Carol Fieldhouse, musician

carol playingMusic is the driving force behind singer songwriter Carol Fieldhouse and influences most of her busy life.

If she isn’t performing herself with her folk trio Cenote, then she may well be taking a singing group at a care home, hosting a songwriters’ circle or providing music for a drama production.

Carol is also passionate about the Wirksworth community where she lives and is lucky enough, as the joint owner of the Coachhouse Studios in the town, to be able to offer others a space where they can perform.

Last year she was commissioned to write original songs for Graham Sellors’ First World War play Gorsey Bank to Gommecourt and her own unaccompanied version of Birdsong opened and concluded the show.

She wrote the hauntingly beautiful melody in 2008 after being inspired by the song of a lark she heard while driving through the former battlefields in France.

“I hadn’t really written anything before then and it all sort of came out of the blue. I heard the lark and pulled the car over and wrote one line and then 40 minutes later I had written a song. I had to step back and think ‘did I actually do that?’ – it was so strange,” she said.

Since then the musician has embarked on an MA in Songwriting and Performance at the University of West Scotland and that has led to her latest community project – researching and recording the history of women’s lives in Wirksworth alongside the team from the town’s Heritage Centre.

The idea is that she uses her findings to inspire new songs.

“A lot of information has been recorded about the lives of men working in the quarries and lead mines but very little is known about what the women did,” explained Carol.

She says for many years the women were the backbone of the textile industry in the town and there will be many stories to be told.

Carol is not only going to help sift through all the archival material that is available but she is also going to arrange memory box sessions during which she will invite women who live in Wirksworth to come along and talk about the women they have found inspirational in their lives.

The invitation is not just for people whose families have lived in the town for generations but also those who have moved into the area in recent years.

“There are people who are knitted into this community and go back generations and others who are weaving their way into the town now. I want to draw out all those threads.

“We want to know the everyday story of the women of Wirksworth.”

The first memory box session will be during the Carnival and Well Dressing Weekend on May 23-24 and another will be held at the Wirksworth Festival in September.

If you want to know more about the project you can contact Carol via the http://www.thecoachhousestudios.co.uk

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