48. Beatie Wolfe by Stuart Nicholls - Hampstead Portrait Golden Field.jpg

MUSIC & LYRICS

BY

 
 

Famous Five Intro

Five early musical ideas and sketches - following two days with the treatment - for two key songs in the Musical (with original music, lyrics, arrangement & production provided) and three instrumentals (with original music, arrangement & production).

For the songs I have worked closely with the script to write a sample of something that could musically and lyrically fit the moment. With the instrumentals, I have given a flavour of the kind of music that could set the stage for some of the key dramatic moments in the Musical, while also demonstrating how the same instrumentation can be easily altered to significantly change the mood e.g. the inquisitive, playful mood of ‘Island Exploring’ transitions to the sinister, tense mood of ‘Island Chase.’ Dialogue with the writer would be required to profound the words and accentuate the arc of the Director's vision.

“Famous Five” - Song

This is the song to represent the Famous Five uniting for the first time. The equivalent of their theme tune (or one of). This is the moment they realise that actually “5 is better than 1” and decide to accept one another’s imperfections (as no one is perfect!) because “together, they will be so much better!” This is the song that forms the official “Famous Five” as we know it so a very pivotal moment. [NB this is a sample of the entire song, currently missing intro & opening verses as these would be developed in accordance with the script]

Production Overview

This is the most developed in terms of lyrics, mood, instrumentation. A super happy, bouncy song with the drums and double bass grooving, ukulele strumming, electric guitar providing happy little lines and the marimba, whistles, handclaps etc to give a real splash of joy and sunshine. The instrumentation for this song provides a really contemporary and “cool” setting, something the audience will immediately relate to and the perfect soundtrack to this triumphant moment in the four’s (plus Timmy!) coming together. The four take it in turns to sing individual lines (marked on the lyric sheet) and then all together.

More Detail

The first chorus acts as the kids’ first realisation, the subsequent verse provides a chance to have a final dig at one another, while the following verse showing their maturity in realising that no one is perfect. The “drop out” we hear in this final verse, with all instruments cutting out except for marimba and handclaps, sets up the joyous final chorus, as all the instruments come back in, which acts as the sealing moment of pledging allegiance to one another.

Key Musicians

  • Ukulele

  • Electric guitar

  • Double Bass

  • Drums

  • Percussion (shaker, tambourine)

  • Marimba

  • Whistles, handclaps etc

(C) & (P) Beatie Wolfe 2016

Lyrics to “Famous Five”

Solo: Now we see
ALL: Five is better than one
Solo: It’s clear to me
ALL: Five is better than one
Solo: We must agree
ALL: Five is better than one
Solo: Us five… us five

Solo: When they’re baddies to catch
ALL: Five is better than one
Solo: and plans to hatch
ALL: Five is better than one  
Solo: Oh It’s just a fact
ALL: Five is better than one
ALL: Us five… us five

Julian: But oh Dick, you can be a pain being such a snob and spoiling our games
Dick: It can’t be quite as bad as having Anne blab to our mother, come on brother?
Anne: I know, I’m sorry, I talk too much, but I get so nervous when George gets cross
George: Well I am just happy doing my thing, c’mon on Timmy  
Timmy: WOOF WOOF

Julian: But come on guys, I guess we all have our faults
Dick: And if we stay together, we’ll be better off
Anne: Because we all have our strengths
George: (some more than most ;)
ALL: So there’s only one answer

ALL: Together gether gether
We’ll be so much better better better better better
Whatever the weather, we’ll weather weather…
Us five

Together gether gether
We’ll be so much better better better better better
Remember Remember Remember
The famous five… high five

Together together
we’ll be so much better
Always remember
we’re
the famous five !

Timmy: WOOF WOOF

“Island Exploring” - Instrumental

The kids have arrived on the island. The music reflects the ‘Home Alone’ / Swallows and Amazons / ‘Tin Tin’ vibe with a little bit of the wilderness of ‘Lord of the Flies.’ Here we see the kids as explorers, the boys and George pretending to be Rambo - darting about, laying traps, hiding in bushes. The positive, inquisitive vibes of the viola piz, combined with the hopeful, outdoorsy feeling of the legato cello makes for an exciting adventure soundtrack with a hint of danger, provided by the tribal drums & percussion. This hint of danger is then developed for the Island Chase track.

Production Overview

The idea of this track is to show how the same piece of music (e.g. drums and structure remain the same for ‘Island Chase’ as do instruments) can start positive and major, and then with only a few key elements changed, can quickly turn sinister in accordance with the plot. This can be done with other songs in the musical e.g. Home for the Holidays.

More Detail

This is largely an African percussion/drum track with a viola playing a lead major, pizzicato line and a cello playing major soaring lines with light tremolo. The drums could be played by members of the cast (as well as musicians) to give the music a playful feel.

Key Musicians

  • Drums (kick drum, floor toms)

  • Percussion (udu, congo, knives and forks, djembe, dunun, ride cymbal, woodblock, agogo, bongo)  

  • Strings (viola, violin, cello)

(C) & (P) Beatie Wolfe 2016

“Island Chase” - Instrumental

The appearance of the baddies Nick & Slim is communicated through the low sustained double bass note. We return to the piece of music we heard for when the kids were “on top” and guardians of the island but it is now very different, it has become sinister signalling that the kids are in real danger. This could be used for any dangerous/high tension moment before the children find the gold e.g. Anne being captured, the kids being chased, or simply to show that the baddies are approaching, moments before they find the chest.

Production Overview

This is the same track as we heard for the kids exploring with the same African percussion and drums. However while the drums remain the same, the optimistic, playful major strings have been replaced with sinister minor one. There is a low sustain running throughout giving the sense of impending doom. The major piz on the viola to suggest frolicking is now minor piz on violin to suggest hard running. The warm soaring swells on the cello to give the feeling of being outdoors on a sunny day, are now minor descending chords on tremolo violin which gives the feeling of being chilly. This piece ends with a jangling Marxophone which gives the impression of rattling skeletons, an orchestra cymbal clash and a note of dissonance. Something bad is about to happen!

More Detail

This is predominantly a percussion/drum track with a leading violin playing a minor pizzicato line and tremolo violin playing the descending minor chord line. A sustain on the double bass is held throughout and the Marxophone comes in (with its mandolin-like tremolo)  at the end at the height of the climax.

Key Musicians

  • Drums (kick drum, floor toms)

  • Percussion (Udu, congo, knives and forks, djembe, dunun, ride cymbal, woodblock, agogo, bongo)

  • Strings (violins, cello)

  • Marxophone

(C) & (P) Beatie Wolfe 2016

“Be A Dad” - Song

Quentin is livid and striding about the room unable to be appeased. Sam is looking sad and desperately trying to get through to Quentin about what he is failing to see… She sees it so clearly and starts the song off almost more singing to herself as Quentin bustles around, picking up papers on his desk, flying about the room. While she is singing to him, Quentin makes it clear that he is NOT listening. He would be saying phrases like “not now,” “can’t you see I’m busy” as interjections while she is singing. Going into their duet verse, you see a brief moment of insight into why Quentin is being like this. Sam is singing to Quentin, while Quentin is singing his lines to himself/the audience and you learn (through the equivalent of a soliloquy) of some his fears and issues. For the final chorus, Sam’s words are finally starting to get through. Quentin is still pacing around, head in his hands, but he IS listening to Sam (it is going in). Sam’s song sets Quentin up for the next time he meets George, when he finally sees her clearly.  

Production Overview

Sparser production compared to rest, with more space in the music. This is more of a sketch of an idea for a song focusing on the mood/tone of the song rather than full instrumentation/lyrics. With this song, it could be good to keep the instrumentation simple to allow the emotive lyrics and melancholy/plaintive tone to come through, building to the final chorus as this suggests.

More Details

Simple guitar playing single chords and then more rhythmically plucked as it goes from verse to chorus, mirroring Sam becoming more emphatic. As the song builds in emotion, e.g. when we hear some of Quentin’s most personal thoughts and fears, more instruments come in to support the vocals and build the emotion of the track e.g. romantic piano, simple drums, pulsing bass. This is a good indication of how the song can start simple, build to a big heartfelt chorus and then end quiet and reflective.

Key Musicians

  • Acoustic guitar

  • Bass

  • Piano

  • Percussion (shaker, tambourine, kick drum snare)

  • Keys (Cordette)  

Lyrics to “Be A Dad”

One day - George will grow up
and you will regret
Things that - you never told her
things you wished you’d said
I know, you’re always busy
but she’s not a child for long
One day you’re gonna wake up
and she will be gone

Be a dad now
don’t wait
(Q: not now)
Be a dad now
before it’s too late
(Q: I’m too busy)
Be a dad now
don’t wait
Be a dad
before it’s too late

S: I know, she’s a handful, but she’s just a kid
Q: I worry about her future, that’s the truth of it
S: Oh Quentin no one is perfect, have some faith
Q: I always see her mother in her smiling face

Please be her dad now
Don’t wait
Be her dad
before it’s too late

Be her dad now
there’s time
before she goes
and leaves you behind

(C) & (P)  Beatie Wolfe 2016

“Hostage” - Instrumental

This is the moment when Nick & Slim have snuck up on the kids as they are opening up the chest. Nick and Slim’s guns are raised. With the military drum roll introducing this Argentinian tango and Russian sounding strings you can imagine the baddies edging their way closer (guns ready to shoot) as the kids try and think up what to do. When the castanets come in, halfway through, this is the moment the cousins can jump in and charge at the villains knocking their guns out of the baddies hands, as the castanets and the legato strings (which opened staccato) suggest a change in mood from tense to energetic.

Production Overview

An idea for an instrumental track (which could have lyrics or lines over the top) at a key point in the plot. This instrumental, along with the ‘Island Chase,’ signify the darkest moments in this otherwise joyous, light-hearted, romantic and hugely comic musical. The Argentinian tango gives it an exotic flavour and opens it up to a more universal context, while the lustrous strings, with its Russian vibe, gives the feeling of a scene in a Spy film. The introduction of the castanets and legato string lines, which join the dramatic string stabs, opens the music up and acts to dissipate the tension slightly, which would fit the moment when the cousins jump in. Though not through the danger yet, they are fighting bravely and the music reflects this.

More Detail

This is in the mode of a tango, with castanets tying in with that South American feel and provide the perfect music for a hostage moment with the sharp drums, staccato strings giving the impression of rigid movement and tight tension. The strings, which add the colour of drama, open up halfway through which is when the kids would move in.

Key Musicians

  • Acoustic guitar  

  • Double Bass

  • Drums

  • Strings (cello, viola, violin)

  • Castanets

(C) & (P) Beatie Wolfe 2016

Beatie Wolfe by Alex Lake.jpg

Beatie Wolfe - Artist Overview

Beatie Wolfe is a first and foremost a songwriter and composer, hailed “groundbreaking and pioneering” by The Independent, “supremely talented” by Monocle and “profound” by The Times. Wolfe’s songwriting echoes the poetic quality of Leonard Cohen, described by GQ as: “beautiful melodies that envelope the listener and delicately describe the poetry and tragedy of relationships.”

Beatie Wolfe was an avid Famous Five fan growing up and very much identified with George and her characteristics. Beatie has a channel on PopJam, the Instagram site for kids, with around half a million followers, age 8-14 and been featured on CITV, Nickelodeon and MTV for her younger audiences.

An innovator as much as a composer - Beatie Wolfe is an Ambassador for Technology for London, has given keynotes all over the world from Apple’s HQ theatre (made famous by Jobs) through to The Royal Institution through to WIRED. This Autumn, Beatie Wolfe will be representing the future of music at the V&A new music blockbuster exhibition “You Say You Want A Revolution?”

Beatie is also co-founder of the “Power of Music & Dementia” research project which has featured on BBC Radio 4, The Times, The Independent, The Guardian and Sky News and won high praise from Stanford’s Research Department through to Oxford University.

Beatie’s three key motivations are 1) being of service, 2) keeping the parameters open to whatever inspires and 3) the importance of one’s intention. // To LEarn More about Beatie Wolfe click HERE