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Peformance of Ann, Aida, May, 2019, with Scare the Horses. Benjamin J. Borley.

A performance reading of a collection of short stories on song. Aida, Ann and May make a historical fiction of three solo unaccompanied singers: a ballad singer, a keener and a folk revivalist.

Through lyrical new writing these tales place singing as a role in society, entwine the body with song and keep close to death and remembering. What happens to us when we sing? and what is the purpose of song? Hannah sings folk songs between the stories.

Audience responses:

‘Beautifully delivered, thoughtful and unusual performance’
‘Powerful evocation of person and place’
‘Fresh, immediate and quietly informative’
‘Relaxed yet richly textured’

This writing was inspired by research into late 18th century English execution ballads, the tradition of keening in Ireland, and personal experience of singing in the folk club. Made with the support of CPT, the MGC Futures bursary, Wainsgate Chapel. And the Culture Capital Exchange who supported a research period into the purpose of song and how singing transforms us, entitled 'The Singer and The Listener' in collaboration with Dr Una Mcllvenna.

I decided to go to Inis Mor when I listened to the BBC Radio programme ‘Songs for the dead’, a show exploring the tradition of keening in Ireland. In this programme the narrator travels to Inis Mor, believed to be the last location of professional keeners.

- Extract from blog ‘Inis Mor’

Chant, mantra, ballad, recital. There is a constellation between the voice, the word, and the belief. We turn over the words, they grow with our voice. The song allows the subject to be renewed. By singing it is put into the present.

- Extract from blog 'The Song, The Singer and The Listener'

Previous performances:
September 2019, Camden Peoples Theatre, London
Friday 22nd November, The Hourglass, Exeter, with Scare The Horses.

Close up of table set for Aida, Ann, May; three stories and three bells.