Saturday, April 18, 2015

New Lyrics Revealed to Iconic New Zealand Love Song

It took a house fire, living in a motel for two months, a dose of cenotaph memorial, and a dash of war history TV programming to bring me to the point of inspiration for this project. I’m still marvelling at what has come of it.

World War 1 commemorative play WOMEN OF COURAGE
by Narelle and Isabel Worboys

Within two days of being invited to take part in the World War I commemorative concert, I’d written “Women of Courage”, a playlet built around the hymn “Abide with Me”, and a week later, new lyrics for another old and very famous song which I used to open the scene.

What iconic New Zealand song was first sung in 1914? I asked this in the last Songuine post. Did you figure it out?

Think Maori love song.

Think Hayley Westenra and Russell Watson at the 2009 World Games opening ceremony in Taiwan.

Think Maisey Rika and the St Joseph’s Girls Choir.

Think Dame Kiri Te Kanawa in “Kiri’s Homecoming”.

You know it, don't you? The mesmerizingly beautiful melody of “Pokarekare Ana” has captivated audiences around the world, and now there are new English lyrics, faithful to the original themes of love and longing, fear and loss, pertinent then in 1914 and to us now in 2014.

Here it is.

MY BELOVED, HE HAS GONE AWAY (tune of “Pokarekare Ana”) 
All rights reserved to Narelle Worboys, copyright ©2014

My beloved, he has gone away,
Gone to fight a freedom war,
Enduring dangers night and day.
I fear he may return no more.

Evil tears the world apart.
Is there courage in my heart
To march on ‘til victory?
Oh God,
Bring him safe to me.

[Chorus repeat]
I want him here
Holding me near.
I love him, I love him so.
Help me let him go.

I regret that I'm unable to offer you better audio-visual quality, but here's a recording of the actual performance at the Town Hall, reportedly moving many people to tears (including me) and rated as the best piece of the night.

In whatever sphere or circumstance you are, "may God give you courage and strength to pursue truth and love and freedom. May He give you a daily portion to live every moment and fulfil every task with joy and grace, and faith to always carry on."*

Fiat lux.

*The Blessing from "Women of Courage".

Pokarekare Ana, New Zealand’s unofficial national anthem

'Pokarekare Ana' (Come Back to Me) is the beautiful love song of a homesick soldier serving in the Maori Battalion during World War I. Its heartfelt expression of longing for home and loved ones immediately touched his fellow countrymen, who adopted the haunting melody as their own. A century later, it is still a poignant musical touch-stone for any New Zealander, at home or abroad.

"Women of Courage" publicity and reviews

Here's what critics and audience say about "Women of Courage", the World War I commemorative playlet by Narelle Worboys, which debuted at the Dannevirke Town Hall in New Zealand on 3 August 2014.

From Facebook:

From "Dannevirke News" published in "Hawkes Bay Today" on Saturday, 9 August 2014.
Reviewed by Christine McKay, titled "War Concert Pays Tribute".

From "The Bush Telegraph", published on Monday, 11 August 2014.
Reviewed by Dave Murdoch, titled "Commemorative Concert Captivates.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Kiwi Singer/Songwriter Rewrites Famous Song for WWI Centenary


What iconic New Zealand song was first sung in 1914?

Narelle Worboys has written new lyrics for it to mark the centenary of World War I. The song will feature in a dramatic ten-minute scene entitled “Women of Courage” presented by Narelle and her mother Isabel during the WWI Commemorative Concert at the Dannevirke Town Hall this Sunday.

Come experience a moving story of fear and faith -- and find out if you correctly guessed which song!

WWI Commemorative Concert
Dannevirke Town Hall
Sunday, 3rd August, 3pm
Gold coin entry

Doors open from 2pm. Come early to enjoy the themed floral art display and the static display by the Gallery of History.

For behind-the-scenes details, follow Narelle on Facebook.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

PERFECT PITCH? Who, me?! (uncovering the truth about my singing)

Many people ask, after listening to me sing live, if I have perfect pitch. This astonishes me because I’ve always had trouble staying on pitch when singing unaccompanied.

Narelle Worboys: uncovering the truth about her singing

Two years ago, the difficulties of accessing a piano, or finding instrumental backing suited to my voice, prompted me to dare something radical and scary – singing acapella.

I like the freedom it brings. It makes it easy to bless folk with a song at a moment’s notice, and my song ministry has become more portable. I’ve also worked extensively on improvisational singing. But I’ve observed this year, singing daily but without applying set perimeters to my ears and vocal production, and often performing after eating and without warm-up or rehearsal, that whatever natural pitching ability I may have is suffering.

My health issues are always a factor, but in this instance, I’m hoping that time spent studying at the piano (and I don’t know yet how I’m going to manage that) will help correct the pitch sliding noticeable in recent videos.

Image credit:
As to why people suppose me to be blessed with perfect pitch, I think what they may be referring to is the unusual tonal quality they hear, especially when I sing high. That, I wasn’t born with. It was a gift from God, supernaturally endowed after I lost my voice aged 19 (click here to hear the story).

Because of that gift, I keep sharing song despite my lack of technical skill, praying that God will empower me to give it proper support. I will certainly apply myself to it this month, because I’ve got a fabulous singing gig coming up on a subject I love – a War Remembrance Concert to mark the beginning of World War I a century ago.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

To Mum With Love: gift of song stirs gift of faith

How do you go about creating a gift that will bless your mother? I'm so thankful that my voice recorder and camera are present and in good health, meaning I can share a special moment with you that resulted from my sister and I planning a gift for our mum.

Recipe: Gift for Mum. See video link for song.
Nine weeks after our fire, back at home with difficult problems and decisions to handle every day, I was glad to step outside of it all to celebrate my mother's birthday. My sister Sarah cooked a roast and a small mountain of baking to stock the pantry, competing for access to the oven with the glass technician installing the new splash-back over the bench. It looks gorgeous and Mum is thrilled. She's also delighted with the piles of Highlander bikkies.

Sarah and Narelle with a royal reminder: "It will be worth it all when we see Jesus."

After dinner, Sarah and I, dressed in our new purple merino tops (I think of purple as "Mum's colour"), sang for Mum one of her favourite hymns. Thirty times she reckons it was that she accompanied her five teenagers singing it in venues around New Zealand during the days of our Home Education Seminar Tours, and she never tired of it. You'll hear on the recording that she enjoys it still.

We had a conversation about the biblical accuracy of promising a harp in heaven, but decided if you understand it's not literal, it works as a metaphor for an eternity of music and praise. Sounds good to me.

Why not give your Mum a gift of encouragement? Here's an easy way: share this song with her! "It will be worth it all!" Here's the link:

Fiat lux!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

ABIDING LOVE album coming soon to YouTube

ABIDING LOVE: an "at home" musical experience with Narelle and Sarah Worboys
We hoped to launch our warm and casual 'insider experience' album back in December 2013, but it's been somewhat of an Everest ascent finding a way to conquer the technical peaks and crevasses. Here's hoping its not far away now.

Monday, June 9, 2014

What will be our legacy?

I've been enjoying the opportunity to see an excellent NZ historical documentary, "Making New Zealand". Last night the final episode closed with this statement: "THE QUESTION IS: WHAT WILL BE OUR LEGACY?"

My sentiments exactly, and the thought forming the foundation for the Anzac commemorative video I've been working on since April 24th.
WHAT WILL BE OUR LEGACY? Photo credit: Dannevirke Facebook

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