One of the most successful enterprises in Medical Humanities has been the Rosetta Life project, which works with hospice patients to produce art of all kinds. The Rosetta Requiem focuses on music. Here is a press release on one of the songs. Go here now to download the song and support this very worthwhile project.
We Laughed at number 15 in the UK pop charts
'We Laughed' entered the UK pop singles chart at number 11 last week and is still holding its place in the charts in its second week - number15. The song had its first airing on Jeremy Vine's BBC Radio 2 programme on 20 September, prompting an immediate response from listeners wanting to know how to get hold of a copy of the song. It is written by Billy Bragg and Maxine Edgington, a hospice user from Trimar Hospice, Weymouth and was produced as part of the Rosetta Life song cycle, Rosetta Requiem, funded by Culture Online. It celebrates the love between Maxine and her teenage daughter, Jess, and isinspirational as a legacy from a mother for her daughter.
We have no commercial backing for the song and rely on word of mouth tokeep the single in the charts. We need to sell another 1000 cds tomake the top ten. If you have not yet bought a copy of the cd, pleasedo so now so we can keep Maxine's song in the charts and Trimar Hospicein the news! We Laughed is also available as a download from iTunes and other music download stores. See our Home page, www.rosettalife.org, for links to CD and download online stores.
Billy Bragg described how the songs came about: "The three songs on this CD are the product of a series of song-writing workshops that I conducted at the Trimar Hospice in Weymouth during February 2005. I was invited to take part in theproject by Rosetta Life, a charity dedicated to helping those facingterminal illness to share their experiences through the medium of art, poetry, film or song. "Every Friday morning for six weeks, I worked with half a dozen women who came to the hospice for palliative care as they fought against theeffects of breast cancer. After a couple of weeks of talking about the process of song-writingand a few singalongs, the ‘Friday Girls’ began opening up to the ideaof writing a song. Maxine Edgington had the clearest idea of what shewanted to do. In our first one-on-one session, she pulled a framed picture out of her bag andsaid ‘Look, I’ve been given six months to live. I don’t want to mess about. I want to write the song of this picture’.
"When her condition was diagnosed in November 2004, Maxine’s thoughts turned immediately to how she would be remembered, particularly by her fifteen year old daughter, Jessica. "Determined that Jess should have positive memories of her after the grieving was over, Maxine commissioned a professional photo shoot which produced beautiful images of mother and daughter smiling together, looking as if they had not a care in the world. This was how she wanted to be remembered. As Maxine says ‘Cancer is terrible, but at least it gives you the chanceto put things right with those you love’.
"One of these photos, which can be seen on the cover of this CD, was to be the inspiration for Maxine’s song. Over the following weeks, she wrote reams of words, pouring her feelings out onto the page. My job was to take the words that best expressed the sentiments in thephotograph and shape them into a song. I provided the melody, but thewords are Maxine’s alone. She called the song ‘We Laughed’. In June, I got together with some local musicians and we recordedthis CD. The additional tracks feature lyrics written by two of the ‘Friday Girls’, Lisa Payne and Veronica Barfoot. That there is not ashred of self-pity or morbidity in any of these songs is a testament tothe spirit of these three women. I found the experience of collaborating with them to be inspirational.
You can find out more about how Maxine and Billy wrote the song, including short film clips of them talking about the process. Rosetta Life, the Trimar Hospice, and the women will benefit from the sales of this CD.