Sunday, 5 April 2020

Falls of Thunder - Victoria Falls - Mosi-oa-Tunya





My journey with Falls of Thunder, my song about Victoria Falls, began while listening to the teachings of Aboriginal elder, George Walley, at George's song writing seminar in February 2020. Fremantle community choir, Walyalup Kannajil, organised the song writing sessions with George Walley, an award winning songwriter who operates MandjoogoordapDreaming ~ Mandurah Aboriginal Cultural Experience.



Even though I lived in Zambia and Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) from the age of three, and crossed the border at Victoria Falls many times, I had never thought of writing a song about the falls. Listening to George's teachings, I searched my own spiritual journey for inspiration and "Victoria Falls" came to me at the end of our first song writing evening. In the early hours of the following morning, while the house was quiet and my partner was still sound asleep, the lyrics to Falls of Thunder came to me, as if by magic, and by sunrise my song was complete.



I will never forget the response when I sang Falls of Thunder at our next song writing session. From that moment, the idea was born to release Falls of Thunder as a single.







The cover artwork features a painting of Victoria Falls by Zambian artist G. Mottini. Through the years, while living in Luanshya, mum and dad bought several paintings from local artist Mr. Mottini. Every now and again he would come to the house, to present and sell his wares. Mum and Dad gave me this beautiful painting when they heard Falls of Thunder for the first time. The painting now has a prominent place in my lounge, and I enjoy the falls every day.

My mum and dad had the joy of filming our childhood holidays on super 8. Scouring the archives, I found some footage of Victoria Falls, taken during a family holiday in 1966. I used this footage in the Falls of Thunder music video.




The days seemed like they might turn from weeks to months while I worked on the arrangement, recording and the creation of the music video for Falls of Thunder. When the Corona Virus became a global pandemic, and I began to understand the seriousness of this terrible disease, I said to my partner "If I only get to do one more thing, I would like to finish this song." I worked harder and longer and on the 1st April 2020 I finally let go and released Falls of Thunder for worldwide distribution.

I hope you enjoy the Falls of Thunder song and video. Through the lyrics I hope to convey the deep spiritual connection I have with Africa, a connection I have carried with me my whole life. Falls of Thunder has given me the opportunity to express feelings and emotions that I have never previously included in a song. As with many of my songs, I feel like I am only the messenger.


Group therapy for song writers 
David Livingstone, the Scottish missionary and explorer, is believed to have been the first European to view Victoria Falls on the 16th November 1855. Livingstone named his sighting in honour of Queen Victoria, but the Lozi (Kololo) name, Mosi-oa-Tunya ~ "The Smoke That Thunders" ~ continues in common usage. Livingstone also cites older names, Seongo or Chongwe, which means "The Place of the Rainbow."


Where do you come from Falls of Thunder?
Where must the rain fall so you can flow?
Through the changing smiles on both sides of the border,
May your mist rise, may your mist rise, may your mist rise and free us all.

Through the eyes of a child I came to your water,
To dance in the mist and watch the hippos play.
And the rainbows end shone deep in the valley,
And even a child's, even a child's, even a child's breath was swept away.

I remember the border, your humble existence,
You always had a smile for a child like me.
While we waited and wondered the mist rose from your river,
Until it was time, until it was time, until it was time to go home.

In December a picture as silent as the enemy,
No water, no wonder, no hippos at play.
I pray for the rain and the sound of your thunder,
Let no man take, let no man take, let no man take your spirit away.

Where do you come from Falls of Thunder?
Where must the rain fall so you can flow?
Through the changing smiles on both sides of the border
May your mist rise, may your mist rise, may your mist rise and free us all.

Copyright   Jane Laws 2020
Unauthorised copying, public performance, broadcasting, hiring or rental of this song prohibited.

Monday, 28 January 2019

2019 Tamworth Country Music festival

Toyota Park Stage (Bicentennial Park)


Slim Dusty, me & Joy McKean
As first timers at the Tamworth Country Music Festival it's difficult to get your head around Australia's biggest music festival. At most festivals we have attended, you purchase a festival ticket and then you are free to roam between the venues. Most performances, regardless of the venue, are about forty minutes long and therefore your festival planning is quite simple. At Tamworth there is no festival ticket. Instead there are some fifty venues. Some are free, some you have to pay to see an artist, and some venues are free for some gigs and you have to pay for others. The cost of a gig ranges from a gold coin donation to $50. Artists may be on stage from anywhere between ten minutes and three hours; at Tamworth your festival planning is much more difficult.

8 Ball Aitken



I called Steve and I drifters at this year’s festival. We drifted from one venue to another and discovered some great music along the way. Of course some acts were too loud, some played for too long and others didn't play for long enough. We particularly enjoyed swamp blues guy, 8 Ball Aitken. 8 Ball has great songs and his between song patter is some of the best I have ever heard; it seemed to me that 8 Ball Aitken is on his way to the big time.




Dana Hassall, Hayley Marsten & Roger Corbett
Writers In The Round was on most mornings at the Tamworth Services Club. This was a very enjoyable session where three songwriters sang their original songs and spoke of their inspiration. The songs the teenagers and young adults were writing certainly gave an insight into the personal struggles of this generation.


Me at the Atrium Festival Stage




Timing is everything and I happened to be in conversation with Bob Kirchner, station manager at Capital Country Radio, when String Loaded cancelled their Sunday gig on the Atrium Festival Stage and I scored the gig. After eight weeks travelling on my motorcycle without my guitar, I had a bit of work to do to prepare a few tunes, but all’s well that ends well, and I get to say I sang at Tamworth.





John was promoting his 52nd album, Butcherbird


By day six of the festival we bought tickets to see John Williamson in the Tamworth Town Hall, principally to get away from the number of break-up songs we were listening to. John pleased the audience by playing his old favourites including True Blue. At the end of the two hour gig, John asked the audience to stand and sing Waltzing Matilda; this was a memorable festival moment.




Toni & The Rhythm Cats 

Busking in the street is a big part of the festival but surely buskers should be restricted on the power of their amplification. The allocated busking locations were so close together, and some had the capability to be so loud, at times we had to move on for fear that our brains could not process the combined mashed sound.


Just about to start the cavalcade


On Australia Day, Steve and I were very grateful for the opportunity to join the Tamworth Ulysses Branch in the cavalcade. Riding through the streets of Tamworth in 40 degrees, at walking pace, was a challenge on a heavy bike, but well worth it for the memory bank.

The festival was excellent but it was a tough ten days living in a tent, with very little shade. The relentless extreme heat by day, and sleeping under a wet T shirt by night, nearly sent me troppo and I noticed myself sighing a lot and “for f… sake” was never far from my breath.


It was with a smile that at 7am on the 27th January, with the sun just lifting above the horizon and with the thermometer already reading a warm 29 degrees Celsius, we shot through. It felt good to leave behind the festival of awards and allegedly charting songs. We stayed for the whole ten days because after all, we were in the home town of Australian Country Music and we weren't sure we would ever pass this way again.

Toyota Fan Zone

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Wings of Hope




Sometimes magic happens. A chance meeting with author, Wendy Campbell, turned into a wonderful song writing project for me. Wendy asked me if I could write a theme song for her autobiography On Aspiring.



The phrase Wings of Hope was mentioned just once in On Aspiring but I knew as soon as I read those words that Wings of Hope would become the title and the fundamental theme of the song.

On Aspiring is an honest and thought provoking read, detailing Wendy's own personal life struggles and achievements. Beautifully written, I found it easy to immerse myself within the pages and to write Wings of Hope

I placed the phrase "I am letting go, and holding on to the wings of hope." at the end of every verse. After writing Wings of Hope I've noticed that I remind myself about "letting go and holding onto hope" as I go through my daily life.




Play Wings of Hope on Spotify or Youtube.

          








And I will keep on searching along the wings of hope,
Hearing only angels voices, fearing nothing in my way.
And I'll share with you my dreams, as my tears wash my pain away.
Along the wings of hope I fly today.

Where I am, it's not where I'm meant to be,
And this road I find me on isn't really me.
I must find a way, find a way to save me from myself.
I am letting go, and holding on to the wings of hope.

You may be the one who's taken all of my heart,
But the mountains and the stars have captured my soul.
I am drowning, drowning in a sea of fear and glory.
I am letting go, and holding on to the wings of hope.

I've learnt to trust the arms of a stranger,
I've known the summit glow, I've learnt to dare.
And in my prayers, I pray for strength and confidence.
I am letting go, and holding on to the wings of hope.

And I will keep on searching along the wings of hope,
Hearing only angels voices, fearing nothing in my way.
And I'll share with you my dreams, as my tears wash my pain away.
Along the wings of hope I fly today.

Copyright   Jane Laws  2020
Unauthorised copying, public performance, broadcasting, hiring or rental of this song prohibited.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

The Ghost of Wild Oats XI - Music Video

The 2017 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race saw Wild Oats XI stripped of her record breaking line honours victory because of an infringement, with LDV Comanche, shortly after race start. To me it seemed important for folks to know how the yacht, Wild Oats XI, felt about the race result. The ghost will hang around until the race record is broken again; I wonder how many years that will be?




The Ghost of Wild Oats XI

From Sydney to Hobart Town
There's a race that's going down.
It should be mine to keep
Can't sleep.

Every race we ride,
the wind, the waves and the tide.
In hope that we might find
The fastest ride of all time.

We couldn't have known,
If the rules are broken.
We were first across the line
Not enough time.

The jury decide.
They haven't conspired.
If we'd crossed the line, in time
All mine.

From Sydney to Hobart Town
There's a race that's going down.
It should be mine to keep
Can't sleep.
I must make my peace.
This war will never cease.
The only trouble is, this ghost could live for one hundred years.


ã Copyright Jane Laws 2018
Unauthorised copying, public performance, broadcasting, hiring or rental of this song prohibited. 


Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Songs in the Key of Sea



I am very pleased to announce the release of Songs in the Key of Sea, a collection of the maritime songs I have written through the years.

I have been sailing all my life and this most enjoyable pastime has given me a deep love of all kinds of boats, old and new, of maritime adventurers, and the sea.

I wrote my first maritime song in 1996. David Dicks' adventure to become the youngest person to sail alone around the world aboard his Sparkman and Stephens 34' sloop (S&S34), Seaflight, was my inspiration. Para Olympic sailing gold medalist, Jamie Dunross' adventures in a sister ship to Seaflight, Spirit of Rockingham, were the story behind Wings to Fly. At the time, my husband and I also owned an S&S34, Roma II. There is no doubt that my love of S&S34s were part of the reason I was inspired to write these two songs.

I love to read nonfiction stories about the sea and maritime adventurers. Koolama (a Western Australian state ship, sunk by the Japanese during World War II), Adventuring with Shackleton (Antarctic explorer), and Sailing to the Moon (about Rolly Tasker ~ sail maker, boat builder and adventurer) were all inspired after a thought provoking good read.

The Sydney to Hobart yacht race is big in the minds of those of us who sail in Australia. The record breaking 2017 race saw Wild Oats XI stripped of her line honours victory because of an infringement just after the race had started. The Ghost of Wild Oats XI is written from the point of view of the boat, and how she will be haunted by the 2017 race result until the race record is broken again.

The romantic songs on the album are The Spell of Acrospire IV, written for the beautifully restored 1929 Acrospire IV, and Sandy Bay Shore. Sandy Bay Shore is a whaler's tale, set in Old Hobart Town in the mid 19th century. A true historical novel in a four minute song. Based on The Maid of Erin, a whaling ship that was wrecked in Port Davey, the tale encompasses a whaler, his love affair with a prostitute and his final demise.

For variety and inspiration it was a pleasure to work with my new Korg Havian 30 Digital Ensemble Piano on the arrangements for Sandy Bay Shore, The Ghost of Wild Oats XI and Sailing to the Moon.

You can listen to sound bytes on the Songs in the Key of Sea page on my website www.janelaws.com ~ I hope you enjoy listening to Songs in the Key of Sea as much as I have enjoyed writing these songs.




Thursday, 6 July 2017

Does It Rhyme? Music Video

I knew as soon as “Does It Rhyme?” became the title track for my new album that I would make a music video for this song.

Does It Rhyme? began life while I was idly doodling with my guitar and I started to sing “Does it snow in Tokyo? Does it rhyme on Disney time?” For the love of rhyming, these two phrases seemed like so much fun to me, and over the next few weeks I continued to enjoy playing with the lyrics. I watched the song grow into a collection of my life questions, some nonsense, some full of love and hope for this wonderful world we live in, and some full of fear of where we are going and what might happen next.

I discussed at length with my friend and award winning film maker, Howard Moses, the story I wished to tell with this music video. Over many a beer we bounced around ideas on the footage and images that would tell the tale. Then began the long task of searching for stock footage and photographs to satisfy the songs list of whimsical and thought provoking life questions.

I used my home studio to shoot six versions of me singing the song ~ some with my guitar, some with "the hat" and some up close and personal. I used Windows Movie Maker to create the video and I found this app easy and intuitive to work with.

Thanks a million to Howard for mentoring me during the creation of my Does It Rhyme? music video. Howard’s creative suggestions regarding the content for this song, and for his tips and techniques on film making, have been invaluable.

I would love to know what you think of “Does It Rhyme?”




Does it Rhyme?

Does it snow in Tokyo?
Does it rhyme on Disney time?
Does it rain when you fall in love on the desert train?

Do you hope for inner peace?
Do you pray all wars will cease?
Do you hide from the struggles of a starving child?

Do they queue in Timbuktu?
Do you glow when you start to show?
Do you smile when your spirit comes alive?

Do you feel the world might end?
Do you try our love defend?
Do you cry when you hear a child’s lullaby?

Is it time to close your eyes?
Is it mine to fantasise?
Can you feel the difference between make believe and real?

Does it snow in Tokyo?
Does it rhyme on Disney time?
Does it? Do you? Can you? Is it? Does it rhyme?
Does it? Do you? Can you? Is it? Does it rhyme?
Does it? Do you? Can you? Is it? Does it rhyme?

Copyright   Jane Laws 2017
Unauthorised copying, public performance, broadcasting, hiring or rental of this song prohibited.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Fairbridge Festival 2017


Three and a half days of full on music and song means you need to pace yourself if you want to still be rockin' come Monday night. No panic to see all your favourite musos on the first day, it's a festival where you can just kick back, relax, and let the music wash over you.

Just some of the many market stalls

My top four Fairbridge Festival favourites were:

Jarlath Henderson
Jack Harris, contemporary singer/songwriter from the UK, took my attention early in the festival and I was lucky to attend Jack's song writing workshop on Sunday night. On guitar tunings, Jack said "I use DADGAD a lot." My guitar now sits patiently in this tuning, waiting for me to learn how to use the wonderful colour and texture of this sound in my next song.

Jarlath Henderson (UK) took my breath away. I could honestly say that I have never seen anyone deliver a folk song with more stage presence and meaning; truly memorable.

Bluegrass band, Flats and Sharps, rocked up some bluegrass tunes beyond what I ever thought possible. Although bluegrass isn't high on my list of favourite genres, Flats and Sharps could be just what's needed to convert folks to the bluegrass twang.

Miss Eileen & King Lear

I completely fell in love with Australian duo, Miss Eileen & King Lear. Although they were noted in the program as "contemporary folk," their sound was "country" to me. I couldn't get enough of their harmonies, like only a brother and sister can; these guys are going a long way.


One of the food areas

I noticed on the last day, while I was relaxing in The Manja venue, enjoying a few tunes from Harry Hookey, I said to myself "I'm safe here." This is how it feels at Fairbridge Festival. It is as if, for a moment in time, you have transcended into a world of music and art, where all generations co-exist, in harmony, and it is a pleasure and a privilege to attend this festival.

Lots of camping