I am so excited to finally announce that I have began fundraising to commission the first Song Cycle (Chansons d’Jèrri) to be written in Jèrriais! The Jèrriais Song Project is my first collaboration with fellow Jersey-born composer Charles Mauleverer, and the first time Jèrriais text will be set to music in this way, presented as a Song Cycle for Mezzo-soprano and piano.
Jèrriais is a Romance language and the traditional language of the Jersey people. It is a form of the Norman language spoken in Jersey, an island in the Channel Islands archipelago off the coast of France.
I’ve wanted to commission a song cycle of Jèrriais ever since my final year at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. As a part of my course I had to devise and manage a project so I decided to delve into Jersey’s rich musical history and wasn’t disappointed with what I found! The unique position of the Channel Islands has meant we’ve benefited from influence from both sides of the Channel, and equally people from all art forms have found great inspiration from our beautiful Island. As I looked more closely into some of these influences, I discovered that the project was following an impressive musical lineage which included composers who had set the words of the exiled Victor Hugo, Claude Debussy, who holidayed in Jersey, poet laureate John Masefield and composer John Ireland, a frequent visitor to the Channel Islands, where he was ultimately evacuated from just before the occupation. It’s the social, cultural and historical commentary and importance of these works that also piqued my interest and that’s why I would love to have a piece written in Jèrriais, by a Jersey composer to be performed by Jersey musicians for her people.
“I decided to delve into Jersey’s rich musical history and wasn’t disappointed with what I found!”
There’s a wealth of fantastic texts to choose from, and I’m incredibly grateful to the Société Jersiaise for their help so far. Charles and I have discussed ideas but really we want ideas and input from YOU the people of Jersey! I’m currently fundraising for the commission and would love to be able to represent all areas of Jersey’s vast walks of life. It’s the centenary of the birth of Amélia Perchard next year, who was an advocate of Jersey’s heritage and writer of Jèrriais, there are texts from 800 years ago talking of life on the Island, or letters spreading critical information under the Nazi’s gaze during the occupation.”
Passionate about music in the community I am also developing a series of educational workshops to run alongside the premier getting local children involved in making music and singing in Jèrriais!
You can keep up to date on the project here and please get in touch to get involved!
Contact Georgia about our Bronze, Silver and Gold level donations or visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/jerriaissongproject