Fay Nicolson


SPA SONGS is a song cycle composed as an intuitive response to the riverside area of Bermondsey, London. Fay uses lyrics and choreography that refer to motifs recurring throughout that location’s history: Communities of retreat, Tidal rhythms of flooding and burning, Polyphony and Palimpsest. Fay used her subjective acoustic perspective to imagine Motets spilt from the Cluniac Abbey, Folk from the dock in bloom, Punk from its decay, and melancholy House from the Woodmill a decade ago. These influences have been melted and channelled into a sensitive polyphonic work that offers a personal perspective on place and voice.

Fay Nicolson, 'SPA SONGS', 2019, video with stereo sound, 28m 18s.

Fay drew on her experience of Dalcroze’s Eurythmics to teach SPA SONGS to a group of performers, incorporating movement, light and costume into the final work. Eurythmics is a modernist form of music education that uses movement, improvisation and listening to develop musical understanding.

SPA SONGS began life as a multitrack demo recorded by Fay using her own voice. These demos are available to listen to and purchase on Band Camp HERE. Fay created a unique, ‘infinite’ remix of these recording for Daata Editions, available to listen to and collect HERE.

Fay Nicolson, 'SPA SONGS', 2018, photographic documentation of performance.

Fay Nicolson, 'SPA SONGS', 2018, pamphlet of lyrics available as PDF.

Performers: Alistair Coffey, Rachel Horwood, Sarah Johns, Jenny Moore, Colleen O’Brien, Louise O’Connor.

Camera and Sound: Johnston Sheard.

Still Photography: Alex Rimmer.

Assistance: Josh McCauley, Annie Hannam-Pearson, Eleanor Roser.

Curatorial Support: Heather Blair.

Performance commissioned by DKUK, 2018.

Video commissioned by Broadway Gallery, 2019.

With Thanks to: Arts Council England, a-n Artist Bursaries 2018, Daniel Kelly, David Gryn & Daata Editions, Thomas Cuckle & Kunstraum, Kris Day, Katy Edwards, Andy Woolliscroft, the Brunel Museum, Sophie Mallett.