Vitaean Queen

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(for Mrs H., my favourite drum teacher)

We're all so lucky to know a fair lady (called)
Justine from Piddington, West Wycombe's baby.
She is so talented, lovely and kind,
Dancing so well she makes grown men go blind,

Leading the band like a bold Boadicea,
Singing angelic'ly, strumming her geetar,
Writing sweet songs that make hearts melt with glee -
These are a few of my favourite three.

Maybe one day
She'll record them
In my studio,
And make a nice album of sparkley tunes
To sing to the birds
Back home.

Remember Winterdrum where I first met her?
Thanks to her classes we're all getting better at
Learning these African rhythms and songs -
This is where our future culture belongs:

Playing Ikan Korata on the djembe,
Saying "Don't eat my rice" seven times daily,
Teaching the kids about tones, slaps and bass -
This is how I like to funk up the place.

When the rhythm
Makes your feet move,
Stops you feeling sad,
I think of the children we've taught this song to
And then I don't feel
So bad.

Drumming with Vitae in church ev'ry Wednesday,
Hotfooting down the M40 on Tuesday.
Sometimes the weekend is jampacked with gigs, (but)
How come guitarists get all the cute chicks?

Africa Junction was fun but too distant for
Me up in Bedford to drive to Great Missenden -
Musicians rarely make money to live,
So I'll continue with teaching the kids.

When the music
Makes your Hartbeat
Race away with joy,
These tingling feelings caressing your spine,
This magic that we

Spending the Solstice up Coombe Hill each summer -
This year I missed it, alas, what a bummer :(
Waddesdon Manor is such a grand place:
Marvellous weather and beauty and grace,

Walking in orchid woods with the fair maidens,
Lying down watching the clouds in the heavens -
Resting is best when you're dressed to impress -
These are a few of my favourite quests.

Camping at Mellowcroft in deepest Wales,
Also in Dorset upon clifftop trails,
Playing my singing bowls beside the pool -
These are the things they don't teach you in school...

But now strangely,
That's exactly
What I'm doing now;
My life is achieving my wildest dreams,
And I'll carry on

Jamming with Barry on synths and marimba,
Pippa's on vocals and Steve's hacking timber,
Ani's fine cookery, Jed's telling tales,
Ant's playing cello so mellow it wails.

Fun times of laughter with Kate, Lin and Tasha
(Such a disaster if (it's) sadness you're after),
Denis in hot pants and Alfie on duns,
Iggy and Louis and Chrissie and Jules -

Sharing good times
With good people
As the years go past,
New players arrive and old faces return -
The drums always call
You back


African Beats Camp beats all of the others -
Such a fine bunch of cool sisters and brothers
Feeling united in rhythmic excess,
Friendly love bubbles envelop the bless'd.

Concerts and workshops and stalls selling djembe,
Mesmeric music to die for on Monday,
Closest to Africa in the UK!
Let's hope it happens again soon one day...

With some funding
And promotion,
It might just come good...?
(If) only the Arts Council saw what we do
And knew what to fund,
It should!

So, thank-you Justine for all that you give us,
Such inspirational love you deliver.
We are so grateful we can't even speak -
Just have to keep on drum-ming ev'ry week.

Please never give up when life treats you badly:
Punctures and broken drums driving you madly
Toward frustration and chucking it in -
What in God's name would we drummers do then?

Maybe one day,
All the children
That we've ever taught
Will take over running the group when we're old
And ready to pop
Our clogs.

Written at 3:28am on 2011-07-14, this song, dedicated to the wonderful Justine Hart, should be sung in your best Julie Andrews voice - you know the tune... ;-)

[UPDATE: On 2023-09-23, I sang this song to the gathered audience at our 25th Anniversary party celebrating 25 years of classes since 1998 :-]

© copyright Malcolm Smith 2012-10-08 - last updated 2012-12-16