Tag Archives: phrasing

Lady Leshurr

“I started thinking, ‘You know what? Why don’t I just rap?’ Because it’s just poetry with a beat behind it, really.”

Lady Leshurr in The Guardian.

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Lorde: Yellow Flicker Beat, live at the BBC

There’s a point at which all the conscious thought and preparation for a song composts down into pure energy. The singer lives the song and the song lives in them. It’s a privilege to watch alchemy in action:

© Sing Better English, 2016

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:

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Black is the Colour of my True Love’s Hair

How do you reclaim a colour that has been used against you as an insult? You take it and you warm it by breathing love into it.

In the traditional Scottish song Black is the Colour of my True Love’s Hair, the choice of black as opposed to brown or grey gives a slight boost of exotic ‘gypsy’ passion to the true love. That’s all. Red would have done the trick just as easily.

Truly (natural) black or red hair is unusual and eye-catching. It sounds special, implying some exceptional quality to the singer too, for having captured the love of such a rare creature.

For Nina Simone and Emile Latimer, in 1960s America, black was much, much, much more than a hair colour. How do they infuse the word with the love it deserves? Like this:

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