Poems, classic and obscure, are given a new voice in songs crafted by South London band LiTTLe MACHiNe: Walter Wray, Steve Halliwell and Chris Hardy. Acoustic instruments, strong melodies and watertight harmonies create songs that draw on a thousand years of poetry from the Medieval to the Metaphysicals, the Romantics to the modern. William Carlos Williams, Blake, Shakespeare, Carol Ann Duffy…all get the treatment. Poetry is the best words in the best order and LiTTLe MACHiNe have been just as careful in creating new music that can move the feet for words that move the soul.
Singer and guitarist Walter Wray graduated from Sheffield University with a degree in English Lit and Music in 1980. Following brief flirtation with ‘alternative theatre’ during which he took a show to the Edinburgh fringe with young director Stephen Daldry and fledgling comedienne Linda Smith, he decided to pursue his teenage ambition to be Marc Bolan and threw himself into the post-punk music scene with paisley-clad, jangly four-piece “The Junk”. In 1987 he donned leather trousers and a big attitude to front Steve Halliwell’s bad-ass rock band “King Swamp”. The Swamps burned brightly but all too briefly. Despite critical acclaim and a reputation as an astonishing live act the band split up after making just two albums. Walter then ‘went solo’, writing and recording an album with ex Swamp boy and Sting sidesman Dominic Miller and lugging his acoustic guitar up and down the country; touring with Jools Holland, Julia Fordham, and INXS amongst others. Walter began collaborating with Steve Halliwell again on the LiTTLe MACHiNe poetry project in 2009.
Also played in King Swamp and was a session musician in the post punk world of Shriekback and other arthouse denizens.
Is a prize-winning poet and experienced folk-blues guitarist and song-writer. He has performed in every sort of venue from the Peel show via the Colston Hall to a pub near you.
Chris’s latest collection ‘Write Me A Few Of Your Lines’ is out now!
Published July 2012, by GRAFT POETRY,
Nicholas Bielby, Editor, GRAFT POETRY,
FRIZINGLEY HALL, FRIZINGHALL ROAD,
What they’re saying about it…
CH is the ideal poet as observer. Whether writing about foreign parts or reporting on what could be called the home front, his poems are not those of a distanced, disinterested onlooker. Instead, his gaze, exact and almost painterly is warmed by a regard now tender, now wryly witty, one that’s well served by a keen ear and a sure-footed sense of how to pace a line and indeed a whole poem. ‘Write Me A Few Of Your Lines’ is an intensely enjoyable collection.
(Prof. John Lucas, Shoestring Press).
Chris Hardy does a good line in titles, as often as not providing a tantalisingly ironic hint at what is to follow. And, in this substantial collection, what follows proves to be extraordinarily varied, though the poet’s voice is a measured, consistent one. There are poems in which a sense of place is seemingly effortlessly evoked, often through recourse to tiny, telling details. Others reflect on experience gained over the years, offering insight and sometimes wisdom.
(Jeremy Page, The Frogmore Papers).
ADAM LAY A’BOUNDEN (Anon) – listen
AH SUNFLOWER (Blake)
A HYMN TO GOD THE FATHER (Donne) – listen
THE ANGEL (Blake)
ANTHEM FOR DOOMED YOUTH (Owen) (With The Dug-out (Sassoon)) listen
AS I WALKED OUT ONE EVENING (Auden) – listen or download
A SUBALTERN’S LOVE SONG (Betjeman)
BEOWULF (Anon – extract Trans Heaney)
BLUE REMEMBERED HILLS (Houseman) – listen
BRIGHT STAR (Keats) – listen
COLD KNAP LAKE (Gillian Clarke)
DARK OLD STORM CLOUD (Hylda Sims)
DO NOT GO GENTLE INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT (D. Thomas) – listen
THE DUG-OUT (Sassoon) / ANTHEM FOR DOOMED YOUTH (Owen) – listen
EDEN ROCK (Causley)
FEAR NO MORE THE HEAT OF THE SUN (Shakespeare) – listen
THE ILIAD (Homer – extract)
JABBERWOCKY (Lewis Carroll)
KUBLA KHAN (Coleridge)
THE LAKE ISLE OF INNISFREE (Yeats) listen or download
LONDON (Blake) listen or download
THE LOVE SONG OF J. ALFRED PRUFROCK (Eliot)
MADAM LIFE’S A PIECE IN BLOOM (W.E.Henley) – listen
MEANTIME (Carol-Ann Duffy) – listen
THE MOON AND PLEIADES (Sappho) listen
MEDIOCRITIE IN LOVE REJECTED (Carew) – listen or download – or watch the video (live at the Much Wenlock festival 2012)
MY WAY (Liz Lochhead)
OVERHEARD IN COUNTY SLIGO (Gillian Clarke)
OZYMANDIAS (Shelley) listen or download
PARADISE LOST (Milton – extract)
THE POET OFFERS HIS WARES (John Rety) – video (live at the Much Wenlock festival 2012)
THE RAIN IT RAINETH EVERYDAY (Shakespeare) listen
RED WHEEL BARROW (W. Carlos-Williams) listen
SANTA FE (Kavita Jindal) listen or download
SO WE’LL GO NO MORE A’ROVING (Byron) listen
SUBTERRANEAN HOMESICK BLUES (Dylan)
THE SUMMONER’S TALE (Chaucer – extract)
THIS BE THE VERSE (Larkin) – listen c/w HIGH WINDOWS (Larkin) – listen or watch the video of us playing both Larkin Poems live at the Union Theatre, Southwark
ULYSSES (Tennyson – extract)
VALENTINE (Carol Ann Duffy)
WESTERN WIND (Anon) listen or download
WHITE HELIOTROPE (Arthur Symons)