Poppyland Songs
A Rural Idyll
Life On A Cliff Edge

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 I was inspired by a collection of journals written by my great great Aunt Kit (Christobel Hood) who lived in the house I grew up in in Sidestrand, North Norfolk. She had interviewed her neighbours and gathered lyrics, poems, stories and local lore from pre WW1 North Norfolk. These journals inspired me to compose music using words from her journals as well as other stories that I grew up with like Black Shuck and tales of smugglers.

 

 I am extremely grateful to receive a grant from Arts Council England in order to continue this project. I will be picking up where Kit left off and speaking to the current residents of North Norfolk about their lives here over 100 years later. Over a period of several months I will gather testimony which I will then use to create more songs and music in a celebration of Life On A Cliff Edge and all those who have lived and died in Poppyland.

You don’t need to have any experience in the arts to get involved. The only rule is that it’s about life, past, present and future in Poppyland!

 

 Perhaps you also have journals written by a long gone relative? Maybe often told family legends or an old heirloom with an interesting tale attached that you'd like to share. Black Shuck, smugglers, Shipton, shreiking pits, ghosts, Hykker Sprites... cliff erosion, bird migration, fossils... your favourite view, tree, church, time of year...

You can remain completely anonymous or you can be featured with recorded voice and film.

The gentleman Kit interviewd the most was an elderly labourer, at least 80 in 1912. He passed on many stories and songs that without Kit's journals would have been completly lost to time. This is the heart of Poppyland Songs, although in this day and age we record EVERYTHING I want to create something beautiful and meaningful, a musical tapestry  that tells the stories of those who have lived and died in Poppyland. A musical community celebration of everything that life on a cliff edge means.

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Poppyland
A song inspired by those who lived and died here in Poppyland. I am playing it at the graveside of both sets of my grandparents, my little niece Ruby and gt gt aunt Kit. Louie, The Maid of the Mill mentioned in the song is also at rest in this tiny graveyard in Sidestrand.


 

St Michels of All Angels church used to lie half a mile seawards but by 1880, due to the ever fragile and collapsing cliffs, it had gotten too close to the cliff edge so they moved it, stone by stone leaving the tower and graves on the edge of the cliff which eventually would tumble down the cliff onto the beach and into the sea.

Tower by the Sea was a poem written by Clement Scott, the travel writer who bestowed the area with the name "Poppyland".

I found the lyrics for Good Matches in one of Kit's journals but I couldn't find any melody for these words so I wrote my own. I made this little accompanying film last Christmas, inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's Little Match Girl.

 

There will be a concert performance of the music and songs in spring 2022 and beyond that I hope to create an  arts trail all around Poppyland featuring those who have contibuted to the project  with QR code links to the music and words. I will also be producing a podcast and video diary of my progress including the songs and stories I have discovered and composed.

I know for some people this might seem intimidating or just not your kind of thing but I urge anyone to come forward and bring your voice to this project, or perhaps someone you know who has good stories to tell then please get in touch.

Either via my contact page or on Facebook or Instagram. If you see me in the street or busking on my violin in Cromer, then come and speak to me!


 

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