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A project to record eighteen settings of William Soutar poems with original music from Kevin MacKenzie, Debra Salem and Paul Harrison.
91 backers pledged £2,052 to help bring this project to life.

About

IN A SMA ROOM an album of William Soutar poems set to music project video thumbnail
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A bit about Soutar

Ask most people in Perth who William Soutar is and they will probably be able to tell you he was a poet from the ‘Fair City’. There is an exhibition about him in the library, a small theatre named after him, a house to visit where he lived and died, a competition for school children to read his poems, and sculptures inspired by his poetry in Perth’s High Street. But outside Perth, Soutar has not gained the wider recognition that he deserves.  He is something of a forgotten treasure in 21st century Scotland, taught in universities but too rarely in schools outwith Perth. Though he wrote poems in English, his most notable work was in Scots, a language he grew up speaking, and was desperate to preserve. http://www.williamsoutar.com

His poems lend themselves to being set to music and it was a joy for us to get the chance to do exactly that. It began with a commission from the Friends of William Soutar in 2012 which gave the three of us (Kevin MacKenzie, Paul Harrison, Debra Salem) the opportunity to turn eighteen of his poems into songs. Thirteen of these songs became part of IN A SMA ROOM, a work of music and theatre which included monologues from characters in Soutar's life through the vehicle of a medium trying to conjure up Soutar in her 'medium' show.  The production went on a small Scottish tour and then, in 2014, it was accepted into the ‘Made in Scotland’ showcase within the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.  

This production was just a great way to tell people about Soutar's work and life.  With both incarnations of the show, people kept asking for recordings of the songs – so after a further 4 years of us not quite getting it together, with your help it can finally happen.

A bit about the recording and background

We want to record all eighteen songs and produce an accompanying songbook so that others can experience the poetry of William Soutar in this musical form. 

IN A SMA ROOM (the original title of the show and a line from the poem/song Ballad) will be an album which does not have a particular musical genre at its core but is a melting pot of styles where the musicians bring their backgrounds in folk, jazz and classical music to interpret each poem in a unique way. As with the show, the songs will be recorded with Debra (vocals), Paul (piano), Kevin (guitar) and Patsy Reid (strings). In addition there will be one or two musical guests. 

To record, produce and master this album the way we want to, a way that will do the poems and the music justice, is going to cost around £10,000 (this includes the songbook) and the more we can make from this Kickstarter the less we need to seek from other sources. We are aiming to have the project completed for our Perth Theatre gig on April 22nd 2019. This is to coincide with the first Soutar Festival of Words which will take place the following weekend.

Through the album and the songbook, we hope to get more people interested in this poet who was born in Perth in April 1898 and invalided out of the navy with sore feet at 21. His first volume of poems was published in 1923 and around the same time crippling pains in his legs put paid to his hopes of a teaching career. His family moved into the Soutar House in Wilson Street, Perth in 1924 and by the age of 32 he was bedridden, suffering from ankylosing spondylitis. He died of tuberculosis in 1943 aged 45. In the 13 years before his death, poems poured out of him as he lay in his bed looking out of his window. 

Please support us

If you  support us you will be part of making this project happen, of making it possible for this album to exist at all. There are many ways to get involved and it will be great to know that when your packages arrive in the post, or you click on 'download' – it will not only be our music that is getting out there, but the beautiful words of William Soutar.

Thank you,

Debra, Paul and Kevin

Risks and challenges

This is the first stage of our fundraising campaign and no matter what, it will happen. We have set, what we hope, is an achievable goal so that your contributions can be used but would really appreciate it if people continued to support us, even after the goal is reached. As we said, the more we from here, the less from elsewhere and our final target is around £10,000.

It is going to be tight getting this all done so that we can launch in April, but having a goal really helps us focus on the project and we are hopeful that we can achieve this time-frame.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £3 or more About US$ 4

    Email thank you

    It may be that you would just like to support our recording with a small donation. All support is appreciated and if you do we will send you a personal email just to say thank you for being part of making this album happen.

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    Pledge £6 or more About US$ 8

    Digital download of 3 album tracks

    When we have finished our album we will send you the links to download The Greetin Bairnie, The Moment, The Earth Abides. Excerpts from these songs can be heard on the short video accompanying this Kickstarter campaign.

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    9 backers
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    Pledge £12 or more About US$ 15

    Digital download of the full album

    We will send you the links to digitally download all tracks from IN A SMA ROOM.

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    18 backers
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    Pledge £15 or more About US$ 19

    CD of IN A SMA ROOM

    Receive IN A SMA ROOM in CD form and sent to your address.

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    16 backers
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    Pledge £15 or more About US$ 19

    IN A SMA ROOM Songbook (sheet music)

    We will send you the IN A SMA ROOM songbook containing music for all songs on the CD. This will be in the form of lead sheets with chords although some accompaniment may be added.

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    Pledge £20 or more About US$ 25

    Signed CD of IN A SMA ROOM

    Receive the CD of IN A SMA ROOM signed by all three composers.

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    Pledge £27 or more About US$ 34

    IN A SMA ROOM CD and Songbook

    A special deal to receive both the CD and the songbook for IN A SMA ROOM.

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    Pledge £40 or more About US$ 50

    Signed IN A SMA ROOM CD and Songbook

    A special deal to receive a signed CD and songbook for IN A SMA ROOM. These items will be signed by all three composers.

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    6 backers
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    Pledge £80 or more About US$ 101

    CD + Attending recording session

    Come and join us for one of our recording sessions as we record IN A SMA ROOM at a studio in Glasgow (between February and early April 2019). You will also receive a CD.

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    Pledge £100 or more About US$ 126

    A credit on the CD insert

    We will include your name in the thanks of the insert of the CD cover and send you two CDs.

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    Pledge £950 or more About US$ 1,200

    A house-gig playing songs from the album

    The band (3-4 piece) will come and perform songs from the album in your house plus give you 5 CDs and a copy of the songbook. Travel costs will be included within a 50 mile radius of Perth, Scotland. Costs will be charged if travel further afield is required. The date can be negotiated but must happen between May and September 2019.

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Funding period

- (30 days)