All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…


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25 Songs, 25 Days: Protect and Survive

Day 15: A song you love singing along to

Protect and Survive | Runrig

scotland

I’m a terrible singer. Really. Truthfully. I couldn’t hold a note if the fate of the world depended on it. But when I’m alone – which is pretty much all the time – I have been known to sing along to random, much-loved tunes.

Given they are my favourite band, more often than not, I’m singing along to Runrig. I love their use of language. I love the rhythm of their music. I love the blend of folk and rock genres. I feel good when I’m singing along to Runrig, even if I’m butchering the tune with my shrill, melodyless voice.

So be glad you’re not in the room with me as I play today’s song; for I will be singing along to it, and I wouldn’t want to damage your precious sense of hearing. But why don’t you sing along to. Even if you are as bad at it as I am.

The red hot sun burns up the hill
The winter’s bride, the summer’s king
I tramp these acres and I feel
Once upon a time
Then it seemed that everything
You saw and touched and felt was real
You turned the tap and you turned the wheel
Breathing free

Once in a lifetime
You live and love
Once in a lifetime
You die
Once in a moment
The sun goes down
Protect and survive

Now you search the open evening sky
Trace the memories in your eyes
For the prophet’s hard rain and the deluge
Lie in tears around your door
Once there were trees and livestock here
A mother’s love, the warnings clear
But you chose to turn away from fear
Breathing free

Once in a lifetime
You live and love
Once in a lifetime
You die
Once in a moment
The sun goes down
Protect and survive

Now there’s a faceless cross on a distant hill
A wasted voice, a silent scream
Where the lovers love and the dreamers dream
You stand and dream alone
You took your sacrifice to the gods of war
Traded your children’s lives for a mess of gold
And you beat your ploughshares into swords
Breathing free

Once in a lifetime
You live and love
Once in a lifetime
You die
Once in a moment
The sun goes down
Protect and survive


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25 Songs, 25 Days: The Old Boys

Day 10: A song by your favourite band

The Old Boys | Runrig (with Paul Mounsey)

1

My favourite band of all time is, and always will be, Runrig:

Runrig are a Scottish Celtic rock group formed in Skye, in 1973 under the name ‘The Run Rig Dance Band’. Since its inception, the band’s line-up has included songwriters Rory Macdonald and Calum Macdonald. The current line-up also includes longtime members Malcolm Jones, Iain Bayne, and more recently, Bruce Guthro, and Brian Hurren. To date, the band has released thirteen studio albums, with a number of their songs sung in Scottish Gaelic.

My favourite musician of all time is, and always will be, Paul Mounsey:

Paul Mounsey is a composer, arranger and producer from Scotland. He lived for over 20 years in Brazil. A graduate of Trinity College, London, where he studied with Richard Arnell, he has written for film, television, theatre, advertising and also for the Latin American pop market. He lectured for a short while at Goldsmiths College before moving on as creative director of Play It Again, one of the biggest commercial music houses in Brazil. He has also written articles on various aspects of music. He’s written pop hits for Mexican boy bands, has received commissions for chamber and multimedia works, has lived with and recorded the music of indigenous communities in the Amazon rainforest, and to date has released five solo albums.

And in 2003, much to my happiness, an album was released combining the talents of both Runrig and Paul Mounsey.

So for today’s song in the 25 Songs, 25 Days Challenge I’ve chosen a song from this album.

A song that is both beautiful and haunting.

Enjoy.


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30 Day Song Challenge: Hearts of Olden Glory

…a song that makes me clear my head!

On any given day my mind is a cacophony of deafening voices, numbing negative thought, superfluous ideas and pain so debilitating that I wonder how I’m able to get out of bed, let alone do anything as complicated as write blog posts or visit the supermarket. In fact the noise is so constant, the trauma so prevalent, the memory so visceral, that I have yet to find anything (music or otherwise) that clears my head completely.

The only song that comes close is a bone-fide Scottish classic. A song so intensely beautiful that any Scotsperson worth their brogue should know it syllable for syllable.

Whenever I hear it, time stops. I am transported back to my homeland. To a time and place where anything seemed possible, where the world was my playground and the chaos that isolates me was but a distant nightmare. It is a song of such beauty, such majestic power, it can calm anxiety, ease panic and bring a smile to this world-weary man’s face at times when all hope and happiness have fled.

It is a song called Hearts of Olden Glory. A song that not only clears my head but is one of the defining anthems of my life; without it, I would not be the man I am today.

Hearts of Olden Glory | Runrig

“There’s thunder clouds
Round the hometown bay
As I walk out
In the rain
Through the sepia showers
And the photoflood days
I caught a fleeting glimpse
Of life

“There must be a place
Under the sun
Where hearts of olden glory
Grow young”

Tomorrow, on this blog: A song that makes me laugh…


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Great artists you’ve probably never heard of: #2. Paul Mounsey

Cover of With my NaNoWriMo project, my 30 Days of Kink, my daily WordPress prompts and the increasing stack of comments and emails I want to reply to, I seem to spend every waking minute of my life writing.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I love writing, but sometimes it’s important to take a step back to save ourselves from burning out.

Thus, here is the second installment of my (occasional) series celebrating music that is most definitely not mainstream. The artist I am highlighting today is one of my favourite instrumentalists of all time, the incredible Paul Mounsey.

My introduction to Paul Mounsey came from when I happened upon a copy of his album Nahoo in the Carton branch of Readings way back in 2003. It was a case of love at first listen, and in the nine years since, the four albums I have of his (Nahoo, NahooToo, Nahoo 3: Notes from the Republic and City of Walls) have become some of my most listened to albums of all time.

They have inspired my fiction, my soul and become a major component on the soundtrack of my life. Blending Scottish and South American rhythms Mounsey’s music tells the story of Scotland more than any other artist I’ve come across.

I love his music unconditionally, and hopefully, you will too.

Paul Mounsey (born 15 April 1959) is a composer, arranger and producer from Scotland.

He lived for over 20 years in Brazil. A graduate of Trinity College, London, where he studied with Richard Arnell, he has written for film, television, theatre, advertising and also for the Latin American pop market. He lectured for a short while at Goldsmiths College before moving on as creative director of Play It Again, one of the biggest commercial music houses in Brazil. He has also written articles on various aspects of music. He’s written pop hits for Mexican boy bands, has received commissions for chamber and multimedia works, has lived with and recorded the music of indigenous communities in the Amazon rainforest, and to date has released five solo albums.

[from Wikipedia]

Nahoo Nation

I once wrote a script for a silent short film with this piece of music as the inspiration. One of my favourite of Mounsey’s tracks.

North

This was used as the theme for a series of adverts from Tourism Scotland to promote this breathtaking country. The perfect choice. I have noticed some people have issues with the introduction of a rock element halfway through the track. Personally, this is what elevates the track from wonderful to something special.

Gad Ionndrainn

One of the most beautiful and haunting pieces of music I’ve ever heard.

Runrig with Paul Mounsey

In 2003 the Scottish group Runrig invited Paul Mounsey to arrange some of the tracks on their twelfth studio album, Proterra – and in so doing, nearly caused this Runrig/Mounsey uber-fan to die an over excited death in the reception area of a backpacker hostel (the first place I listened to this magnificent album!)

Proterra

The Old Boys

Other entries in this (occasional) series: