certainly would absolutely hate

6:39:476:39:51

what we've done with that song.

6:39:516:39:52

It's just not the done thing, really.

6:39:526:39:54

-Which was all the more reason to do it.

-Exactly.

6:39:546:39:56

Yeah, totally, but why do you think it is important to do that

6:39:566:40:00

and what would you say to those purists?

6:40:006:40:02

I would say, "Fair enough, I totally understand how this must make

6:40:026:40:06

"you really feel sick in the mouth,

6:40:066:40:09

"but I want my children to feel it.

6:40:096:40:12

-Yeah.

-"I want my children to really get it and to be inspired by it."

6:40:126:40:16

Totally, and not make it like a museum piece.

6:40:166:40:18

When you come from a smaller culture that's,

6:40:186:40:21

you know, it's a minority culture, you're like...

6:40:216:40:23

-You're trying to preserve everything in a glass box.

-Mm-hmm.

6:40:236:40:25

But I think it integral to the survival of a culture that

6:40:256:40:29

-it's adaptable.

-It evolves, yeah.

6:40:296:40:31

Well, I think, fundamentally, it's about keeping it alive, isn't it?

6:40:316:40:34

-Yeah.

-So in order to keep it alive, you're going to have to breathe...

6:40:346:40:37

-And relevant.

-Yeah.

-Yeah, keep breathing new life into

6:40:376:40:39

a lot of these incredible traditions that we have.

6:40:396:40:41

I think it's essential.

6:40:416:40:43

I'm sometimes frustrated when people mistakenly think

6:40:456:40:48

singing in Wales is just about male-voice choirs.

6:40:486:40:52

The festival is helping to right this misconception

6:40:526:40:54

by highlighting the lives of a very different kind of choir -

6:40:546:40:57

one with ideas of social cohesion at its core -

6:40:576:41:01

the dementia choir.

6:41:016:41:02

-GUITAR STRUMS

-Two, three, four...

6:41:056:41:08

# Pack up your troubles in your old kit-bag

6:41:086:41:11

# And smile, smile, smile

6:41:116:41:15

# While you've a Lucifer to light your fag

6:41:156:41:19

# Smile, boys, that's the style... #

6:41:196:41:22

This choir, based in Barry, just outside Cardiff,

6:41:236:41:26

is one of three groups that have been collaborating with

6:41:266:41:29

the National Theatre of Wales on a project called I'll Sing This Song.

6:41:296:41:33

# And smile... #

6:41:336:41:34

I love singing. I love all music.

6:41:346:41:37

-It helps you...

-And I love to listen to other people singing.

6:41:376:41:39

-It helps you remember, doesn't it?

-Yes.

6:41:396:41:42

By coming here, I've noticed in the time she has been coming here,

6:41:426:41:45

there's a big difference.

6:41:456:41:46

-We did do well, didn't we?

-You did brilliant.

6:41:466:41:49

You were the resident singer in the Savoy in Barry,

6:41:496:41:52

-when the Savoy was a dance hall.

-Yes, yes.

6:41:526:41:55

That's where we met, actually.

6:41:556:41:57

I just asked her, did she want a drink? I enjoyed the song and...

6:41:576:42:01

And he asked me out and that's how it started.

6:42:016:42:03

And, 60 years later, here we are.

6:42:036:42:05

Marvellous, isn't it?

6:42:066:42:09

# A-wa-ba-ba-loo-bop A-wa-bom-bom

6:42:096:42:11

# Tutti frutti Oh, Rudi... #

6:42:116:42:13

with the choir, it's bringing it all back, which is...

6:42:136:42:17

-I want to sing again.

-Yeah.

6:42:176:42:20

# Oh, Rudi

6:42:206:42:22

# Tutti frutti

6:42:226:42:23

# Oh, Rudi

6:42:236:42:24

# A-wa-ba-ba-loo-ba A-wa-bom-bom... #

6:42:246:42:27

With 850,000 dementia sufferers in Britain today,

6:42:276:42:31

the disease has become a crisis of our times but, in recent years,

6:42:316:42:35

scientists have discovered a significant breakthrough.

6:42:356:42:38

The act of singing in choirs has been proven to lower stress,

6:42:386:42:42

anxiety, and elevate endorphin levels.

6:42:426:42:45

# Tutti frutti Oh, Rudi

6:42:456:42:47

# Tutti frutti Oh, Rudi... #

6:42:476:42:50

'You've always been... Rock and roll was a big thing for us.'

6:42:506:42:53

-Oh, I liked my rock and roll and jiving.

-We think that...

6:42:536:42:57

It was great when I was jiving, because I'd just stand still

6:42:576:42:59

and push them round, you know?

6:42:596:43:01

I noticed a change four years ago

6:43:016:43:06

and it's about past 18 months,

6:43:066:43:09

-two years since you got the diagnosis, isn't it?

-Mmm.

6:43:096:43:12

But you've always enjoyed singing.

6:43:126:43:14

Oh, aye, yeah. It makes you up a bit, doesn't it? It lifts you.

6:43:146:43:17

# I've got a girl named Sue

6:43:176:43:19

# She knows just what to do... #

6:43:196:43:21

It's about not writing people off.

6:43:216:43:23

If you've got dementia, it's not the end,

6:43:236:43:25

and people can still live a life,

6:43:256:43:27

and music does an incredible amount to help that.

6:43:276:43:30

It's been a reaffirmation of how important music is.

6:43:306:43:34

# A-wa-ba-ba-loo-bop A-wa-bom-bom. #

6:43:346:43:37

-CHEERING

-Well done. Well done.

6:43:376:43:39

The choir project is the most recent in a string of

6:43:396:43:42

community-driven productions for National Theatre of Wales,

6:43:426:43:45

including the celebrated The Passion in Port Talbot,

6:43:456:43:48

starring Michael Sheen,

6:43:486:43:51

and De Gabay, a citywide poetry festival exploring

6:43:516:43:55

the culture of Cardiff's Somali population.

6:43:556:43:58

'I've come to talk to playwright Patrick Jones

6:44:006:44:02

'who, over the past year, has spent time with the Barry choir

6:44:026:44:05

'and two other groups.

6:44:056:44:07

'His experiences have formed the basis of a new musical play

6:44:076:44:10

'for National Theatre of Wales, called Before I Leave,

6:44:106:44:13

'which will premiere within the festival.'

6:44:136:44:15

It's not all about you, you know?

6:44:156:44:17

The choir is made up of more than one person.

6:44:176:44:20

So, Patrick, how did it come about that you decided to

6:44:206:44:22

write about dementia choirs?

6:44:226:44:24

I have visited a choir -

6:44:246:44:25

Cwm Taf Choir in Merthyr Tydfil -

6:44:256:44:27

to do a writing workshop.

6:44:276:44:29

And I just sat in and listened,

6:44:296:44:30

and I just started to fill up with tears and just feel so...

6:44:306:44:34

I don't know, there was just this soaring sense of communal singing.

6:44:346:44:38

You don't shy away from, sort of, political ideas

6:44:386:44:41

and there are some political themes running through there about,

6:44:416:44:43

sort of, social cohesion and...

6:44:436:44:45

Yeah, one member of the choir was an ex-miner, diagnosed with dementia.

6:44:456:44:49

I thought it was really interesting to explore that,

6:44:496:44:52

sort of, 30 years from the miners' strike, obviously.

6:44:526:44:55

Not living in the past,

6:44:556:44:56

but trying to work out, perhaps, what that period taught us.

6:44:566:44:59

Oh, yes, I forgot. Look, everyone!

6:44:596:45:01

I brought these in for you.

6:45:016:45:03

-I don't like beans.

-Yeah, but I had them free from Tesco.

6:45:036:45:06

I complained, as I had a tin of beans that were off,

6:45:066:45:08

so I took them in and they...

6:45:086:45:10

They gave me all these.

6:45:106:45:12

I'm taking another tray down to the distribution centre

6:45:126:45:15

for the families.

6:45:156:45:17

The kids are starving.

6:45:176:45:19

Bastard Tories.

6:45:196:45:21

It's not fair.

6:45:216:45:22

Rocky, love, it's 2016.

6:45:226:45:25

The strike is over. It's OK. You can relax.

6:45:256:45:30

-Nicky Wire from the Manic Street Preachers is your brother...

-Yeah.

6:45:306:45:33

..and the Manics are involved. They've written a track.

6:45:336:45:36

It's called Before I Leave and it was...

6:45:366:45:37

Nick and James responded to the play

6:45:376:45:39

and came up with this beautiful song. I think it's the best thing

6:45:396:45:42

-they've written for a while, actually.

-Yeah, go on!

6:45:426:45:45

The line is in it, "I'll sing the song until I die."

6:45:456:45:47

-Oh.

-So, to get people living with Alzheimer's disease to say,

6:45:476:45:50

"I'll sing this song until I die,"

6:45:506:45:52

it certainly takes a whole different context...

6:45:526:45:54

-Different meaning.

-..to Nick and James singing it.

6:45:546:45:56

# I'll sing this song until I die

6:45:566:46:00

# Sing it slowly with sunrise

6:46:006:46:03

# Sing it back to me if you want

6:46:036:46:07

# Sing it back to me with some

6:46:076:46:09

# Love. #

6:46:096:46:11

Oh, yeah.

6:46:116:46:13

And there is definitely something which happens neurologically,

6:46:136:46:16

scientifically, in the body and in the brain,

6:46:166:46:18

erm, which makes us feel comforted and more connected

6:46:186:46:22

-when we sing together.

-Yeah.

6:46:226:46:24

When I was doing the research for the play,

6:46:246:46:25

I found out that with the brain cells with Alzheimer's disease,

6:46:256:46:28

they are stopped from connecting.

6:46:286:46:30

The proteins, sort of, stop that connection

6:46:306:46:32

so they can't send messages, and then they die.

6:46:326:46:35

And I thought, that is a beautiful, sort of,

6:46:356:46:37

metaphor for the play, in a way, and indeed society, I think,

6:46:376:46:40

that, how, if we can't connect with each other and we can't communicate,

6:46:406:46:45

-we could die.

-Yeah.

6:46:456:46:46

And I think, you know, certain political parties want us to not

6:46:466:46:49

-connect, and I think we're seeing the fallout for that.

-Individualism.

6:46:496:46:52

In society, definitely, you know?

6:46:526:46:53

So I think it's a very hopeful piece at the end

6:46:536:46:55

and I hope people will go away and want to phone,

6:46:556:46:57

perhaps a member of their family and say, "Are you OK?"

6:46:576:47:00

-Yeah. Wonderful. Beautiful sentiment.

-Is that right?

6:47:006:47:04

# Walk on Walk on

6:47:046:47:09

# With hope in your heart

6:47:096:47:14

# And you'll never... #

6:47:146:47:16

The final singer from the festival I want to introduce is Meilyr Jones,

6:47:166:47:20

who I believe is one of the most exciting new Welsh voices, and whose

6:47:206:47:24

debut album 2013 came out earlier this year to rave reviews.

6:47:246:47:29

# Gotta switch off

6:47:296:47:32

# Switch off your television

6:47:346:47:39

# Start talking

6:47:426:47:45

# You've been a long time looking

6:47:456:47:49

# How do you speak

6:47:546:47:57

# With a voice that's true? #

6:47:576:48:03

I'm Welsh and I'm from Wales, but it's not something

6:48:036:48:08

I feel the need to be explicit about in a, like, a self-conscious way.

6:48:086:48:14

# I hear the birds sing back

6:48:156:48:20

# With all of the courage that I lack

6:48:206:48:25

# Go, get up

6:48:276:48:29

# Switch off

6:48:296:48:31

# Switch off your television

6:48:316:48:34

# Start talking

6:48:346:48:36

# Tell your boyfriend the news... #

6:48:366:48:39

I went to Italy for a holiday in spring 2013, and...

6:48:396:48:47

and then I started to write songs on my own, just in my head really.

6:48:476:48:52

# Ah... #

6:48:526:48:53

I kind of immersed myself. I went...

6:48:536:48:56

I was going to churches every day to see frescoes and sculptures.

6:48:566:49:00

The kind of lightness and the joy in the art of that period

6:49:006:49:05

went into my own music.

6:49:056:49:08

# There's work to be done

6:49:086:49:11

# Then come the fun. #

6:49:116:49:15

I think, from the amazing singers that I've spoken to today,

6:49:206:49:24

hopefully you'll have gotten the sense that singing is

6:49:246:49:27

an incredible tool for emotional, social, psychological wellbeing.

6:49:276:49:34

If you are at all interested in singing,

6:49:346:49:36

go and find whatever form of group singing that you can,

6:49:366:49:39

cos I promise you, it will be a helpful tool for life.

6:49:396:49:41

# So you can give

6:49:416:49:43

# To each brand-new bright tomorrow

6:49:436:49:45

# Make me happy through the years

6:49:456:49:50

# Never bring me any tears

6:49:506:49:55

# Let your arms be as warm

6:49:556:49:57

# As the sun from up above

6:49:576:50:00

# Bring me sun

6:50:006:50:01

# Bring me sunshine

6:50:016:50:03

# Bring me love. #

6:50:036:50:06

-Lovely.

-Thank you.

-LAUGHTER

6:50:066:50:08

Charlotte Church meets musicians using the power of singing to push the boundaries of what a voice can do. This June sees the launch of Festival of Voice, a new international arts festival in Cardiff. For her edition of Artsnight, life-long Cardiff resident Charlotte Church explains why she believes the new festival perfectly reflects the diverse, forward-looking and creative city she calls home. She meets singers from across the festival programme who use the human voice as a tool for experimentation, social cohesion and self-expression, including Laura Mvula, Meilyr Jones, Gwenno, 9Bach and a new musical project on dementia choirs from the National Theatre Wales.


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