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Songs of Solace

Lily and Sue Casson introduce a new playlist and reflect on the role of the Arts in uncertain times.

Art is to console those who are broken by life

Vincent Van Gogh

The world has been an anxious place to live in for some time now. The uncertainty of Brexit, followed by the fear and isolation of an unknown pandemic. Coming out from its’ shadow we’ve had to confront a barbaric and unexpected war with global consequences. The cost of living is soaring, wages aren’t keeping up, most people are struggling to make ends meet.

No wonder, as life continues to be a struggle, we look eagerly for a means to escape. And many of us turn to the Arts for comfort.

Although under-funded, and increasingly under-valued, the ARTS play a 'key-worker' role in this, providing opportunities for expression, joy, and diversion. How many people have been heard to say that their only way through the pandemic was in listening to or making music, reading or writing poetry, finding an undiscovered talent for painting or exploring galleries online. In this respect artistic pursuits have literally been a life-saver through difficult times.

And yet - the ARTS are being increasingly undermined. Funding has steadily decreased, and during the pandemic any handouts went to buildings rather than the creative practitioners who bring them alive. Arts were so peripheral to a vision of post-Brexit Britain, that Britain's musicians and actors are confronting a future without international touring to share their world-leading expertise, prohibited by expensive and time-consuming red tape.

At the same time, at the expense of a universal education, the ARTS are increasingly marginalised and STEM is king. Music, theatre and fine art are becoming a privilege reserved for the wealthy few. Without STEM we wouldn't have had the vaccine that made global recovery from pandemic possible - but without the ARTS we might well have gone raving mad in the interim. We need to feed the soul as well as the body.

Here, at English Cabaret, we celebrate the power of the ARTS in all their diverse and brilliant forms. We welcome the breadth of vision and understanding that they cultivate in audiences and performers alike. Storytelling can be transformative - and we believe it should be the healthy heart of people's daily lives - to inspire, challenge perception and entertain.

And to provide solace. We have been looking through our catalogue to put together a selection of songs which we hope will bring a moment of calm into the present troubled days. Some are with ukulele, some are with piano - many are original, and all are acoustic. Listen below or at our SoundCloud profile :

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