A single with lyrics by a terminal cancer sufferer, put to music by Billy Bragg, went on sale at the start of the week. The collaboration, ‘We Laughed’, released through Cooking Vinyl, came about when Bragg took part in the Rosetta Requiem project, a scheme which teams established artists with chronically and terminally ill people so that they can express themselves via the medium of song, film, and poetry.
The lyrics were written by Maxine Edgington to celebrate her relationship with her sixteen year old daughter Jessica, inspired by photographs taken of the pair, one of which appears on the cover of the CD. “In our first one-on-one session, she pulled a framed picture out of her bag and said ‘Look, I’ve been given six months to live. I don’t want to mess about. I want to write the song of this picture’,” Bragg explains. He went on: “determined that Jess should have positive memories of her after the grieving was over, Maxine commissioned a professional photo shoot which produced beautiful images of mother and daughter smiling together, looking as if they had not a care in the world. This was how she wanted to be remembered.”
He continues: “She wrote reams of words, pouring her feelings out onto the page. My job was to take the words that best expressed the sentiments in the photograph and shape them into a song. I provided the melody, but the words are Maxine’s alone.”
Two other songs resulting from Braggs work at the Trimar Hospice in Weymouth also appear on the on the CD, ‘The Light Within’ with lyrics by Lisa Payne and ‘My Guiding Star’ with lyrics by Veronica Barfoot. Bragg says “that there is not a shred of self-pity or morbidity in any of these songs is a testament to the spirit of these three women. I found the experience of collaborating with them to be inspirational.”
Profits from sales of the song with go to Rosetta Life, the Trimar Hospice and Cancer Care Dorset. Press info from Cooking Vinyl.