Abse Music


I am – with the help of Cymru recovery – putting the poetry of Dannie Abse to music for a live performance at Chapter arts centre next year.  Maybe a Album – a vinyl album – will follow.

Why Abse?

I grew up non-Welsh in Wales. The family house was not ‘Welsh’. ‘Welsh culture’ and the language was utterly alien to me. I read ‘Ash on a young man’s sleeve’ when I moved to London in 1993. It moved me, I could relate to it.  It was writing. Not just ‘Welsh’ writing.

Anyway. More of that later.

Putting poetry to music is problematic.  Perhaps because poetry is in itself musical. You’re putting music to music.  I also want to avoid songs.  Treating the Poetry as lyrics ; this would be to demean them in some way.

So anyway.  Today we started, at my flat.  Rachel and Seamus. An out of tune piano, a Didgeridoo, a harmonica, a guitar and the human voice.



Two poems;  ‘Valediction’ and ‘Case history’.

Putting down a lament on the piano for ‘Valediction’ with a didgeridoo drone beneath. Multiple voices. Don’t compose the music; capture it.  At 12.30 there was nothing, at 1 there was something.  Magic.


The longer I am involved in composition and song writing, the more mysterious it seems.

Currently reading : http://www.amazon.co.uk/Miracleman-Book-Olympus-Alan-Moore/dp/0785154663


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