English Garden

The next chapter of our Auricula Suite tale…

primula-auricula-taffeta

In our next song, many years have passed by, and Valentina embraces life in England, growing roses in her English garden. Millais’ painting is full of coded messages – the Victorian concept of ‘the language of flowers’. Red roses symbolise passion. In Millais’ painting of the lovers standing by the wall the young woman is trying to make her lover wear the white scarf that would protect him from persecution and possibly death, and he, despite his love for her refuses to renounce his faith. Here Canterbury Bells signify faith; and Nasturtiums, patriotism. Valentina settles in the East Coast of England, she marries and has a family. But she never did forget Raoul.

I work the land here, I rise each morning
I thank the Lord and reap what I have sown.
I left my homeland, but kept my God-fear
I looked up to him when I set off alone.

I’m long since married; I have three daughters,
I love them dearly and we are family
And my garden is full of roses
I give them water and feed them tenderly.

My husband loves me; we work together
And spend the evenings until the fire burns low.
But when my candle is pale and smoky
I think back to you, I never let you go.

.
Our last embrace by the wall,
You kept your faith, you would not lie
The broken bell signalled your fall,
I never knew if you would live or die

In the darkness we lay down in the heather
One kiss to last forever, before I went to sea.
My eldest daughter, she looks so like you.
But home is here now, what is and what will be.

.
I made my life here; I rise each morning
I thank the Lord and reap what I have sown
I left my homeland but kept my God-fear
I looked up to Him when I set off alone

.
I made my life here; I rise each morning
I thank the Lord and reap what I have sown
And in my garden, my English garden
I tend my roses, and water them…alone.

© 2012  Lou Duffy-Howard

Auriculas grown and photographed by Richard Duffy-Howard

Chapter 3 The Same Sky

Following Valentina’s tale is Raoul’s story.

Raoul stands by his faith and stays behind. It’s a sad song now that his lover has gone. He looks up at the heavens and feels comfort in knowing that wherever she is, she’ll look up and see the same moon, the same stars…

…The Same Sky

The Transit of Venus

I don’t know where you are
But I guess where you’ll be
Under the same sky as me
Where you’ll be, well I guess
‘Cross the cold northern sea
Follow the same star as me

Now you’re gone

In a strange land you are
But not alone refugee
Under the same moon as me
Where you’ll be, well I guess
But I know what you’ll see
See the same sky as me

Now you’re gone

I don’t know where you are
But I guess where you’ll be
Under the same sky as me
Where you’ll be, well I guess
Growing flowers for me…

I feel the same sun!

Under the same sky

© 2012 Duffy-Howard

Stranger in a Strange Land

Our new short film ‘Stranger in a Strange Land’ is ready for release. We have made the film of Dilzar’s story especially for our “My Ancestors were French” project. The six minute long film illuminates Dilzar’s evocative story that Rich and Dilzar worked on together to complement Richard Lees’ Rock against Racism poster exhibition at Wilberforce House Museum in Hull (for Wilberforce 2007).

“Wow, what a beautiful film! It made me feel very emotional.” Abby Wright

“If people can clear their minds and watch this film and listen they may rethink and see the real picture for people who are sometimes just looking to be accepted, no matter where you are from. We all carry hidden sadness.” Ron Wilke

Watch the film and see how it makes you feel…

Award winning filmmaker, Quentin Budworth, shot the film of Dilzar talking about his experiences of what it feels like to be a refugee in a strange land, and how music can bring people of different cultures together, overcoming adversity and creating something good and new.

Rich documented the days filming with a series of images in the gallery below. Click on in image to enlarge, and scroll through…

Stranger in a Strange Land will be shown and used at the workshops and at the celebratory event in May.

Chapter 2 Into the Sun

My Ancestors were French…a tale inspired by the little alpine flower, the Primula auricula and the story of how it came to be grown and displayed on Auricula Theatres here in England. A fascinating folk tale of love, loss and new beginnings, exploring the significance of ancestry and identity, drawing on the influences of the first refugees to come to England in the 16th Century – the Huguenot people…

Fleet Street cropChapter Two – Into the Sun

Here begins Valentina’s tale. Young lovers, Valentina and Raoul separate when she escapes persecution and comes to England as a refugee. Valentina boards a boat for the East Coast of England, leaving her lover behind to an uncertain fate, possibly death. She brings Primula auricula flower seeds and the skills to grow the little flowers here as a reminder of home. The Huguenot people were skilled artisans and were well accepted in their new land. Although Valentina misses her loved ones she is relieved to be travelling over the sea into the unknown and a new life. Valentina says she’ll never forget Raoul…but as is often the case, madness and the wind are blowing over the sea…

Quentin and Dilzar started filming yesterday…

We have started work on a film of the evocative responses Rich and Dilzar gathered for Richard Lees’ ‘Seeking Asylum in Hull’ poster exhibition at Wilberforce House Museum (during Wilberforce 2007) and at The Lamp club in Hull.

Quentin filmed Dilzar talking about his experiences of what it feels like to be a stranger in a strange land, and how music can bring people of different cultures together, overcoming adversity and creating something good and new.

Richard documented the days filming; here are a couple of photos from the shoot…

Outdoor shooting begins
Outdoor shooting begins
In the bag
In the bag