Category Archives: Traditional

Eliza Carthy & The Ratcatchers: The Good Old Way

Eliza Carthy weaves the ay, oy and y sounds  of The Good Old Way into a mesmerising tapestry of serious hope. The lines are short, most end in a y, but The Good Old Way is from repetitive. Y is one of those sounds that a singer can stretch, smooth, relish or dismiss:

If you sing in English, give y, and every sound it’s part of: ey, oy, ay, ry, ty etc. good attention. can fly or it can dampen. can be soft and romantic or it can be a clipped end to hope. It’s up to you.

©SingBetterEnglish2017

Jazz, respect and memory

What’s a Polish song doing on a blog about singing in English? Blaszane Mordy is here to show that connecting with a song is a conscious skill, and an ability, that transcends language. You don’t need to understand Polish to ‘understand’ Lautari‘s Blaszane Mordy. Emotion pulses within the shape of the words alone:

Continue reading Jazz, respect and memory

Keeping the beat: Panaderas de Pan Duro

El Naán choose their words to enhance the beat of their hands and the strength of their message. You don’t need to speak Spanish to understand them. The sounds of the words speak for themselves: a human language. Filmed in a single take:

Continue reading Keeping the beat: Panaderas de Pan Duro

Carpet of Life

When you sing in English, to an audience that isn’t fluent in the language, you can’t rely on the exact meaning of the words to carry the weight of the song for you. You need to weave meaning into the sounds you sing. Each syllable of sound is a thread of colour in the tapestry of your song, for you to highlight or to hide. For the benefit of that single audience member who doesn’t speak English, or for the whole audience if your microphone’s not as good as it should be.

Watch Oum, blending soul and jazz with her own gnawa and sahrawi traditions, to beautiful effect. You don’t need to understand the words to ‘understand’ the song. So, without the ‘meaning’, where is the meaning? I’d say that some of it is in the way Oum extends her vowel sounds until they float away, like smoke:

Continue reading Carpet of Life

Black Raven

You won’t find a single word of English in it, but here’s an English question: what feeling does this Cossack song convey to you?

You don’t need to understand Russian  to play the game. Empathy is a universal:

Continue reading Black Raven