Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Songs and Poems of Frances McLeod

With the passing of my mother, Frances, on Halloween 2012, I was determined to organize her songs and poems while I still remember them.  So pen to paper and the book is out of Amazon.

Here are nearly thirty original works written, for the mostpart, during here day in Kenya in the 1950's.

Neil playing teacher in Oxford before leaving for Kenya

The songs about East Africa are typical of much of the music created by settlers in new countries, and Kenya in particular.  The desire to sing about, and immortalize the bird in the wattle tree, the distant hills and rolling plains could only be complimented by an added reference to the impressive sunsets, which are the benediction at the end of the tropical day.  These are family songs of the colonial settler, in the words and rhythms throb the essence of life in a new country and the hope for the promise of the future.  Kenya is not our home any more, but is was home when I was growing up.  I can hear the sounds of the crickets and the roar of a distant lion, the rush of the waves on a sandy beach, and the harsh call of the Kavirondo Crane.  I can smell the Frangipani lining the drive up to the tin roofed mission station, and the air after the rain on a recently burned plain.  The songs bring it all back to me.  They are a treasure.

I am fortunate to have the friendship of James Covell who is a composer and arranger.  He helped me to record the songs which we plan to release soon on Amazon.
Neil and Jim Covell in Jim's Studio