Irene’s book ‘A Voice in Africa’

In 2010 Irene Grant-Jones was able to visit Utange orphanage, Kenya, with a group of friends. She found the visit very moving and recorded her experiences in a series of poems with the title of ‘A Voice in Africa’.
Irene asked her friend Chas Leslie to illustrate the poems and they have now been printed in an anthology sponsored by local firms and individuals. The proceeds from the sale of the booklet will go entirely to Casuarina House and Feed600—you may like to see our video, launched on my YOUTUBE Channel www.youtube.com/user/sopranoigj as a promotional video for the newly launched book. Here I sing the original track, ‘They can’t write to tell us’ as a backing track for some amazing thought provoking images coordinated by Brian and Karen Bayliss from ‘BKB Photography’ and Richard West, sound engineer from ‘Level Recordings’.

Book Launch

book launch

The ‘hot spot’ on Thursday 9 February 2012 was Salam’s in Kempston. In freezing conditions over 130 people turned out from far and wide for the launch of Irene’s poetry anthology with pencil drawings by Chas Leslie called ‘A Voice in Africa’ at Salam’s Indian Restaurant, Kempston. The anthology begins with a humorous poem called, ‘Zips’ and culminates with a heart-rendering poem, ‘Our song will never end’.

book launch

Accompanist, Tim Grant-Jones, transported a piano to Salam’s to accompany Irene as she sang ‘A Moment Like This’ and ‘Nessun Dorma’.
During the evening, Irene recalled the moment when she met Debbie Scott, the founder of Utange Orphanage Kenya. This had been the moment which took Irene on an unexpected journey to Kenya that was to steer her into a creative realm that engaged the support of 23 businesses here in Bedfordshire.

book launch

Irene’s journey to work in the Kenyan Orphanage in January 2010 was shared by Lorna Milton from ‘Three Counties Radio’ and the late Ian Pearce who were there to record the official opening of the Utange Orphanage. Ian’s coverage of the opening on the Lorna Milton ‘Afternoon Show’ brought tears to listeners’ eyes here in the UK as hearts were touched by the poverty yet enthused by the Kenyan's hope for the future. The poems and art work together create a third dimensional and unified experience for the reader who has the opportunity to participate in the day to day drama of life in Utange, Kenya.

book launch

Irene recalled the moment when the children in the orphanage sang their welcome songs. Emmanuel, a ten year old could not reach the top notes. As a singing teacher Irene encouraged him to create a particular mouth shape. Sure enough his top notes came out beautifully. A photograph of Emmanuel shown to Chas was to become the image that fired Irene’s imagination to collaborate with him on images for her other poems written whilst in Kenya.

Irene and Tim have been fundraising for years. Andrew Lloyd Webber returned the copyright fee so that Irene could sing ‘Pie Jesu’ (the only known version to date) with her eldest son, and ‘Memory’.

book launch

The Flower Duet, both parts sung by Irene, along with Ave Maria and 16 other unique tracks can be heard on the family CD album callled, ‘Handle with Care’ which has raised over £15,000 and is also on sale 100% for Utange Orphanage.

‘A Voice in Africa’ £5
‘Handle with Care’ £8.50

These can be bought directly from Irene Grant-Jones. To order a copy please call Irene on:
Tel:01234 853399
or email: ireneuwclub@gmail.com