Monday, 23 April 2018

PLEASE HELP TO KEEP MY MUSIC LIVE

The sun came out last week. Did you see it? We had 2 glorious days. I think it was the good weather that sparked a flurry of people putting out information on social media about their Summer Festivals and Events. I had a number of invitations to perform at castles and festivals and the like but sadly, because of my hearing loss and associated conditions of tinnitus and hyperacusis, I am not able to perform anymore. It's a sinking feeling.

I could sense my heart filling with sadness at the thought of being excluded from the very thing that gives me the most joy. My songs, written throughout a lifetime, would stay tucked away on Bandcamp instead of being out there, part of the music community that I love so dearly and that has been central to my whole life.

I meditated on this feeling of sadness, so as to hold it and move it on ... and in so doing, a wonderful idea came to me. Why not ask other musicians to put one of my songs into their set this Summer, so that even though I can not hear my tunes so well anymore, other people still will and I will know in my heart that part of me is out and about helping folk have a great time. I can still be included. It gives me a very warm glow to think of it. As my Nan would say, where there's a will, there's a way.

So, I am wondering, is this something YOU would like to get involved with?

I don't mind if you do a cover or  your version of my song, all I ask is, please record yourself and/or take pics ... I would love to share here on my blog all the lovely musicians that took part. and map where my songs have been this Summer. 

If you would like to help me keep my music live in this way, then follow the link below to my facebook group page, ask to join and you'll find out how you can peruse my back catalogue to choose one of my songs.

Thank you so much to everyone who has already signed up and is choosing a song right now as we speak. We're a lovely bunch, aren't we, us musicians ... but it's not just musicians, 2 dancers have expressed an interest in using my music for their projects, too ...  the possibilities are endless ... this feels so much more beautiful than being sad about it. 

All love to you, dear ones, 






Friday, 20 April 2018

Reaching Out for Creative Empaths

It's funny, you know, there have been some beautiful gifts that have come into my life since becoming deaf and living with tinnitus and hyperacusis. It can be hard to see them sometimes with this constant noise in my head and the distortion issues but this last few months, I have felt strong enough to start reaching out to the Universe in a meaningful and considered way, opening my heart and inviting her to bring the right people into my life. Creative people who are kind, understanding and caring and who might want to collaborate artistically to make beautiful things happen. I want to say creative people who are empaths but the definition of empath is a person with a paranormal ability to sense the emotions of others, so maybe I mean empathic, though to be honest, I think we all have the ability to be an empath if we learn to listen.

And that's the really funny thing, I can't hear what's in front of me, even with my hearing aids, face to face with someone, I miss certain words. The sound of rivers distorts in my head and either I can not hear the birds or there is one that kindly sings at the top of her voice into my tinnitus range and blows the speakers of my ears, triggering hyperacusis and yet, I can listen to my intuition more deeply than I ever have in my entire life.

This is manifesting in some very beautiful ways that I will discuss later as they are the premise of my new Creative & Mindful Business Venture that launches this Summer, so I don't want to ruin the surprise but today, a very interesting thing dawned on me.

I have written to a few people. People that, whilst I was in the depths of despair, I had much joy connecting with, via facebook. I have watched their creative journey and can see that perhaps, we would work well together, guessing from the type of work they do, that they would be understanding about my need for them to come to me, rather than me go to them. 

I would never have done this before. I would have just booked to go and see them. Everyday I was out and about travelling 3 or 4 hours a day, meeting everyone's needs, but now, my hearing in the car is blasted by a tone in my engine that we can't get rid of, even with sound proofing, so I try to base myself mostly at home or close by unless it is an engagement that I just can not afford to miss. Besides, the internet means I can be working at home and all over the world at the same time.

Now then, the response to these calls, has been very interesting and informed my gut instinct much about the person. For instance, some have said yes, they would like to meet up but they are very busy, so could I travel to them. This tells me a lot about how they would expect a future collaborative partnership to be structured. 

What I am open to is creative empaths who think ...WOW, that would exciting to go and visit Cheryl to talk creative possibilities. What a lovely invite, yes, thanks, I'd love to come' and not ... 'Er well, I'll try to squeeze you in if you compromise your hearing health and drive to me.'

I would never have even considered this before. I would have just arranged to visit them. Before my hearing disabilities came along, I did not for one minute think about my own needs and bent over backwards driving all over the country to accommodate but you can only bend over backwards for so long before you break ... I simply have no choice other than to invite the world to me and trust the right people will come.

What an incredible learning that is. It's almost a gift that has been handed to me ... it is absolutely fine for someone to be too busy to accommodate my hearing needs and it is absolutely fine for me to focus on welcoming those who do have the time.

So, if you are a Creative Empath and would like to arrange to pop by to chat possibilities over a cuppa, feel free to drop me a line on facebook ... 

All love to you. dear ones.















Tuesday, 17 April 2018

New Film Collaboration

I am always excited about my work but tomorrow I will be especially excited because Film Maker Bill Taylor-Beales is coming over to see me so that we can have a chat about collaborating in making some videos for my new Creative & Mindful Business Venture. I have been working tirelessly on the project for over a year, devising an inspirational online resource to help others and am so close to being ready to open the doors.

Bill & I have already made one very exciting piece for my website, held under wraps until the launch later this year. We have been working remotely by telephone and email which has motivated us to meet up tomorrow and talk possibilities.

Meanwhile ... why not pop over to my Bandcamp and check out my back catalogue Celebrating 40 years as a songwriter.






Monday, 16 April 2018

Inspirational Women Over Fifty: Avril Yospa



Continuing on the theme of building a platform from which to celebrate the creativity of women over fifty & thus making visible the inspirational work that we quietly chip away doing while no-one in the media is noticing, tonight's blog is about another of my amazing friends, Avril, who has just got back from performing for two months in India.



Avril Yospa is retired from a 15 year career as a midwife, which let's face it, is pretty amazing in itself ...  but having stopped birthing babies, at the age of 67, she is now focused fully on birthing songs as a musician, songwriter and performer, just like as she did in the 70's with the band Prana who played Glastonbury 6 years on the trot, touring the US and parts of Europe, In fact, Avril is known locally as 'Avril the Song' and many of her chants can be heard upon the lips of those at Marches or sat around camp fires. Her chant 'Mother Earthship' has been recorded in many different languages all over the world on youtube and soundcloud and is used for one of the dances of Universal Peace.


I first met Avril when I was the Director of Celtic Womenfest for the National Botanic Garden of Wales in partnership with Community Music Wales. I held a series of very special improvisation workshops at my place for Women in Tune, giving accomplished women musicians the opportunity to come together and perform in a woman only recording set up. The sessions were a great success and went onto be played at the Festival itself in the Great Glasshouse, used as dance music for the Contemporary dancers with Artscare Gofal Celf. You can hear one of the 15 minute tracks as background music in this rehearsal video.



When Avril came to these sessions, I had never met her before. She seemed quiet and reserved, but when we all started to play, that's when she really came into her own. So experimental and brave. I remember, she had amongst her treasures, a set of glockenspiel blocks and laid them on different surfaces to get different sounds ... I was blown away.


Photo of Avril with her Grandaughters ... 






Since, then, Avril has come to my Ukulele and Songwriting Courses at the National Botanic Garden of Wales  and then when I was Poet in residence at the Dylan Thomas Boathouse, I invited her as a guest to play with me one afternoon.

She is almost always out performing and when she is not out performing, she is at home playing with family (who seem to be following in her footsteps) and/or friends.

CLICK HERE FOR ONE OF AVRIL'S SONGS ABOUT AN OWL THAT CAME TO VISIT

I make a point of looking out for whatever adventures she is going to get up to next and then I saw on her facebook page that she was away to Agonda, India with her guitar and her friend, fellow musician, Garima Ulrich.


I loved watching her posts telling us about her wonderful performances, how they secured their own floor spots and built up a local following.








How often do we read about women of our age packing up their sarong and their guitars to fly off to India for two months to play their music? Never! And what's more, they have bookings to go back and do it all again next year.






So that's why I am writing about it here. Let's inspire each other to be free, to follow our hearts, to open our creative souls and learn to listen to our most sacred calling. Just because we hardly ever read about the inspiring lives of women over 50, doesn't mean it isn't happening ... 






Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Movement + Music = Magic in Hong Kong


WOW, thanks everyone for the tremendous feedback to the call I made in my last blog post, supporting inspirational, creative women over fifty who are non-existent if we believe the media, and yet in reality, are changing the world.

I said (and you agreed in your droves) that we should cheer each other on and in following this theme, I simply must tell you about my friend Fiona, who never ceases to blow my socks off with her inspiring work. That's her in the picture above, wearing bright green with some of her students in Hong Kong.

Fiona Winter is the Director of her own company called Energy Moves based here in Wales. You've probably guessed that Fiona has dedicated her life to helping literally 1000's of people to connect with the magic of movement.

Her current DVD 'GRACE' is literally touring the world as it not only helps the likes of us to connect with movement, but there is also an instructors/teachers version. It is an 'elegantly crafted piece of movement medicine, designed to take you into a state of uplifting, joyous movement.' 

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT GRACE HERE

So, you can imagine my joy in following Fiona's journey, as she is currently sharing GRACE in HONG KONG! Yes, Hong Kong. To think we have a Welsh Woman Creative in her fifties sharing her own Movement & Music routine on the other side of the world and no-one even knows about it! So, I'm setting that straight, here.

So far, Fiona has shared 3 classes and been part of a Ceroc Evening, focusing on connection, connecting to each other, to teachers, to the rest of the world, to the joy of movement.

Here's a little video showing us where one of her classes was held!


The thing is, if we don't hear about each others stories, triumphs, adventures, then we won't know they are happening. We are history in the making and yet still, we are virtually invisible. I can name you straight off, a long list of creative women who are not on the tip of anyone's tongue and yet are doing the most extraordinary things. And this gives me faith, hope, inspiration and drive to step into my own power.


So, well done Fiona,! I celebrate you, I am creatng a platform here to cheer you on, as my creative kindred, as an inspirational woman over 50 ...  and most of all, as my dear friend.









Sunday, 8 April 2018

The Gallery Gadabout

Maven & Hare, LLandysul. Photo by Ed Sherlock

It can be difficult, finding somewhere to go out when you have hearing disabilities, especially with hyperacusis because everywhere seems too noisy. 

So, I was very pleased that the Universe sorted out this dilemma and sent three wonderful, relatively quiet invites into my lap for this week. I invited my dear friend, Suzanne, to join me and we had a week of Launch Surfing.

The first was to Maven & Hare in LLandysul, which strictly speaking, is a shop rather than a gallery, but for sure, going there is a quirky & creative experience. The second was the Exhibition 'this is a moment i can't say' by Patricia McParlin at King Street Gallery and the third to the re-launch of Dorothy Morris' Greenspace Gallery in Carmarthen.

We had such a lovely time, that I thought I'd tell you all about it.




In the picture above, on the far right, is Mandy & in the middle, Bronia who have combined their special kind of magic to open a shop in Llandysul called Maven & Hare. You might recognise it. It is the same shop where I did the pop  up Quiet Space Studio in Llandysul last year. 





I like to think that perhaps my energy infused the space with a love that attracted these wonderful creatives to invest in Llandysul and join the band of wayward women that make it such a special place to live. Maven & Hare are selling the weird and wonderful from bling taxidermy to re-vamped vintage furniture and have exciting ideas for the future. The Launch kicked off with caviar and sparkling wine, a twin gramophone DJ and live models in the window display, with hand made felt animal masks made by Mandy. The village turned out to welcome Mandy & Bronia, our newcomers, into the fold.

My friend Trish is a Fine Artist, or as I like to say, a mighty fine artist, so I was delighted when she invited me to the launch of her new Show at King Street Gallery, Exhibting for 3 weeks. I was really taken by her collection, especially the interplay between the narrative of her paintings and her poetry. 




It was very powerful to read her poems whilst looking into her paintings. Somehow it took me beneth the layers of paint.

I had a good look around King Street gallery, which is just exquisite. The people on the desk (who I think are fellow artist volunteers) were very kind and it was just magical to be in the space.

Patricia has also published an accompanying poetry booklet to go with her paintings. As a fellow writer, I know how much work this will have taken. 



My third trip out was to the launch of Dorothy Morris Greenspace Gallery, and again I felt really emotional about the dedication and level of commitment to the Arts my friends have, in making  their vision a reality ... it is truly inspirational how Dorothy has transformed the old framers in Carmarthen into a trail of arts treasure ... room after room filled with outstanding work, including her own as an award winning artist.





And I am left thinking this ... so often in our society we face stereotypes regarding women of a certain age. I know that as a woman of 52, I am treated very differently to even 5 years ago. We hear every day, of the exciting things that young artists are doing, how they are changing the world, up and coming. But hey, what about us? How often do we hear about women in their 50's plus? Where are our achievements in the local press or the radio? And yet here, we have the most inspirational examples of middle life women, giving absolutely everything they have to their craft, passionately creating something breath taking and a making difference - without funding I hasten to add - just because they live and breathe creativity and that, quite frankly, not only inspires me but makes me quite emotional.

Let's get behind each other, celebrate each other, attend each others' events, cheer each other on because, after all, we are absolutely blooming marvellous!







Friday, 30 March 2018

Womanhood, Breast Feeding & Loving Cyber Circles




I am quite taken aback this evening by just how wonderful we women are. 

I've heard many tell stories of how villagers in days gone by, would rally around and help out new mums or if someone in the street was in hospital, they'd help look after the children but we think of this close knit woman circle as a thing of the past. It is not.

Tonight, a young woman inboxed me on facebook. She had just come out of hospital having undergone life saving surgery but now she was home, she was too exhausted to breast feed her baby. She asked me if I knew anyone that might be able to help with breast milk or with helping out around the house until she felt a bit better.


I left a call out message on my facebook wall. 

Literally within seconds, women started to respond with offers of breast milk that they had frozen, offers to help out around the house, offers of information, support, a listening ear.

Women from all over West and South West Wales, even South Wales, all sharing the post to friends that they knew who lived near the woman. 

Within half an hour, we had created a nest, a loving cyber circle. And to my mind, that is a very beautiful thing indeed. She now has help and knows that we care.

People criticise facebook, but my feeling is this, like with anything, it is how you use it that makes the difference between it being a beautiful way of loving each other, or something entirely different.




Thursday, 29 March 2018

Discourse as a Powerful Healer







The discourse of health is such a powerfully healing tool. The words we use to describe ourselves, tell our cells a story. Realising this, was a turning point for me. I began to unpick the ways in which I described my health. Just by changing the sentence, 'I am unwell' to 'I am healing' felt like such a shift in energy, almost stepping into the light.

And now, that I truly am healing, I have stepped into another shift in language.

'I can't work doing what I do anymore' has been changed to 'I will find a way to apply all my creativity & skills to design a new exciting, innovative & inspiring business that is loving to my new hearing disabilities.'




To that end, behind the scenes I am busy building a new business, tailored exactly around my needs


This has given me confidence to try new ways of recording my songs. I didn't think I would ever be back in the studio, but we're just doing an hour at a time at the moment. This is our 5th night and it seems to be going quite well ... ebb and flow. There were a lot of tears the first night and not so many last night ... so that's a good sign.

I have decided to do with my songs exactly as I have done with my poems and stories. I am letting them flow. No rules, no structure, just as I would sing them to heal myself, so I am singing them for the recording. It's causing a few technical problems (won't bore you with them) but none that can't be overcome with some new kit. 

So, between building a new website, finishing 2 new books, planning the video shoots and recording the CD, I have a real sense of drive and vision which feels great, is part of who I am and has given me the opportunity to really step into being the compassionate creative that I am.

Meanwhile, I will leave with a track from my back catalogue called Heaven Scent ... recorded as a fund raiser for a Breast Cancer Awareness. It features Heather Jones on Angel backing vocals, Kate Strudwick on flute, Linda Simmonds on Drum and mandolin, Ruth Exell on Harp and me on guitar, vocals & backing vocals, with the lovely Jeff Beer engineering ...









Friday, 23 March 2018

the humble offering





As the first week of my writer's lock in comes to a close, I am so much closer to finishing my humble offering. I can honestly say that it has been a roller coaster. 

I have been working on 'my new book' ever since I woke up deaf 18 months ago. At first, it was written as part of my own healing practice but a series of epiphanies have led me to understand that in sharing my story, I can help others.

To that end, 'my book' has grown into two books, a CD and a Video Course, all now drafted or half written. So, I made a commitment and set an intention to 'finishing' and have locked myself up for two weeks to focus fully on writing, filming and recording.

This week I have finished the draft of the new website, and finished both books, all the graphic design, the covers, everything. 

Tomorrow, I begin rehearsing for the CD. I have been experimenting with instruments that are friendly towards my hearing conditions in keys that I can tolerate and I will trust that the rest will follow. I am recording all the songs and mantra that have flowed through me during my healing practice, so that others might heal with them too.

It sounds like a lot of work, and truly , it is, but it is my calling from my soul to craft this humble offering ...

Meanwhile, I will leave you with a track from my 'apples in the rain' CD ...  








Thursday, 22 March 2018

A Lifetime of Nursing





I had a lovely email today from Kathy, a retired nurse who attended one of my Parc Howard Museum Creative Writing Workshops at the weekend. 

She sent me a poem that she had written some time back, whilst she was still nursing. I have made it into a Poetry Poster for her and asked her if I could share it with you.

In her email she talks in a very moving way about the last rites that she performed for people and how she felt so privileged in being able to do this for them. It really moved me. She spent her whole life nursing others as they became old and now she is an older person herself.

I have said that I think she should write a book of all her stories.





Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Storytelling in the Woods

If you want to feel your heart beat, your soul sigh, your mind let go and your body sing, go to the woods in Spring. We're so lucky here because there is a woods literally across the road from our cottage. Woods are lovely places, aren't they? Not scary like a dense forest might be. 



Our woods is bathed in light and the constant flow of the stream is the perfect backdrop for storytelling, so today, as the sun popped her head around the corner, I started filming one of my new stories.

Before leaving the woods, I sang a chant to her trees, thanking her & them for such a wonderful afternoon. 

Jay Ambe Jagadambe 
Mata Bhaavani Jay Ambe

>
The English translation of the Sanskrit is ...
All love and honour to you
Creative Power of the World
Mother of the World
One who gives all things existence
She who gives birth







Thursday, 15 March 2018

Nurturing the Soul : A Gentle Guide



Tonight, I made a little Vlog about my very exciting new Collection of Holistic & Creative Resources, designed to nurture the soul, particularly if you have been facing adversity. 

The Collection is based on my own healing practice from the last two years since becoming deaf and living with tinnitus and hyperacusis. 

On this final stretch, before launching later this year, I will be making little vlogs to keep you up to date with progress.

Alway love, dear ones.





Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Soul Blogger: My first Vlog




























Having had over 126,000 visitors now to my written blog, I thought it might be a good idea to start making Soul Vlogs as a personal way of connecting with you all ... 


... and this first one is a THANKYOU to the overwhelming support that I have received from you for my '40 Years of Songwriting Celebrations'. It has been so healing to look back over so many of my life stories and adventures.

Off course, I am still filled with lyric and melody and as God is my witness, if it takes me until the end of my days, I will find a new way to express my song. 

















The Letter : A Mother's Loving Suicide Note



Today's Song Share is called 'The Letter' inspired by the sad Letter written many years ago, by a friend of a friend. 

It is essentially a loving suicide note left by a mother to her daughters. On recognising that her cancer has returned, but this time is terminal, she is left feeling that she can not carry on. 

On one level, I hear her and understand how difficult a choice that must have been for her. On learning of her sad story, I laid awake at night thinking of how isolated and desperate she must have felt. It is almost unthinkable that her girls woke up to find her; heartbreaking. Is there even such a thing as a 'loving' suicide note, when leaving loved ones behind to such trauma? On the other hand, I think of all the love pouring into her words as she asks them to feel her on the beach and with the sea. Perhaps she thinks she is saving them from her pain.

I was so moved by her story that I could not put it out of my mind, so eventually, I wrote a song entitled 'The Letter' which features on my Little Fish Album. 

Just an aside to say that if you ever feel like leaving this world, remember that there are helplines you can contact. Today, things are very different. You do not need to feel alone like she did. There is a greater understanding and empathy. This link below is to This Morning's Suicide Prevention Helpline page with contact numbers of people that will listen and offer help if you can find the courage to reach out.



'Little Fish: Bare Bone Songs' was an HMV Album of the Month which is mind blowing really considering me and my partner, Jeff Beer, recorded it in our home studio under a wigwam of quilts, to blank out the sound of the traffic going past the house we lived in at the time. 

I am on vocals and guitar and my dear friend Jeff Rees is beautifully playing violin. On cello is Hugh McDowell. I met Hugh at one of Jeff & Kate Rees' infamous soirees, when we were both performing in the lounge of their home, a  renovated old school. I was so blown away by the resonance of the cello that I invited Hugh to come with Jeff to feature on the album. It was after he agreed that I found out he was in fact, the first cellist with The Electric Light Orchestra in 1972.

Neither Jeff nor Hugh rehearsed. It is a live take in the moment, captured by Jeff Beer who engineered for us. How privileged I am to have such gifted friends.







Sunday, 11 March 2018

Red, red rose for Mothering Sunday



Today's Song Share is called Red, red rose and seems a fitting song for Mothering Sunday. 

During songwriting workshops for the Festival of Four, Valley Girl Theatre Project, I ran workshops with over 800 people, including two lads, Ryan & Craig in Trevethin, who sat with me outside the Community Centre and I helped them to write this song about their Mum's.

Very sadly, Ryan had cancer and passed away. I send so much love out into the Universe for Donna, his Mother  and all Mother's who feel a sense of loss today. I feel your pain.

Mother's day can be a very difficult time for some people. I was not lucky enough to be blessed with children. Instead, I made a decision to become a Universal Mother, working with children all over the world through the joy of song and music.





Thursday, 8 March 2018

100 Notes for Dylan




Today's share is a podcast that I made for Welsh Poet & Broadcaster, Mab Jones, when I was the Resident Poet at the Dylan Thomas Boathouse for the Dylan Thomas Centenary Celebrations DT100. 


What a great honour to be invited to celebrate Dylan's work in this way. It is a residency that will stay with me forever. I met folk from all over the world who came as pilgrims to 'be' in Dylan's creative space.
























For a whole month, I worked with visitors to the Boathouse to create a very long piece, where every line is from a different visitor.


We made all the lines into poetry bunting which we hung on the entrance steps as folk came in, using stamps and string from the years that Dylan and his family lived in Laugharne.
















If you would like to hear other tracks from my 40 year career, they are available on Bandcamp ...