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Darwin Song Project - Mark Erelli

Mike Harding | 12:14 UK time, Monday, 30 March 2009

Mark Erelli writes:
It sounds as muchlike a reality TV show as it does an artistic endeavor:
eight folksingers from across the US and the UK holed up in an English
country farmhouse for a week to collaborate on songs inspired by the
life and work of Charles Darwin, in honor of the 200th anniversary of his birth.

It was an amazing experience, I co-wrote two songs, and as a group we wrote about 18 songs in a week.

We were to perform these songs for a sold-out crowd at the week's end, and the real kicker was that they'd be recorded for an eventual live DVD/CD release.

When I want to give myself a little jolt from complacency, I will usually add ONE new song to a set list. It forces me to focus, and offers the sort of adrenaline that only accompanies potentially screwing up in public view.

This was a concert of 18 songs we'd never played live before, performed with people I'd only just met. It wasn't like the performances of these new works were going to vaporize into the ether...they were to be recorded for posterity.

To add to the rush, it was the first concert in this brand new theatre, and the sound crew had never worked the room before. Despite all of this, it all went off as well as could possibly be expected.Flawless? Nope. I know I fluffed a lyric. But it was a night full of heart, and a wonderful chance to figure out how to survive, and even thrive, when working well outside one's comfort zone.

You can read more blogs from writers involved in the Darwin Song Project over the next week and you'll be able to hear interviews from the songhouse as well as some of the newly composed songs on The Mike Harding Show on Wednesday 8 April.


  • Comment number 1.

    Mark, I was lucky enough to be in the audience and have to say that your performance stood out for me; especially your collaboration with Karine. I hadn't heard your music previously, but purchased your CD (Delivered) at the interval and haven't had it off the car CD player since. 'Hope Dies Last' 'Baltimore' and 'Man of the Family' being particularly fine tracks in my humble opinion.

    The Shrewsbury performance held the full attention of my 7 and 9 year olds... no mean feat I assure you.

    Very much looking forward to your individual and ensemble performances at Shrewsbury Folk Festival.

    Mike Whyte


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