I vividly recall the first time I heard the instrumental for this piece. It was when we were filming the session music (see last post) and Mark played this piece to which I remember feeling my eyes welling up. I was in grief for my father who had only recently died and my emotions were all over the place. I just thought it was a beautiful piece of music.
Then Mark told me that it was in fact a tribute to his late mother who had died about a month before Dad. What we have here is a touching accomplished piece of work which I was delighted to film and edit earlier this year.
Mark posted this on his Facebook page and it is more eloquent than anything I could write on the subject.
“Today would have been my mum’s birthday. It’s the first one since she died last July, so it feels particularly strange and poignant. I thought this would be an appropriate time for me to share this song and video, even though the instrumental version was the first of the Cherry Mint Koala videos I shared online last month.
Two days after mum’s death I wrote a song called ‘Let The Body Go’, which was my own way of trying to come to terms with the intense feelings of grief and release. Mum had suffered severe chronic pain for many years, and it had reached a point where everything was a huge effort. The struggle to survive became the only focus, and with no realistic hope of recovery. An impossible situation. And yet, being the incredibly determined person she was, she lived far longer than I ever expected.
But I didn’t want the song to just be about an ending, even though being present at her death was fresh in my mind. Stupid as this sounds, I wanted to undo time, to rediscover the woman she used to be when physical illness wasn’t so all-encompassing. To celebrate the joy of being alive, of physical experience, of music, and of the role that love and memories play in helping us deal with the nature of mortality.
Above all else, I wanted it to be a serene and beautiful elegy for the woman who lost her one and only child, but then raised two others completely as if they were her own. A most precious and enduring gift.
The video for the song is something I worked on with Eva Perdiki Holdsworth (who previously choreographed a duet for Waiting For Green). Most people who know me will know I’m not a dancer, and goodness knows there are enough talented people I could have asked, but as the song was so very personal I really felt it was something I wanted to have a go at, technical limitations and all. The second half depicts scenes from a life – some of which are directly connected with mum, some not – while the first half anticipates these movements by presenting them in a more neutral choreographic way. It was filmed by Simon C Bennett with assistance from James P Goldie.
The song was another piece used in the recent 1.2 dance project at ArtsEd. They sang my four-part arrangement of it in the WW1 context of the piece so unbelievably beautifully, I was moved to tears by the end. The experience of that performance will stay with me for a very long time.”
With thanks to UniQ Studios for their assistance with the lighting.
Assistant Editor: Sam Watts