The past few events I’ve been getting back into solo vocal performance – a lot of the music I have been doing recently has been instrumental and/or broken consort or at minimum two voices in harmony. And don’t get me wrong, I love all that stuff; it’s challenging and interesting in a way that solo vocal stuff isn’t for me; however, it also takes more practice, prep and setup. Solo vocal performance takes… me. And possibly some written words as reminders, but mostly it takes me.
To that end, I’ve spent the past few days writing down a lot of ‘good songs for Rhi to sing as solos’ down in a cute little book from paperblanks (specifically the Lindau mini, if you are into such things, and wow do they have a lot of pretty books!). Yesterday, I added the lyrics to There Dwelt a Man in Babylon, a 16th c. broadside ballad which tells the story of Susannah from the biblical apocrypha. It’s a tune and a story which I have always liked, but it’s also reeeeally long and obviously a bit archaic in its language and phraseology.
So the question – how do I take that song and, using nothing but me and the song, convey the power and drama of that story to a modern audience?