SING AS THE CROW FLIES
SING AS THE CROW FLIES is the debut vocal album by composer/performers Laura Cannell and Polly Wright. Re-voicing the voices of the lost, forgotten and hidden people who have lived, worked and loved through the centuries, through the seasons, through the air and in the Marshlands.
Sing as the Crow Flies is a set of nine vocal tracks re-voicing the rural landscape, surrounding reed beds and marshes on the Norfolk/Suffolk border. Growing up either side of the River Yare, with a common love of the area, Laura Cannell & Polly Wright are musicians, composers and creators with deep roots in the marshes and traditions of this rural area. Both having different musical journeys, they discovered each others work in early 2019 through disparate connections and instagram. They met up to improvise, and a friendship and collaboration began. Giving themselves the criteria of using only their voices with no rules or structures. They laid themselves creatively bare and have embarked on a journey of instant composition with space for spontaneous improvisation and as a reaction to the formal training and institutions of their parallel early classical backgrounds.
Frustrated by the lack of women’s voices in the rural landscape writings of East Anglia and further afield the duo decided that if they can’t unearth the voices of the past they can take now as a starting point and add their own voices, the voices and experiences of living and working in rural surroundings in the 21st century, not always harking back but being present now.
The music is created through different means such as heterophonic improvisation akin to the Psalms from the Isles of Lewis, Hildegard von Bingen inspired call and responses and taking words from the 18th century ‘Norfolk Garland, A Collection of the Superstitious Beliefs and Practices, Proverbs, Curious Customs, Ballads and Songs, of the People of Norfolk.’ Together with their own writings and wordless inventions the album is entirely improvised in this brand new collaboration.
Sing As The Crow Flies was created as a site specific sound installation for the 2019 Waveney Valley Sculpture Trail on the Norfolk/Suffolk border, UK. It can be seen and heard between 2nd August and 8th September 2019. The installation sits around the trunk of a 30 year old Walnut Tree in a cherry orchard where five telephone handsets hang from the tree ready to be picked up by passers-by…
“There are voices at the end of this line. They are inside Raveningham Church just over 1000 metres as the crow flies from where you stand. Inside the stone walls of the 11th century church two women are moving, singing, separately and together. Every harmonic conversation is improvised, they are moving between the stone and wood, in light and shadow, calling and responding in and out of focus.
Footsteps, birds and air can be heard. These new voices are part of the rural landscape, they are using their surroundings as inspiration along with their personal musical traditions & folklore. They are finding a common tongue, their native tongue of the marshlands, two people living, working and creating here in the 21st century. Tapping into vein-like branches, links and marshes. Private voices are woken, then laid again to rest.”