Welcome to my 6th blog on Memories from the Home: I’m (Blog No 5) continuing the theme of sounds in the home; this time Music evoking memory and supporting connections to deceased loved ones.
Action for happiness day May 2020 shared this picture recently and it seemed and appropriate time to share my thoughts about Music and its importance to me, within the context of memory, grief, connection and the family home.
Music has always been an important part of family fun and socialising. My Nan was a keen piano player, playing by ear, ‘on the bontempi‘ as Grandad would always say, as children we would always make up our own radio shows, put on plays, and singing performances for our Grandparents. My family are now in bands.
In organising my Grandparents home after they had died, at the time I didn’t have the storage for their vinyl collection, but knew I wanted to keep it. A lot of the vinyl was the likes of Bing Crosby, other readers digest collections of the time, plus other big band swing music such as ‘Are you listening’ by Harry Roy and His Orchestra -why not have a listen here.
Nan had a great love of big band music, and there was a lot of military bands in their collection, as well as other music that I don’t recognise. Those of you who own Vinyl records know, there is such a beauty in the tangibility of the whole process, taking the vinyl out of the sleeve, ensuring not to touch the surface of the vinyl to ruin it in some way, preparing to play. When I want to listen to them, the process, the action is potentially the same as if when my Grandparents were listening to them. I love the crackle of the vinyl, the little jumps every so often, the gentle whir of the turn table, the click of the resting arm. I don’t recall them listening to this specific album, but I now always have that tangible process to imagine them going through the same actions as me and listening together in their home, perhaps remembering dancing together when they were younger. Through music and the physicality of these objects I am making new meanings and continuing connections explored by such writers as Unruh and Riches & Dawson. The collection is now organised in my home, with those I’m more likely to listen to on display, and others safely stored away.
Do you have a music collection, gifted to you by your loved ones?
If you want to join me on my journey through my PhD research; my focus is expanding towards creativity and how we use creative expression as a way of navigating and exploring grief at home. You can always contact me, if you wish to be involved in my research.
During my 2014 Medway Open Studios, the wonderful Stuart Turner (of Stuart Turner and the Flat Earth Society) popped in to see my exhibition. We spoke for a bit and then I let him gander through my photos, a 6×4 bluebell photo caught his eye……studying it for a bit he asked ‘Nikki I’d love to have that on our latest album cover’……well I was gob smacked, I’d never been asked for my photos to be included on any bands album cover, sure I’d done band shots for other promotional material but not for a cover! My response was ‘yeah sounds cool’.
………’oh and we’d like to have the bands photo taken in the autumn in the same spot’, eek! help! I vaguely remembered the forest that the photo was taken in! luckily I had the GPS location embedded in the metadata for that particular photo (I’ve never been more thankful of using that little feature), so in the Autumn of 2014, we all piled in the car headed for the Fallen Tree/Bluebell location, Canon kit and i-pad GPS tracking on.
The band was such a giggle to work with, suggesting poses, and going with some of my crazy ideas in order to get the ‘best shot’, muddy bogs and soggy boots included!
Then fast forward around 16 months (with some great promo write ups for the band and a little Vlog from me about supporting local bands on Record Store day) the launch event was here; such a great evening on board the LV21 in Gillingham, a fitting space for the launch with great acoustics, with the band supported by Rachael Lowrie and Theatre Royal, an absolute steal of talent for the entry ticket!
Here’s a few treats from the launch night:
More info about bands and solo artists photo shoots here.