Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Help a Pre-Raphaelite Songstress!

Recently I was contacted directly by a very talented lady indeed...

This is the lovely and talented Deborah Rose, a singer and song-writer whose affinity with the Pre-Raphaelites is obvious.  She is currently working on recording her debut album which will be released in the autumn this year and she needs your help.

"Song be My Soul" is the title of her new album and the inspiration came from the great poets such as Tennyson, Blake, Dickens, Christina Rossetti, and Shakespeare, together with strong roots in Welsh music and poetry.  The album features an impressive array of musicians from all over the world including tabla by Mendi Singh, bansuri flute by Praful Mystic, violin from Dan Cassidy, cello by Catherine Harper, and Welsh male voice choir from the Aber Valley, Deborah's hometown. 

Deborah at the Love and Death exhibition last year
Martin Riley, the musical director for classical group Blake has co-wrtitten and arranged many of the beautiful songs on the album, as well as Ian King, a local composer who has written the music for an Eva Cassidy poem called "Springtime" among others. 

Chatting with Deborah recently via email, she explained her feelings and inspiration behind 'Song be My Soul':  'Inspiration began for the album when I sang at the Isle of Wight Festival in 2009. I then returned to the island later that summer to visit Tennyson's home for his 200th anniversary dinner, and I was reminded of my childhood love of John Waterhouse's painting "The Lady of Shalott" and Tennyson's poem. I was sent some music from a local composer shortly after my visit to 'Farringford', and miraculously Tennyson's words fit the music. All in the art of timing, the original painting was then welcomed to Birmingham Museum from the Tate as part of the 'Love and Death exhibition' last year and I was invited to sing for the launch.' 

You lot know how much I love the Isle of Wight and so can understand what she means and the idea that musical inspiration can flow from such a Victorian place is very exciting.

Deborah at the Isle of Wight Festival, 2009
What I love the most about Deborah's work is the way she is drawing her inspiration from the art of the Pre-Raphaelites, much in the way that they drew inspiration from each other.  Deborah draws attention to how Julia Margaret Cameron (among others) used the works of Tennyson for the spring of their art and Deborah is just embracing and becoming part of this rich tradition.

Now comes your part.  You can be a part of this amazing and wonderful endeavor by supporting Deborah by pre-ordering her album here.  Also, Deborah will be performing in the beautiful Wightwick Manor in the Autumn, singing in front of this...

Love Among the Ruins Edward Burne-Jones
Tickets will be on sale shortly, so support a worthy and rather beautiful cause and pre-order Deborah Rose's album today.  For more information about Deborah and her work go to her website or find her on Facebook.  

Right, I'm off to buy an album...


  1. A preraphaelite song writer!? Wow.

  2. This does sound fascinating - my two obsessions are Tennyson's poetry and pre-raphaelite art. It is great to see how Deborah Rose has combined the two and also the way that Farringford is part of her story (the walk over from Farringford to Alum Bay via the memorial is one of my favourites. It also satisfies our children who put up with visiting Tennyson's study and memorial etc with the prospect of the tacky delights of Alum Bay to come. The fireworks at Alum Bay are fantastic, I have to say...). Coming back to the subject of pre-raphaelite songstresses - don't know if you remember the days when Loreena McKennitt, the Canadian singer, was a great favourite in pre-raphaelite circles - I think she looked the part even more than Deborah does. However I felt her rendition of the Lady of Shallott was quite dull really (and I didn't think her Highwayman is much better). Haven't heard anything of her for years. Anyway, look forward to hearing what you think once Deborah's album comes out


Many thanks for your comment. I shall post it up shortly! Kx