Goodbye Beautiful Oak

Track 1 of Nonsense B explores a vocal development of the tambura, the lute-like Indian drone instrument. The tambura is played behind the soloist and is often “strummed” by a novice. It most usually has its’ strings tuned to the fifth of the scale, the tonic octave, the tonic octave and the tonic. ie 5-8-8-1 (sol do’ do’ do). It’s purpose in Indian music is to create a harmonically rich backing for the soloists, the strings of the lute create rich overtones and thus an array of sonic possibilities for the main performer. It is not usually played in any rhythm, but sympathetically to the music.

At the time i was doing weekly performances on Ustream, an early streaming platform and friends would challenge me to sing something they suggested during the week.. So here is my reaction to a challenge, “How about doing something using the Tambura?”


There are no discernible words, other than those you might find yourself.

As for the title “Goodbye Beautiful Oak” The week I sang this, (2012?) my mum and dad moved out of the family home where i lived and had gone back to since i was 8 years old. I loved the trees there, especially this Oak which was over 500 years old, it had an enormous burr on the side and when I was little i can remember climbing up the tree using the rope my dad had hung for us and down into a massive hole in the centre of the tree, the smell of damp wood, and the feeling of being wrapped in the tree has never left me.

The hole was long since filled in to prevent the tree from water damage.
I was so sad to think i may never see them again, but they are still so vivid, i can’t imagine ever forgetting them.
What a privilege to grow up knowing such a tree so well. It was magical.