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More Than Music with Leanne Moden, Matt Cooper and Louise Eatock

Poet, Leanne Moden and musicians Matt Cooper and Louise Eatock explored ideas of connection through music memories.

Commissioned as part of our Creative Conversations in Isolation programme.

In a time of people feeling disconnected, Leanne, Matt and Louise wanted to connect people through their passion for music. They offered free online workshops for an evening to talk about live music, concerts, celebrations and the communities we build around our favourite music venues.

Through writing and music-making exercises, the groups shared memories about the ways music has been an integral part of their lives, inspiring them to become musicians or being a part of their everyday experiences.

A a result of the sessions, Leanne and Matt wanted to create a collaborative audio piece that would encapsulate those memories, sounds, words and phrases shared throughout the workshops. Leanne, a poet, wrote a participatory poem and Matt, a musician, created a musical soundscape.

You can listen to the finished audio piece or read Leanne’s poem below.

The conversation continues on the More Than Music Facebook public group. Please feel free to join – we’d love to hear your stories and musical memories.

Leanne was interviewed on BBC Radio Suffolk with presenter Jon Wright. Hear them chat about the More Than Music workshops and Leanne and Matt’s collaborative piece here.

More than Music

Back when the chemist sold records,
we knew music was the best medicine.
The natural remedy of melodies played
on record players and tape decks.
Bedrooms and basements bristling
with beats that felt like balm
for messy teenage lives, the storm before the calm.

Back when we held songs in our palms,
we played each cassette until the tape snapped,
mapped our lives through CDs we made ourselves,
filled shelves with every emotion
we couldn’t quite express.
The immeasurable endlessness
of being alive, expressed in four: four time.

We read lyrics like incantations –
confirmation that we were never quite alone –
and we sung every word as if it was our own.
Our best-kept secret bands we shared sparingly,
These earthquake lunchbreak mixtape heartbreaks
reviving us, repairing me.
The words were spells we cast to guide ourselves through,
leading you to me, and me back to you.

And when our local venues sold good times,
we spent Fridays living a better life.
Pressed between bodies, surrounded by noise
our joy magnified by this moment in time.
Sweet sweat and spilt beer, whiskey and lime
and the sense of being sonorous: this new paradigm.
The smoke in our hair, and the bass in our bones;
feeling like we’ve made it, like we’ve finally come home.

There’s more this than music, more than instruments and noise:
it’s empathy and mystery, it’s freedom and it’s choice.
It’s magic and it’s medicine, it’s acceptance and escape,
Integrity and anarchy, on record and on tape.
Community through unity, when we play and when we sing,
There’s more to this than music: and the music’s everything.

Download the poem here

More Than Music by Leanne Moden (26.3 KB)

Image reads "Featured on #ArtOfCovidChat podcast series. Click here to listen."

Listen to Leanne’s podcast episode from the series #ArtOfCovidChat here where she discusses the challenges and triumphs through lockdown with fellow writer Belona Greenwood.