Ben Buddy Slack (pictured right above) has been part of the ELFM/Chapel FM story for a good while. As part of the Blind Dead McJones band he has performed regularly at Chapel FM; presented a regular blues show; helped out as part of the Chapel FM tech team and presented fantastic gigs in the radio theatre.

At the same time he has been developing his own skills as a community musician and the photo comes from a project he conceived and set up recently. The Swan Song Project is just one of those ideas that you listen to and just think—simple, brilliant…

The idea is to work with people with a terminal illness to compose songs about their lives. Ben has been working with at the Marie Curie hospice in Bradford giving people the opportunity to write and record a piece of music and then share it with friends and family if they wish to.

“Lots of writers talk about how writing helps them make sense of the world. I think that’s a general benefit of song writing”, says Ben. “I find the whole process fascinating – what people want to put in the song, how people phrase things, and how people interpret what a song will be.”

And it’s something that a whole range of people at the Bradford hospice have decided is perfect for them. Alan (pictured working with Ben) is a former head teacher who now has Motor Neurone Disease. He explains:

“I wanted to share my thoughts in a way that was perhaps difficult to do face-to-face. The song charts the course of my family’s relationship over the years and the chorus goes ‘we can do this’. So the song is a bit of fun in some places, and quite poignant in others. I also wanted to explore was the changing relationship with my wife, from being my wife to being my carer, which is quite a tough thing. It’s hard for me to say – but I think she’s an absolute star.”

When the song is finished, it is up to each person to decide what happens with it. In Alan’s case he is happy for it to be shared and it is up on Soundcloud and on the Swan Song Project website.

You can have a listen to Alan’s song below…

Read more on the Marie Curie website and you can keep in touch with what is happening with the project at the Swan Song Project Facebook page. We will certainly be doing all we can to support Ben and maybe see how the project can develop in Leeds too. We all need simple, brilliant things!

If you know of other things that we can support or profile or bring to Chapel FM and East Leeds…get in touch.

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