And Did Those Feet is a unique name for a music group, one of those names perhaps, that when first encountered the reader is not certain if it's the title of the album or the name of the act. Once you come to terms with the name and understand where the music is coming from it makes absolute sense to have a group called "And Did Those Feet."
Of course you know the immortal words "And Did Those Feet" but then you can't remember where they come from, even though the name of the composer is on the tip of your tongue. This is what the experts say,
There is something uniquely British about the whole affair, "And Did Those Feet," couldn’t be anything else really. This takes the writer nicely along to introduce the founder and composer of the music, "Hymn For A Glad Tomorrow," one Richard Ellin a quiet unassuming chap, a product of Chelsea Art Schooland the University Of Life.
When we interviewed him for this biography Richard told the writer with a wry sense of glee, " was in my class at college, and I played in you know, played the famous Albert Hall gig. In fact I'm on the inner sleeve of the Portsmouth Sinfonia album "," chewing my violin."
It is true; Richard Ellin was in the Portsmouth Sinfonia alongside Brian Eno and Gavin Bryars. Richard was playing the violin at that stage of his musical career and what better place to develop your skills than playing alongside people of varying ability and it should be said, courage!
Today this son of Yorkshire is more at home with the classical guitar. Although not formally trained in the traditional sense, Richard has across the last thirty years sought tuition and countenance from masters of the instrument. A family man, Richard has spent most of his working life until recent times in London, before moving to Ceredigion in Wales.
With a burning desire to play music Richard found the additional need to compose music and lyric. Moving to a more spiritual location and a different pace and way of life he has been able to focus properly on his love of music.
Richard formed "And Did Those Feet" back in 1992 as a vehicle for his own compositions. The beauty of the group is that it can be expanded to suit the music or venue requirements. This flexible use of musicians and instruments was well displayed in the recording of their first album "Spirit Of The Age." And Did Those Feet second album entitled "Hymn For A Glad Tomorrow" features fifteen musicians for the recording process.
Richard Ellin along with being a fine musician has another talent, in that he knows a good musician when he hears one, this unique vision of another musicians ability is reflected in the superb performance displayed by every musician and singer taking part in "Hymn For A Glad Tomorrow"
INA WILLIAMS (Vocalist) Ina Williams has won most singing competitions that exist throughout Wales including the prestigious"Blue Ribbon" at the National Eisteddfod. Married to Gareth Morgan the couple have a two children. The Morgan family live on a farm at Llanfynydd, Carmarthenshire, Wales. Ina is very proud of her Welsh heritage right down to owning and riding a "Welsh Cob Stallion."
Ina Morgan to give Ina her married title is a primary school teacher working with nursery age children and as Ina puts it "I'm responsible for all the music throughout the school" small wonder when you look at her achievements in music.
Ina started her singing career at the age of four appearing at a local Eisteddfod. This experience started a pattern that was to continue throughout her life, Ina says “I’m very grateful to my mother for her gentle encouragement and support with my singing, my mother is the one that helped me. Mum and I must have made it to every Eisteddfod in Wales sometimes two or three at a time."
Aged five Ina won the Urdd Eisteddfod held in Colwyn Bay, and at the age of seven she won a radio competition on a programme called "Helo Bobl." By the age of eight Ina was a dab hand at performing, clinching first place at the International Eisteddfod at Llangollen. By 1982 Ina was a soloist with the Llandovery Choir performing in her homeland and a European engagement when the choir visited France.
By now Ina was a recognised talent throughout Wales having won at every known Eisteddfod in the land. The winning continued a pace when in 1989 Ina won first prize in the girl’s solo competition at the National Eisteddfod.
The Llandovery Choir returned to France again in 1990 with Ina as their soloist; and the winning continued with this daughter of Wales picking up first place in the folk song section for fifteen to nineteen year olds at the Urdd Eisteddfod.
Once a winner always a winner and so it was that in the same year Ina won the solo song section for girls at the National Eisteddfod. Not content with one prize Ina picks up second place in the Eisteddfod at Llangollen this time for folk song under nineteen section.
Ina Williams studied music at Trinity College in Carmarthen gaining a Bachelor of Education in Music; well she would, wouldn’t she! The years moved on and in 1992 we see Ina winning best soloist in the Inter Colleges Eisteddfod receiving the Sir Geraint Evans award.
Next Ina finds herself on television appearing in master classes, not content with this new found fame Ina wins the Stuart Burrows Scholarship In Music at Trinity College. Then came the big one, Ina receives a "Blue Ribbon" at the National Eisteddfod, winning three competitions outright plus a scholarship. For Ina this was a dream come true, the little girl who nervously held her mother's hand all those years ago when at the age of four she made her way to her first Eisteddfod had more than fulfilled all the promise that her mother recognised in Ina from day one.
It is only now through the auspices of "And Did Those Feet" that Ina's voice will be heard for the first time outside of Wales. If Ina's recent performance in concert for BBC Radio Wales is anything to go by we all have a treat in store, as one listener who phoned the station put it "you can't beat a proper singer, what a voice."
Cecilia Jones was born in Paradise Hill, Saskatchewan, Canada and raised on farms in northern British Columbia, near to the Rocky Mountains in Chetwynd (Moccasin Flats), East Pine & Kilkaren – Dawson Creek.
Cecilia Jones is the ninth child in a musical family of 15 children (8 boys & 7 girls). All members of the family either play a musical instrument or sing, or both.
Her teenage years saw her in a local theatre club performing in musicals such as Godspell, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, Wizard of Oz etc. In the summertime she worked as a playground leader with children aged 6-12 often arranging sing-songs on the school bus (together with her brothers & sisters!!) to pass the time on an hour long ride home from school. Singing was featured in our daily activities (i.e. singing songs as they marched along on hikes through the woods (i.e. Purple Stew).
She arrived in the UK when she was eighteen and lived in & around London for twenty three years before moving to Wales with her partner Dave.
Cecilia continued singing in choirs and small groups for enjoyment and charitable purposes. As a result Cecilia has sung in places as wide ranging as children’s hospital wards, care homes for the elderly, shopping centers, pubs, weddings etc. Some of the charities supported were NSPCC, Worldwide Fund for Nature & the Red Cross
Once in the United Kingdom Cecilia became particularly interested in traditional folk music of the British Isles and of other countries. She is also interested in the various singing forms from around the world.
Through the years Cecilia has recorded for various ad hoc music projects and also a commercial for BBC Children’s Television, celebrating 40 yrs (sang “Brain Food” in 5 different harmonies!)
Cecilia Jones first started working with Richard Ellin about five years ago on a library project to produce background music for a book entitled Tales of a Night Watchman. Around the same time they also started working together on original material from Richard & Nick Woodeson together with a mix of traditional folk songs to record the C.D. “In the Wake” on the Terra Nova label
Since moving to Wales Cecilia Jones has performed many live concerts with And Did Those Feet becoming part of a thriving and much respected Welsh music scene. Musicians Notes
Harvey Summers is an arranger/composer whose credits include a Triple Fengshui CD for a Dutch label as well as two of his own albums. He is currently writing a movie score for a Canadian film company.
The Mosaic Orchestra are a group of London based musicians interested in atmospherics in their music. Geoff Duckworth at one time played in the ‘Hot Chocolate’ road band.
Jacqueline Sen Gupta was the featured singer on the first CD of ‘And Did those Feet’ – Spirit of the Age.
Natasha (Ayelet Amitai) is an Israeli opera singer who has sung in lead roles with the Israeli Philharmonic. Her most noted performance was Verdi's Aida under the baton of Zubin Mehta (conductor of The Three Tenors)
Sally Hayes is a noted writer in West Wales where she continues to write in her very distinctive style of lyrical and thoughtful poetry.
Mini Music Makers are a group of young singers (under 7) associated with the Community Arts Centre in Lancashire
SONG NOTES BY RICHARD ELLIN
1. UNDERNEATH THE PALE MOON
The chorus of this song is an example of the ancient philosophical saying ‘as above, so below'. The verses are about the passage of time together with hinting as to the moon’s effect upon us all.
2. HYMN FOR A GLAD TOMORROW
I was working on three songs at the same time and none of them were quite gelling. Finally, in frustration, I threw them all up in the air (so to speak!) found new melodies and this is how they landed. I do hope people can find solace in this song, especially when things are getting ‘all too much’.
3. AVALON YET
This is an attempt to re-create concise Celtic poetry in a song about the healing of the mind.
4. TO CLEMENTINE CHURCHILL
I had worked on an instrumental for three guitars, piano and effects. Although quite a compelling and haunting melody, it was somehow incomplete on its own. Sally Hayes had read to me her composition "To Clementine Churchill" about two months earlier, and the references to the flowers gave me the clue that the two were strangely complimentary.
Picture: Clementines room wthin "The Cabinet War Rooms" located just off Whitehall at the rear of the Treasury building, next to the Clive Steps and only a few moments walk from 10 Downing St. Visit http://gallery.nen.gov.uk to see more Picture Credit Brendan Routledge http://gallery.nen.gov.uk/image71486-.html
5. MORE THAN LIFE
Although newly written, the melody echoes from an older era - almost like a Celtic ‘Greensleeves’. Perhaps there are some words waiting for this tune and it will re-appear as a song in the future.
6. ONCE THERE WAS A CHOO CHOO
When we are young, our mistakes should cost us nothing. Why, for example, would anyone want to criticise the young boy who is out of synch with the rest of the children in this piece? This inclusion is my own little ode to the innocent and unsullied! Music with no commerce. 7. TWO NIGHTINGALES
The sculptor Henry Moore once said that if he could learn and experience at the same rate throughout his life as he did when he was a child, then he would be a superman. The song says that youthful passion can still happen into middle age and beyond!
8. MAYBE NEXT TIME
An extract from a thirty minute improvisation – it wasn’t quite what I had had in mind – hence the whimsical title!
9. ONCE WAS A MAN
This song was originally the ending of a now abandoned song called ‘Grace, Grace, Grace.’ I was pondering how we would feel if we had given up all our possessions – as some dedicated people in the past have done?
10. CAUTION’S ABODE
The four verses were written over a long period each one being a ‘post-it note’ of a special happening. Although each took place in different circumstances, there is a golden thread of awe and inspiration, which runs through them all.
11/12. LIKE THE DOLPHIN’S 1 & 2
Originally a solo guitar piece composed using an ancient Babylonian formula whereby text is translated into musical notes. The short passage is from a remarkable book called ‘Gemrod’ and proffers a high and poetical view of love.
13. BLUE DELTA Part three of the water trilogy, Richard describes this as his damp period. Blue Delta continued on from Dolphins one and two, it was originally rescued from the best of his early recordings.
14. MARY, I’LL STAY
The nursery rhyme goes ‘Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary….’ Mary, as it is in this song, is an old name for our blue planet - earth.
WHISTLE – HIDDEN TRACK
This little surprise at the end is a good example of Russian style whistling on the in-breath together with some unrehearsed and intermittent normal whistling!
What sentiment was in the heart of
This lady, wife and mother, That in the deepest dark of war
She could leave her husband’s side
(he who filled the war-room of that time)
And walk across the road to St. James’s Park
To plant there many crocus bulbs.
What hope and love of life, what love of peace,
Security, was in that simple act, but unseen
And even unforeseen, could reach the wives
And mothers of every other land on earth.
Gracious lady, in this act we see your calibre,
Your inner mind, sweet Clementine,
Your defiance and your longing so expressed
Amid the yellow and the purple yet to come.
Thank God he had you by his side
His deadliness* to temper.
For your life mixed with his, it seems,
And through this
You may have done far more indeed
Than you would ever know
To keep us all in safety.
*Her word to describe him. On his becoming war minister, she said he was the only man in England with “the strength, the imagination and the deadliness” to succeed against the Nazis.
Forgetting the Shadows of History is the third C.D to be released by ‘And Did Those Feet’.The name And Did Those Feet is derived from ‘And Did Those Feet in Ancient Times’ better known as the words to the poem Jerusalem by William Blake.
The music of And Did Those Feet moves between spiritual, pastoral, contemporary, light classical, Welsh language and there’s poetry too. There is no mistaking that the music here comes from England’s green and pleasant land, but most of all the album brings to the listener the beauty of the human voice in all its glory.
When asked about his writing in a recent interview Richard Ellin described it as,
“ Experiential fragments, ideas and philosophical views which explore the deeper resonance and cadences of life”.
Song Notes by Richard Ellin.
1. Dream of the Mountains.
The inspiration for this song came to me in the middle of a ‘bad day at the office’ in 1993. Even now, conjecture aside, I still don't know what the line 'Dreaming in me’ is about. I've always had a fondness for Christmas Carols in all their various guises and the tune puts me in mind of them.
2. Hope for Thee.
What you hear in this recording of ‘Hope for Thee’ is my umpteenth attempt at recording this song. Once I heard Harvey Summers arrangement I knew we would get it right this time. It started life as an exercise in seeing what melodies could be written across unusual chord patterns.
3. Mil Harddach Wyt.
Ina Williams has won many a singing competition with her beautiful voice bringing life and emotion to this wonderful Welsh lullaby. Listen and weep, I do.
4. Aching Light.
Very loosely based around the walking song idea. The 'Aching light' section in the chorus really happened like that. Dedicated to my dear friend Mary who is the lady referred to in the third verse.
5. Who Fills These Eyes?
Maybe I'm getting old but when I look into some young children's eyes it seems like something is looking back at me that is from far far away. One day I know we will learn something from them.
6. The Way of the Rose.
Written especially for Cecilia Jones by way of a welcome when she joined And Did Those Feet. I later discovered that Cecilia’s middle name was Rose.
7. One Guarantee
Benjamin Franklin once wrote in a letter to Jean Baptiste Leroy 'In this world nothing can be said to be certain but death and taxes’. As the latter is sometimes moot, one guarantee it has to be, sung in the old Welsh chapel style.
8. Residuals and the Myth of Electricity parts one and two.
Extracts from what I call a 'musicage', the musical equivalent of verbiage. I improvised for around forty minutes, added a second guitar, picked out the interesting bits and then randomly 'shuffled' them to create unexpected juxtapositions.
The poem ‘Reverence’ by Hilary Stone has always struck me as having a touch of the oriental about it and Michael Cleaver’s guitar piece seemed a good backdrop most especially to the final line 'It is in the small that the world turns'
10. Distant Tears
The song arrived during a very stressful time in my life. Why is it that we usually look for higher intelligence in such times but rarely give it a second thought when things are better?
11. Always Island.
A translation from Greek prose, or to give it a modern name, 'Spaceship Earth'. The middle eight seems to have a Shakespearian quality about it.
For Angelus I asked Harvey Summers for 'something of today' for this reworking of 'Two Nightingales'. I now know what ambient trip hop sounds like!