Every once in a while we ask someone we admire to send us a list of their five favorite songs. It’s a sure-fire way to get to know someone better and at the same time discover new music.
This week we’re posting the list of Sam Morris. Director, Actor and Storyteller (the last of which he does in the Storytelling group Spindlevine. Together with Lora Mander Sam has started the Orange Tea Theatre Company, with which he does monthly play readings at the Mezrab. When we asked him to send us his list this is what he wrote us:
The Cat Empire – The Chariot
This band is special to me in lots of ways, and this song in particular. It’s a manifesto, a rallying cry, an entreatment, a promise, and a vision of a better world, all wrapped up in a party that makes you jump until it feels like it’s really possible, surrounded by thousands of others feeling the same. A tribute to the power of (live) music. Play it loud!
Women’s Choir of Sofia – Don’t Hurry Sun
(as Sam wrote this is not the link to the piece he was listening to, so we’ve included an entire album by the Bulgarian State Women’s Choir)
I can’t claim to know what the words are within these lovely sounds, and to be perfectly honest, it doesn’t matter to me. My closest guess is a lovers’ prayer for a longer night before the sun brings new tasks for a new day to drag their beloved from their arms, not dissimilar to Act III Scene V of Romeo and Juliet – still my favourite Shakespeare piece.
Romeo – It was the lark, the herald of the morn,
No nightingale: look, love, what envious streaks
Do lace the severing clouds in yonder east:
Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day
Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops.
I must be gone and live, or stay and die.
Nina Simone – Sinner Man
When people talk of ‘movements’ in music, it’s almost always in reference to classical. If this doesn’t also qualify, then there aren’t the right type of scholars in music. Like many spirituals, it’s made up of some very simple parts (the hand-clapping section especially). It’s the movements of these sections, coming together to produce a ‘Big Rock Finish’ better than any rock song, that I’ve chosen this song for. In theatre, we are often limited by our finances to simplicity. I’ve never for a moment doubted, however, that this means we can create anything less powerful if we set our minds to it.
Levellers – Battle Of The Beanfield
In Mezrab, it’s not uncommon to hear stories from people who have escaped brutal violence or repression in their home state. Thankfully, in Britain, incidents of mass police brutality are not as common, but when it happens, it’s worth remembering. The Battle of the Beanfield in 1985 was one such incident. There’s too much of a story to go into here, but the Levellers commemorated it in this song. Around the 25th anniversary of the event, I was part of a theatre production also serving as a reminder. Sometimes it is the job of the arts to hold up a mirror, and remind ourselves of things we’d sometimes rather forget.
faceOmeter (Will Tattersdill) – Stuffed Animals
Music is nothing if not personal, and what something means for one person can be entirely different for the next. With that in mind, here is one of my favourite people, playing one of my favourite songs of his, in one of my favourite pubs in the world. A good combination, no? Will wrote the music for my stage adaptation of The Princess Bride too, which we later toured round England. I watched Will reduce the rowdiest of crowds to deafening silence with this song, and then raise them again to boisterous mayhem with the next. Apart from an appreciation of stagecraft, which (although he would say otherwise) Will has in spades, I think the lyrics in this are beautifully poetic. More of Will here: http://faceometer.bandcamp.com/