The Lumiere Brothers, Edda Dell’Orso and ‘Lemon Psyche’

When I wrote ‘Lemon Psyche’ plenty of late 1960s Italian psychedelic soundtracks were spinning in my ears. I am a big fan of Ennio Morricone and an even bigger fan of Armando Trovaioli, in particular the score he wrote for “IL VICHINGO VENUTO DAL SUD” (Italy, 1971). Both composers often employed the lush vocals of one of my music heroines Edda Dell’Orso. Edda Dell’Orso is the sound of Italian cinema. Her astonishing voice recognisable to anyone who has experienced the landmark spaghetti western films made by Sergio Leone.

So when I wrote ‘Lemon Psyche’ I was very absorbed in the sound of these technicolor soundscapes and rather than writing a story, I found myself just creating a sound that was the narrative in itself. While I was interviewed for Magpie Magazine and asked about the meanings in my songs, I realised that this one was an abstract piece of music – a song about falling… falling in love and falling in and around yellow swirling mists. The words came out like a stream of consciousness, riding on the crest of the music.
I decided I wanted to make a video of exactly this – yellow swirling feelings. So when I saw ‘The Serpentine Dance’, a victorian skirt dance where the moving fabric ripples like the froth on the sea, captured in film by The Lumiere Brothers in c.1899, I was transfixed and decided to use their footage. The Lumiere brothers made some of the very first films and are notorious for Workers Leaving The Lumière Factory in Lyon (also known as La Sortie des usines Lumière à Lyon), an 1895 French short black-and-white silent documentary film directed and produced by Louis Lumière. For ‘The Serpentine Dance’ they shot the performance in black and white and then painted each frame by hand to give it colour. This creates the lovely hand-made rainbow effect that you could probably do now in photoshop in less than a minute but would have taken them days. The Serpentine Dance itself was developed by choreogrpaher and dancer Loie Fuller in 1891. She was one of the pioneers of modern dance and another heroine of mine! So with all these passions of mine brought together in one short film, I am definitely swirling…

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