The Songbook of Unsingable Songs
Nonsense and surrealism in this show of songs for children
The songs in Stephen Deazley and Matt Harvey’s new songbook may be many things — funny, sad, silly, quirky. One thing they most certainly are not, however, is unsingable. So, why the superb — but cheekily misleading — title?
‘We both wanted to create something for children to sing,’ explains Deazley, ‘that was a licence for them to say things which perhaps they ought not to. That’s what makes them unsingable.’ Which means what? Swear words? Rude words? No, they’re just not singing about the stuff we adults usually foist upon them.
‘When we make something for children to perform, it’s usually very worthy,’ says Deazley, ‘and involves friendship or recycling or other things that grown-ups think are very important for children to know about. But children don’t behave like that — they enjoy little tragedies and nonsense. So we’ve tried to make something which sits in a childlike world better than an adult’s view of a childlike world.’
The result is Songs from the Unsingable Songbook, and award-winning composer Deazley and well-loved poet, Harvey have brought together 300 children to deliver it. Along with 14-piece band, Music at the Brewhouse, 150 Edinburgh children and 150 Glasgow children will entertain audiences with songs such as ‘Etiquette for Monkeys’.
‘Some of the songs are very surreal,’ says Deazley. ‘Some of them are very funny and one of them is terribly sad. They’re giving children a chance to be free, fully rounded little people. And because we’ve got a very noisy amplified band, which is a cross between classical and rock, it also introduces them to a new sound world.’
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Mon 2 Nov; Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Tue 3 Nov