THE Sounds Lyrical Project, a group of York-based poets and composers, present the second in a series of four Arts Council-funded concerts on Thursday, December 11 in The Basement at City Screen, York.

Each of the concerts features newly written poems and musical settings to be performed by classical singers and instrumentalists.

The first took place in September when David Lancaster was the composer; respected York poet, Don Walls performed works from his sixth book of poetry, Somewhere Else, and there was music by Philip Glass, Michael Nyman, David Bowie and Brian Eno, performed by the Sounds Lyrical Project ensemble.

Supported to the tune of £12,000 by Arts Council England’s Grants for the Arts, the remaining three events are spread over the next sixth months, with further concerts on March 5 and June 4 next year, when Anthony Dunn and Carole Bromley respectively will be the guest poets.

David Power will write new music for the spring event; Ryedale composer Tim Brooks for the summer one, each composing works from the poetry of the York roue.

As with the first, Thursday’s evening of spoken word and music will feature poems by York poets Rose Drew, Alan Gillott, Andy Humphrey and Lizzi Linklater, this time set to original music by composer Peter Byrom-Smith. Once more music by Glass, Nyman, Berlin-era Bowie and Eno will be part of the event too.

The guest poet will be Tony ‘Longfella’ Walsh, a 6ft 5ins grassroots writer whose first book had the memorable title of Sex & Love & Rock & Roll and was marked by its mix of intimacy and controversy, comedy and tragedy .

One of the aims of each concert is to present new work by City of York composers and poets alongside the poetry of well-known writers. Among those benefiting from that spotlight is Andy Humphrey.

“We’ve all been involved with Sounds Lyrical since the start , going back to the very first concert at York St John University in March 2012, with the first meetings held six months to a year earlier, after the original idea came from the Northern Songbook Day for the York Late Music series at the Unitarian Chapel,” says Andy.

Sounds Lyrical went on to make guest appearances at the Ryedale Book Festival and the York 800 celebrations and the Arts Council funding was then secured, putting the project on a solid footing.

“We’re trying to break down barriers with these concerts by bringing together established poets, York writers and poets and playing the music of Nyman, Glass, Bowie and Eno, so that the events will appeal to both those who love poetry and those who love music,” says Sounds Lyrical founder David Power.

“We wrote our funding bid last summer and we stressed the importance of audience development and the track record of everybody involved and the sheer amount of new work that would be created. They clearly felt our plans were credible and awarded us the funds that can make such a difference.”

At the 7.30pm concert on December 11, the new poetic works set to Peter Byrom Smith’s music will be Rose Drew’s Puzzles, Alan Gillott’s Still. Lizzi Linklater’s The First Frost and Andy Humphrey’s Lapwing’s Dance.

“As with my September work, it’s about dying. Last time it was a work called Abyss about the death of my father-in-law, which I was writing at around the time the group was first meeting,” says Lizzi.

“This time it’s about other people and my father dying in one year.”

Andy’s poem does not deal with death.

“It’s about sex, love and ornithology, in whatever order you like really.”

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