Dudley Days

A new arts project exploring Dudley’s past, present and future.

Dudley Days – with John Edgar (Storyteller) and Dan Whitehouse (Musician).

A new arts project exploring Dudley’s past, present and future.

Participants across generations are invited to share stories, memories, and dreams for the future of Dudley – crystallising them in song, and documenting the creative process on film.

The Dudley Days project begins with three creative workshops in the heart of the borough where participants will write and record three new original songs inspired by Dudley landmarks and their own experiences of living in the town. An exciting opportunity to discover more about Dudley’s rich heritage and improve well-being through creativity and songwriting.

About the artists

Songwriter and composer Dan Whitehouse is musician-in-residence at Artspace, Birdcage Walk, Dudley.

Writer and storyteller John Edgar’s poetry is engraved on the Dudley Fountain.

John and Dan previously collaborated on Voices From The Cones in 2019.

For more information, see: dan-whitehouse.com / storyjohn.co.uk.

Day 1

We enjoyed a walk around Dudley town centre, taking in the fountain where the words of John Edgar are engraved. John then told stories and lead a writing workshop that inspired two new original songs.

Today we wrote a song called ‘ Butterflies’ inspired by a personal story shared from Nathaniel, whose wonderful, delicate voice you can hear on the recording of this song.

Stream ‘Butterflies’ here.

Day 2

First thing in the morning musician Alan Neilson arrived bubbling with enthusiasm. He had woken early, feeling inspired and had written the great jangly ‘Johnny Marr-esque’ classic indie guitar figure and vocal line ‘ I remember Dudley Days’ which kick started our songwriting session today.

Stream ‘Dudley Days’ here.

Stream ‘The Growler’ here

‘The Growler’ is a song about facing our fears and overcoming adversity. It was inspired by a moving, personal story shared by Georgina, who recalled a bad experience with her music teacher as a child. She was humiliated when the teacher mocked the timbre of her voice and labelled her ‘ The Growler’.

The end refrain is empowering and says it all when the group together:

“I was told I couldn’t sing – listen you don’t know a thing – you have set me free”

We were also treated to a guest visit from local poet Rick Sanders.

Day 3

Having written the 3 songs, today was spent recording vocals, both individual and group parts. We began with some vocal warm-ups and discussed performance techniques and managing our anxieties around this.

The group sang together at first and everyone made such a generous, positive contribution – supporting one another through the recording process.

Song Titles:

  • Dudley Days
  • The Growler
  • Butterflies

Written by the Dudley Days Songwriting Group

All vocals written, recorded and performed by the participants: Georgina Cope / Julie Neath / Carol Cowdell / Rachel Horne / Jan Wood / Nathaniel Cooper / Jennifer Masterman.

Stream the music here.

Download link for mp3 files (dropbox).

With Support from:

Rick Sanders (Guest Poet)

John Edgar (Story Teller)

Instruments performed and recorded by Dan Whitehouse.

With Alan Neilson – Electric Guitar on ‘Dudley Days’ and Piano on ‘ ‘The Growler’.

Watch all of the videos on YouTube here.

Participant Feedback

George: thank you so much for asking me to be a part of song writing and poetry, I have loved every minute of it.

Carol: Me too, shame it’s ended.

Julie: I thought the whole experience was FABULOUS hope we can do it all again next year

Julie Neath
Today’s session at Artspace was AMAZING. From the creation of the songs, to us all recording the parts, I have found the whole experience utterly inspiring, and it has encouraged me to carry on writing my own material, and to continue to be creative. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Thank you to everyone who has been involved with the project.

George Cope
I feel it has helped my confidence enough to be able to sing on my own in front of other people. I would have curled up in a corner, not being able to speak let alone sing. Thanks to Dan for believing in me. His encouragement and the way Dan got us all to perform made me feel more at ease. I can’t wait to do it again. I have learnt so much – it’s been an inspirational 3 days.

Carol Cowdell
Inspirational time at the Artspace. Enjoyed creating the songs and then performing. Singing is really enjoyable, but when I’ve had input to create a song, it made it even more enjoyable. We all gained confidence with each other and the encouragement was great. Hope we can do it all again. Thanks to Dan as well.

Rachel Horne
Loved it. I could only attend one day, due to other promised commitments, but I wish I had cancelled those and did the workshops and the finale instead. The day I did was fantastic. I am definitely interested in doing it again. next time I don’t care if I’ve got anything pre scheduled, I’m doing the workshops from beginning to end!!! Thanks Dan.

Jan Wood
Singing on my own, has been on my bucket list for a while. I never thought I would do it…with Dans guidance I managed it, and even managed to sing the second song on my own as well! much to my own astonishment!
I do hope there will be more workshops. Every time we left, we were all buzzing and very happy.

Thank you to our funders for making this possible

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