We weave stories
like pieces of clothing
we wear them
Through the dance
they move with us.
My sewing shears belonged to my Great-Granny, Dorothy. These days I don’t do so much sewing (as in zero), instead I find myself meditating rather than doing, being drawn to the stories that are handed down from each generation and to the objects which tell those stories.
I’m working on my ‘285 Days- Retold’ EP. It’s a collection of 5 remixes of songs from my album, created by 5 different producers who all happen to be all women which I’m told is pretty unusual for a remix EP. It’s the first time I’ve done anything like this with my music and it’s sounding really exciting! I love how the songs are being ‘retold’ through each producer’s ears, including my own as I’m remixing one of the tracks myself.
Ideas of retelling, of passing on stories, of the mother-line, the thread from where we come, where we’re going to and the stories that make sense of those journeys, have all been swirling around my head.
My great granny Dorothy emigrated to Kenya in 1910, seeking promise of a bright new future. It would be a decade before she was able to go back home to visit her family in England, making the long journey by boat with my Grandad and his two older brothers. Sitting on the beach at Walton-on-the-Naze she opened a letter. It was from my great-grandfather, still in Kenya, telling her that he would be divorcing her to remarry someone else. She was to remain in England with my Grandad, the littlest, the older boys would be returning to Kenya when their father travelled over to collect them.
My Mum tells me that she was known to the family as Dolly- small and lots of fun – and I think of the incredible strength and grace she must have had. I think of it when I wear my red coat, made using her sewing shears.
I’m explaining the new EP to my Mum, shouting from the kitchen as she plays with my daughter in the room next door. For the last 2 days I’ve been taking the stems from a song and reworking them into a new track. “It’s like taking apart a dress and creating something new with the pieces of fabric and threads”. “Ahhh” yells Mum back, “I get it! Cool!”.