The Vital Spark


Jen’s new project – The Vital Spark – is on the horizon.

Jen is known as a bass player and a producer of large-scale projects. Her busy worklife has often precluded time to sit down to write and arrange her own music. But the composing-urge has always been there, usually squeezed into the wee small hours, and always having to fit in around her roles as a bass player, band member, studio musician, samba / piano teacher, organiser of musical projects and residentials, producer of albums, tour manager, fundraiser, social marketer, arts administrator and ‘busy person’…

The pandemic, for Jen, provided the kind of life-pause and the freedom needed to focus fully on her own songs. She wrote a collection that will soon be shared through a project inspired by an amazing series of co-incidences.

The project, supported by Creative Scotland, has enabled Jen to take time out to write instrumental arrangements for this collection of songs. This is the focus of the work. She has written string quartets, big brass arrangements, duets and trios, and instrumental ‘tunes’ in the trad sense of the word. The composition is ongoing, and the ultimate aim is to be able create studio recordings, working with lots of brilliant musicians.

In the meantime, Jen is filming mostly solo performances – a new and affirming thing for her, as she’s always preferred to be a bass player in the background! She’s also writing short stories on topics related to each song, and working on a series of podcasts (my, my… what a lot of editing!).

The songs are funny, tongue-in-cheek, and – in places – heart wrenching, inspired by the various genres Jen has worked within, and connected by these under-pinning questions, very relevant to our post-pandemic world:

“What does it take to maintain our ‘Vital Spark’?

What happens if we lose it?

And how do we get it back?”

And the Vital Spark back-story is well worth exploring! It’s one of those ‘incredible things’ in life… Jen can’t wait to share it!

An introductory film, and socials will be available soon. It would be lovely to see you and hear from you there!

Jenny Hill, Photo by Daniel Lacosta
Jenny Hill, photo by Daniel Lacosta

This work has been made possible by Creative Scotland

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