Getting Lyrical!

March 1, 2011

We have had such a lot of fun with our events this month, in league with the Let’s Get Lyrical campaign, produced by the Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature. You may recall we kick-started things a tad early with a flashmob for Robert Burns on his birthday, when we were joined by a crowd of people to sing ‘A Man’s a Man’ outside St Giles Cathedral on Tuesday 25 January. We asked the Let’s Get Lyrical team to come on board as we felt a spot of communal Burns singing was a perfect taster for what Let’s Get Lyrical had in store, and it seemed the almost one hundred strong crowd that joined us agreed. You can see footage of the event from Guardian Edinburgh here.

Next up, on Thursday 3 February, we welcomed Janice Galloway and Simon Frith to the library for a closer look at Art Song, that traditional marriage between music and verse. You can read an account of this fascinating discussion, and listen to a little audio from it, on the Let’s Get Lyrical website.

On Saturday 19 February, drenched in croissants and coffee and sunlight streaming in through our window, our Ryan in Residence took a group on a journey through the poetry of the songwriters in Nothing But … the Songwriters’ Cut. They looked at the work of Leonard Cohen, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan (you can borrow these titles from us!), and pondered the musings of Derek Mahon ‘once upon a time this stuff was sung, not spoken’ versus the wisdom of Leontia Flynn: ‘You can’t dance to poetry’. One participant called the session ‘a great’ start to the weekend’. Hurrah!

Poet Robin Robertson and singer songwriter Alasdair Roberts first collaborated together on Chemikal Underground’s ground-breaking Ballads of the Book album in 2007 for the track ‘The Leaving’. They have continued to collaborate together but had never shared a stage: having wanted to stage this event for a long time, Let’s Get Lyrical provided the perfect opportunity. And so it was we took to the gorgeous Georgian aesthetic of St Mark’s Unitarian Church on Friday 25th for en evening of folk and folklore, of poetry and music jigsawed together by two wonderful performers. If you couldn’t join us, you can recapture some of this very special evening, in audio and pictures, on the Let’s Get Lyrical website.

And finally, on Saturday 26 February, we launched ourselves upon the traditional music crowd at Captain’s Bar for a party! We had poems, guitars, fiddles, pianos, sea shanties, ditties, traditional folk music, ‘Stormy Weather’, ‘Cry Me A River’, ‘Mona Lisa’, ‘American Pie’ and an unmentionable song about the effects of Guinness, topped off by Tony’s great Guinness Disappearing Trick. There are photos here!

If you managed along to any of our events, or others as part of the campaign, or got lyrical in other ways – by submitting your story, following along on Twitter or Facebook, listening to the podcasts, using the educational resources, enjoying the feature stories and interviews on the website – then the City of Literature team would love to have your feedback – their survey only takes 4 minutes to complete.

This is how it was for us, but in the words of James, how was it for you?

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