February March

IMG_20200322_121908Photograph from Quaker Children’s (online zoom group) Rainbows for change 

“There is a candle in your heart, ready to be kindled.
You feel it, don’t you?” ~ Rumi

 

Corona (relaxations), album on Spotify and Youtube, Preparations for Crossing borders festival with Hakuna (my friend Godfrey teaching me Swahili), Song Fest in Yorkshire, (interview with Emily Smith Middlesborough Asylum seeker choir) and Great Lakes Peace Trust show with Tom Robinson June (maybe)

Screen Shot 2020-03-24 at 08.48.06At the time of writing I’m at home with a candle . I just tuned out from listening to Bernie Sanders doing a live rally with Neil Young – I enjoy listening to Bernie speak and I could carry on, but it’s getting late! 

Out of my roof window I can look across miles of London, over toward the centre and the east. It’s been quiet, out on my bike over the weekend the streets were almost empty (I didn’t take these pictures but a friend did). And you know for all the people I’m feeling connected to them in a way somehow deeper than by anything I’ve experienced before – close it seems to how I feel about Climate Change, though this feels undeniable, no protest is needed to see the effects, it’s happening and the world is stopping.

3 small top down (Covent Garden, Chinatown, Southbank. Large one, Southbank

My thoughts on it are quite simple; I feel we’ve made it, so to speak. Pandemics, as climate change is, are in my view life responding, as a stressed body would. Where does the stress come from? We are inextricably linked to each other and the natural world, and of the species among countless, our dominance of the earth is clear- as Alanna Shaikh (see below) says, ‘Human choices are driving us into a position where we’ll see more outbreaks…we are pushing into the last wild spaces’. To look at it another way I am touched by the idea that this is an opportunity to reflect, to change.

With the upmost respect to all who have passed away and families.

Two links that shaped my views an article from the guardian on the links between climate change and Coronavirus and a Tedtalk from Global health expert Alanna Shaikh about human behaviour and the situation.

In response to unrest, concern and fear I decided to offer something I can do here; record some relaxations if you visit the Rest Relaxation menu you’ll find them.

My intention is to reach you where you are to calm you for 15 minutes at a time.

joeholtaway.com/rest-relaxations


 

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My album More The Love That’s Given is now on Spotify and Youtube. It’s been lovely to hear from folks all over the world , music is so accessible now, I knew this, though I’m finding it takes releasing something to really feel this.

The sharing pages are running and I’ll get back to them in the coming weeks – thanks so far to friends who have bravely shared on depression, gender identity, the environment and other themes.

thanks Foxx’s Frequencyfor the post.

https://soundcloud.com/joe_holtaway/deep-relaxation

https://soundcloud.com/joe_holtaway/deep-relaxation

When I started writing this post I was contemplating the Government’s recent decision to vote against protections for child refugees to be reunited with their families. The decision, one that has been very much in debate the UK parliament, reminded me of an underlying position of closedness that continues to affect the lives of the most vulnerable

For the foreseeable future Asylum seekers in the UK have a pause from reporting (a sometimes weekly expectation) while we are in the lockdown, some small relief for now. Around the world though, in camps especially it hits hardest (guardian article) and will this lead to tighter borders?

I was sent this form a friend who works closely with Stand Up To Racism, raising awareness around the blame some have put onto certain groups at this time that feels like an entry point to action.

In the UK many NGOs continue to work with migrants arriving into the country and I’ve found in my little bit of volunteering, relationships that fill me with wonder ‘beyond borders’ –

here’s one – with Godfreys permission , here’s me trying to get my voice around  some Swahili , Godfrey and I will be playing at the Crossing Borders festival in South London when we are have a new date later in the year (we hope)

and more about the centre…


Along similar lines I had the honour of being a part of SongFest in Yorkshire last month alongside the Middlesborough Asylum Seeker Choir, Scottish singer Yvonne Lyon and other performers and workshop leaders. My sincerest appreciation for it’s organiser Julia Haigh (and lovely welcoming family – including dear Naomi who those who read my album notes will know plays Cello on A Thousand Hands and We Go Sailing

Here is Emily Smith from MAP (Choir leader) and a song old spiritual Down To The River with Yvonne Lyon, thanks for asking me up Yvonne

To close, this may happen it may not we’ll see. Touched by an invitation from BBC6’s Tom Robinson to support at a benefit for the Great Lakes Peace Trust – June 12th St Austell Theatre – here’s Tom whole-heartedly rocking out in 1979

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December/January

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photograph from New Year retreat walk – credit Ha

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Release of my first album More The Love That’s Given/ Foxx’s Frequency January Playlists/ Sharings through the year (this month depression) and Oak Tree Film/Contemplations on whiteness.


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Many thanks to friends who came to mark the release of More The love That’s Given in December – it was a lovely evening with many friends and many instruments, many stories; it felt good.

The album (and acoustic version) is on now Spotify, a stream of the full album is also available here on Youtube thanks to Canadian music angel Mr Foxx’s Frequency 🙂 and the album has it’s own page here – with stories of the songs and…

an invitation to share…

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Started last year I would like to continue to invite stories of the songs to collect together here. My wish is to do one a month through this year starting with ‘depression’ the theme of the album’s opening song Be Still.

If you feel you can share please send me a note through the contact page and we can see together how best to do it. It would appear here with your name or anonymously.

 


January playlists and a live video from aforementioned Foxx’s Frequency  featuring a couple of songs from the album, Lay Down and There’s A Place alongside many other songwriters from around the world. Click through to find many songs I have been touched by in the last few weeks – and Oak Tree.


thank you my friends Josh Donaldson (for the idea) and Will Saunders for helping film on the day for Josh’s project Concious Film Company
This is ‘Oak Tree’ and song about loving trees in all their beauty and awesomeness!
Its also about ecology and our relationship to nature: in the words of Thich Nhat Hanh, a buddhist monk who many of you know I love,
‘We need to change our way of thinking and seeing things. We need to realise that the Earth is not just our environment. The Earth is not something outside of us. Breathing with mindfulness and contemplating your body, you realise that you are the Earth. You realise that your consciousness is also the consciousness of the Earth. Look around you–what you see is not your environment, it is you.
When we can truly see and understand the Earth, love is born in our hearts. We feel connected. That is the meaning of love: to be at one’
good quote isn’t it ?!


and lastly I’ll be returning to All Saints Community Church in January to begin recording new songs.

I have 4 which I plan to do first:

Listen To Women/Young Colours/This Skin and Oh Friends.

3 are written and one, This Skin, is being written. This is about whiteness, having white skin and the history tied into that and how that’s playing out in the world now – my reading into this subject has been the below books and podcasts – I wonder if others have also been reading and if so would like to share?

 

In many ways a concerning start to 2020; may you find peace and loving strength in your own ways as we begin the new year

love

Joe

 

Eula Biss — Let’s Talk About Whiteness

john a. powell — Opening to the Question of Belonging

 

Depression sharing

 

Thank you for coming by the depression and stillness sharing, the writing of Be Still is explained above; a story of a friend who took time out to find peace in an emotionally challenging time. Statistics on depression and anxiety show how in this country we are currently at an all time high, (a little under 1 in 10). My feeling is that stopping (stillness) and sharing about experiences together brings so much understanding and is a way to a better kinder society.  If you’d like to add your sharing you can send me a note in the contact page; named, anonymous, written, recorded or filmed and I’ll add it below.

love, Joe


Alice, London 

volunteer with The Samaritans, emotional support helpline


Sade, London

a did you know education film about depression

found this for you …

 

Robbie, London

my friend Robbie, a songwriter, shares a song, 

Hi Joe,
here’s a song about depression – if I recall (can’t quite remember, I guess this must be around 2009-10ish?), I wrote the lyrics as a poem and then set them to music. I’m speaking to myself in the 3rd person about moving through/away from depression and my relationship to those experiences.
I also just had a new Mini Korg with nice sounds on it so really got into playing around with that!
Here’s the lyrics below.
x

COME STAY

You wanted to stay, you wanted to run

You wanted to feel it, so come, come, come

Comforting grey, catapulting away

Catastophies may stay, may stay, stay

We count through the week, we count through the day

We count all these moments when you’re going our way

You wanted to run, you wanted to stay

You only ever wanted to play, play, play

But you started to fade, fading away

You wouldn’t believe the things you used to say

All vision is blurred, with fire and word

And need to be faithful to all we observed

CHORUS

With daylight streetlamps all starting to glow

We couldn’t have known where they wanted to go

Waiting for night, they’re still waiting to hold

And waiting to feel what it’s like to be old

Oceans apart, and moments away

And satellites breeding as they float astray

Stand at the beach, stand at the start

And stand at the temple, and stand your steep heart

CHORUS


Colus, in Greece

I read the Guardian UK website newspaper and found this article to share with you,
thank you for the idea –  ‘What is depression and why is ir rising ‘

Sam, Iowa,

Tedex learning film

found this for the page – ‘depression the leading cause of disability in the world’


Illa ,Cornwall

My goodness what to say.

I’m better now thank God, thanks friends and thank the Samaritans mentioned above. I say better, well, I am managing and I see things more clearly now.

about 5 years ago I began experiencing dark heavy feelings, I would wake up in the middle of the night feeling trapped and dangerously scared. My body did not feel my own somehow. I had no idea what to do with these feelings. I was in my early 20s recently moved from home and didn’t want to worry my parents so I was just with it night after sleepless night and heavy day after heavy day – this went on up and down better worse from about 6 months until I rang the Samaritans – over the next month I spoke to a number of people who didn’t judge me or tell me I was a nutter. They just gently brought me around and I was so glad to have made that call. It’s given me the strength and interest to look into it myself and I’m reading that many people have similar experiences and that was a relief , I’ve worked through it with books, talking therapy and mindfulness- I’ve come to think of it now as my share to move through thanks for reading.


Ali, Stroud (UK)

Hi Jo, when I read your post it reminded me of an email I wrote to my family explaining my feelings during the time I was experiencing some depression, I wrote: ‘it felt like being tossed about in turbulent waves, barely able to keep my head up, and going deep down into the depression, probably as a method to avoid the pain and trauma.’ Describing in struggle & difficultly of the feeling & constant life crisis I was going through. Pl ase feel free to include this quote in your project. With thanks Ali


Manu, London

‘Ive never found myself in such a deep hole…’

My friend Manu shares about periods of depression 


Annabelle, London,

‘this is a tough one because I feel depressed at the moment’.

My friend Annabelle and a sharing of current depression…

October and November

 

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“Colorful demonstrations and weekend marches are vital but alone are not powerful enough to stop wars. Wars will be stopped only when soldiers refuse to fight, when workers refuse to load weapons onto ships and aircraft, when people boycott the economic outposts of Empire that are strung across the globe. ”
Arundhati Roy,

Extinction Rebellion October uprising in London/ 2 songs live recording from the London Social Arts Festival/ interviews with American Buddhist abbot and Anthropologist Joan Halifax and environmental activist and author Charles Eisensteen/ and preparations for the release of my first album ‘More The Love That’s Given’

I chose the above quote from Roy’s ‘Public Power in The Age Of Empire’ to share the spirit, as I felt it, of the October Uprising in London, 2 weeks of demonstrations for action on the previously declared climate emergency. My experience is here in an interview featured in ‘Humans of XR’ a project to collect voices of those involved; including teachers, doctors, scientists, grandparents, faith leaders and more.

‘I came along this morning with my placard and a decision to take part in some kind of arrestable action. And just at the moment I came to Trafalgar Square, this hearse beside me was driven in, and people locked on to it from the inside and people locked on to it from the front. And the thought welled up in me, I’m going to lie down with these people. Here’s the moment. So I’ve been lying here for the last 8 hours.

I’ve never been arrested before. It’s not that I want to be arrested, it’s more I feel compelled to do it. The more I’ve been to Extinction Rebellion legal trainings, and heard people’s experiences of being arrested, I’ve felt: ‘I can do that. That’s something I’m willing to do.’ I have privilege to be able to lie here – when so many people in the world dare not protest for fear of harm or because they’re just surviving.

I could have just stood here with my sign and some people might have read it. But I know that since I’ve been taking action by lying down here in the road, many more people are reading my sign and taking photos. This action is symbolic, too – of stopping business as usual. There are poor people around the world being affected by business as usual: the investment in fossil fuels continues, there’s massive amounts of wealth being accumulated by relatively few people, while many poor people around the world are just surviving, because of natural disasters linked to those investments. I just don’t think it’s OK. And I’m here stopping the traffic, stopping the flow of London to show my concern.

I’ve considered a lot of things, lying here for the past 8 hours. The predominant thing is the love that is in human beings. When I arrived I had my waterproofs and some water but now: I’m wearing a hat, gloves, wrapped in a blanket, on a tarpaulin, and a hot water bottle under my back. All of that has come from different people throughout the day. Ten minutes hasn’t passed without someone saying: ‘are you OK, can I get you anything?’ And saying thank you. The community within Extinction Rebellion has been amazing, but also lots of other communities of people – it’s a massive effort by so many people from so many walks of life.’

Joe, singer songwriter, interviewed while lying near a Trafalgar Square road blockade created by a hearse with people locked on inside and outside

 

and a short interview with Dr Gail Bradbrooke, one of the founders.

An emotional 2 weeks, especially with the difficulties experienced by demonstrators and commuters in Canning Town (you may have seen footage of activists being pulled from a tube carriage by angry members of the public) My personal response in divisive  moments like this is to breathe as deeply as I can and try and understand it from both sides: I was saddened to see the violence and also saddened that the action went ahead in an area of London where many people live in lower income areas; representing much more those struggling from the inequality, an inequality that many believe is a root cause of our situation.  From within XR (a bit) it may be of interest to know that a poll was circulated on the action and a large majority said to not do the action. Passions are high and I’m glad no one was seriously hurt.

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2 songs from The London Social Arts Festival. Held at the cosy Lodge space, a community arts venue in East London curator Joanna Puchala and friends bring together this annual event to to give to voice to artists engaging in social themes in different ways through D

dance, story, spoken word, song and more.

Profits from the event went to Black Women Rising a charity set up by Leane Pero community dance advocate and mentor supporting BAME women in arts and business.

Oak Tree and Lay Down with sharings about ecology and migration.

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2 interviews featuring my music to share from my friend Phil’s podcast series. Phil is preparing to launch a site collecting interviews over the years with artists and writers including Sam Smith, Anoushka Shankar, Ziggy Marley and Ram Dass –

Soundcloud link here

here are 2, one with Buddhist Abbot and anthropologist Joan Halifax talking about her book of earlier this year ‘Standing On The Edge’; life as an abbot and work within the hospice movement.

https://soundcloud.com/phillc/roshi-joan-halifax-standing-at-the-edge

JoanHalifax

and Environmentalist Charles Eisenstein, talking about current work and new book ‘Climate, A New Story’.

https://soundcloud.com/phillc/charles-eisenstein-may-2019

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At the time of writing, I’m just bringing together the recordings and artwork for my first album, ‘More The Love That’s Given’, if I don’t send this out before it’s up, it may come with a second mail introducing the album!

I’ll leave it there for now 🙂

with kind regards

Joe

 

 

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More The Love That’s Given

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(January 2020)

Hello

Welcome to More The Love That’s Given

below is the full and acoustic version album stream and a spoken word sharing about each song and it’s theme by myself and other friends.
The reason for the name of the album is shared there with the song ‘So Around’, that named it.
For a download mp3 or WAV please contact me

love Joe

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For a copy of More The Love That's Given artwork

More The Love That’s Given (Acoustic)

At the encouragement of friends I have recorded the album also just with guitar and voice.

More The Love That’s Given (sharings)

The themes of each of the songs are spoken about here in a collection of conversations I had during the time of recording the album, thanks to all who took part.

You may have come to album looking for my cover of IDLES Danny Nedelko, played on BBC6 Music Tom Robinson and (Tom in for) Steve Lamaq and Cerys Matthews. I’m glad to send you an mp3/wav of the song if you wish, and I encourage you to visit IDLES page and All is Love fan page, they are a band taking on social issues with heart and electric guitars!

For the sharing pages click here. new ones will be added as I collect stories, please send anything through the ‘contact’ page’

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Thank you to the friends who played on these recodings:

(l-r) Sophie Lowedahl and Jon Ryan (violins), Tim Monkey (drums), Sergio Costa (Bass), Nick Kenrick (Sax), Andy Hall (Trumpet), Jill Ryan (Melodian, Walter/Wilma Glaubitt (Harmonica), Sophie Grunmayer (Oboe), Naomi Haigh (Cello), Manu Farenzena (Piano/vocals), Tom Pughe (French Horn),  Max West (Flute), Tom Manwell (Piano),

Further Acknowledgements

To my family and all friends who have in different ways inspired and encouraged me to continue writing and playing,

To Tom Robinson (BBC6) Sarah Gosling and David White (BBC Introducing) Mr Foxx’s Frequency and Steffi at Find A Song for support and encouragement.

To Chris and Brian at Chris Graham Mastering for their sound knowledge, experience and love

I would also like to make mention to Elaine and the crew of the Penlee Lifeboat in Penzance who, this time 5 years ago rescued me floating on my board out in Mount’s Bay in Cornwall and supporting me and my family during and afterward, your love and courage is with me every day.

Joe Holtaway and family say thank you to Penlee RNLI crew

I would also like to mention Stephanie, who appears in the sharing on homelessness above that goes with A Thousand Hands. Stephanie passed away since the recording was made and is always with me in spirit.x

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