Sunday, 5 April 2020

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

Jane Laws - Falls of Thunder

Jane Laws - Falls of ThunderJane Laws - Falls of Thunder

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.

Jane Laws - Falls of Thunder
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.

Jane Laws - Falls of Thunder, George Wally, Walyalup Kannajil
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.